11 Mistakes New Ebike Owners Make (How to Avoid Them)

Haibike All Mtn 6.0 at the top of pilot butte in Bend, OR

I have sold many ebikes over the years and continue to see a handful of mistakes that people make after buying their first ebike. In this article, I will explain 11 of the mistakes new ebike owners make and how you can avoid them.

Here are 11 Mistakes I see New Ebike Owners Making

  • #1 – I picked the wrong electric bike for my needs
  • #2 – Not properly charging your ebike battery
  • #3 – Practice riding your ebike before joining traffic
  • #4 – Regularly wash your new ebike
  • #5 – Keep your ebike chain clean and lubed
  • #6 – Check your tire pressure
  • #7 – Have someone check over your new online ebike
  • #8 – Shift your gears like a regular bike
  • #9 – Don’t rely on the throttle only
  • #10 – Burn in your disc brakes
  • #11 – Install tire liners

Electric bikes are growing in popularity and it seems that even the most anti-ebike folks (like I was) are coming around. If you have just bought a new electric bike or you’re considering buying one then read on and avoid these 11 mistakes!

#1 – I Picked The Wrong Electric Bike For My Needs

This is definitely what I hear the most from folks after buying their first ebike. Be sure to really figure out what is you want to be able to do with your new ebike.

For some help, I have an article for you “9 Insights To Know Before You Buy Your First Electric Bike” (it will open in a new tab) where I go over what you should ask yourself before you make a purchase. It will help a ton in giving you a great ebiking experience.

#2 – Not Properly Charging Your Ebike Battery

Be sure to read the instruction manual about your new ebike. If you bought an ebike from a local dealer, just ask them about charging the battery before you leave. Most ebike sold at bike shops will have very user-friendly batteries.

By user-friendly I mean if it’s a Bosch, Shimano, or Yamaha-powered ebike, then you can pretty much charge the battery anytime, anywhere, and at any level you wish. These top brands put a lot of engineering into their ebike batteries and they are built to last!

If you bought your new ebike online just know that they don’t always have the greatest batteries. With a budget ebike, you are getting a budget battery. Check the user manual first and read all you can about the best charging practices for your specific bike.

I just bought a Lectric brand folding ebike and they recommend charging your battery indoors, at moderate temperatures, and away from anything flammable. My Bosch ebike hangs out in my storage shed and charges overnight year-round with no issues.

Another tip about batteries is to always make sure your battery is fully charged before you ride. This is not really to help the battery at all, just from personal experience. You never know when you’re ready for a longer ebike adventure than you plan. 🙂

A good habit to get into is to charge your ebike when you’re finished riding and unplug it once it’s full. This may seem easy but takes a little getting used to. We never had to charge our regular bikes.

#3 – Practice Riding Your Ebike Before Joining Traffic

Electric bikes are a lot easier to ride than regular bikes. This is what makes them so awesome, but it also allows you to ride a lot faster than a regular bike too.

Be sure to test out your new ebike somewhere that you are comfortable with first. Like a quiet neighborhood or a local park with nice wide paths.

Get used to the feel and operation of your ebike, test the brakes, go through the gears, and try out all of the assist levels.

It won’t take long to start riding with confidence. It’s like riding a bike! 🙂

#4 – Regularly Wash Your New Ebike

Did you know ebikes can get wet? Yes, it’s okay to rinse off your ebike and clean it up a little when it gets all dirty. Just don’t blast it with a pressure washer. Use your regular hose and rinse it off, then wipe it down. Takes mere minutes.

I have had many times where people bring their bikes into the bike shop for a tune-up and all I really had to do is clean it up and put some air in the tires. Save yourself some money and a trip to the shop and just keep your bike clean.

It is always nice when you are ready to go for a ride and your ebike is cleaned up and waiting for you.

#5 – Keep Your Ebike Chain Clean and Lubed

The chain on a bike is the most important component and takes the most abuse. It is the best practice to just wipe your chain off after you have rinsed your ebike down. This makes your bike ride smoother, shift better, and last longer.

I just like to cut up an old cotton t-shirt into small rags and use those. Instead of throwing out your old shirt, hang on to it for rags to use later.

Many times have people come in for shifting adjustments and all I had to do was clean their chain off.

Be sure to add chain oil after you have cleaned your chain. This would require that you have some chain oil. Any local bike shop can help you with this. Your chain oil does not have to be ebike specific, you just need to use it on occasion. If you hear some squeaking coming from your bike, it’s usually a dry chain.

#6 – Check Your Tire Pressure

If you own a bike, you should have a floor pump. Plain and simple. All tires lose air just sitting around and if you never add any air they can settle down to pressures far too low to be riding on.

