Before each and every ride, it’s important to take a moment to make sure everything on your e-bike is ready for your adventures or commutes. It doesn’t take long to go through these simple steps, and incorporating these safety checks into your daily routine can save you time and money later down the road (or trail). We’ll keep it simple, to save you time when hurrying out the door!
Brakes: Obviously, properly working brakes are essential to ensuring your safety on each ride. A quick visual inspection to make sure your brakes are clear of any debris or anything that could get in the way of their performance is a first step. Make sure both brake levers are operating properly and that your brakes are fully functioning. Your front brake provides the majority of your braking power, so grab and hold the front brake lever and make sure that your brake is able to prevent you from pushing the bike forward.
Handlebar and Seatpost: It might seem redundant, but it’s always a good idea to check and make sure that both your handlebar and seatpost are properly tightened. If your seatpost is held in place by a quick release lever, make sure the lever is fully closed and that your saddle is facing straight ahead. If you are the only person to use your bike, it’s a useful idea to use a wrap of electrical tape on the seatpost to mark your preferred saddle height for easy visual reference. For the handlebar, make sure that you are unable to twist the bar and stem within the fork, and that the bars can’t rotate within the stem clamp. If needed tighten all bolts to make sure everything is firmly in place.
Wheels: Check to make sure that both the front and rear wheels are firmly and tightly installed. Make sure any quick release lever or thru axle skewer is fully tightened all the way, and any nutted axle is fully tightened. Also make sure that both wheels are straight in the front fork dropouts or rear of frame, to prevent rubbing the frame or disc brake rotors.
Tires: Flat tires can quickly ruin a ride, so always double check to make sure that your tires are fully inflated, as well as free of any potential debris that could cause a puncture- things like staples, thorns, nails, broken glass, and other sharp objects. Riding on tires that are simply too low on air can force you and your e-bike to expend extra energy, as well as cause possible tire or rim damage when hitting potholes or other road/ trail imperfections. So always remember to make sure your tires have enough air before every ride. Also make sure that the tires are free of cuts in the sidewalls, and that there is adequate rubber on the tires. Excessively worn tires are much more prone to puncture, and cut sidewalls can cause the tire to rupture.
Battery: Just like a flat tire can end a good ride, so can a dead battery. Always make sure your battery is fully charged, as well as properly installed into the battery holder. Make sure that any battery latch or lock is in place to prevent the battery from becoming dislodged or disconnected while riding. If reinstalling the battery after charging, make sure all connections are clean and clear of obstruction, as well as making sure the battery is properly aligned and installed.
Lights: Lights are important safety features, both during the day and night. Make sure both front and rear lights are fully functional before rolling off. Check all cables to make sure they are connected properly, and that they are not dangling or able to become snagged on anything. If everything looks good, but any light is not working, it may be time to replace the bulb. As with any other type of electrical light, bulbs on your e-bike can burn out too.
Pedals: Though it seems impossible to happen, pedals can become loose, so it’s a good idea to check to make sure they are fully installed into the crank arm. It’s also a good idea to make sure they don’t show any signs of excessive wear. And, if you’ve replaced your stock pedals with a clipless pedal system, always make sure the retention system is clear of debris so that you are able to properly engage the pedal.
Components and Accessories: It’s important to also visually check to make sure that the chain is clean and clear of debris and that derailleurs are properly functioning. If you have racks installed, always make sure that there are no loose items that could become tangled in spokes or impede your ability to steer the bicycle.
These simple steps are helpful to not only make sure you are able to complete your ride, but help prevent more expensive repairs later. Keeping an eye on your bike’s wear and tear allows you to take steps to repair or replace worn components before they lead to more complicated and expensive repairs later. Taking a few minutes before each ride to make sure your e-bike is safe to ride will get you safely to your destination, as well as prevent further headaches later.