Electric bikes are very convenient and easy to ride. It is not a surprise that 39% of the bikes that have been sold in Belgium in 2021 are electric bikes. People use them to commute faster and without breaking a sweat or even for traveling. They usually go up to 25km per hour with the pedal assist and their range varies between 70 to 200km for the most expensive ones.
If these devices are faster and demand less effort than regular bikes, they are also more likely to break down. Indeed, with more technical parts, it is easier to break something. In this article, you will learn about the most common electric bike breaks, how to avoid them and how Cyclecure can help you when you encounter them.
The dashboard is broken
A common problem that people can encounter with their electric bikes is that the dashboard does not turn on.
The first thing you should do when this happens is to check that the bike is fully charged, the battery is connected, and that the charger is still working.
If your device is still not turning on, it might be because of a blown fuse. This is something you can change by yourself if you are comfortable with this type of device.
Has your battery been underwater? It could be from riding under heavy rain or falling when crossing water. If that’s the case, your battery may have been immersed. In that kind of situation, there is nothing else to do than to directly change the battery. Don’t panic, it is still possible to ride your electric bike in the rain, just be careful not to ride too much into large puddles.
If your electric bike suddenly stops working, it can also be a controller issue. To verify that, make sure that the wires are correctly connected and that nothing got stuck in the connections. If nothing changes, or if you checked everything and your device is still not turning on, go to a specialist to have a mechanic have a look at it.
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A swollen battery
If you realize that your battery has swollen, DO NOT CHARGE IT. This is something that can happen more often when you have a lithium polymer battery on your e-bike. It can be caused by a variety of factors: overcharging, overheating, degradation caused by years of use, not using your battery for too long, etc. This factor appears more easily on low-cost batteries. If this situation presents itself, you must go to a mechanic to change your battery as soon as possible. If the membrane containing the lithium breaks due to the swelling, it can cause a fire since lithium, when in contact with air, can burst into flames.
A shorter battery lifespan and or range
Is your battery running low too quickly? There are multiple reasons this can be happening.
First of all, if we are in winter, know that this kind of device does not like to be exposed to extreme temperatures. You should store your electric bike, or your battery if you can easily separate it from the bike, in a dry and warm place and not outside, significantly if temperatures drop under 0°C.
Secondly, you should be careful not to keep your device plugged in during the night as it is bad for a battery’s lifespan to overcharge.
Pedal assist issues
The pedal assist is the system that helps push the bike forward when you pedal. It can have different levels of assistance depending on the type of bike.
Have you noticed that your pedal assist is less effective or has stopped working altogether?
First of all, you should know which type of sensor you have in your pedal assist: speed sensor or torque sensor. The difference between those two is the way they are engaging.
The speed sensor activates when you start pedaling, it’s the easiest solution because these sensors are more reliable and accessible. It can be as if you have to put no effort into pedaling
The torque sensor activates with the power you use to pedal. It will vary depending on the strength you use. This is a good way of still getting some exercise, even when using an electric bike. The torque sensor is very sensitive and you must pay attention to its settings to avoid any bad surprises like a very quick start.
With that in mind, if your pedal assist isn’t working, it can be due to different elements:
First, the spoke magnet might have gotten dirty or shifted from its original position, meaning that the information from the wheels is not sent to the pedal assist.
Second, you might have a problem with the wire between the sensor and the motor. It can be disconnected or broken.Third: the cadence sensor, the disk with magnets might have moved and gotten disconnected from the sensor.
Difficulty to pedal
If it has gotten harder to pedal and you don’t know why different things can impact the wheels.
If the motor is overworked, it can partially lock up the wheels. You should try pedaling slower and/or adjusting the settings of the motor. If this doesn’t fix it, it might mean that you need to change the motor and, for that, you need to go see a mechanic.
Difficulty with pedaling can also be caused by a chain that is too tight. This is an easy fix since you just need to adjust the tension. If adapting the tension does not work, you might need to change the chain completely.Lastly, it is also possible that the gears are dirty or damaged. Clean them regularly to avoid getting dirt stuck in them. If they are damaged, you will have to change them.
You’re going too fast or too slow
This would be a controller issue, check the settings to make sure there is, in fact, a problem. If the settings are good, you might need a new controller. In this case, you will need to go directly to a repair shop and have it installed by professionals.
If you hear weird noises and have no idea where they come from, there is a good chance that the controller is the issue. Go to a mechanic to have it checked out.
Electric bikes can still suffer the same types of breakdowns as regular bikes
Electric bikes can also end up with a flat tyre. The problem is that it can be a little more tricky to change the back wheel than it is to change it on a regular bike. Indeed, since it is linked with the pedal assist and battery, you have to make sure that everything is still connected after changing your tyre. You can try to do it yourself if you are confident in your mechanic skills but we recommend going to an e-bike expert to avoid breaking something while trying to figure out how to reconnect everything.
Always ensure your lamp is working correctly before riding, especially in winter. It is dangerous to ride without a lamp because, like this, the cars and other users of the road will not see you, or not in time. Winter is particularly tricky because the night falls faster and can sometimes surprise you. If your lamp is working, you are certain to be visible at all times.
You should always make sure that you have fully functioning brakes before riding. Since your bike is heavier and can go faster, the brakes can get worn out faster. The consequences of faulty brakes are also much scarier when your speed is higher. If you have any doubts, go to your mechanic.
A broken spoke is a typical break when it comes to bikes. However, for electric bikes, when you break a spoke, you should never wait to have it fixed. Since an e-bike is heavier than a regular bike, the weight that is now on the other spokes can lead to a twisted wheel faster.
Good habits for maintaining your electric bike
There are certain things that you can do with your electric bike to avoid breaks.
First of all, you should check your tire pressure regularly and inflate it if necessary to avoid damaging your wheels. It is an easy and quick step to take care of your device that will help you avoid having to go to a mechanic.
Make sure your chain is regularly lubricated to keep it in top condition and prevent it from wearing out too quickly. For this, you only need a chain lubricant spray which you can easily find in any bike shop.
This is the one that people usually don’t do or simply forget about, but you need to clean your bike regularly. When you don’t clean your device, dirt gets stuck in the components and it can seriously damage your electric bike. Also, this is a good way to avoid rust settling in.
Last thing: store your electric bike away from rain or moisture. This means that you should not leave it parked outside when you don’t use it or in a humid basement.
If you want to learn more about how to take care of your electric bike, especially during winter, you can read our article about How to prepare your e-bike for the winter season.
You now know what the most common electric bike breakdowns are and how to avoid them. If a breakdown should occur or if you don't have the time to take care of your electric bike yourself, we are here to help you with the expertise of our mechanics for any problems related to electric bikes!
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