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E-Bike Checklist: What To Look for Before You Ride

E-Bike Checklist: What To Look for Before You Ride

As time goes on, it becomes more and apparent that e-bikes are not a fad—their popularity is undeniable overseas, and it continues to grow in the United States, too! If you recently converted a bike to an electric bicycle, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for to stay safe on the street. Peruse our e-bike checklist so you know what to look for before you ride.

Should You Check Before Every Ride?

As you may have guessed, the answer is yes. As tedious as it may sound, riding any vehicle at high speeds warrants a safety check before you take it for a spin. Luckily, if nothing is wrong with your bike, you’ll be able to fly through your checklist and get on the road in no time. If something is wrong, it’s a good thing you checked!

Check Your Brakes

First, we suggest giving your brakes a once-over before you ride. Squeeze the levers for your front and rear brakes to ensure the brakes engage as they’re supposed to. However, seeing the mechanism function isn’t enough to guarantee your brakes are performing at peak efficiency.

Rim Brakes

There are two types of brakes on most bicycles (electric and otherwise): rim and disc brakes. Each has its own benefits, but it’s good to know what you’re working with. Rim brakes press a rubber pad to the rim of your bike wheel, slowing down your momentum with friction. This is a lighter option than disc brakes, and they’re generally easier to repair.

Before you ride, you should check the rubber pad on your rim brakes. New pads have teeth, grooves, or another pattern on the pads. When your brake pads wear down (much like tire treads), this pattern disappears and prevents the brakes from being as responsive as they should be. When you notice your brake pads are worn down past the pattern, it’s time for a replacement.

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes slow you down with a rotor in the center hub of your wheel. They function similarly, with a brake pad that cuts your speed through friction, but the friction is applied in a different place.

This is like the design that most motorcycle brakes have, and for that reason, disc brakes come with much greater stopping power. Additionally, rim brakes can heat up the rim of your wheel, causing tire blowouts when the brakes are pressed constantly over a long descent.

The biggest drawback of disc brakes is that maintenance is a little trickier. You’ll need to take the wheel off your bike to check the brake pads. You should replace the pad when there’s one millimeter of rubber left.

Check Your Chain

You should also do a spot-check of your chain and gears. Make sure the chain is lubricated—we recommend cleaning your bike after every ride, but especially those that take you through muddy terrain. Any debris caught in your chain can result in tougher shifts and a degraded drivetrain.

As long as everything spins freely and there’s no mud or dirt residue, you’re all set to continue to the next checkbox!

Check Your Tires

Properly inflated tires are essential for a smooth ride. Not only do they make your trip more comfortable, but underinflated tires also increase your risk of getting a flat! You can look at the sidewall of your tires to find the recommended tire pressure and fill it to that level.

You can also check the surface of the tire for any cracking or signs of wear. A flat at 25 miles per hour can cause significant damage to your wheel, so don’t ride your bike until you replace a cracked tire.

Some e-bikes have a quick-release front wheel or a bolt-on axle, so you should ensure that the wheel is seated properly and that the hardware keeping your axle in place is nice and tight. The natural vibrations of riding your bike on the road can loosen the quick-release bolt over time, so we strongly recommend you check this component before every ride.

Finally, did you know that spokes can loosen? If not, you should pick up a spoke wrench and tighten everything up—you don’t want to overtighten your spokes, but make sure they are all solidly in place.

Check Your Battery

Thanks to the great design of electric bicycles, it isn’t the end of the world if your battery dies while you’re riding. E-bikes still function perfectly as bicycles without power, so you can pedal your two-wheeler home the old-fashioned way. That said, the fun of an e-bike comes from the motor, so make sure your battery is charged up before you wheel it out of the garage.

If you want to get the most out of your battery, don’t charge it once it hits 100 percent. This can cause battery discharge that can reduce its capacity as time goes on. Consider setting a phone timer when you leave your battery charging to remind yourself to unplug it after a few hours.

E-bike batteries aren’t meant to last forever, and you should buy a new one every few years. We have a wide selection of electric bike batteries for sale, so check out our supply to give your bicycle some extra juice. The better care you take of a battery, the longer it will last, so remember to avoid overcharging and leaving it outside in extreme temperatures.

Check Your Mirrors

This tip is just like the one you were taught in driver’s ed: check your mirrors before you peel out. Since most people store their electric bicycles in the garage, a bump here and there isn’t unheard of. Ensure you have proper visibility on all sides and check your mirrors before riding.

Make Sure You Have Your Helmet

We don’t want to sound like your mom, but don’t you dare ride without a helmet. No, helmets aren’t “cool,” but you know what’s even less cool? A head injury. Always strap on a helmet before you ride any bike, and check the strap to make sure it’s secure on your noggin.

Pick Proper Footwear

Flip-flops are an obvious no-no, but you should also stay away from shoes that have long laces. If your bike has clip-in pedals, you’ll want to remember the shoes that go along with them—they keep your feet secure on the pedals to ensure there’s no slipping as you ride.

Now that you know what to look for before you ride, use this safety checklist and never experience a flat tire on the trail again!

E-Bike Checklist: What To Look for Before You Ride
by Ebike Essentials