Just like drivers of cars make it a habit to check their mirrors and buckle their seatbelt before taking off on the road, a pre-ride bike check is an important habit for every cyclist. And this goes for both e-bike riders and analog bike riders.
Ebikes go faster and farther than analog bikes and therefore need extra attention before and after riding. Bolts, nuts, and fasteners can become loose during riding from vibrations. Please follow the below checklist to ensure safe proper riding.
- Check your bicycle helmet, and all riding gear (i.e. protective glasses, gloves). Make sure all are in good condition. Wear appropriate shoes for pedaling. Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing for the ride. Do not wear loose clothing of items that could become entangle in the bicycle. If your bicycle is equipped with racks, make sure all carry items are within the weight limits and secured properly on the racks.
- Check the seatpost and handlebar stem. Make sure both are securely fastened. Twist the handlebars firmly from side to side while holding the front wheel between your knees. The stem must not move in the steering tube. Similarly, the seatpost must be secure inside the frame seat tube, so it cannot move or twist.
- Check wheels and tires. Are your wheels’ properly fastened in the dropouts? Are they in good condition, no dents cracks or loose spokes? Check all nuts and quick release skewers to ensure they are fully tightened. Quick releases can come loose during transport.
- Check the tire pressures. Adjust tire pressure within the recommended range found on the tire sidewall. Make sure tires are undamaged in good condition. The tread should be within wear limits.
- Are you visible to motorists? If you are riding at dusk, dawn or at night, you must make yourself visible to motorists. Use front and rear lights and a strobe or blinker. Reflectors alone do not provide adequate visibility. Wear reflective clothing.If your E-bike is equipped with drive system operated lighting (i.e brake lights, headlights, and number plate illumination) , make sure these lights are each functioning normally. Make sure the number plate is clean and readable.
- Is it raining or wet? If so, be more cautious. Your braking distances will increase, and your tires’ grip on the road will decrease. Remember that motorists’ visibility decreases with bad weather.
- Are your wheels true? Lift each end of the bike and spin each wheel. Does the space between the brake disc and the brake pads, or the tire and the frame, remain nearly the same size as the wheel turns? Are your spokes tight?
- Check the brakes. Make sure both front and rear brakes are working well, functioning normally. Brake systems of E-bikes wear more quickly compared with pedal only bikes. This requires frequent inspection and replacement.
- Confirm the drive chain/shifting is in good condition. The chain should be clean and well-lubricated. Chain wear of E-bikes is greater compared with pedal-only bikes. This requires frequent inspection and replacement. Make sure the bike shifts normally through all available gears. Test in a safe areas before riding out.
- Inspect condition of exposed electrical wires and cables. There must not be any kinks, sharp bend or cuts present. You should see no signs of binding fraying stretching or abrasive wear occurring. Check cables/wires at dropout ends and frame attachment point. Wires and cables must not be in contact with any moving part of the bicycle or they may become damaged. The drive system or lighting can malfunction if this happens.
- Do you have a full battery charge? Make sure the battery is fully charged, and mounted securely. Follow the drive system charging instructions. Battery charge and discharge capacity will decline with usage. Have an older battery replaced when it fails to charge in the time indicated, and operate the drive system as normally expected.
Test the drive-assist system, make sure the drive system functions normally.