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Buying an E-Bike: What You Should Know

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Before buying an e-bike, there are several things you should take into consideration. Buying an electric bike can be a big investment. It’s important to know why you’re buying an electric bike and what you should be looking for in the main components of an electric bike.  

Your Electric Bike’s Purpose

Before you buy your first electric bike, ask yourself why you’re buying it. Where are you going to ride your bike? What do you want to use it for? Figuring out the type of bike you want is the first step you should take if you want to buy an electric bike. There are different types of electric bikes geared toward different activities, with different price ranges depending on the bike. There are bikes for mountain biking, trail riding, relaxed cruising, urban commuting, and more. So, ask yourself why you’re buying your bike, and consider where you’ll be riding it.

Cost

Good electric bikes start at $799, but worth the investment if it’s something you’ll use more than a few times. You need to think about the quality of the battery, brakes, bike frame, and other components of the bike. A good quality motor for an electric bike can be expensive. Take all of this into account before buying your bike. Quality e-bikes are an investment, but they are a good investment if you plan on using yours for a long time.

Nature trail surrounded by green woods
Photo by Charles Black on Unsplash

Battery

The battery is an important part of your electric bike, and you have to take into account the brand you’re buying from. Your battery will degrade and hold less charge over time. Investing in a good quality battery will benefit you in the long run. Quality electric bikes will also have high-quality batteries. They are often lighter, charge more quickly, and will last longer. Electric bikes are powered with lithium-ion batteries, which can last for around 800 charge cycles. You can get at least 2,000 half-charge cycles if you use your battery carefully. It varies from the manufacturer, battery chemistry, and capacity, but your battery will typically take 2 ½ -6 hours to fully charge. Depending on the type of battery you have, and how often you use your electric bike, you can have your battery last for several years.

AMP E-bike gear

When buying your battery, take note of the warranty, and make sure it covers your battery for at least two years. We also suggest checking the price of replacing your battery. Make sure your manufacturer isn’t going to charge you an arm and a leg to replace your battery.

E-Bike Drive

Considering what type of e-bike you have means considering the drive. The most common type of drive is called a “pedelec.” Pedelecs monitors your pedaling and adds a specific amount of motor assistance automatically while you ride. This depends on the rate, force, and speed that you’re going.

The second type of drive is called a “twist-n-go.” In this type of drive, you use a switch to trigger assistance from the motor. Some e-bikes, like the AMP Errand, is equipped with both pedelec style and twist-n-go for maximum usability.  The output of the motor is limited to 250 W (250 watts) in most places, and the maximum speed is limited to 25 km/h. Faster electric bikes do exist, with speeds of up to 45 km/h. However, you’ll need a special license, insurance, and plates for those particular bikes. It’s important to check the e-bike regulations in your region because they can differ greatly depending on your local laws.

Range

The range of your e-bike is another crucial thing to consider when buying your first electric bike. The range of your bike is the distance it can go on one charge of the battery. It depends on many factors. Your weight, the speed, the assistance level you choose, the battery capacity, and the percentage of given pedaling power are all things you have to consider when figuring out the best range for your bike. You should buy an e-bike with a higher range than needed because the range will drop as the battery ages.      

 

Electric Bike Maintenance 101

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While doing maintenance on your electric bike may seem scary and unfamiliar at first, when you know what to look for, it becomes as easy as caring for a regular bike. Here are a few things you’re supposed to take care of when doing maintenance on your electric bike:

AMP Electric Battery image with AMP logoBattery – Charge at least once every two months

First is the bike battery, a lithium ion bike battery should last around 1,000 charge cycles, and shouldn’t be stored in an area that is too hot or cold.

