Beyond standard bike maintenance, there is very little extra required. Just ensure moving parts are lubricated and that electrics do not get submerged.
All our electric bikes have LCD consols with self diagnostics, so, should something go wrong, e.g., a throttle is damaged when the bike falls over... you will get a specific error code on the LCD consol which will tell you what component has failed. All our components have marine rated plugs close to the component, so it is very simple to swap in new ones.
Cheap ebikes have no such plugs so a simple task becomes a day-long nightmare... unthread internal frame cables... then somehow rethread the new cable (often impossible without cutting other wires, etc)... trust me... I learned this the hard way!!
Beware: There are cheap lithium batteries and then there are GOOD lithium batteries... I learned the hard way... my first import of ebikes had cheap batteries... they all failed within 6 months!! Nightmare!! Our batteries are the best available on the market and cost twice that of the cheap cells... but they come with a 2 year warranty... many other ebike brands only have 6 month warranties... some only 90 days!!!
The battery represents nearly 50% the value of your ebike and must be of the highest standard to give you good value for money. Always check the warranty details on any ebike you look at.
Torque sensor assist is common in China and japan and a spring system is installed inside the pedal crank that measures how hard you are pushing on your pedal and offers motor power to suit. It sounds great and I imported several samples to test... Have you ever had a bike with a loose crank? This is what it feels like... every time you push on the pedal it gives about 10mm!! Bloody awful...
All our electric bikes have fully rigid axles and cranks... they ride and feel like bikes.
My advice... avoid torque sensors.
The amount of resistance you need to create any useful amount of charging is quite high... instead of whizzing down a hill like on a normal bike, you crawl down at 10kph... and might only get an extra 500m of range!
If you think, on a normal bike ride, how often do you have the brakes on for more that a touch? How often would you have your brakes firmly on for 5 minutes solid? Never! Regen charging works well on heavy vehicles that stop and start a lot... like buses, rubbish trucks... but it is a gimic on bikes.
Research proved regen braking, on average, only added 4% to range, and possibly shortened lifespan of battery due to overcharging issues if a full battery received a downhilll run.
The fact our batteries have a 2 year warranty says it all... most other brands in NZ are 6 months to 12 months.
We say there's lithium and then there is LITHIUM! I've been to many battery factories in China and seen a large range in price and quality... and, there is no shortcuts... quality costs! We can get lithium cells for about half the cost of what we pay... but they won't last. The key is in 'batching'. In a good factory the cells are voltage tested to 5 decimal places using high temp discharge (gives the most accurate data), then batched into 'families' of exact voltages. This is cruicial to the longevity of the battery pack as it is the weakest cell that determines battery lifespan as the Battery Management System cuts output as soon as one cell reaches critical... and if cells are not perfectly matched and will sooner get out of voltage sync and certain cells will get stressed, and eventually fail.
Also, cheaper batteries aren't pre-condition-charged, so need several deep cycles to avoid intial cell damage. Our cells are deep cycled 3 times at the factpory and capacity tested to 5 decimal places, so they can also check the fractional capacity loss each charge to see if the chemistry is behaving normally.
- Avoid batteries and Motors with less than a 2 year warranty (they must be low quality, cheapo cells or motors).
- Avoid single level pedal-assist (SmartMotion and Pedego ebikes have an LCD consol with 5 levels of assistance to suit ALL riding styles).
- Avoid Non-branded brakes. If it ain't shimano, avid, or tektro, forget it! Many cheap ebikes are meant only for the internal Chinese market, where safety standards are very low. We use only well-known brands.
- Watch out for Non marine-rated handlebar connector plugs, or even worse, NO connector plugs (a nightmare should you damage a throttle, brake-sensor, etc.
- Be wary of online-only sellers with no national dealer network. Buyer Beware!! Who will service your bike in the future? We have over 30 dealers nationally, so you'll never be let down. The only reason we have so many dealers sign up with us (5 times more than any other ebike brand in NZ) is our electric bikes are awesome, and our back up is great! We choose and specify designs that bike stores are happy to service... this involves specific design around servicability.
- If you are in a hilly area, avoid direct-drive motors (no planetary gears)... These are the chepest electric bike motors available. They are VERY heavy! (about 2.5kg heavier than our motors!) They also have low torque on steep hills and are very inefficient at low speed. Our 250w geared motors have more hill climb pull than a 300w direct drive motor and use much less power up hills. Our 300w geared motors leave them in the dust at all speed levels! How to pick a direct drive motor? A direct drive motor will be thin with a very big diameter (300mmm or more). Geared motors are much smaller (about 125mm) and wider.
- Check reviews... search the web... Good brands will speak for themselves. And, try before you buy.
If you buy one of our bikes, yes! SmartMotion is our own, NZ-designed Brand, so we carry a full range of Parts. Pedego are now the no.1 USA electric bike brand and well understand the importance of brand reputation and hence after sales service.They have supplied us with a huge range of spare parts.
A considerable part of the value of your ebike is knowing you will be able to maintain it and have guaranteed access to spare parts. We have over 30 dealers thoughout NZ and are the only electric bIke brand to be supported by the cycle retail industry through quality dealers. We achieved this by proving we are in this for the long haul and can offer the back up service the industry requires...
Cheap ebikes bought direct off the importer?? What happens 1, 2, 5 years down the track when your controller/battery/motor/etc fails? The importer is no longer in existance as he ran for the hills after it all got a bit stressful... so you contact www.electricbikes.co.nz (us ) and ask for help (we get calls and emails regularly of this nature)... but, sorry, we cannot help... the components are too specific... your ebike is now just a really heavy bike. :-(
A big part of the value (and resale value) of your bike is knowing you will be able to service it and get spare parts in the future... we guarantee this service. :-)