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How To Maximise Chain Life | E-Bike Maintenance Tips

How To Maximise Chain Life | E-Bike Maintenance Tips

– You know sometimes I feel like that sprocket and chains on e-bikes are little bit like teeth in your mouth. If you don’t brush your teeth, you don’t oil a chain, it’ll cost you a lot of money. So today then, let’s have
a look on how to maximize your chain life. Right, before we start I
wanna point out directly e-bike’s specific chains on the market just like this KMC which is coming up on screen now or Shimano or indeed a SRAM chain now this is an EX1 chain because it actually says so on the chain. I wanna point out that this is actually a e-bike specific drive
train on this bike. So you might be asking what makes it e-bike specific? Well we’re talking in general thicker chains, thicker cogs and a generally more robust group set on your e-mountain bike. Right, first up lets talk some general maintenance of your e-bike chain. Now, I know that we are all different in our levels of maintenance, not only in terms of brushing your teeth but also in oiling your chain. But you must make sure that
after every single e-bike ride, you oil your chain to make sure that system is running
as smoothly as possible because it does ultimately affect how the motor performs too. So after every ride, you need to, depending on the nature of the ride, if it’s a super, super messy ride, take the chain off, chuck it in a pot, get the degreaser on it, take the chain back out, dry it off and lube it up before putting it back on your e-bike. Now, if you look at the component part of just one chain length. You’ve got rollers, pins and plates. So if there’s grit on each of those parts, that’s gonna massively
increase the friction and the wear on that
chain, and it’s generally gonna slow down your e-bike. Not a good thing at all. Right, what are we gonna use then to keep this system running sweet? Well, I think there’s
three main components. You’ve got some degreaser,
which I mentioned earlier. You’re gonna put your chain in a pot after a particularly messy ride, so you’re gonna use that to clean it off. And then you’ve actually got
two different types of lube. You’ve got a dry lube and
you’ve got a wet lube. Now, the wet lube is
thicker and is particularly good for wet conditions. However, it does tend to
attract a little bit more dirt than the dry lube,
which is good for obviously dry conditions, but dry
lube doesn’t tend to last quite as long as the wet lube. I think the point here
when it comes to general maintenance is all about routines. Make sure you do it after
every single e-bike ride, ’cause I promise you,
I totally promise you, the e-bike will be running so much more efficiently if you do so. And it’s a bit like just
checking your tire pressures, get used to doing it
after every ride or before going on every ride. So, actually there’s a
reason why these little links get worn, and
that’s primarily due to stretching and wear due to
grit coming into the system. However, there’s other reasons too, and that’s because of
the higher torque levels involved in an e-bike, say for example the motor’s producing two
fifty watts, and also you yourself are producing
two fifty watts too, so sometimes you could
be going for an hour to two hour ride and
you don’t actually stop spinning the pedals on your e-bike, so it’s really important
therefore to check the chain wear on your e-mountain bike, and to do that, you use
a simple tool called a chain checker tool. So, it’s very easy to use. You place it on top between
one gap and another, and then you check on this. So, if it’s between nought and five then your chain is good. If it’s between five on seven then it probably not too bad but you should be thinking about changing it, and then, if you get up to 0.7 then you need to totally
get rid of that chain. Right, so the big question is, how often do you check for chain wear on your e-mountain bike? Well, this bike for example,
has had one careful owner on top of the maintenance
and this particular person has actually checked the
chain every single month on the bike, which I think
is a good recommendation. But this bike after six
months of very careful use has, as I said, now only
down to about between 0.5 and 0.7 so it’s probably time to get rid of that chain. So one question we get
asked quite frequently is, do you actually change the
chain and cassette together or do you run two chains? Well, we think the two
chain option is really good. Obviously, it depends
on how often you ride your e-mountain bike, but if you ride it really frequently, we suggest you swap that chain out every single week and make sure the chain that comes off gets a really good degreasing and lubing and is fresh to go on
for your next weeks ride. So there you go, swapping
chains every week can actually save you from
a particularly expensive cassette bill because those EX cassettes are about 400 euros. What can also save you money is actually your method of shifting. Now, the EX system actually only shifts one cog at a time, that
means your not gonna be smashing through a load of gears, ’cause remember, it’s
not only your shifting, your manual shifting that’s involved, there’s the power of that motor, especially add that to multiple shifts it’s gonna really grind
through those gears. So, I think the message here is actually try not to shift under power, but one more thing as well, which I really wanna point out, is that very often the
rear wheel on your e-bike can work lose because, as
I said, you might be riding for one to two hours,
pedaling frantically over rocks and everything, so if
your rear wheel come loose that’s gonna put a tilt on that cassette and that’s gonna effect
how the chain engages on the teeth and sometimes
you can actually break the teeth off, so that’s not a good look on your e-mountain bike, which brings us on then to our final point and that is the pre-ride bolt check and the main one to look out for are your lock ring bolt here. Then you’ve got your axle,
your derailleur hanger, and also your derailleur bolt there. Now, it’s really important
maybe to use a torque wrench when you’re doing these nuts and bolts because if you look on the bike here there’s definitely,
there’s actually settings for each one, so I’ve got a
two newton meters on here, then I got a 40 newton
meters on the lock ring. They’re all different and
require you to tighten them with different forces. Moving up to the front of the bike, don’t forget there’s
bolts up there as well. You’ve got your chain ring bolt. So all these, if any of these come loose that’s gonna put a tilt on the system and really wear out your
chain way too early. So that’s it. I think that should keep
you rolling smoothly. I think there’s actually
four general things to bear in mind. The first thing, is routine maintenance. Don’t forget to get on it as soon as you get back from your ride. Number two, is to check
the wear on your chain, and you can do that with that chain tool, which I mentioned earlier. Three, is making sure
you’re getting good shifting technique on your e-bike. And finally, it’s checking
those nuts and bolts as I mentioned a minute earlier. Don’t forget you can
leave your comments below because I’m sure there’s gonna be lots of comments relating to getting the most of your chain life. Don’t forget you can subscribe to EMBN, but if you want to stay with us, there’s a great video
that Doddy did on how to get the best shifting
from your e-mountain bike. And this one from Chris on
common e-mountain bike problems. Don’t forget to give us a thumbs up.

4 comments on “How To Maximise Chain Life | E-Bike Maintenance Tips

  1. You should have titled this "…maximize drivetrain life". Cleaning and lubing your chain will not extend the chain life in any significant way. Proper shifting technique absolutely will, but cleaning and lubing the chain mainly helps reduce wear on the chainrings/cassette/jockeys. What wears a chain down faster than anything is stretching under load. The biggest and most important tip you give here, and IMO you undersell it a lot, is check for stretching OFTEN and replace the chain BEFORE it needs it. Trying to get those last few miles out of a chain will result in having to replace the more expensive and labor intensive components sooner, guaranteed.

  2. You can buy the three smallest cogs for the EX-1.
    Might save you a packet on replacing the expensive cassette.

  3. I'm looking to replace my chain and I've phoned around several shops and they are all offering me a normal chain saying they still fit e bikes please help me out can you buy a normal bike chain that's just as strong? Many thanks

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