If you don’t charge your battery at least once every two months, you’ll run the risk of it dying.  Don’t leave your bike battery in the charger for more than 48 hours though. In order to make sure your battery lasts long, it is important to charge it after each ride. Each battery is made up of cells with 1000 charge cycles, so you have 1000 full drains and charges of your battery until it dies. If you go for a ride for a certain amount of time each day and use 10 cells, when you charge your battery afterward, you will only have used 10 cells in your battery. The remaining cells will be “new” and unused because you have not used any of their charging cycles. As you continue to use the cells, the battery management system will move onto the new cells as the old ones are used. So, charging your battery directly after you use it will preserve its battery life.

Eventually, you’ll need to replace your battery to keep your bike performing. Most manufacturers will offer replacement batteries on their websites.

Drivetrain – Clean monthly

Next, you should clean the drivetrain. You’ll need to buy degreaser and a chain scrubber, or just use an old toothbrush. You can also use warm water to clean your drivetrain if you don’t have degreaser. Clean the bike chain with these items, and dry it off with a cloth. Then, lube your bike chain with a lubricant that works for your bike. Wipe off any excess lube with a cloth.

Derailleur gears – Adjust every year or so

AMP Electric bicycle gears close up

You also need to keep an eye on your derailleur gears. Go to a bike shop to get your derailleur gears adjusted and tightened once per year. A professional will do the best job on this part of your bike maintenance. 

Tires – Check weekly, replaces every 2000 miles

Caring for your electric bike’s tires is an important step in bike maintenance. You’ll need to make sure that your tire pressure is within the range of your tires. Buying a bike pump that shows you how much pressure is in your tires is recommended. You should also check that your tires are not too worn down, as this can lead to reduced traction and will make it easier for your tires to get punctured. Of course, this depends on the terrain you’re riding on, but it is recommended that you replace your tires for every 2000 miles you bike.

Brakes – Check at least twice a month

Next, you need to check your brake pads. Depending on the type of brakes you have, the maintenance will be different. A few types of brakes are rim brakes, mechanical disc brakes, and hydraulic disc brakes. Adjust your rim brakes and tighten their cables once per year. Replace your brake pads and mechanical disc brakes every year or so.  Hydraulic disc brakes also need to have their brake pads replaced every year. However, you might need to “bleed” your brakes and replace the hydraulic brake fluid needs every few years if you want your brakes to continue to work well. You can go to a shop to get this done, or learn to do it yourself.

Matte black AMP electric bikeElectric Bike Frame – Clean when it’s necessary

Second, clean your bike frame regularly. You don’t want rust forming on your bike, do you? It is important to check the manual that comes with your bike to see if they recommend any cleaning solution for your bike frame. Once you find a cleaning solution that works for your bike and clean the frame with a soft cloth. You can also clean the bike frame with paper towels.

Motor Maintenance – Check as needed

Lastly, taking care of your bike motor will ensure that it has a long life.  There are a few different types of bike motors, and each requires a different type of maintenance. The types of motors include geared hub motors, gearless hub motors, and mid-drive motors. If your bike has a geared hub motor, make sure you aren’t overworking it, and that your wheels are aligned. When you overwork the motor, it will wear out faster. If your wheels aren’t aligned they can throw the gear off, which will cause the gear to damage itself. Bikes with a gearless hub motor don’t require a lot of heavy maintenance. These motors contain electromagnets that do the turning of the rear wheel and cause very little friction. If you have a mid-drive motor, you need to make sure that the gears are tuned finely and keep the drivetrain clean. You should always start at a lower gear when using this motor, if you start out at a higher gear, you’ll use up more of your battery because of how fast a mid-run motor runs.

Overall, you need to know the basics of your electric bike. Know what type of motor you have, what type of brakes you have, and know the pressure range of your tires. Read the manual that comes with your electric bike to get information on what you’re unsure of, or go to your local bike shop for help. Knowing your bike and knowing how to take care of it is important in ensuring that your bike has a long life.

Sources:

https://www.greenpathelectricbikes.com/electric-bike-maintanence-tips/

http://sandiegoflyrides.com/maintaining-and-caring-for-your-electric-bike/