Electric Bikes are the future of bicycles; with their technology and nibble, fast abilities, E-bikes have come a long way. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their issues. Here are fifteen of the most common problems you can run into and how to fix them when they do crop up!
Common problems you're likely to encounter with a e-bike are issues with the battery and primary part connections (one connection not ‘flowing' with another). This guide outlines what these problems are specifically, and how you can look to fix them and get that bike back on the road (or trail)!
1. Any Initial Problem – First Turn It Off & On Again
Most E-bikes run into issues, and sometimes it’s something electrical other times, it could just be a disconnect problem.
- The E-bike cuts out or runs into a temporary connection issue.
- Turn the E-bike off completely and disconnect the main battery. Wait for around 30 seconds and then connect it again and turn it on again. This method helps completely reset your bike and, in most cases, will help ultimately fix your bike.
2. Look at the Battery
Many riders will learn that most of the problems you come across with your electric bike start with the battery itself.
- Look out for an odd smell or sound that seems out of place for your bike.
- Inspect the battery closely and stay vigilant for any burn marks or other damage to the battery.
- Feel for any escalation in warmth or hot spots as you touch it.
- Having any of these signs of burnout, weird smells or overheating could signify that your battery is faulty. Unfortunately, the best thing to do with defective batteries is to get them replaced with one that is unlikely to cause you any harm in the future.
3. Invest in a Multimeter
Looking at your battery from the outside, it may seem fine with nothing for you to worry about, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something funky going down on the inside.
- If your E-bike has problems, but there isn’t anything outwardly indicating an issue, you may need to invest in a multimeter.
- A multimeter is a handy tool to have with you as it can detect those complex battery problems you may have missed, from:
- The current level,
- What the voltage is,
- If there’s any resistance.
- The multimeter will tell you all of the numbers for these issues and tell you if there is a significant drop in any of them that would warrant a brand new battery.
4. Check Over The Battery Prongs
Battery prongs have a straightforward function, they work as a connection between the main bike and the battery, but they can also come into some problems.
- The issue you have with battery prongs is even if both the battery and the bike are fine, if you have a weak link with your prongs, it could completely stop the workings of the whole cycle.
- Ensure that the battery prongs are correctly aligned and inside the battery when you connect them.
5. The Battery Management System (BMS)
If you come into a situation where your E-bike isn’t charging or discharging, it could be to do with your Battery Management System (BMS).
- The BMS is a small circuit board that lives inside the battery pack itself, and its job is to make sure things work correctly. If you are experiencing your bike’s power going in and out, there could be a fault with the BMS.
- Check over your battery, remove the faulty BMS, and see if there is an obvious indication of why it’s not working correctly.
- Try wiping it and returning it and seeing if that resets it, but if not, you may need to take your BMS and battery to a professional to either get it fixed or replaced.
6. Look at all Wires and Connections
Many parts make an E-bike work efficiently, and they are all connected with wires and cables to help supply the power around those parts.
- Sometimes these wires and connections can get damaged, frayed or faulty after prolonged use. In some cases, you can find cables that have completely burnt out or melted, leaving your bike without power or weakened capacity.
- Grab yourself a flashlight and inspect every wire, look them over and find the defective ones.
- Then you can either buy new replacement wires or splice them back together to give your E-bike its full power back.
7. Check Over The Throttle
When riding, if you can feel resistance or lack of acceleration, then that could be because your throttle is not working correctly and needs a closer look.
- The wires that connect the throttle to its connector could be compromised,
- Look for burn marks or other related damages to the throttle and the connecting wires.
- The throttle has three wires (usually red, black and green) alongside pins to connect it to its connector and the bike. Check these wires and get them either replaced or spliced to strengthen the connection and have your throttle back up and running.
- Suppose there has been burnout or overheating damage of any kind. Using a multimeter can pinpoint where the issue is coming from and whether you can fix it yourself or if you need a professional to replace it.
8. Inspect the Brake Motor Inhibitor
Known as the motor’ cutoff’ or ‘interrupter’, the brake motor inhibitor is a crucial part of your electric bike, and its job is to shut off whenever the brake is activated.
- Although a vital piece of kit, it is still prone to some issues because the inhibitor mistakenly thinks that the brakes have been engaged, so it shuts off. You are then left with a bike that won’t move or turn on.
- A faulty brake motor inhibitor makes you unable to use your E-bike even when it’s fully charged and works fine in all other areas.
- Get it fixed by a professional unless you are a mechanic and can fix the brake motor inhibitor without risking the rest of the bike. It is best to leave it to an expert who can get your bike working properly and safely.
9. The Hub Motor Isn’t Working
If you have a situation where your bike is working fine one day, and then suddenly it won’t run and is making a weird noise, but everything on your bike seems to be in order, it could be a problem with your hub motor.
