Electric bike maintenance: how to keep your e-bike running like a dream

Electrical bike upkeep: preserve your e-bike working like a dream

Electric bike

(Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

Sustaining an electric bike is not tough, however there are some vital issues to know if you are going to preserve it in high situation and get the very best efficiency each time you head out on a journey.

To seek out out precisely what it’s essential know to maintain your e-bike in excellent form, TechRadar spoke to Julian Thrasher, Head of Coaching at Shimano. Purchase your Shimano merchandise and help native bike outlets at www.freewheel.co.uk.

What checks do you have to do earlier than using?

Earlier than heading out in your electrical bike, a number of fast checks will assist be sure to’re getting the very best, most secure journey potential.

“Mechanical and electrical checks are the important thing factor,” says Thrasher, “so from a mechanical viewpoint, tire pressures and when you’ve received any mountain bike suspension settings as nicely. Primarily as a result of when you’re using an e-bike with deflated tires then chances are you’ll not get the vary out of the bike that you really want.”

You’d usually discover when you’re using a motorbike with deflated tires or worn gears – you will need to work tougher than standard – however an e-bike will compensate, successfully masking the issue and draining the battery sooner than crucial,

“It’s additionally actually vital that your brakes are working correctly as a result of the e-bikes are barely heavier,” says Thrasher. “I’d have a verify of the brakes and gears earlier than you go on a journey. Only a spin across the automotive park or simply down the aspect of your home, simply to ensure the whole lot’s working mechanically because it ought to. 

Electric bike rear wheel

Earlier than you head out, verify your tire stress; the motor can masks the impact of deflated tires, however the battery will drain sooner because of this (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

“From {an electrical} viewpoint, ensuring that the battery’s received a full state of cost,” he says. “You’d ideally do that with sufficient time to just be sure you can put cost into it. There’s nothing worse than rocking as much as a journey and discovering that you simply’ve received one bar of battery. It’ll both be a really tough journey, or the journey received’t occur. 

“And a fast verify of the cables as nicely. Talking from a Shimano Steps viewpoint, the cables are fairly delicate and so they carry all the information by way of the system, so in the event that they’re barely broken otherwise you’ve managed to hook it on a automotive whenever you’re taking the bike off a rack, they’ll get broken and that may trigger an error to happen. So it’s positively worthwhile checking.”

You must also verify that the cables are accurately plugged in. Shimano has a particular wire device (catchily named the TL-EW02), which makes certain that you simply’re pushing on the right a part of the wire and never damaging it.

Additionally check out the magnet for the pace sensor. “It’s a bit like the old-fashioned cycle computer systems that you simply had the place the magnet went spherical and it informed you how briskly you had been going,” Thrasher explains. “The e-bike has a drive unit that is aware of how a lot stress you’re placing by way of the pedals – there’s an in-built energy meter – however it additionally has a pace sensor to work out how briskly you’re going. With these two metrics it may work out the correct amount of energy supply, but when the magnet will get knocked then it may’t see that, after which the drive unit received’t work.”

It is fairly frequent for that magnet to get knocked misplaced, both in transit or being out on the paths. Simply ensure that the magnet is consistent with the sensor, with the right distance between it.”

Electric bike battery

Be certain that your electrical bike’s battery is safe in its mounting earlier than heading out (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

In case your bike has a Shimano Steps drive system, additionally be careful for an error code referred to as WA13. Thrasher explains that this can be a torque sensor error, and is well fastened.

“This occurs when somebody hops on the bike, they begin pedalling it off down the highway or down the path, after which they assume ‘Oh no, I haven’t turned it on!’ So that they flip it on, after which the system sees that there’s stress going by way of it, which it doesn’t anticipate. What it then does is say ‘Effectively, that should be an issue’. So then it beeps and comes up with a WA13 error code.

“The best option to clear that is to cease the bike, get off the bike, flip the battery off, ideally if it’s a downtube-mounted battery take away it – that clears the whole lot from the system – put the battery again in, flip the system on once more with none stress on the pedals. 9 occasions out of 10, that clears the WA13 error code.”

Lastly, ensure that the battery is safe in its mounting. That is not straightforward to do for an inner battery, however for an exterior one, ensure that there is not any play between the battery and its mount. Any motion may cause intermittent faults.

How are you going to make the battery last more?

