How should I care for/maintain my e-bike?

E-bikes, particularly those in daily use around hilly Sheffield, will require regular maintenance to maintain efficiency and reliability. In practice that means:

  1. Keep your tyres inflated to the recommended pressure, and no less than the minimum pressure given on the tyre wall. (Note the trend to larger width and volume tyres on e-bikes, for which lower tyre pressures are in order) – see this  Schwalbe tyre pressure chart

My favourite current choice of high value all round safe, nippy and comfortable tyre is the Schwalbe-marathon-gt-tour-hs480-tyre tested here , and for Urban duties the super comfy, durable and high value Schwalbe variations on ‘Balloon’ tyres – Big Apple, Big Ben and Super Moto.

When the thermometer falls and you need to ensure good safe grip in snowy, icy or even just frosty weather go for something like the Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus tyre (consider getting the more expensive ‘plus’ variant, meaning no punctures if your route is iffy) – pumped up to stated maximum pressure for an easy ride on clear roads, then lowered to the minimum stated in adverse conditions so that the little metal studs get down to their job, these really work!!

  1. Keep your chain well lubricated – especially in wet conditions, and check it with a chain checker periodically. (It may need replacing after just 500-1000 miles of heavy e-bike use if you want to preserve the rest of your drivetrain.)
  2. Service it yourself/have it serviced by a qualified technician a couple of times a year.
  3. Have your system (Motor/Battery/Controller) ‘plugged in’ and updated annually by a bike shop that has the relevant accreditation for your e-bike, just like the updates for your mobile phone or PC. (Not a big deal – in practice there are a few bike agents locally that offer this service, and could do it either as part of one of your bi-annual services, or as a stand alone option – see servicing section 23 below.) 

Note that e-bikes, being heavy and having more power than normal cyclists develop, will get through bicycle consumables like disc brake pads, chains and cassettes (rear gear clusters) about twice as fast as unpowered bikes, but don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune on these, as basic everyday versions will do fine.

Caution: Never use any sort of pressured water, even a hand sprayer or hose, when cleaning around the motor and battery. Why? Because electrics are, well, electrics, and also the bearing seals on even the best systems are only splash proof, so for example won’t prevent pressured water seeping into the bearings around the pedal axle. (Normal riding in rain etc will be fine.)

The good news is that DIY bearing repair kits and full refurbishment services are available from such as the highly recommended local firm that offers this service for many e-bike systems:  Chapel en le frith – Phone: 078880 29522.

Further afield and  are available, so if you do have an (out of warranty) issue you don’t have to go to the expense of a complete new motor.

In the interests of the environment and your skin, you might consider using Green-oil products – which I have found effective.

(See also Section 23 below for local servicing) 

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