“The mechanical and electrical controls are the key element,” Thrasher explains, “so from a mechanical point of view, the tire pressure and if you also have mountain bike suspension settings. Mainly because if you’re riding a bike electric on flat tires, you may not get the range of the bike you want. “
He will normally notice if you are riding a bike with flat tires or worn gears, you will have to work harder than usual, but an electric bike will make up for it, effectively masking the problem and draining the battery faster than necessary.
“It’s also very important that the brakes work properly, because e-bikes are a bit heavier,” says Thrasher. “I’d have the brakes and gears checked before going out for a ride. Just take a walk around the parking lot or just to the side of your house, just to make sure everything is mechanically working as it should.
“From an electrical standpoint, make sure the battery is fully charged,” he says. Ideally, you should do this in plenty of time to make sure you can charge it. There is nothing worse than doing a trick and finding out you have a battery bar. It will be a very difficult journey or the journey will not take place.
“And a quick cable check too. From a Shimano Steps point of view, the cables are quite delicate and carry all the data through the system, so if they are slightly damaged or you have managed to hook them to a car, if you take the bike out of a rack it can be damaged and this can cause an error. So it’s definitely worth a look. “
He should also verify that the cables are connected correctly. Shimano has a special thread tool (called the TL-EW02’s flashy tool), which ensures that you press the correct part of the thread and do not damage it.
Also, take a look at the speed sensor magnet. “It’s like the old cycle computers you had where the magnet would spin and tell you how fast you were going,” explains Thrasher. “The electric bike has a drive unit that knows how much pressure you are putting on the pedals, there is a built-in power meter, but it also has a speed sensor to determine how fast you are going. Using these two metrics, you can determine the correct amount of power to be delivered, but if the magnet is hit, you cannot see it and the drive unit will not work. “
It is quite common for this magnet to move, either in transit or on the trails. Just make sure the magnet is aligned with the sensor, with the correct distance between them. “
|Make sure your electric bike’s battery is secure in its mounting before heading out (Image credit: Shutterstock)
If your bike has a Shimano Steps drivetrain, also pay attention to the error code called WA13. Thrasher explains that this is a torque sensor bug and is easily fixed.
“It happens when someone gets on the bike, starts pedaling on the road or trail, and then thinks ‘Oh no, I didn’t turn it on!’ Then they turn it on, and then the system sees that there is pressure going through it, that it does not wait. What you do then is say, “Well, this has to be.” There is a problem, then it beeps. and generates an error code WA13.
“The easiest way to solve this problem is to stop the bike, get off the bike, turn off the battery, ideally if it is a down the tube-mounted battery, remove it, this clears everything from the system, but the battery back, Turn the system back on without pressing the pedals. Nine times out of 10, this clears the WA13 “error code.
Lastly, make sure the battery is seated securely in its holder. It is not easy to do for an internal battery, but for an external one, make sure there is no slack between the battery and its holder. Any movement can cause intermittent failures.
How can you make the battery last longer?
There are many ways to optimize your electric bike battery mileage, some of which are more obvious than others. “We’re still thinking about the marginal gains in cycling, but these are all things you can do to improve battery life, and definitely battery life,” says Thrasher.
“We have already talked about the correct inflation of the tires and the friction of the brakes. You realize all of this if you are a human pedaling a bike, but with an electric bike, they are good enough to hide these little things. “
Also, think about the modes of your bike that you will use. Most electric bikes have a different set of options that provide varying degrees of assistance. “In Steps, we have three modes, we have Eco, Trail, and Boost modes, and there are two factory default modes for those, Dynamic and Explore, but you can also customize that,” explains Thrasher. “We have a phone app called E-Tube, and through this E-Tube app, you can customize Eco, Trail, and Boost for low, medium, and high settings.
“So if you were out on your bike and you wanted the best battery life, you would do it on Eco with Eco set to low, because it will only get a small amount of power through the system. So it won’t go as fast as going up a hill in Boost, but it will be squeezing a lot of battery life or battery distance. “
In reality, nothing replaces knowing your route. If you’re planning a whole day with a lot of good hills, don’t hit them all in Boost mode or you’ll end up driving without any help in the end.
If you just want to have fun in Boost mode, you won’t be able to get that far, but it will be a lot of fun.
“The last thing I would add to that is that lithium-ion batteries like to charge, so don’t let the battery drain completely and then run out,” says Thrasher. “The battery can go into a kind of hibernate mode and then it can be very difficult to reactivate it. What we recommend is that even if you just used a battery bar, you still charge it. She likes this. The service life will increase if you charge frequently.
What if your bike has an electrical fault?
If your bike has an electrical fault, never try to disassemble your bike’s battery or drivetrain. It could void your warranty, cause further damage, or even receive a serious electric shock.
