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The 10 Don’ts of E-Mountain Biking

By Martin Atanasov

E-mountain bikes (E-MTB) are becoming more and more popular among avid downhill riders, enduro enthusiasts and even cross-country fans. And that’s anything but a shocker. You can’t really blame a person wishing to speed down a slope that even mountain goats find a bit reckless to climb not enjoying sweating like a biblical rainfall on the ascend to the start of the trail. For them getting to the top is only a waste of valuable time, they could be flying down speedy single lines or rooted slopes.

While every MTB lover knows the importance of maintaining their bikes clean, well lubed, and up to the task, many have no idea how to take care of an E-MTB. You may do certain things with an MTB that will either break your E-MTB or just make its riding a lot of pain. So, to keep you safe and ready, we prepared a list of the 10 don’ts of e-mountain biking.

E-mountain biking
Check out our 10 don’t of e-mountain biking. © Profimedia

Don’t start your ride on the turbo mode

As tempting as it is, starting on turbo mode is a dumb idea at best. Yes, you will have one extremely easy climb but that’s it. It will be just the one since the turbo mode drains your battery extremely fast. Riding an e-bike without assistance is just adding some extra kilos to your bike, which is like buying a car only to move it like Fred Flintstone. You should always start your rides with the lowest assistance level, and once you get too tired to continue riding at a good pace, then go to the next one. This way, you will both have a bit of exercise, and you will have a lot more battery to go around – meaning more climbs and more descents.

Don’t pass other riders or pedestrians without alerting them

While climbing, you will be at a higher speed than almost everyone else. Keep in mind that on flat terrains, you can go up to 25 kph, which is not very safe considering you are on a mountain path where other riders will be a lot slower, and pedestrians may appear out of thin air. You should always be on high alert, and when you spot a tourist, you should always make sure they see you before you pass them. As you know, when climbing with a regular bike, you might go sideways very quickly to keep your balance. For pedestrians, it is even more common to simply step in your way. Alerting them of your presence is not just common courtesy but a proven method of avoiding having to twirl to the bushes on the side of the trail.

Don’t wash your e-bike upside down

We all love having our bikes sparkling clean after a muddy ride on the slopes. However, whenever you wash your e-bike, you should never do it upside down. For example, if you have a mid-drive motor, it usually has drainages to allow water to pass through without soaking the vital components in dirty water. Having your bike washed upside down will not only make these drainages useless but you most likely will flood your motor, rendering it useless until completely dried up and properly lubed. Simply wash your bike standing and never remove the protective cap to avoid these extra chores. Drying it off afterwards before using it again is also not a bad idea.

Don’t repair your e-bike upside down

While we are talking about having your bike wheels down, you should also never repair your bike upside down. This will not only scratch your bike but it also will probably break your computer screen. The best way to avoid this disgraceful departure of your most pricy component is to make all your repairs on a stand. True, a stand may cost a bit extra but a new computer screen is far more expensive. If you need to fix something on your bike during a ride, and it simply must be turned over, place some stones under the handlebars and carefully place it down so the computer won’t touch the ground. This way, you will keep your e-bike fresh and new longer.

Don’t work on your e-bike while switched on

Working on your E-MTB needs a lot more attention than working on your regular mountain bike. One of the key differences is that you always have to be aware of whether the assistance and the electronic components are turned on. Touching the chain while the motor aid is on Turbo is a recipe for a lot of blood if you are lucky. We usually don’t like to scare our readers but turning off your e-bike (and even removing its battery, just to be safe) before messing around with the chain, motor or any other component of the driving system is just that important.

E.mtb battery
The battery is sensitive to temperatures and tends to lose its capacity in cold weather. © Profimedia

Don’t place new chain on old components

While the battery is removed and you are checking out your chain, always be sure that it’s not worn out. Breaking a chain in the middle of nowhere or the middle of a climb will ruin your ride, your day, and you will have to wait for your buddies in the car while they are having fun. The best thing to do is change your chain when it’s frayed out. However, don’t just place a new chain on old components. Keep in mind that e-bikes put a lot more stress on every component of your driving system, which makes them wear off quite a bit faster than they would on a regular MTB. Being on top of things will allow you to enjoy every ride to the fullest and not get stranded in the middle of nowhere, wondering how you will get back.

Don’t leave your battery flat out/don’t overcharge it

The battery is one more component that needs extra attention, and it’s crucial to keep it safe and well maintained. This means that you shouldn’t leave it drained for prolonged periods on the one hand. On the other hand, you definitely shouldn’t overcharge it. While the newer models have automatic shut down when fully charged, it’s still preferable to keep these mini bombs away from electricity when it’s not needed. When it’s not on your bike, store your battery like a plant – not too cold, not too hot and not in direct sunlight.

Don’t leave your charge ports open

Another crucial mistake many new E-MTB owners make is to leave their charger port open while riding. We don’t need to tell you that’s not ideal for the charger, now, do we? If you forget it close it, make sure you clean it properly and leave it to dry completely before using it. After doing this tedious task two or three times, you will learn to always check if everything is ready for your ride before you speed down a gloriously muddy adventure.

Don’t deplete your battery in the middle of nowhere

It’s easy to lose track of time when you are having fun. However, one thing you should always keep an eye on is your battery life. It’s not a good idea to get stranded somewhere with a depleted battery. Keep in mind that it’s a real pain having to ride an e-bike without assistance. The bike is about 20-30% heavier than a regular bike and having to ride it only with our own strength at the end of a long day is a real punishment. If your battery starts to deplete, make sure to go an assistance level down. Yes, it will feel a lot harder to pedal but it will be nothing compared to having no assistance at all.

A good idea might be to invest in a second battery and take it with you on longer rides.

Don’t ignore errors on your screen

If you think you can fix a problem by turning the computer off and then on again, the e-bike is not for you. Ignoring occurring errors might not only damage your precious bike but can also be dangerous on speedy rides. So, whenever an error occurs on your screen, be sure to check where it comes from. It’s better to be safe than sorry.