Your eBike and its components have been built to stand up to the regular wear and tear of eBike life but, like all manufactured items, they have a finite lifespan. However, with the correct maintenance routine that services them with a little TLC you can ensure that your eBike, specifically the components on it, will last even longer than expected! Completing these regular eBike maintenance tasks means that you won’t have to shell out for expensive components before their time and that your eBike is safe to ride.
To some, completing maintenance on an eBike will seem like quite a daunting task. However, many regular eBike maintenance tasks require little more than clean rags and a simple eBike multitool - well within the reach of most home mechanics. Alongside this it can also be comforting to know that the electronic elements of your eBike require no maintenance, and that all the tasks described here are very similar to those that would be conducted on a standard bicycle.
Here we’re going to run through what eBike maintenance tasks should be completed and how often, how you can do them, and how often you should be doing them. We’ll also discuss how to find a professional to undertake these tasks if you do not feel comfortable doing them yourself. Each of these lists can be adjusted up or down in frequency based on how often you ride, and how dirty the local conditions are.
Daily eBike Maintenance Tasks
There are two checklists here, a pre-ride and post-ride checklist. Each requires a minimum amount of tooling and, with practice, around 5-10 minutes to complete.
A quick pre-ride checklist ensures that your eBike is safe and ready for a smooth ride.
Tools Needed: clean rags, eBike multitool, tire pressure gauge
- Tire Pressure - Use a tire pressure gauge to check that your tire pressure is within the manufacturer’s specified range (found on the sidewall of your tire). Inflate or deflate tires as needed.
- Brakes - Walk with your eBike next to you and pull one brake lever. Your eBike should stop automatically. Do this again with your other brake.
- Headset - Gripping the front brake, rock your eBike forward and backward. Your handlebars should move with the eBike, i.e. there should be no play in its movement. If you feel play, rattling, or movement, then your headset bearings may need adjustment. Repeat test after tightening.
- Wheels - Make sure that your wheels aren’t wobbling. They should run straight and true. Do this by checking the axle nuts or quick release levers, tightening as necessary.
- Battery - There’s no e without a charged battery. Check that your battery is charged enough to cover your whole journey.
This preventative maintenance will help to extend the life of all your eBike’s components. While it can be tempting to "ride it hard and put it away wet", doing so can significant shorten the lifespan of the components on your eBike. A little clean-up post-ride will really help extend component lifespan.
Tools Needed: clean rags, battery charger
- Wheels - Give your wheels, both tires and rims, a once over for damage and debris. Remove debris and wipe down the rims with a clean, dry rag. Check for wheel wobble by lifting each tire off the floor, spinning it and looking straight down it.
- Suspension - If your eBike has suspension then wipe it down with a clean, dry rag.
- Frame - Take a clean, damp rag and wipe down your frame, checking for damage and cracks along the way.
- Chain - Elevate your rear tire and lightly grip the chain with a clean dry rag. Give the pedals a dozen or so turns with the other hand to run the chain through your rag and remove any dirt. (If you’re riding in the rain and/or through mud or puddles it is imperative that you do this every ride. For rides that don’t feature these natural phenomena this may not be necessary after every ride.)
- Charge Battery - It seems simple but can be forgotten. No matter how far you’ve ridden, consider putting your eBike battery on charge after each ride so it's ready for the next one.
Weekly eBike Maintenance Tasks
These tasks can easily be completed at home with a minimum amount of tools and are best tagged onto the end of your post-ride routine once a week.
Tools Needed: clean rags, eBike multitool
- Drivetrain - Using a clean rag wipe down all the cogs on your eBike, making sure that you get in-between the gears on your cassette. Also wipe down the chain ring, derailleur pulley wheels, and the derailleur itself.
- Re-apply chain lube using the manufacturer's instructions.
- Crankset - Make sure the pedals, and the arms that attach them to the eBike, are not loose. Tighten as necessary.
- Shifter and Derailleur - With the rear tire off the floor use one hand to turn the pedals and the other to click through all the gears. It should shift smoothly between all the gears. Check the derailleur for any cling-ons e.g. twigs and plant materials. (if your shifting is off contact a professional to help you get it sorted before your next ride).
