Hi, Richard here from eBike Sussex, here are my top 10 things NOT to do with your ebike!
- 1. Derestricting your ebike a.k.a. ‘removing the guvnor’.
This is not legal in the UK. What does that mean? You could have the bike confiscated by the Police, be fined and have points on your license. Also the components would wear out faster and therefore require more regular checks/servicing. There is a class of faster ebike called a speed pedelec, these have faster top speeds than other ebikes in the UK, but would need to be registered with the DVLA and have the associated number plate, tax and insurance that a moped/motorbike/motor vehicle is subject to.
- 2. Leave the battery in a conservatory, car parcel shelf, garage and or in the shed for storage.
Batteries are like house plants, they don’t want to be too hot or too cold. So storing in a place where temperatures can get very cold like a garage or shed is not sensible. Likewise a conservatory or car parcel shelf can get extremely hot. We also advise you acclimatize the battery to room temperature before charging, this will allow the cells to charge properly, as charging a battery when it is too hot or cold can damage the cells.
- 3. Using a pressure washer or hose on your ebike.
Why is that bad?
You will get water ingress in areas of the bike that shouldn’t get wet. The delicate electronics of the battery, motor and head unit can be ruined by a misplaced hose spray. Likewise it is best to cover these items if driving in the rain and you have the bikes on a car rack on the back of the vehicle. The rain and speed of vehicle will give the same effect as a hose or pressure washer, and can cause you subsequent mechanical failure. Aside from the electronics, you don’t want to be washing away grease from key areas of the bike. For example wheel, pedal, motor and headset bearings.
- 4. Never get it serviced
Why is that bad? Well an ebike is heavier than a normal bicycle, there is more stress going through the system due to the extra weight, momentum and you are stopping from higher speeds. The bumps are bumpier, the stresses through the machine and its individual components are greater. It isnt just a case of having your pads checked regularly, its inspecting the frame for hairline cracks, checking things have not shaken loose, measuring chain stretch, disc rotor wear, bearing play and many other factors that could result in serious injury and expensive repair costs. On top of this there are often software updates to give battery optimization and error codes can be checked out and rectified if necessary.
Its much better to have preemptive replacement of fatigued parts than to wait for a catastrophic failure like a chain snapping as you accelerate onto a roundabout or your brakes clonking out when you least expect it. We offer two years servicing with all our ebikes sold, so our customers don’t have to stress about getting their beloved ebikes regularly serviced. A rule of thumb is first service at 2 to 12 weeks from purchase or 450 miles, whatever comes first. Then if you ride 5 days a week a service each month or every 3 to 4 months depending on journey length and riding style. If you ride less regularly then a service every 6 to 9 months or 9 to 12 months is sufficient for most people’s use.
- 5. Putting your ebike battery into storage with little or no charge
Your Lithium ebike battery is constantly testing itself for spikes in voltage and temperature. If it senses a failure of a cell it will shut the cell down or the whole battery to prevent a melt down. The issue is that if you put the battery into storage with less than 10% charge and don’t use the bike for a while you could find that the test the battery is performing constantly on the cells drains the remaining battery capacity.
The battery has a fail safe to prevent meltdown and that is to go into a coma if it loses a critical amount of power whilst in storage. It would rather break itself than risk your battery fails and causes a fire. This makes complete sense as the battery management system is cleverly designed to maintain battery longevity over time but to do this needs a power source to work. So we recommend you store your ebike batteries in accordance with the battery manufacturer, and if it is a Bosch battery then store it with at least 50% charge. The problem can occur if you have lets say 15% charge on the battery, you store the battery in a cold garage or out building and then when the temperature drops, the battery capacity will also drop in the colder conditions and you could get a dud battery. So as mentioned before, store your ebike battery indoors if you can.
- 6. Never checking your tyre pressures
Tyre pressures should be checked every ride if you’re a stickler for rules, but the manufacturers like Schwalbe recommend you check tyre pressures every 2 – 4 weeks. This is because tyres lose their pressure quite quickly compared to car tyres. Have you ever pumped up 10 party balloons and the next day some have deflated more than others? Inner tubes also have thin walls and micro perforations that let the air out even if you aren’t using the bike. Correct tyre pressures are important for stability, comfort and control.
- 7. lubricating the chain in the right way/ at the right time.
With chain oil, less is more! Don’t over do it, and only use drip on oils, never sprays. If you use sprays you could contaminate the braking system and cause braking failure. Our rule of thumb is if the chain is dry to touch, or if you are caught out in the rain, then apply oil. Always wipe off the excess. This will reduce chain wear, sprocket wear and will make for a smoother gear change.
- 8. Cutting corners with cheap replacement parts purchased online.
Your local bike shop have initially invested in selling you the ebike, and then have invested in the replacement parts for servicing and repairing your electric bike. When it comes to replacing those items it is best to get the professionals to source and fit the appropriate replacement parts. Yes it should be more expensive as they are paying to have the parts readily available for your convenience. The plus side is the parts will be genuine and will not invalidate other warranties the bike may still be subject to. The same goes for the fitting of components and servicing the bike yourself. The bike shop have invested in tools, diagnostic equipment, training, insurance, rent and rates, staff etc… They have seen more ebikes than you, and have a better chance of doing a better job. Let them be the fresh eyes on your ebike, and you will have more time to use your pride and joy and they will be there in the long run to support your hobby.
- 9. Not taking down the frame number and key number when you first get your ebike, and taking a photo of your original receipt.
For the frame chassis number, you would need it to identify your ebike if it was recovered after being stolen. With the key number you would require it if you lost your keys and needed a new one cut. Finally taking a photo of your hard copy receipt is a great way of having a copy available if you ever needed warranty work performed on your ebike. At least it is easier to scroll through a camera roll on your phone than paper receipts in the bottom of a drawer somewhere or hidden in the garage.
- 10. Take it down the beach onto the sand.
Sand is a big no for electric bikes. It wears components quickly as it is a brilliant abrasive, especially when mixed with grease or water. It also has high salt content so will rust your ebike and can cause the electronics to corrode. So avoid beach rides!
I hope you enjoyed this article, thanks for reading