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E-Bike Repairs Demystified

By: Summer Poletti

We sell, rent, and repair electric bicycles, so we get a lot of questions about maintenance on e-bikes. Both from careful people who are researching before they buy an e-bike, and people who already have one and need work done on it. So we're going to breakdown some of the most common maintenance items we see on e-bikes. I'm classifying them in two categories - what I call "bike stuff" and electrical (I mean these are e-bikes after all). First, the Bike Stuff. The components that are present on all bicycles and tricycles, regardless of whether or not they are electric or standard.

  • Flat tires: Electric bicycles are prone to flat tires just like regular bicycles. Repairs may involve patching or replacing inner tubes.

  • Brake adjustments: Over time, electric bicycle brakes may require adjustments to ensure proper stopping power. This can involve tightening or replacing brake pads, adjusting cable tension, or bleeding hydraulic brake lines.

  • Drivetrain maintenance: Like traditional bicycles, electric bikes require regular drivetrain maintenance. This includes cleaning and lubricating the chain, adjusting gears, and replacing worn-out cassette or chainring.

  • Frame and component damage: Electric bicycles can suffer from frame damage due to accidents or wear and tear. Repairs may involve fixing or replacing damaged components such as handlebars, pedals, or fenders.

In my shop, we are able to work on the "bike stuff" for any bike, electric or not, regardless of brand. A bike is a bike.

Now for the more complex stuff - electronics. The "e-bike stuff". These tend to vary by manufacturer and some components are proprietary or made by a third-party supplier specifically for that e-bike brand.

  • Battery issues: Electric bike batteries may experience problems such as reduced capacity or failure to hold a charge. Repairs can involve replacing the battery or repairing faulty connections.

  • Motor problems: Electric bike motors can encounter issues like overheating, noise, or loss of power. Repairs may involve replacing faulty components or recalibrating the motor.

  • Electrical system troubleshooting: Electric bicycles have complex electrical systems that can develop issues. Repairs may involve diagnosing and fixing wiring problems, loose connections, or malfunctioning electronic components.

  • Display or controller replacement: The display or controller unit on an electric bike can malfunction or become damaged. In such cases, repairs may involve replacing the faulty unit.

  • Throttle replacement. If the e-bike has a throttle, it too, can become damaged or break and may need replacing.

Due to lack of training on a specific brand, as well as inability to source proprietary components from a brand that we don't carry, my shop is not able to work on "e-bike stuff" for e-bikes not purchased at our shop. And from things I hear from guests, that is not unique. To ensure that you can keep your e-bike running in top condition for as long as you want to enjoy it, we highly recommend that you buy where you ride - purchase from the shop where you hope to take your bike for maintenance. That way you can rest assured that whatever repair you need, be it "bike stuff" or "e-bike stuff", you can have it taken care of by a local expert.

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