- Brake Pads - Visually inspect your brake pads to see if there’s sufficient material on them for safe braking. If your eBike has rim brakes then this means that the grooves should still be visible in the rubber. If you have disc brakes the pads should, at the very least, be at 0.5mm in thickness. A standard credit card or ID is 0.75mm thick. Get this up next to the pad and if it is as thin, or thinner, than this they should be replaced before your next ride.
Monthly eBike Maintenance Tasks
Some of these tasks are a little more time consuming and require specific, but not expensive, tools. They are, however, easy to complete at home, be it a bit messier than the ones described before.
Tools Needed: clean rags, standard eBike lubricant, suspension lubricant, chain degreaser, chain lubricant, a chain cleaning tool
- Suspension - If your eBike has front suspension wipe the sliders down with a clean rag and add suspension lubricant to them; per the manufacturer’s instructions. Pump the suspension up and down by leaning into it. Do this about 10 times. Wipe the sliders down again to remove any dirt exposed by this process and to clean off any excess lubricant.
- Drivetrain - Use the chain cleaning tool to clean your chain. Give your cassette a deep clean, and then lubricate the chain afterward. It is best to look online for videos pertaining to this process, and the specific cleaning tool that you purchased (this cleaning can be done without a chain cleaning tool but this is messier and more time consuming). This process is the most time consuming and messiest of these tasks, but it’s not too challenging for most DIY mechanics. Also lubricate the pulley wheels on the derailleur when doing this.
6 Month eBike Maintenance
If you ride daily on your eBike then these maintenance tasks should be completed every 6 months. If you’re just a weekend warrior then this can be stretched to an annual maintenance. This is akin to a full tune-up and, unless you’re looking to acquire the tools and knowledge needed to complete this yourself, it is best left to the eBike maintenance professionals (see below). The processes completed here include:
- Adjusting brakes
- Adjusting gear shifters
- Lubricating both brake and gear systems as needed
- Checking the smooth running of your drivetrain and tuning as necessary
- Truing the wheels
- Checking all bearings and their adjustment
- Checking all bolts are tightened to proper torque, and are in good condition
If you are looking to do this yourself then there are many videos to be found online where you can learn each of these steps, what tools you need, and why doing these things is important. We like some of the excellent videos in a series offered by Park Tool, a popular brand of bicycle tools.
Annual eBike Maintenance Tasks
For eBikes ridden daily, annual service means breaking down and dis-assembling the entire eBike, cleaning, inspecting, re-assembling, and tuning. This should be done annually for daily riders and every 18-24 months for casual riders and weekend warriors.
Finding an eBike Maintenance Professional
Luckily eBike maintenance professionals can be found across the country and, because of the inherent similarities between electric bicycles and their standard bike twins, many bike professionals will work on eBikes too. When looking for someone to perform maintenance tasks on your eBike there are two main options.
Local eBike Shop
Your local eBike shop is often the best place to get all your eBike problems and maintenance issues addressed. Using the same shop also helps you to build a relationship with those who work there and they can give you advice and answer questions about everything from your eBike, to eBike friendly trails in the local area.
Bike.com uses Beeline Connect to offer assembly at local bike shops for riders who need a little extra help assembling their eBike. Those trained professional are also a great option for follow-up service or ongoing maintenance. Check Beeline's partner map for a location near you.
Large outdoor stores, such as REI may also offer these services, but this is dependent on your local area.
Mobile eBike Mechanic
Velofix operates a nationwide network of mobile eBike mechanics that cover most major cities and towns. Locally, you'll also find other companies that offer a similar service - often operated by a local independent mechanic. These services are highly convenient because they come to you to do the work; meaning that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home or office.
Mobile eBike mechanics also prevent you from having to load a heavy eBike into your car for drop-off.
A Final Word
If any of the above tasks are too daunting and you want to leave them to the professionals then do just that, that’s why they’re called professionals. But it is advised not to skip on these eBike maintenance tasks because they are important to the smooth and safe running of your eBike. Not only that but, as mentioned in the beginning, regular maintenance ensures the longevity of components, making your ride better and keeping your money in your wallet for longer!