by Rob Potts February 13, 2023

You've purchased an E-Bike.   Remembering everything you were told when you purchased it is more than overwhelming and too much to remember. 

So we've added some useful tips so you'll get the most out of our Electric bike, and take care of it so it will last many years. 

First, an E-bike has all the mechanical components of a regular bike, so we'll go over those items first.  There's a reason we give free lifetime tune ups on every bike we sell.    We've been told countless times by others in the industry that we're crazy for doing this, as tune ups are a significant profit generator for bike shops.  For us, we want you out enjoying a well tuned bike, without worry.  The more you ride, the more you'll tell others about riding.  It saves the average rider $100 - $150 per year in annual maintenance. 

1. Get Regular Tune Ups

The average bike needs tuned up 2-3 times a year.  Sometimes more.   Bring it to us at the start of every riding season to ensure it's working properly.   If small shifting or braking issues arise, bring to us as soon as you hear/see the problem.  Small problems can quickly turn into bigger ones that take longer to fix.   Most adjustments and tune ups, we can do when you walk in.   Bigger issues take longer. 

2. Keep your bike clean and especially - keep the chain clean and lubed.     .  Keep your bike clean and it will last longer.   Do not pressure wash!!  Wiping a bike down with a wet towel will take care of most dirt.   As to the chain, keep it lubed.  How often?  This varies, but on average I'd say apply more lube every 150 miles seems to work for me.   If you are in wet, dirty conditions, you'll likely need to clean and lube before the next ride.  But for normal conditions, just keep it lubed and it will perform better and last longer.  We are dealing with metal on metal, so keeping it lubed is essential. 


3. Examine Your Bike / Keep the tires aired up

Pay attention to the nuts, bolts, cables on your bikes.   All the road vibrations can loosen these things over time.   Again, bringing to us throughout the year will help immensely.

Bike tires aren't like car tires.  They need aired up continually.  If all I'm doing is paved trail riding, I'll check my air pressure once a week.  Mountain biking or road biking - I check / inflate every ride.  If my bike has a suggested PSI range of say 40 - 65, the lower the air pressure, the softer the ride and the higher the pressure, the faster the ride (and less smooth).   Since you've got an E-bike, there's no reason to go to the upper end.  I usually keep mine at about 10 - 15% below the max for riding on pavement.  This keeps it relatively cushioned and with optimal grip. 

4. Shifting Tips

This one involves both mechanical and electric shifting/pedal assist.  Now, on a short checklist, I'm not going to be able to cover the in's and out's of shifting an E-bike.  I do link to a good video below, that will give you that detail.   I'll give one significant tip - being in a too hard to pedal gear is much harder on your bike than being in too low a gear (pedals moving too fast).   Plus, if you are in a really big gear going up a hill, which means your pedals are moving slow, your E-bike is giving you even less assistance.  Most E-bikes read how fast your pedals are turning and if they are turning slowly, the bike's computer assumes you don't need as much pedal assist.  That means you'll be pedaling way harder than you should.  So at the start of a hill, if you're going to choose the wrong one - choose lower first.  It's much easier to shift into a higher (harder to pedal) gear.  It's very hard to shift down once you're on a hill, and too high a gear (harder to pedal) means more  of a strain on all the mechanical and electric components. A faster cadence (pedaling speed) is better than slower for your bike and your knees.  


5. Seat Height Tips

You got a new bike and you want to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground while your rear is on the seat.  There are some bikes made for this, but most aren't.   I get it.  When you started riding a bike for the first time in a while, this makes you feel more confidence when starting each ride.  The most efficient (and best for your knees) position is when the pedal is fully extended, your leg is about 95% extended.  For me, this means that when I'm on the seat, at most I can get one toe on the ground.  I have to start out on my pedals, then hop up to the seat.  As you get more comfortable on the bike, move that seat up.  Your knees will thank you. 

6. Watch out for that throttle

Many rear hub drive E-bikes have a throttle.  This won't be an issue once you've ridden your bike a few times, but those throttles can be touchy on some bikes.  You get on the bike, you touch the throttle and it lurches forward.  Now, the throttles only work when the pedal assist is turned on.  So I recommend getting on your bike, then turning it on low pedal assist after you've mounted the bike.   That prevents you from accidentally hitting that throttle while getting on the bike.  

7. Taking care of the battery

How long with these Lithium batteries last?  No one really knows for sure as they haven't been out long enough.  Theoretically, they should last 1,000 charges.  So 1,000 charges by say - 40 to 80 miles per charge.  Well, that's a long time.  To maximize it's life:

- Don't let it get fully decharged if you can prevent it, and if it does, get it charged as soon as possible.  These batteries hate being at 0 and doing so really reduces their lifespan. 

- Don't keep it at 100% all the time. They love being around 80%. It's not nearly as bad as being at 0%.  But let's say you've got a bike that gives 50 miles per charge, you ride it 10 miles one day and going to ride 20 the next.  No need to charge before the next ride.  As a general rule, if mine gets below 60%, I charge it up.  Unless I know I'm going to go on a long ride, then I just charge it.  

- If you leave it inside all winter or another lengthy period of time, check the charge.  Don't let it get to 0.   

- Batteries don't love extremely hot or cold conditions.   The more you can keep at room temperature, the better.  My garage is in a basement, so I rarely bring mine in as it stays a comfortable temperature in the summer.   So if your bike gets really hot or cold and your bike battery will be subject to those temperatures long periods of time, best to bring inside. 

- When cycling in cold temperatures, use the pedal assist at the higher modes some.  The battery likes this to get warmed up.  The low power mode won't let it get to an optimum temperature. 

- When to take your battery off:  Hauling your bike long distances.  I take my battery off.   I can't find anything that says this is better.  I just assume it's better not to have that extra weight on my rack in long trips.  I also take my battery off on the rare times I go into a store where I can't see my bike.  I figure if someone is going to steal by bike, they're not getting my battery too.  Bringing a bike into a shop without a battery or battery charger puts most bike shops into high alert that they've got a stolen bike! 

8. Prevent Bike Theft

Take down and store your serial number the day you get your bike.   Also, don't trust any bike lock 100%.   Why?   Most of them are made to prevent someone from coming along and stealing your bike.  But if the person is a professional, they can get through any bike lock.   So the times I leave my bike unattended (even when locked) are very rare.   If I'm stopping at a spot to eat, etc., odds are I've both locked mine with a thick chain and it's within sight.  The times I don't, I also either put my battery in my car or a pack with me.  

9. Store the two keys separately

This one is simple, but one we see happen often where someone loses both keys at the same time.  Keep your two keys in two separate places.  That way, if you lose one, you've still got the other. 

10. Loading an E-bike on a rack

Electric bikes are heavier than regular bikes.  So a few tips:

- If needed, remove your battery before loading it.   That will shave 8-10 lbs off and make it much easier to load;

- Lift say the front tire, secure it with the bike strap on the front holder, then left the back.  That way, you won't be lifting the whole bike at once. 

- Get a bike rack with a ramp or one that raises / lowers electronically.  You can check our our bike racks below. The Saris Door County actually lowers almost to the ground, for easy bike loading.   Many of the Kuat racks can also accommodate a ramp. 

Check out Racks here.  



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