- Weird smell or noise coming from your motor,
- When you try to restart your engine, it shuts off right away.
- Check all the wires connected to the hub motor and make sure they are all okay and there is no damage or fraying.
- Then if they are fine, you might have to do a hall test, which means flipping your hub motor backwards and then plugging the hub motor wires in and turning it on. If the motor is clogged and not moving freely when turned on, you may need to take it to a professional to get it fixed.
10. E-Bike Wheels Partially Locking Up
There’s nothing worse than wanting to ride your electric bike, and then your wheels won’t move correctly and get partially stuck.
- It could be due to a faulty controller due to the magnets giving out and becoming unglued.
- The wires connecting to the axle have become melted or destroyed.
- Taking your hub apart and using a steel bar against each of the magnets will help see if any of them have been moved or unglued, and you can then replace them and get them fixed.
- If your wires have become defective, you can try freeing up some room on the motor by disconnecting the controller, running some tests, and replacing those frayed wires should help the issue.
11. Geared Hub Motor Faulty & Wheels Spinning When There Is No Weight
How frustrating is it when you push the throttle, and the motor is running, but the wheels are not rotating?
- This issue should be as simple as the wires somewhere in the bike are pinched.
- The other problem could be the melting of wires or shorts, which could be the reason for the resistance when you try to move backwards on your E-bike.
- Check over the geared hub motor and all the connecting wires and connections and look out for any that are being pinched by any parts of the bike and free them, making sure none of them is damaged.
- If you have any wires or shorts that are frayed or melted, you need to get new replacements for them, as this will free up that resistance and get your wheels spinning again.
12. Inspect Pedal Assist
Every electric bike has a different pedal-assist system, some are built on the bottom bracket, whilst others are a ring of magnets built into the front sprocket chainring.
- If your bike is pulsating, that could be an issue with the torque sensor being out of alignment.
- If you have the magnet pedal assist, the main problem is the magnets are knocked out of place, and they are too far away from the sensor to work effectively.
- If your bike’s torque sensor is out of alignment, you must readjust and reconnect the sensor back into its original space. If that doesn’t work, take it to a professional to fix the issue for you.
- If your magnets have been knocked out of the sensor’s alignment, you can fix this using your hands or a screwdriver to push the disc closer to the sensor. By doing this, you should have fixed the problem and been back biking in no time!
13. Check the Controller
The controller regulates your speed and your bike’s effectiveness, so if your controller isn’t looked after, your E-bike will not work correctly.
- The fuse or circuit breaker could have burned out.
- The controller may be affected by melted or burned wiring, electrical components or wire connectors.
- If your controller isn’t working correctly, check that it is turned on; if so, check over your fuse. You’ll need to remove it from your bike and inspect for any burn marks.
- Inspect all the wirings connected to the controller and use sight, smell, and touch to quickly detect any burned or melted wiring. If so, you will need to either get them replaced or splice the burnt wires and reconnect the healthier parts back together.
14. Look Over the Rear Axle Motor Connection
Not all E-bikes have this, but it is essential to check this rear hub motor over because if it is defective, your whole E-bike could be affected.
- The power transmission system doesn’t just affect the rear hub motor but can result in a worn-out rear wheel freewheel clutch, damaged or missing belt and many other issues.
- Any burnt wires or melted connectors attaching to the rear hub motor can also become a significant issue as to why your rear axle motor is defective.
- Inspect the power transmission system and replace any missing or broken parts needed for proper operation.
- Remove any burnt-out wiring or connectors and replace them with new ones or if there is still an issue, make sure to take your bike to a professional to identify and fix the problem so you are not compromising your whole cycle.
15. Check Out The Chainstay Motor Connection
There could be many simple reasons why your E-bike is not working correctly, and one of those is to check that your motor connection on the chainstay is all okay.
- The chain or belt could have become sifted or moved out of place and disconnected from the motor sprocket, cog or even the rear wheel sprocket.
- The chain or sprocket that is a part of the chainstay motor connection could have worn out.
- If the chain or belt has moved out of place, you can replace these using your own hands or some tools to shift them back into the correct placement. If you can’t do this, please call a professional to do it for you.
- Over time, like with any E-bike, parts begin to fail and need replacing, and it’s no different with the chainstay motor connection. If it looks worn out, it needs a new replacement, and you can again do this yourself or get a professional to do it for you.
When to contact the e-bike manufacturer directly
If you can see visible signs of damage out of the ‘box', if your bike is malfunctioning in relation to speed and braking, or of it simply hasn't worked as soon as you've ordered it and had it sent to your home, then it's best to reach out to the manufacturer directly.
We've compiled a list of the most common manufacturers and their contact details – if we've missed yours off the list please let us know and we can get it added to help anyone in the future who might be stuck on where to reach out to!