A good maintenance schedule can help save time and money by ensuring you are always on top of the bike repairs and bike mechanics needed to look after your electric mountain bike.
Many bike riders are initially daunted by the idea of looking after their e-MTB but, if you ignore the battery and drive unit, the rest of the bike is exactly the same as your conventional mountain bike and needs looking after in a similar way.
Washing and cleaning an electric mountain bike
Through long experience we have learnt that cleaning your bike is easier while the muck and dirt is still wet so you need less water and effort to wash it off!
You may worry that washing your electric mountain bike will mess up the electrics but many e-bike systems are waterproof for use under normal riding conditions, including heavy rain, use of water is ok when cleaning but you must avoid jet washes or hoses. You must carefully refit any caps to the charger socket to stop water getting into the battery and use water sparingly near the battery and motor. As long as you take these steps to look after your e-MTB washing is no problem!
Other than being sparing on the water and avoiding any kind of pressure washer cleaning your e-MTB is much the same as any other bike. Use a bucket of warm water and a sponge or cloth to loosen and wipe away compacted dirt and mud, you might also find a very mild bike specific detergent helpful.
Tackle the areas where dirt gathers first such as behind the swing arm, in the fork brace, above the bottom bracket and scrub down the tyres. After the worst areas are done work your way from top to bottom with a cloth or sponge. Once all the dirt is off give it a wipe with a clean damp cloth then dry off.
Once it is clean make sure your bike is thoroughly dry before storing it, standing it outside in the sun or even using a hairdryer on a cool setting to ensure all electrical points are free of water. Run a bead of lube on the chain and a little bit of suspension fluid, or oil, round the seals on the fork, shock and dropper post. After compressing them a few times, clean off any dirt/excess lube.
Finally, carefully apply a coating of silicone spray to the frame to help stop mud sticking to it so it is easier to clean next time. Periodically remove the battery and motor covers and clean out any ingrained mud and then apply a specific electrical grease or lubricant to the connectors.
As well as keeping your bike clean and shiny giving it a good wash down gives you a chance to spot any areas of wear and tear that may soon need fixing. Keep an eye out for frayed cables, deep scratch marks or scuffs or any fluid leaks around seals on your suspension which could indicate a problem.
Staying on top of things is key when it comes to looking after any bike. We’ve all done it, finished a ride knowing our gears were jumping or brake pads sounded worn, but put the bike away and forgot about it till the next ride. Giving your bike a check over before you pedal is good practice to ensure your ride is both fun and safe! Check your bike systematically from front to back making sure there is nothing loose, your wheels are properly secured, brakes are working powerfully and gears are shifting smoothly.
Replacing parts and spares
Some parts of your bike like chains and brakes will inevitably become worn and to keep it running in perfect condition will need replacing. How often parts need replacing depends on a lot of things; how often you ride, the conditions you ride, how regularly you maintain your bike and even your riding style. If you are used to a conventional bike you may notice your e-MTB parts wear out faster, this is due to the extra force the drive unit puts on the chain and cassette. Being a heavier bike and faster bike you may also need to change your brake pads more often.
When it comes to replacing parts, it is always worth using components designed to work together in perfect harmony so your bike always runs sweetly. For example if you're running a Shimano cassette and cranks consider replacing your chain with a Shimano bike chain. The same for SRAM, Wolftooth and other great bike brands. Shimano parts have the highest quality standards for safety and reliability.
You may think that buying cheaper bike parts will save you money but it may wear out faster and need replacing sooner costing your money in the long run.
Another thing to consider is when the time comes to upgrade your bike and you want to sell your current bike in the future Shimano Original Parts preserves your bike's value, and shows prospective buyers you have looked after it well.
Make friends with your mechanic
Some people enjoy spending time fixing their own bikes, others can’t think of anything worse! Whichever camp you fall into, it is worth making friends with the team at your local Bicycle Warehouse service department or LBS who can give you pro tips on your maintenance work or service your bike to the high standards you expect.