E-bikes have quickly gained popularity among cyclists and with good reason. The pedal assist and extra boost that it gives to cyclists have encouraged more and more people to take up cycling, which is great news for their health. Furthermore, their ingenious design and reliance on batteries make them a superior option to cars and bikes for commuting both economically and environmentally.
Nevertheless, there are pros and cons to every invention, so if you are new to e-bikes, it is good to familiarize yourself with the common issues cyclists face with e-bikes, so you can sort them out before they go out of control. E-bikes cost a pretty penny, so you want to ensure that they are worth the time and money you spend on them.
The battery is often the most susceptible to damage and the most likely cause of a malfunctioning e-bike. The most common problems related to e-bike batteries include:
- Battery not charging
- Battery pack swelling
- Battery not turning on
- Battery not speeding up
- Battery pack not holding a charge
- Battery not running for very long
Most commonly improper handling of the battery is responsible for the damage to the battery. For instance, washing your bike and then installing the battery before it has properly dried. This causes water damage from the retained moisture.
If your battery is not charging despite a working power outlet and clean charging port then check whether there is a blown fuse in the outlet or the charging port. Oftentimes, a battery that hasn’t been charged for several months will be difficult to recharge again. If none of these methods yield a solution, you may need to change your battery altogether.
On the other hand, if your pack cells are swelling up you may need to reconsider new batteries. These damaged batteries are also likely to discharge very quickly, which can also happen in case of a short circuit. You can verify this by charging the battery after removing it from the bike. If the charge holds, a short circuit may be the issue; otherwise, you may need to replace the faulty battery.
You should also avoid overcharging the battery and protect it from extreme weather conditions to prolong its working lifespan.
Troubleshooting the Controller
The best way to check the functionality of the controller is to check the MOSFET resistance and continuity by using a multimeter. A beep on the multimeter indicates the controller may be damaged.
Another thing to check is whether the parts connected to the controller are working properly and replace the faulty parts. If there is still no improvement then you may need to replace the controller itself.
Fortunately getting bike repairs is fairly easy if you know where to look.
Wiring and Connections Checks
If you regularly use your bikes, especially across rough terrains, it is likely the connections and wiring is bound to be damaged or loosened. It is a good idea to undergo a thorough inspection of the external wiring every year and screen your bike for a maintenance check-up at the mechanic’s office.
Refrain from delaying the periodic maintenance of your bike. Handling these issues early on will save you from bigger problems and big bucks down the road.
Check the Cut-Off Switch
If your e-bike meets an accident, this can cause the faulty brake levers to become engaged and turn on the motor inhibition switch. You will need to replace your brake levers and in some cases the cut-off switch as well before you can use your bike again. While you wait for the replacement, it is better to disengage the wires to the motor inhibitor; otherwise, you risk endangering yourself and pedestrians alike.
Once replaced, thoroughly examine your brake pads and determine the wire tension, lubricating them periodically to avoid abrasion of the wire, which can lead to brake failure.
Knowing when to spot damaged brake pads and replacing them quickly are key to safe cycling practices.
Improper use of the throttle is the chief cause of throttle damage. This can cause the wire connecting the throttle and the motor to break. Furthermore, the abrupt release of the throttle to cause acceleration can cause the cables to twist, which can further break the wire. This is why it is recommended to release the throttle slowly.
E-Bike Not Turning On
Sometimes the problem may be as simple as not turning the “On” switch in the e-bike. In other cases, a fused battery pack or lack of charge may be the culprit. Additionally, you should also examine the speed controller for any damage as it is responsible for sending signals to the battery pack to turn on the bike.
Another thing to check for is the battery power. A power level of less than two bars will deter the bike from turning on.
Finally, check the connections of the electric cables. Mountain bikes that travel on dirt roads are likely to dislodge some of the connections. Moisture can also accumulate within and disrupt the circuits.
E-Bike Not Speeding Up
If your e-bike isn’t speeding up, first check whether it is in the right mode. More often than not, riders forget to change the mode from pedal-assist or throttle-only and then wonder why their bike won’t speed up.
Another piece of information that you ought to know is that there is a speed limit for e-bikes. For speeds higher than 25km/h or 15mph, which is the most common global speed limit for e-bikes, you will not be assisted by the motor. In these cases, you will just need to pedal faster. The minimum speed to activate the motor is 1.8 mph.
There are typically two switches for each of the brakes, and these can often get tangled up. In order to free the switch, simply activate both brake levers a few times.
At other times, the cause may be dirty feedback magnets on the rear wheel hub or pedal crank, which can be simply cleaned with a cloth to solve the issue.
These were some of the most common issues cyclists have with e-bikes. The good news is most of these problems are easily solved with good care and regular maintenance check-ups by a professional.
A well-maintained e-bike will not only last long enough to be worth the money but will also ensure your safety and the safety of others.