Almost every bike that comes into the shop is low on air!

I like the SKS floor pumps. They are german made, have easy-to-read pressure gauges, and last a long time.

Here are a couple of great ones – 

The orange one on the left will pretty much last forever! The one on the right is still great for general use at a lower price.

#7 – Have Someone Check Over Your New Online Ebike

If you bought your ebike online, it will need some adjustments to ride well. Pre-assembled bikes never come out of the box tuned up well. If you are good at tuning up your own bike then just check it over first, yourself.

If you are not good at it, then have someone you know that is, or a local shop, check it over.

My new Lectric brand ebike came fully assembled, but the tires needed air, the shifting was loose, and the brakes were rubbing. It was ridable this way, but over time these things would have worn out quickly and the bike would be in the shop.

For questions about buying an ebike online try this article “The Pros and Cons of Buying an Electric Bike Online”

#8 – Shift Your Gears Like a Regular Bike

This one is a biggy! Although ebike motors are quite powerful, you still need to ride your ebike like you would a regular bike.

I have had too many people to count wonder why they can’t ride up a hill on their new ebike, only to find out that they are not shifting down into the lower gears. 

Ebike motors a specifically designed to assist you when you are pedaling like normal. This means that you have to be in a lower gear when climbing a hill and when starting from a stop.

If you just keep the bike in the higher gears and hit a steep incline, you will not be able to turn the pedals enough to allow the ebike motor to help you. Shift and pedal like normal and adjust the assist level according to your needs.

To test this out just shift your ebike into a higher gear and come to a stop. Increase the assist level to the max level and try to pedal, it will be difficult if not impossible.

You will not be able to fly up hills at break-neck speeds, but with some practice, you will be able to climb much steeper ascents than you normally would, and quite a bit faster too!

#9 – Don’t Rely on the Throttle Only

If your new ebike has a throttle, it is just to help out when needed. If you are just using the throttle alone, you will notice the power is much lower than when you are pedaling also. 

Using the throttle for the majority of your riding time will also overtax the motor and it will not last as long.

Throttles can be a cool addition to an ebike if you need one, but use it sparingly or not at all. Part of the amazing benefits of riding an electric bike is that you can get in good shape as long as you are pedaling too.

#10 – Burn in Your Disc Brakes

Brand new disc brakes on an ebike will need to be used a little before they achieve their full stopping power.

When you “Burn In” your disc brakes, what you are doing is allowing some of the brake pad material to attach to your brake rotors. This gives the pads something to grab on to.

To burn in your disc brakes – 

Take your new ebike out for an easy ride (no steep hills) and get some speed going, then grab the rear brake and come to a full stop. Repeat this 3 or 4 times and then do the same with the front brake. You should notice them becoming more effective at stopping you. All done 🙂

#11 – Install Tire Liners

Ebikes get flats just like regular bikes do. However, ebikes are a lot more challenging to fix a flat on, especially if you have a hub drive motor. You can check out “The Pros and Cons of Hub Drive Motors” here.

I would highly recommend you invest in some tire liners to help lower your chances of getting a flat.

You will notice I did not say “eliminate your chances of flats”. Nothing is guaranteed to stop any and all flat tires (except solid tires, but those suck, never try them!)

I don’t like Mr. Tuffy’s or Stop Flats either (I have installed thousands of them). They kind of work, but can also CAUSE flats.

The best liners available or Tannus Tire Armor inserts. These things rock! They are not very easy to install so it’s best to have some help, but once they are in, you will get fewer flats, possibly none at all.

I will add a video soon on how to install Tannus Tire Armour Inserts on various different bikes, stay tuned.

You can find Tannus Tire Armour here!

For 20″ fat-tire ebikes like Lectric and Rad Mini –

For 26″ fat-tire ebike like Rad Rover and Aventon Adventure –

Tannus makes tire liners for every size tire. Just be sure, before you buy that you get the correct liner for your tire size. Also remember, these are sold individually, so you will need to buy 2 of them!!!

Tannus Tire Inserts are pricey, but they will save you from most flats and pay for themselves. Replacement tubes and flat repairs cost money too and keep you from riding your ebike.

Note – you can still get a flat tire with these installed but you would need to run over something really big, like a chunk of glass or a monster nail. (I have done both)

At the End of the Day

I hope this list will help you out with your new ebike journey. Maybe you can avoid making some of these mistakes ahead of time and your ebike will thank you for it. (says the ebike whisperer) 🙂

Having an electric bike has been a life-changing experience for me and I love knowing my ebike is eager a ready for when I want to go for a ride.

There are always mistakes in life but as Bob Ross says “Ever make mistakes in life? Let’s make them birds. Yeah, they’re birds now”