Clean Chainset Image

Ebike Cleaning and Maintenance

Your ebike is now a month old. You have been riding it every day, and enjoying every minute from heading out the drive, till you return home. But you have to admit, it has collected some dirt and grime along the way, it is no longer as shiny and new as it was on that first day.

It is probably time for a little love and care, a bit of maintenance to restore your ebike, and return that sheen of newness to your ride. Cleaning and washing needs to become a regular event. First off, though, remove the battery pack if it’s detachable.

Washing your Ebike

I use a bucket with some hot water and a mild detergent. Never use a power washer, for if the water jet penetrates the motor or controller or battery pack, then you could cause serious damage and be in for a hefty repair bill to put the electrics right. A jet from a power washer can also get into parts best left dry, like hub and crank bearings.

A bucket of hot water and a sponge is all you need. Use a mild detergent like washing-up liquid, or if you wish, there are plenty of specialty bicycle shampoos you could choose. Start by rinsing the ebike down, softening any dried in dirt on the frame and wheels. Once wet and the mud is soft, then go down the frame again washing away the dirt with the hot soapy sponge. When this is done, go over again with clear water to rinse away any soap suds.

When the washing is done, and frame and wheels are like new again, use a clean cotton rag to dry and shine the frame and wheels.

Cleaning the Chain

If you can, prop your ebike on a stand. If there’s no stand available, turn the ebike over till it sits on the handlebars and seat. Place padding down to protect the handlebars and any attachments on them, if necessary.

If dirt has accumulated on your chain, it may become noisy and create friction in gear changes. Damp weather and rain can wash away lubrication and if left unattended too long, can eventually lead to signs of rust. Keeping the chain clean and lubricated is essential for the smooth running of your ebike.

This is a badly rusted chain. Never let your ebike get like this!

You can buy chain cleaning kits, which can be quick and convenient, but are not essential. A good clean cloth, a nail brush, a good degreaser like WD-40 Bike Degreaser, and a decent chain oil to lubricate again, is what you need.

Spray your chain and drive trains with the degreaser, leave for a few minutes to soak and work. Then, take your cloth, fold it a few times, and with the cloth in one hand, rotate the pedals backwards with the other, forcing the cloth on to the chain. Do a few rotations to ensure every link has been cleaned. Repeat if necessary, and use the nail brush to get at any stubborn dirt or grime.

When you have the chain thoroughly clean, go over the cassette and pedal sprockets with the nail brush removing any build-ups of dirt trapped there.

Once you are satisfied you have removed all excess dirt and grease, then go over both your chain and sprockets again with a clean cloth to dry and polish.


See also: Ebike Battery Care and Maintenance

and: Storing Your Ebike and Battery in Winter


Lubricating the Chain

Again, with one hand, back pedal the ebike, and deposit drops of oil on each link as it passes your other hand holding the lubricant. Once you are sure all links have been treated, keep rotating the pedals a few more times till the lube works around each link. Wipe away any excess if you have over done it, or apply more if you see links you have missed. The chain should run smooth and quiet, and not spray out oil as you hand pedal.

Depending on where in the world you are located, you may be better changing the type of oil you use with the seasons. Use a drier lube in the summer, and a wet lube in the winter months.

A bike mechanic at work with bicycle on a stand. Image curtesy of Wikipedia.

Now Your Ebike’s Fighting Fit

You ebike now looks like brand new again. But before you store away all your cleaning gear and put your ebike to bed till your next outing, let’s do a little bit of maintenance. It will only take minutes.

First off, if the battery requires it, put it on charge. It is always wise to start a journey with a full charge.

Give the tires a quick check, ensure they are inflated to the recommended pressures. If you are unsure, it should be marked somewhere on the tire sidewall. Give the tread and the sidewalls a glance as well, ensuring you see no cuts or cracks, or pieces of glass or metal trapped in the tread, which may lead to a puncture.

Test your brakes. Ensure both the front and rear brakes are operating properly, and it only takes a second to check mounting nuts and bolts are tight and secure, and check the pads for excess wear.

Brand New Ebike

The next time you take out your ebike, it will be as if it is brand new again. It is clean and lubricated and all the essentials like the tires and brakes are working as they should. The battery is fully charged and you are good to go.

Plan to do the above at least monthly, to ensure you keep your ebike looking good and running well. As you can see, it does not take up too much time, and the results are well worth the effort. Not only is your ebike riding well, your mind will be at ease knowing the mechanics have been thoroughly checked by yourself, so you know the ebike, as well as being clean, is operating as safely and efficiently as if it had just left the factory.

07 Oct 2021

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