There are many methods to eke larger mileage out of your e-bike’s battery, a few of that are extra apparent than others. “We at all times take into consideration marginal positive factors in biking, however they’re all issues you are able to do to enhance the lifetime of the battery, and positively the vary of the battery,” says Thrasher.

“We spoke earlier than concerning the tires being accurately inflated and issues like your brakes rubbing. You discover all these when you’re a human being pedalling a bicycle, however with an e-bike they’re fairly good at masking these little issues.”

Man on electric bike

Taking your bike for a blast on its high energy setting means you will not go almost as far, however it’s numerous run (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

Additionally take into consideration which of your bike’s modes you are going to be utilizing. Most e-bikes have a set of various choices that give various levels of help. “On Steps we now have three modes – we now have Eco, Path and Enhance modes – and there are two manufacturing unit preset modes for these of Dynamic and Discover, however you may also customise it, Thrasher explains. “We now have an app on the telephone referred to as E-Tube, and thru this E-Tube app you possibly can customise Eco, Path and Enhance from a low, medium and excessive setting.

“So when you went out in your bike and also you needed the very best life out of the battery then you definitely’d journey it in Eco with Eco set to low, since you’re simply going to obtain a small quantity of energy by way of the system. So that you’re not going to go as quick as going up a hill in Enhance, however you will get numerous life out of the battery, or vary out of the battery.”

Electric bike

Your e-bike’s app might will let you customise its energy settings so you possibly can tailor its energy output to fit your journey (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

There’s actually no substitute for figuring out your route. For those who’re planning a complete time out with a number of good hills, do not hit all of them in Enhance mode otherwise you’ll find yourself using with none help on the finish.

For those who simply wish to go for a blast in Enhance mode, you will not be capable to go almost as far, however it’ll be numerous enjoyable.

“The very last thing I’d add to that’s that lithium-ion batteries do wish to be charged, so don’t let your battery run all the best way out after which depart it run out,” Thrasher says. “The battery can enter a form of hibernation mode, after which it may be very tough to wake that battery. What we suggest is that even when you’ve simply used a bar of battery, put it on cost. It likes that. You’ll improve the lifetime of it when you cost it typically.

What in case your bike has {an electrical} fault?

In case your bike has {an electrical} fault, by no means attempt to disassemble your bike’s battery or drive system. You would possibly void your guarantee, trigger extra harm, and even give your self a foul electrical shock.

“The very first thing I’d say is go to an expert bike store, or we choose a Shimano Service Heart,” says Thrasher. “They’ve received a device referred to as an SM-PCE02, and this can be a linkage system that checks {the electrical} internals of every element that’s on the bike. So the motor, the show and so forth, and that’s one thing that’s very tough to do at dwelling.”

Electric bike display

A motorcycle store or service middle can take a look at error codes in your e-bike’s show and work out the answer (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

You would possibly often see error codes in your e-bike’s show, which an professional at a motorbike store or service middle can interpret into an answer. “So to provide you an instance, we’ll have an E010 error code, which can seem on the show together with an E013, says Thrasher.

“What the primary error code means is a normal system error code. The second error code is a torque sensor error code. So from a motorbike store’s viewpoint, you take a look at each of these and also you go ‘I’m fairly certain I do know the place that drawback is.’

“They usually additionally want to have a look at nicely, has that been brought about by way of a mechanical difficulty, and so they’re significantly better outfitted to try this. They take a look at your bike as a complete after which give you an answer, whereas whenever you’re at dwelling, you possibly can actually solely make the issue worse.”

Are there every other belongings you should not do?

“Undoubtedly don’t disassemble the battery or the drive unit since you’ll give your self an enormous shock,” Thrasher says. “The opposite factor is don’t poke issues into the terminals of the battery, as a result of that might additionally offer you an enormous shock.”

Poking and prodding is a foul thought, however you need to ensure that the male terminals on the battery are good and clear. “These are wonderful when you’ve received the battery out and off the bike it’s not going to harm you, so you possibly can clear the opposite elements.”

Thrasher offers the instance of one among Shimano’s sponsored riders who was having an error code in his bike. It turned out the issue was all the way down to the mud he’d been using in; as soon as he cleaned out the nightfall, the error code went away.

