10 Tips For New eBike Riders
- Before riding, make sure to familiarize yourself with local rules and restrictions—like helmet requirements, age restrictions, and motor wattage. Stay safe and responsible out there!
- Keep your eBike in peak condition by checking tire pressure, brakes, and battery status. Proper charging and storage extend your battery's life, so don't neglect these essential tasks.
- Lubricate your chain, inspect your brakes, and learn how to ride to maximize battery life. These habits help keep your rides safe and smooth.
- Consider weather conditions and protect your eBike from the elements. Also, never underestimate the value of professional service. Regular checks catch issues early, and you'll enjoy many more miles of adventure!
- Find local eBike groups and connect with like-minded enthusiasts. Building a community is an awesome way to enhance your riding experience.
Entering the world of eBikes is a thrilling adventure full of new experiences and challenges—but it helps to know how to take care of your new purchase. You’ll also want to know how to use your new high-end eBike safely and efficiently, so that you can keep enjoying it for years!
Our eBike-obsessed team at Surface604 is here to help. Check out these 10 essential tips for new eBike riders so that you can hit the road (or trail) with more confidence.
#1. Learn Your Area’s eBike Laws
Understanding and following local eBike laws helps you stay safe and ride responsibly—plus, no one likes having their ride interrupted by a ticket! Depending on where you’re riding, you’ll have to abide by various rules regarding things like:
- Helmet Requirements: Most cities require you to wear a helmet whenever you’re riding.
- Age Restrictions: In most of Canada, you’re not allowed to ride in public places if you’re under 16 years old.
- Bike Lanes & Trails: Know where you can legally ride your eBike—certain types might be prohibited on city streets or sidewalks.
- Motor Wattage: Some local laws may place restrictions on motor power.
- License & Registration: In places like Saskatchewan, eBikes with thumb throttles may be classified as “power cycles” instead of “pedal-assist bicycles” and require a learner’s permit (at minimum) to operate.
A quick chat with local authorities or your eBike dealer can provide insight into the laws in your area. Make sure to check them before riding!
2. Don’t Forget Regular Maintenance
Regular maintenance helps your eBike last longer and keeps it reliable (which also helps keep you safe). We’ve written about this in more detail elsewhere, but here’s an overview of when to do a few different key tasks:
- Every Week: Check your tire pressure, brakes, display, and battery status.
- Every Month: Clean your chain, tighten bolts, and realign the derailleur if necessary.
- Every Year (or Every 125 Hours, Whichever Is Sooner): Take your eBike to a professional for complex maintenance like motor diagnostics or bearing replacement.
3. Keep an Eye On Tire Pressure
Tire pressure significantly impacts your ride. Too full, and your ride will feel harsh—not full enough, and things will be sluggish and unresponsive. Here's what to do:
- Check Regularly: Use a quality gauge to check the pressure (once a week is usually enough, but it only takes a few seconds and doesn’t hurt to do before each ride).
- Follow Recommendations: Inflate to the recommended PSI, usually mentioned on the tire's sidewall or in your manual.
- Inspect for Damage: Look for cuts, cracks, and signs of wear.
4. Care For Your Battery
Your battery will last longer if you avoid prolonged use in harsh conditions and store it responsibly when you’re not riding. Try this:
- Charge Properly: Follow manufacturer guidelines for charging cycles. Most lithium batteries will last longer if you avoid letting them drain fully, so it’s best to charge after every ride or two.
- Storage: Keep the battery in a cool, dry place when not in use. Extreme temperatures or moisture can damage your battery and impact its lifespan.
5. Ride to Maximize Battery Life
Storage and charging aren’t the only ways to take care of your battery—the way you ride also makes a difference! For example:
- Ride Efficiently: Use the appropriate assist level according to terrain. Wasting power doesn’t get you anywhere and puts wear and tear on your battery faster.
- Avoid Constant High Power Mode: Mix in traditional pedaling with power-assist to save energy on longer rides and put less strain on the battery.
6. Lubricate Your Chain
Your eBike’s chain is the link between the motor and the wheels, so it needs to move smoothly for efficient power delivery. Chain cleaning might not be the most fun part of eBike ownership, but it’s an important part of maintenance (just like it is for regular bicycles and any motorcycle without a belt or shaft drive). To clean your chain properly, you’ll need to:
- Brush It: Using a brush and specific degreaser.
- Lube It: Apply bike-specific lube after cleaning.
- Double-Check It: A worn-out chain can affect the overall performance.
7. Don’t Neglect Your Brakes!
Your eBike's brakes are vital for safety and control. Keeping them in top shape involves:
- Regular Inspection: Visually inspect your brake pads for wear and tear.
- Alignment Checks: Ensure that the brakes are properly aligned with the wheels—if the pads aren’t making full and even contact, they either need to be adjusted or replaced.
- Feel the Brakes: If the brakes feel soft or spongy, it’s probably time to have them checked.
8. Budget for Professional Service
While there's plenty you can do on your own, professional servicing ensures that all components are working harmoniously. While some riders consider service a luxury they can go without to save some cash, we strongly advise professional checks and tune-ups to keep it in the best possible shape. Here’s when:
- Annually: A yearly comprehensive check by a professional can catch issues early.
- After 125 Hours of Riding: If you ride a lot and hit this milestone before the year is up, do your eBike a favour and have it looked over by a pro.
- Complex Issues: If you notice anything wrong with the motor, bearings, or other intricate parts, consult a professional.
- After a Crash or Major Impact: Even if everything seems fine, a professional inspection can ensure that there are no hidden problems.
9. Plan for Weather Conditions
Weather plays a significant role in eBike performance and care. That’s not to say you can’t ride our eBikes in the rain (we’re based in Vancouver, after all)—it’s just that you should plan for inclement conditions and treat your ride accordingly before and after.
- Wet Conditions: If you ride in the rain, it’s best to dry the bike off afterward. Use a towel or compressed air to get into hard-to-reach areas.
- Avoid Extreme Cold: Cold temperatures can affect your battery life. Store the bike indoors if possible.
- Summer Care: Avoid leaving your bike in direct sunlight for extended periods, as it can impact the paint and the heat may affect the battery.
- Know Your Bike's Rating: Some eBikes are built for more rugged weather than others. You can check your bike's specific weather resistance rating (called the “Ingress Protection Rating” or “IP”) by consulting your manual.
10. Join Local eBike Groups
Joining a community of like-minded eBike enthusiasts can greatly enhance your riding experience. Here's how to get involved:
- Social Media Groups: Platforms like Facebook often have local eBike groups.
- Local Bike Shops: Many shops organize or know of local riding groups or events.
- Community Centers: Check community bulletin boards for eBike meetups or clubs!
Shift Into Adventure On an eBike Built For Your Needs
Getting comfortable with your eBike is quick and easy once you know what to do. The tips above will help you enjoy your new pastime safely and connect with a community of riders who value fun, fitness, and the environment.
To find your ideal ride, check out our collection at Surface 604—including electric mountain bikes for tough trails, cruiser eBikes for the open road, and everything in between. Adventure awaits, and it's electrifying!