One thing that a lot of people find cool about electric bicycles is that they are very easy to maintain and to be kept in good condition all the time. When they do get damaged, it is very easy to repair them. This is not so with cars and bigger vehicles. Cars are so complex that you need to have some background in mechanics in order to keep them in good condition or repair them. Being able to repair and maintain your own e-bicycle is a way of saving more money and a huge advantage over expensive car maintenance. Here are 3 tips to keep your electric bike running smoothly.
1. The first tip is to keep your bicycle well-oiled.
To keep the parts of your bicycle moving, the right lubricant is necessary. Some people think that it is already a luxury. For those who know better, however, it is more than just keeping the parts moving and becomes the nutritive equivalent of supplements to one’s diet. The point is, without the proper lubes (lubricants) applied to the right places, your bicycle will become a story of tragedy, a beauty fallen prey to the clutches of the elements. A dry chain without a lubricant will generate an ear-piercing squeal and will not shift gears smoothly. Eventually, it is going to rust and could snap in the middle of your ride.
In order to lube it, simply soak a rag with degreaser, like Pedro’s Pro-J Professional Degreaser. With your bike in a work stand, hold the chain with the rag while you backpedal in order to get rid of the grime from the side plates and rollers. Simply repeat until the chain is clean. After that, dry the chain with a clean rag and apply the same technique you used to clean it. In order to apply the lubricant, deposit a drop on the top of every link while you backpedal slowly for a few revolutions, giving a chance for the lube to work its way in. Wipe off the extra lube. If you do not do it, it could attract more dirt to the chain. Use a light, waterproof lubricant like Boeshield T9 Waterproof Lubrication. For wet-weather conditions, go with Pedro’s Chainj. Never use motor oil. It has a lot of particles of metal and acids that can weaken the chain and cause it to wear a lot faster.
2. Inflate your tires to the right air pressure.
There are different ways to inflate your tires depending on the tires’ valves. The most common types of valves are the Schrader valve, the Presta Valve and the Woods valve. A Schrader valve is also called an American valve or a car valve. The valve stem is surrounded by a threaded valve core. To press down on the stem, you would have to use a tool such as a pen cap or a thumbnail. Schrader valves are usually wider in diameter and shorter than Presta or Woods valves. They can be found usually on cars, less expensive bikes and mountain bikes. In order to open a Schrader valve, just unscrew the rubber cap at top. The Presta valve is also called a Sclaverand or French valve that is usually found on high-end road bicycles. Presta valves are narrower and longer in diameter compared to Schrader valves and showcase an external valve stem which is protected by a valve cap, rather than being surrounded by a valve core. To open a Presta valve, unscrew the dustcap at the top and place it where it is safe. Then, loosen the tiny brass cap on the valve stem. It will not completely come off, but you would be able to raise it just a bit. In order to check if you have loosened the brasscap enough, press on the valve stem. If you could hear escaping with a sharp burst, then you have loosened it enough. A Woods valve, also named a Dunlop or English valve, is common in Asia and Europe. It is similar to a Schrader valve, but uses the same mechanism as a Presta valve. So, to open it, just do it the way you do it with a Presta valve.
The recommended PSI or pressure for your tires is on raised print on the side of your bike tires and will specify a range. Do not let your PSI lower than the lowest number and higher than the highest number. As a recommended rule of thumb, a 50 psi is good for an electric bicycle cruising around town with an average rider. A lighter rider should have around 40-45 psi while a heavier rider should have around 55-60 psi.
3. Keep your battery topped off and in a good condition.
A few batteries can handle being drained all the way but as a recommendation, it is a good idea to always charge your electric bike battery at maximum when you can. Consider charging your battery when you are at work or when you need to stop somewhere for errands. Many employers and shops are fine with people charging batteries if they understand that it only costs a few pennies to charge an electric bike battery. Keeping your battery fully charged at all times is good for the overall life of your battery and it helps if you have an unexpected trip that you have to make and you need the extra juice. It is good to keep your batteries cool so do not keep your batteries hot, heat them or store them in hot areas. Always remove your battery for cleaning. Make sure that when you put the battery back in, it is properly clipped and locked into the frame to make sure it does not drop out. It is best to store batteries at room temperature in a place that is free from moisture. It will lessen the stress on the battery cells. If you travel with batteries, make sure you have a durable container and not mixed with other hard objects such as wrenches.
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