Your E-Bike Parts Explained: Essential Component Lifespans You Need to Know About

Your E-Bike Parts Explained: Essential Component Lifespans You Need to Know About

If you’re reading this, you may have just picked up a shiny new e-mountain bike, or you currently own one and want to know more about keeping it running in tip-top shape.  

When you picked up your new bike, you may have received a lot of great information about: 

  • Setting up suspension 
  • What compression and rebound mean 
  • How to turn the bike on and off 
  • How to connect to an app 
  • How to charge your bike 
  • Products to use to keep your bike running smoothly. 
  • How not to submerge the bike in deep water… etc.  

Sound familiar? Good! Because these are all important pieces of information to allow you to have fun on your bike. 

While e-bikes give you the freedom to ride further and more often, the additional torque and load from the motor of your bike, and extra bike weight, mean there are certain parts you’ll need to keep an eye on much sooner than a non-e-bike. 

Sram GX Drivetrain on a Specialized Turbo Levo Comp Alloy

So, what components should you be checking?

  1. Chain – Chains lengthen with riding and have a wear tolerance of 0.25% (new) to 0.75% (needs to be changed) 

  2. Cassette – Running a chain past 0.75% can cause additional wear to the cassette and a new chain may not ‘fit’ or ‘mesh’ with it correctly and will need to also be replaced.  

  3. Front Chainring – Same goes with the front chain ring.  

  4. Brake Pads – Your brakes need to pull up a much heavier steed with an e-bike and therefore, will wear down faster than a non-e-bike.  

  5. Brake Rotors – If your pads are down to metal, you can cause unreversible damage to your rotors with metal-on-metal contact. 

  6. Frame Bearings – The increased weight puts more stress on the frame and, consequently, on the bearings. This additional load can accelerate wear and tear on bearings. 

  7. Rear wheel hub – Additional bike weight and rough terrain and/or jumps can deteriorate hub bearings earlier than usual. 

  8. Tyres – Additional bike weight and all the extra kms you’ll be riding on your bike will mean you’ll likely wear through tread a bit quicker than a non-e-bike. 

Riding habits which effect durability of your parts; 

With the above components in mind, it’s time to look at the rider factor. There are plenty of riding habits which directly cause excessive wear and tear to your e-bike.  

  • Pedalling under load (riding in a harder gear than you need to) 
  • Shifting gears at the incorrect time causing a clunking noise 
  • Riding an un-lubricated chain 
  • Riding in poor weather conditions (wet, muddy) 
  • Running your brake pads down to the metal 

Things you can do to extend the life of your e-bike parts: 

  • Degrease your chain, cassette, derailleur and front chain ring thoroughly. 
  • Invest in a good quality chain lube, apply to a dry chain, and wipe excess. If you’re using a wax-based lubricant for dry conditions, apply at least 1 hour before you ride. 
  • Invest in a high-quality chain. 
  • Ensure you switch your chain out before it reaches 0.5% wear. This can be measured with a chain checker tool. 

Checking chain wear with a chain measuring tool

Insiders note: While most tools suggest 0.75% as maximum chain wear, research suggests that deterioration of the cassette accelerates between 0.5 and 0.75 for e-bikes, which means predicting a change out time can be a gamble. Reduce the risk by changing your chain out at 0.5% wear and your cassette will survive a while longer. 

  • Change your brake pads more frequently to reduce the risk of damaging your rotor with metal-on-metal contact. 
  • Consider riding with a higher tyre pressure (especially for the rear) or a more durable compound to improve tyre wear. 

How much riding time will you get out of your e-bike parts? 

This is a tough one to answer as; 

  • not all e-bikes are the same 
  • not all components are the same 
  • not all riders are the same 
  • and not all trails are the same. 

We’ll do our best to give you some guidance based on staff, mechanic and industry experience we have gained here at Just Ride, but it’s important to note that there are many factors which influence durability so for the sake of this article we’ll be using a Specialized Levo Comp Alloy as an example.  

Setting up suspension on a Specialized Turbo Levo

Chain: Check at 500km. Replace at 800km OR at 0.5% wear 

  • Once you hit 500km, you should have a chain checker tool and check the chain every additional 100km ridden. This will give you the best chance to replace your chain at the correct time. 

Cassette: 2-3 chains PER cassette 

  • Provided you are sticking to the above AND keeping a clean and well lubricated system AND shifting gears correctly / at the right time, you should comfortably get 3 chains to a cassette (see what we mean, hard to estimate right!?)  

Front Chain Ring: 2-3 chains PER front chain ring 

  • As per the previous two items.  

Brake Pads: 1-2 sets per YEAR 

  • Depending on riding conditions (wet or dry), how much descending you do, how heavy you are and how much you use your brakes. 

Brake Rotors: 0-1 set per YEAR 

  • If you switch your pads out in time before meta-on-metal contact and sticking to riding in our mostly dry conditions. 

That sounds like a lot of work… 

You’re right. It can be, but we like to think of it like this. 

We love to ride e-bikes because we can pack so much more trail into a one-hour ride, or because we love to lap our favourite trails, or we could just be a bit unfit, or have a health condition which prevents us from riding how we used to.  

E-bikes give us the power to enjoy mountain biking without limits.  

What does your e-bike enable you to do that you otherwise couldn’t? 

So, for now, until more robust parts are made specifically with e-bikes in mind, we must use the components that we have, and these require a bit of extra TLC and attention. 

But, by following these guidelines and adding some additional maintenance to your riding routine, we can promise that you’ll be better off financially replacing these parts periodically, then all at once. 

We hope you found some of this information helpful and if you think it’s time to give your e-bike some love, give us a call on 07 55962911 and chat with our friendly service team. 

Mountain bike rider on a jump trail on an e-mountain bike