Man spraying lubricant on bike

Take care to not get lubricant in your bike’s wire ports (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

“Don’t spray any lubricant into the wire ports – that’s actually a no-no – and deal with the cables with care,” Thrasher provides. “If at any level you don’t assume it’s getting into, don’t use extra power as a result of that typically finally ends up with one thing breaking. Don’t power them into the parts, and when you can, do use the wire device that I spoke about.

“Don’t attempt to get into the motor or the battery, however you need to be certain that the bolts which are mounted to the body are tight, and there’s typically solely six bolts that try this, and there’ll typically be a torque setting from the producer. That’s actually good as a result of that may result in creaks coming from the bike, however they’re fairly straightforward to resolve. Do ensure that these bolts are tight.

“For those who’re cleansing the e-bike, don’t level a high-pressure hose immediately on the electrical parts – they don’t actually like that – however do preserve it clear. We are saying use a clear material after which a clear T-shirt afterwards simply to dry it down.”

How do you have to retailer your e-bike after a journey?

When storing your electrical bike, crucial factor is to maintain it clear, dry, and totally charged. “Actually one of the best ways is to ensure the e-bike’s prepared for the subsequent journey,” says Thrasher. “Be certain that it’s prepared whenever you get again from the final journey. Hold it clear, examine it for harm.

“These are all issues which are actually traumatic whenever you’re about to exit for a journey, however really when you spend 5 minutes simply wanting over the bike whenever you get again, it’s good to know that you simply’ve put that bike away in a state that you would be able to simply decide it up, flip it on and go for a blast on it on the subsequent journey. It relieves a few of the stress.”

Woman with electric bike

Handle your bike after every journey and you will not want to fret subsequent time you wish to head out (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

You do not have to take the battery off the bike whenever you’re storing it, Thrasher explains. “Lots of people to take the battery off the bike to cost it, which is ok, you are able to do that, however some e-bikes have distant on switches on the highest tube, and so they even have a cell inside them that wants a bit little bit of the facility of the battery to make them operable. So we are saying each 4 occasions, simply put the battery into the bike to cost it on the bike. They do profit from that.”

Storing your e-bike someplace damp or humid would possibly trigger corrosion of {the electrical} elements, which might trigger points down the road,

“Don’t hold your oily rags over the charger or the battery as a result of they get heat and that may result in fireplace,” Thrasher provides. “Undoubtedly don’t cowl something up – don’t cowl the charger up, don’t cowl the battery up. Be sure you’ve received a number of free house round the place you’re charging the bike.”

Lastly, do not let the battery run out of cost fully and depart it that manner.

How typically does your e-bike want servicing?

Getting an peculiar bike serviced a couple of times a yr helps nip any potential issues within the bud and preserve it working easily. It’s extremely comparable for an electrical bike, and offered you take care of it correctly, as described above, taking to the professionals each six to 12 months is ok.

“Numerous the issues it’s essential contemplate are like an everyday bike,” says Julian Thrasher. “We’re fortunate in that Shimano Steps is a reasonably sturdy e-bike system, so when you do care for the bike when it comes to conserving the chain oiled, conserving the pads changed, the necessity to take it in for an expert service isn’t all that usually.”

Your bike can be totally examined for mechanical points, however for an e-bike it is also your alternative to get any new firmware updates. Thrasher explains that i’s very very similar to updating your telephone, however can solely be executed professionally.

Bike servicing

Getting your e-bike serviced a couple of times a yr might help nip potential issues within the bud (Picture credit score: Shutterstock)

“That is one thing that you’d want to go to an expert bike store or a Shimano service centre for,” he says. “They be certain that any bugs within the system that [the developers] have discovered are taken out, that every one the parts communicate successfully collectively, and typically there will be little upgrades. “Mainly there’ll be options that come out that the brand new firmware accommodates. So it’s a very good digital improve.”

“Folks don’t should be scared that it’s essential be taking the bike in each 5 days to be checked out,” he says. “They’re fairly sturdy, so the principle factor is the firmware, to take it in and to only get it checked over to ensure there’s nothing that you could be not have seen {that a} skilled bike store may see.”

Repair Your Bike scheme

For those who reside within the UK, you possibly can apply for a £50 voucher in the direction of sustaining your e-bike by way of the federal government’s new Fix Your Bike scheme. Vouchers cowl important repairs and companies, and can be found by way of retailer together with Halfords and Evans Cycles, plus smaller bike outlets.

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