Electric bikes are much less complicated for the rider than you might think, but there are a few common mistakes that e-bike riders run into if you're not paying attention.
To help you along, here are three Dos and three Don'ts of e-biking...
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Keep your tyres well inflated
An e-bike with under-inflated tyres will drain the battery power twice as fast, as well as leaving your tyres vulnerable to punctures.
Buy a good pump and look on the side of your tyre for guidance of how much pressure to put in. You will usually see numbers on the tyre wall such as 3-4.5 Bar or 45-60 PSI.
In cold weather, tyres lose pressure easily, so be prepared to pump them up when the temperature drops.
Many e-bikers remain in one gear and simply change the power-assistance level. However, shifting gears when you're riding helps your bike chain and sprockets to live longer.
In general, it's best to ride in a gear which takes the 'weight' out of the pedals and requires you to pedal with a brisk but sustainable rhythm. This is much kinder to your chain, but also to your joints.
Modern e-bike motors also react to what gear you're in, so choosing the most efficient gear means you will get the most out of your motor too.
Lightly lubricate your chain
A properly lubricated chain can make riding feel leagues better than when the chain is dry. Don't worry. You don't have to be mechanically minded to do chain maintenance. If you can polish shoes, you can maintain a chain.
Brush off dirt from the chain. Use a bit of soapy water if necessary, then dry with a rag. Add a drop of oil to each link in the chain so that it sinks down into the linkage. It can help to leave it to soak in for a minute. Afterwards, wipe off the excess oil with rag.
Too much lubricant will allow dirt to stick to the chain which will eventually become a grinding paste which destroys your chain. Your chain should feel clean and polished but not greasy, wet or generally dirty.
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Don't turn on your e-bike when something is touching the pedals
This can confuse the computer programming in your bike. It's a bit like trying to read the weight of an ingredient on your kitchen scales when there's something else pressing down on it. Turn off the e-bike, clear the space around the pedals and turn the bike on again.
Don't store your battery when fully drained
A bit like a houseplant, an e-bike battery (like all lithium batteries) needs a bit of charge in it to stay alive. Even if you're not going to be riding for the whole winter, please charge the battery to around 50-70% before storing at room temperature.
Don't store/charge your battery in extremely cold temperatures
Cold temperatures disrupt the chemistry in the battery cells and prevent them from charging properly. Storage in very cold temperatures will damage the cells permanently. If your storage area dips below zero degrees, it's best to bring the battery into the house and store at room temperature.
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