Electric bikes are becoming so popular nowadays because of the numerous benefits you can get from them.
They’re much cheaper than cars and motorbikes because they don’t use fuel and are faster than ordinary bicycles, making them efficient modes of transportation.
Plus, one of the best things about them is that they’re generally safe for the environment.
But that’s not to say that electric bikes are perfect. In this post, we will be discussing the common problems with electric bikes and how to potentially resolve them.
Let’s get to it!
1. The Battery Life Is Short
One of the most common qualms of electric bike users is the battery life.
Depending on the brand and model of the electric bike, you can expect the battery to last anywhere between 20 and 60 miles.
And that’s on a charging time of anywhere from 3 to 6 hours for lithium-ion batteries.
This is completely fine if you’re just using your electric bike for your daily short commutes going to work, school, gym, grocery store, or bank. But charging it all the time can be a hassle.
Plus, having a short battery life means you cannot use your electric bike for longer distances.
If the battery in your electric bike tends to run out quickly, here are some hacks that you can do:
Solar-Powered Portable Chargers
A solar-powered portable charger can be quite useful if your electric bike has a short battery life. Having one with you means you can always charge your bike when on the go.
Since it is solar-powered, you don’t need any electric outlets to charge your bike. You can charge your electric bike anywhere, even in a pinch.
When choosing a solar-powered battery charger for your electric bike, get one that’s not too bulky and can fit in a backpack to bring it anywhere, especially when you regularly travel long distances.
High-Quality Battery Chargers
Most electric bikes already come with a charger, and while that may be sufficient to charge your bike, investing in a battery charger of higher quality will help prolong the battery life.
A high-quality charger can charge your electric bike faster without overworking the battery, which can cause it to deplete faster.
Of course, a high-quality battery charger can be quite expensive and generally cost much more than regular battery chargers. Still, it may be worth it because it can give your electric bike a longer battery life.
Lastly, here are some general tips to take care of your electric bike’s battery and ensure that it lasts longer:
- Don’t drain the battery out completely, and prevent it from getting below 10% frequently.
- Charge your electric bike regularly. Ideally, you should charge the battery after each ride and then unplug your electric bike once the battery is at 100%.
- Make sure that the battery is always partially charged when you store your electric bike, especially if you’re not planning to use it for a few weeks. Storing your electric bike at 100% battery level or below 10% can be bad for its longevity.
- Do not store your electric bike in a cold place, as it will affect the battery life. If you can, store your electric bike at room temperature. If you live in a cold location and don’t have a heated shed or storage space, take the battery out and store it separately at room temperature.
- Take the battery out when washing your electric bike with water, and make sure that the frame is completely dry before putting it back.
2. They Battery will Not Charge
Speaking of charging your batteries, difficulty therein is actually one of, if not the most common problem you can experience.
Additionally, a lot of problems can be traced back to the battery even when they don’t immediately seem connected.
For these reasons, the battery should be the first place you start when you’re troubleshooting your e-bike generally.
And in so doing, the very first thing you should check is the state of the indicator lights on your e-bike and battery charger.
- When you plug the charger into the wall, indicator lights should let you know that it’s functioning correctly.
- Likewise, indicator lights on the bike itself when you connect the battery.
- If any of these indicator lights fail to illuminate, it could indicate a problem.
- If the indicator lights on the battery charger fail to light up, you’ve likely already identified your problem; a faulty charger in need of replacement.
The second thing you should check is the battery’s voltage.
- To do this, you’ll need a voltmeter, a device for measuring electrical current.
- If you don’t already have one, you can probably pick up a voltmeter at your local hardware store or automobile supply shop, or order one online.
- Attach the voltmeter prongs to the positive and negative ends of the battery and check the voltage; refer to the specifications on your battery to know how much voltage is a full charge.
- If the voltage is low, and plugging it into the charger doesn’t seem to change that, then you could be looking at a faulty battery or a faulty charger.
To rule out the latter, connect your charger to the wall and check the indicator lights.
If the charger seems to be fine, however, the issue may be with the battery itself, in which case you may need a replacement battery.
3. The Fuse may have Blown
If you’ve found your battery to be at fault, you should next find out of a blown fuse is to blame, before you go replacing the whole battery needlessly.
To locate the fuse, we recommend that you either consult your user manual or, that failing, go to a repair shop to have someone help you find the fuse. This is because the fuse can be located in a different place in different makes and models.
However, you get it done, once you determine that your battery contains a fuse, and have located it, remove it carefully and hold it up to the light.
It should be fairly easy to see if it’s burned out; fuses contain a small wire inside that, if broken, indicate a blown fuse.
If you do, in fact, have a blown fuse, good news: fuses are fairly easy to replace and far cheaper than buying a whole new battery!
4. The Cut-Off Switch Can Get Easily Triggered
The cut-off switch is a safety feature that can be found inside the brake lever on most electric bikes. This safety feature activates when it detects that the bike is going at a certain speed.
When the cut-off switch kicks in, this automatically stops the power that goes to the electric bike’s motor.
One of the most common issues with electric bikes is that the cut-off switch can get easily triggered.
Even the smallest things, like cycling downhill or a strong wind accelerating the electric bike, can trigger the cut-off switch.
While this safety feature is always nice to have, it can be annoying when it easily gets triggered by anything because it means that your bike will stop running at one point, and you have to pedal hard to start it again.