“The first thing I would say is to visit a professional bike shop, or we prefer a Shimano service center,” says Thrasher. “They have a tool called SM-PCE02, and it’s a linking device that checks the internal electrical components of every component that’s on the bike. So the motor, the screen, etc., and that’s something. It’s very difficult to do. make at home. “
|A bike shop or service center can look at error codes on your e-bike’s display and work out the solution (Image credit: Shutterstock)
Sometimes you may see error codes on your electric bike display, which an expert at a bike shop or service center can interpret as a solution. “To give you an example, we will have an E010 error code, which will appear on the screen in combination with an E013,” explains Thrasher.
“What the first error code means is a general system error code. The second error code is a torque sensor error code. So, from a bike shop’s point of view, you look at them. to both of them and you say “I’m pretty sure I know where this problem is.
“And they also have to look, if it was caused by a mechanical problem, and they are much better equipped to do it. They look at your bike as a whole and then find a solution, whereas when you are at home it can only make the problem worse.”
Are there any other things you shouldn’t do?
“Do not disassemble the battery or the drive unit, as it will be a huge shock,” says Thrasher. “The other thing is not to push anything into the battery terminals, as that could also give you a big shock.”
Grabbing and pushing is a bad idea, but you need to make sure the male battery terminals are clean and in good condition. “They’re great once you remove the battery and you’re not on the bike, so you can clean the other parts.” “
Thrasher gives the example of one of the Shimano-sponsored riders who had an error code on his bike. It turned out that the problem was due to the dust he had been driving in; once he cleared the twilight, the error code disappeared.
|Take care not to get lubricant in your bike’s wire ports (Image credit: Shutterstock)
“Don’t spray lube on the cable ports, that’s really a no-no, and treat the cables with care,” adds Thrasher. “If at any point you think it’s not going to go in, don’t use any more force as that usually ends up breaking something. Don’t force them onto the components and use the tool if you can.
“Don’t try to get into the motor or battery, but you have to make sure the bolts that are mounted to the frame are tight, and there are usually only six bolts that do that, and there will usually be some torque from the manufacturer This is really good, as it may cause some creaking noise coming from the bike but they are pretty easy to fix Make sure these bolts are tight.
“If you’re cleaning the electric bike, don’t put a high-pressure hose directly over the electrical components, they don’t really like it, but keep it clean. We say use a clean cloth, then a T-shirt afterward just to dry it off.”
How should you store your e-bike after a ride?
When storing your electric bike, the most important thing is to keep it clean, dry, and fully charged. “Really the best way is to make sure the e-bike’s ready for the next ride,” says Thrasher. “Make sure it’s ready when you get back from the last ride. Keep it clean, inspect it for damage.
“These are all things that are really stressful when you’re about to go out for a ride, but actually if you spend five minutes just looking over the bike when you get back, it’s nice to know that you’ve put that bike away in a state that you can just pick it up, turn it on and go for a blast on it on the next ride. It relieves some of the stress.”
You don’t have to take the battery off the bike when you’re storing it, Thrasher explains. “A lot of people to take the battery off the bike to charge it, which is fine, you can do that, but some e-bikes have remote on switches on the top tube, and they also have a cell inside them that needs a little bit of the power of the battery to make them operable. So we say every four times, just put the battery into the bike to charge it on the bike. They do benefit from that.”
Storing your e-bike somewhere damp or humid might cause corrosion of the electrical parts, which can cause issues down the line,
“Don’t hang your oily rags over the charger or the battery because they get warm and that can lead to fire,” Thrasher adds. “Definitely don’t cover anything up – don’t cover the charger up, don’t cover the battery up. Make sure you’ve got lots of free space around where you’re charging the bike.”
Finally, don’t let the battery run out of charge completely and leave it that way.
How often does your e-bike need servicing?
Getting an ordinary bike serviced once or twice a year helps nip any potential problems in the bud and keep it running smoothly. It’s very similar for an electric bike, and provided you care for it properly, as described above, taking to the professionals every six to 12 months is fine.
“A lot of the things you need to consider are like a regular bike,” says Julian Thrasher. “We’re lucky in that Shimano Steps is a pretty robust e-bike system, so if you do take care of the bike in terms of keeping the chain oiled, keeping the pads replaced, the need to take it in for a professional service isn’t all that often.”
Your bike will be thoroughly examined for mechanical issues, but for an e-bike it’s also your opportunity to get any new firmware updates. Thrasher explains that i’s very much like updating your phone, but can only be done professionally.
“This is something you would need to visit a professional bike shop or Shimano service center for,” he says. “They make sure that system bugs that [the developers] have found are eliminated, that all components are communicating effectively, and sometimes there can be small updates.” Basically, there will be problems. new firmware adapts. So this is a very good virtual update. “
“People don’t have to fear that you have to ride your bike every five days to be watched,” he says. “They’re pretty tough, so the bottom line is the firmware, to install it and have it checked to make sure there’s nothing that a professional bike shop can’t see that I haven’t seen.”