When customers visit us we are asked a wide range of questions about e-bikes, as you might expect. The main concern and question people have is “how long does an electric bike last”? This usually means how long does the battery last in terms of range, but people often need to find out “when will I need to replace a battery?”, or other components.
Whilst the answers for these questions can vary from bike to bike and part to part, in this article we will discuss the criteria and provide advice as best we can. We will also go into detail about each part of the bike and what you can expect in the way of longevity and maintenance from an e-bike.
For the sake of the article we will look at your average urban/hybrid commuter style e-bike. With specialised bikes such as e-MTBs the results can vary wildly due to the more strenuous scenarios they are put through. We will also take a look at the mid-range common components for your average electric bike.
If you need a breakdown of the best electric bikes to get check this article.
The most common question, and one of the most difficult to answer. Range is dependent on a number of things, the weight of the rider, the ebike motor, the weather, the terrain, the battery size and the colour socks you’re wearing. One of those is not true.
In our experience a Bosch 500Wh battery will normally give between 50 and 60 miles per charge on average. We work this out when bikes are brought in for service. Our champion rider is getting 147 miles per charge (well done Phil Bancroft) and at the other end of the scale is a customer who rides offroad, in Turbo mode all the time, and gets an average of 24 miles per charge.
Bosch have a very good mileage calculator thing, which is good fun to play with and very accurate: click here to see it
A typical Lithium Ion battery will last for around 500 charge cycles before the capacity starts declining and you start to notice a difference in range. This is easily enough to last 3-5 years. We have customers riding bikes that are nearing 10,000 miles and the battery is still going strong! Eventually the battery will need charging more frequently and so the range goes down. It’s the same as with your mobile phone, computer, etc.
It’s important to look after your battery, considering replacement costs are (currently) up to £800 each. Don’t let it get too cold – subzero temperatures may destroy battery cells permanently. If you’re not using the bike in the winter, bring the battery into the house, make sure its charge level is between 30 and 60% and keep it at room temperature. If you are using the bike, as we would hope, it is still good practice to store the battery inside and only take it out when you’re using it. You can even buy covers to keep it warm and tucked in on the bike.
Read more on how to charge an electric bike.
Motors are very reliable and don’t really take much maintenance, but it’s a good idea to be careful with water, don’t use a pressure washer on them, don’t ride through a river…common sense really. In the unlikely event of a manufacturing fault the motor will be replaced under warranty with no quibble, in our experience. The motor is likely to outlast many other components on the ebike.
A good set of disc brakes can be expected to top 2000 miles. Again, it depends how aggressively and hard you brake as this can make a big difference here, and of course if you ride down hills all day your wear and tear rate may vary significantly.
An average e-bike chain should be good for 2-3k miles. Depending on the type of motor and the sort of riding you will be doing, the number of miles on this can swing either way a good 20-50%. Many commuter e-bikes will hit 3.5k miles or more before needing to change their chain. It goes without saying, but if you leave your bike outside, unprotected in the UK winter, the chain will rust quickly and last significantly less time than stated above. And so the message here is “don’t leave your bike outside” – see battery information above!
Gears can wear along with other parts of your ebike. If a chain stretches it will wear the cogs on the gears, on a derailleur system this might not be a problem as you are often using a range of gears, but the front cog will probably need to be changed at the same time as a chain. And sometimes the derailleur gears too (aka the cassette).
Tyres, like any consumable, also vary a lot. Depending on the type and quality that you select, you are likely to get anywhere from 3000-5000 miles from a set. This will also vary from front to back tyre (the back typically wears out faster) because of the additional strain put on them. We have some interesting examples here in store of tyres that have been worn down completely…
Electric Bike as a whole
You should expect your electric bike to last (with regular maintenance and care) as long as a regular bike would. Unless you are neglecting it in the rain, it’s should last you upwards of 10 years.
You may need to change the tyres, chain, brake pads etc and perhaps get a new battery in that lifespan but the bike itself, with a little care and attention, will be a reliable mode of transport for many years to come.
You may think “Cripes! That’s a lot of replacement parts that sound very expensive!” (especially if you talk like Boris Johnson). The truth is that over the course of several years with some regular maintenance (a bit of chain lubrication and a yearly checkup at your local bike shop), your electric bike will require minimal investment vs the number of miles you plan to ride on it. A typical leisure user is rarely going to have to worry about replacing the expensive battery or motor, it’s only when you are putting consistent day-in day-out miles on your bike (like commuters) that you have to factor these costs in a little bit more.
In general, if you are consistently putting in 10 miles a day, 50 miles a week, 2400 miles a year then it’s probably best to speak to your local bike shop maintenance team to plan out a more detailed schedule. Outside of that just take care of your e-bike and it will last you a very long time.BACK TO BLOG