Spring Maintenance Tips For eBikes
At Reckless Shipyards, we believe and live by the credo that a happy bike brings a happier riding experience to the rider. That being said, we have been undergoing a TON of preparations and re-tooling of our service dept to better suit the growing needs of our amazing Reckless family members. Many of you have already met our new service manager Ryan. Along with a bright smile, he brings 26 years of experience to the table on just about every type of bike imaginable. eBikes, road, gravel, emtb, downhill, XC, track/fixie, BMX and kids bikes. Even custom e-cruisers and customized bikes for differently abled people. We are very happy to have him join the team at Reckless.
Here are some top tips from the man himself!
1) Check your tire pressure! After a few months of sitting, or even some cold weather riding, it is totally the norm for your tires to start losing some pressure. If riding daily, pressurizing your tires once every 4-7 days will help eliminate pinch flats. Not to mention increase your range, improve handling, and give an overall better feel of the road. Mileage is a big factor on tire wear as well. Softer compound tires will wear faster, just as they would on an automobile. Nothing makes a bike feel fresher than some new rubber if warranted. It is also the least expensive way to add some serious performance to your bike by reducing rotational weight or adding flat protection.
2) Check your brakes! Have you been commuting in the slush, rain and salt? Most disc brake systems are quite exposed to the elements, and winter conditions can cut the overall life of brake pads IN HALF. Does this mean you should stop riding in the winter? Heck no! Just be prepared for more frequent replacement of your pads, and more potential for noisy brakes to occur due to contamination. Riding a bike with pads that have worn down to the metal backing will usually result in having to replace the rotor as well. So, check often, or pop by and have us do so.
3) Measure your chain! Drivetrain parts are susceptible to wear and tear just like anything else. Your standard external chain/cassette style set up will typically last roughly 1500-3500kms depending on weight of the rider, what kind of riding conditions etc. This is a topic I could write an entire article itself on, but I won't flood you with too much techy nerdiness all at once. But the Coles Notes version of this topic is, chains and cassettes wear together. After enough mileage, the chain will "stretch" (technically it is not stretching, but rather elongating due to the rivets wearing themselves flat during rotation.) Once the overall length has stretched more than 1% of its overall length, it is time to replace both the chain and cassette. A specific tool is used in shops to measure this "stretch" and give you a precise indicator as to where your chain lies in its life cycle.
If you happen to ride a bike with an internal gear hub (or IGH for short), the internal cartridge usually likes an oil bath in a specific oil every 10,000 kms or so. Gates Carbon drive bikes paired with Enviolo or Nuvinci hubs will run to about 20,000 kms without needing much in the way of maintenance.
4) Charge your battery! If your bike has been stored all season, it is very possible that the battery has gone into sleep mode or hibernation mode - depending on the manufacturer. The simplest way of "waking it up" is to plug it in and give it a charge. Some systems will ever so slowly start to discharge themselves after a significant amount of time sitting. Again, this is normal and can be slowed by storing the battery off the bike.
5) A clean bike is a happy bike! Winter riding is full of challenges. Keeping your bike clean during this very filthy time of year is one of those challenges. Degreasing components and decontaminating rotors/brake pads can be difficult without the right tools. Our shop is fortunate to now have an eco-friendly parts washer. As a result, we are proud to now be offering our newest service package called "A Day at the Spa". It is just what it sounds like. Your bike will get totally torn down and all re-usable parts will get scrubbed in the parts washer. When a thorough cleaning is done, we take this opportunity to do a close inspection of the entire bike too. For those who love to DIY their bikes, we also stock the best cleaners and degreasers on the market, as well as various styles of cleaning kits.
6) Check your bolts! This is just plain great advice. Vibration over time can loosen certain fittings on your bike. Never a bad idea to check some of the more crucial ones, such as axle hardware and front-end assemblies. (Stem, handlebar etc.) If you are not sure how tight they should be, come on by and we would be glad to walk you through it.
7) Lube your chain! This should be done after a good cleaning of the whole system. Less is more. Over lubricating can cause premature wear, as well as make your right leg dirty and greasy. The purpose of the oil is to simply lube the pins and rollers on the inside links. Anything over and above is too much and should be wiped off. Failure to lubricate will end up with a noisy drivetrain and prematurely wear out your drivetrain. There is a right lube for the job. Different lubes are formulated for different systems and conditions. Pop by the shop and talk our ears off for more info than you need on the subject.
8) Know your limitations and trust your technician! As simple as bicycles and eBikes seem, some are quite picky on how they need to be adjusted and maintained. If this is in any way outside your comfort or knowledge zone, talk to a CERTIFIED professional. The main difference between a bike mechanic and a bike technician is a technician has undergone countless hours of training, modules and certification programs to get the knowledge they require to do the craft. Missing some crucial bolts while doing it yourself can result in serious injury or death. So be careful.
9) Beat the spring rush! The off season is the perfect time to get your bike serviced, or even when buying a new bike. Service centres are usually a lot less busy which means technicians have extra time to go the extra mile. There are normally some great deals to be had on last previous years models for new bikes, and often deals on winter servicing too. Let alone the MUCH faster turn-around times. A good technician is usually busy. Much like a trusted barber, people like to stick with their local technician once they have found one, they like. Being in high demand is a good indicator that they know what they are doing, so stay patient when turnaround times are slower due to volume.
Hope this helps some of you to continue riding safely and with little to no mechanical issues. Get in touch with our caring staff any time if you have any questions or would like to book an appt for service.