Cleaning and maintaining your E-Bike

No matter what type of electric bike you own, they all gather dirt and grime with every ride. We're all guilty of coming back from a thrilling ride or a tiring commute and simply stashing our electric bikes in the garage or shed, neglecting them until the next adventure. However, even though your e-bike is built to last and performs reliably, a little tender loving care can go a long way in ensuring its longevity and trouble-free operation. The good news is that dedicating a few minutes after each ride to clean your e-bike can work wonders.

Areas you should clean on your electric bike

Here are some areas we believe you should focus on when cleaning your electric bike. 

  • the drivetrain (the gears and chain).
  • and the battery (we will cover that in another blog).

Top tips for cleaning your e-bike

When it comes to cleaning your electric bike, it's easy to think that a quick hose-down will do the trick. Sure, it might give your bike a shiny appearance, but the important areas that require attention are often overlooked.

  1. Let's address the use of a pressure hose right away—it's a big no-no. While it may seem convenient for blasting off mud, it actually forces dirt and grit deeper into the delicate moving parts. Not to mention the risk of damaging the electrical components!
  2. So, the best approach is to stick with a trusty bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge or cloth. However, if you decide to use a hose, keep it on a gentle trickle and make sure to keep it away from the sensitive electrical parts.
  3. One crucial aspect of maintenance is keeping the drivetrain clean. It's the part that experiences the most wear and tear, especially when it gets clogged up with mud and dirt. Neglecting its cleanliness can lead to reduced efficiency and make pedalling more challenging.
  4. To properly clean the drivetrain, gather some essential tools: a degreaser (such as Muc Off...), an old toothbrush, a rag, and chain lube. A chain cleaning tool can also come in handy.
  5. Take the time to clean the chain, sprockets, cassette, derailleur, and all the surrounding components. Make sure to spin the chain and shift through the gears to ensure no spot is missed. After cleaning, use an old rag to dry off the components, giving your e-bike a good shake to remove any excess water.
  6. Now, let's talk about re-lubing or re-oiling. In the past, we used to say "re-oiling." There are different types of lubes available, including dry, wet, wax, and ceramic variants. Each has its pros and cons. However, if you're looking for a reasonably priced, all-weather, and low-maintenance option, a wet lube is your best bet. It performs well in rainy conditions and doesn't require frequent re-application. Keep in mind that wet lubes tend to attract dirt more easily than others.
  7. To apply the lube, add a drop per chain link. Simply hold the lube bottle by a link just above the rear cassette and slowly turn the chain backwards while squeezing the bottle. Be careful not to overdo it, and remember where you started (here's a tip: start at the chain joining link). Once you've applied enough lube, spin the chain for about 20 turns to ensure it spreads evenly. Any excess lube can be wiped off using a clean cloth. You can also add a few drops to the rear sprockets to facilitate smoother turning.
  8. If your e-bike features a rear hub gear system like the Shimano Nexus (such as the Kalkhoff Image 3b) or a belt drive, you're in luck! Cleaning becomes even easier since most of the tricky components are enclosed and protected from dirt. 

    So, you might be wondering if all of this sounds time-consuming. Rest assured, it doesn't take long, and with practice, it becomes easier. Even if you can't manage a full clean every time, a quick wipe of the chain with a cloth while spinning it backwards a few times can help keep your e-bike in tip-top condition for years to come.

    If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy our guide to e-bike maintenance

    The Cycle Company

    If you need assistance with bike maintenance, The Cycle Company is here to help. We offer a range of services, maintenance, and bike repairs for both electric bikes and standard bikes.

    Clean Bike Chain

     About Author

    Tom Corcoran is co-founder of The Cycle Company and although he is the oldest member of the team, he has recently discovered a slightly frightening love of descending Alpine passes. Despite this, the thing he enjoys the most in the TCC shop is helping clients who currently lack confidence on two wheels, to find an e-bike that enables them to re-discover the joy of cycling.