There are a couple of ways to fix this, and both solutions are pretty much straightforward:
- Adjust the sensitivity of the cut-off switch.
- Replace the cut-off switch.
The cut-off switch of electric bikes can be adjusted in terms of sensitivity. By giving it a little tweak, you may be able to prevent the switch from being triggered easily and cutting off the power in your bike’s motor.
If adjusting the sensitivity doesn’t work, then you may need to replace the cut-off switch completely. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, you can take your electric bike to an expert.
5. The Wheels Can Lock Up
Another common issue with electric bikes is that the wheels can partially lock up, which causes the bike to stop running. This usually happens when the motor is overworked.
To fix this, you’d need to adjust the settings on the motor so that it doesn’t work too hard.
Another way to prevent overworking your electric bike’s motor is by caring for it. Here’s how:
- Keep your electric bike clean, the tires sufficiently inflated, and the drivetrain well-lubricated.
- Regularly check your electric bike for loose components and broken parts, and replace them when necessary.
6. The Controller Can Stop Working As Expected
The controller is one of the most crucial parts of an electric bike, as it regulates the motor and the battery. So if it stops working properly, you may start having even more problems with your bike.
If the controller is acting up or not working as expected, it may cause any of the following issues:
- Your electric bike suddenly stops working
- Your electric bike starts to go too fast or too slow.
- Your electric bike starts making weird noises.
Here are some of the quick fixes that you can do when you start having any of the problems above due to the controller acting up:
- Adjust the speed settings of your electric bike.
- Check if there are any loose connections.
- If so, just tighten them up and make sure that all components are securely in place.
If none of the solutions above work, then you may need to replace your electric bike’s controller.
7. There’s No Throttle
A throttle is a mechanism that directs power to the electric bike’s motor without you having to pedal hard, and many electric bike models do not have this.
This can be a problem because, without the throttle, it may be very challenging for you to cycle uphill. You would need to exert a lot of effort to go uphill with your electric bike.
The best and most obvious solution for this is to get an electric bike with a pre-installed throttle, but they can be very expensive.
The next best and cheaper solution is purchasing a throttle separately and installing it on your electric bike.
8. The Motor Can Fail
The motor giving out or completely failing can also be a common issue with electric bikes.
It is also the last thing you want to happen to your electric bike while you’re going to work or school, buying something, or running errands.
Here are the most common reasons why the motor would fail and how to fix it:
Not Enough Power in Motor
The motor of an electric bike can fail or give out if the battery doesn’t have enough power.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that you regularly charge your electric bike’s battery. Charge the battery after every use and unplug it once the battery is at full level.
You also need to make sure that the battery is installed properly and connected securely to your electric bike.
A Loose Connection
If there are loose connections in your electric bike, it may cause the motor to give out.
Regularly check your bike to see if there are any loose connections in the parts or components, and secure them whenever necessary. This is to ensure that your bike’s motor is always running smoothly.
Dirty or Damaged Components
A damaged or dirty component can also cause your electric bike’s motor to fail. This is why you need to regularly clean your bike.
Furthermore, you must regularly check your bike for any damaged or worn-out parts or components.
If this is something that you can’t do on your own, you can always bring it to a mechanic for a full check-up.
9. Parts Can Be Hard to Replace
For some electric bikes, this can be a common problem.
Some parts or components are specialized, making them hard to replace.
Not all electric bike parts and components are compatible with different models, so it can be tricky to find a replacement when one part is damaged.
Plus, some parts can also be expensive to replace, depending on the brand.
This is why it’s so important to take care of your bike and have it regularly maintained.
10. A Bicycle with a Motor is still a Bicycle
Finally, when rounding out a list of potential issues with e-bikes, we’d be remiss not to mention one simple fact: an e-bike is still a bike.
What we mean by this is in addition to all the unique complications you can experience from the motorized components of an e-bike, you can also still experience regular old bike problems.
A flat tire, for instance, is just as much of a problem on an e-bike as it is on a manual bicycle.
The same goes for a slipped chain, a failing brake, and the list goes on.
The good news here is that there is no shortage of troubleshooting guides for ailing bicycles, which should apply just as well to the non-motorized components of your e-bike.
General Pros & Cons Of Electric Bikes:
Now that you know the most common problems that electric bike users encounter, it can be helpful to know their general pros and cons.
That is, if you’re wondering whether getting an electric bike is a good idea or not.
- They are cheaper to run and maintain than cars or motorbikes.
- They are generally safe.
- Pedal-assist systems on an e-bike allow you to share the load by providing a mixture of self-propelled and motor-propelled locomotion.
- If the motor gives out, you can still pedal and use them to get from one place to another.
- They can be faster than ordinary bikes without you exerting too much effort.
- They are environment-friendly and have zero emissions of harmful gases.
- They are easy to park.
- They help promote fitness and an active lifestyle.
- You don’t need a license to use them.
- Depending on the class of e-bike and local laws, you may be able to use your e-bike on both regular automobile roads as well as bicycle-only lanes and paths.
- They’re easier to ride with on uneven terrains or hilly roads.
- The battery life can be short.
- The cut-off switch can be easily triggered.
- The wheels can lock up.
- The controller can start acting up.
- They don’t have a throttle.
- The motor can fail.
- Some parts may be tricky to replace.