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20 Common Electric Bike Problems and Solutions

20 Common Electric Bike Problems and Solutions

Perhaps you’ve gotten your first electric bike or are already a seasoned e-bike enthusiast, and you’re loving it. Riding longer distances has never been this easy (and fun!). But as with all things electrical and mechanical, electric bikes aren’t without their problems. If you’re stuck wondering ‘why my ebike won’t turn on’ or ‘why is my electric bike not working’, this article is for you!

Read on to learn more about common electric bike problems and how to troubleshoot and fix them. 

1. Punctured or Damaged Rear Wheel

One of the most common ebike problems people encounter is a punctured or damaged rear wheel. The rear wheel drives the bike and can be a major inconvenience once it stops working, preventing you from riding your e-bike until the problem is fixed. 

The Causes Behind Tyre Punctures

The rear wheel of your electric bike could get punctured or damaged because of a number of reasons, such as sharp objects, overinflation, improper maintenance, or an accident

If your tyre is damaged or you want to upgrade it by replacing the tube or tyre, you’ll have to remove its rear wheel

Here’s what you should do:

How to Change an E-Bike’s Rear Wheel 

If your bike has a rear-hub motor fixed inside the wheel, here’s what to do:

  1. Switch off your battery power.
  2. Disconnect the motor cable quick connector. 
  3. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws around the motor cable quick connector on the rear wheel.
  4. Loosen the nut around the motor cable with a wrench. 
  5. Repeat step 4 on the opposite side of the tyre.
  6. Safely remove the rear wheel. 
  7. Put the wheel back in the position it was removed from if you want to replace it. Make sure to place the wheel slowly in between the chain and slide it in. 
  8. On the wheel’s opposite side, ensure that it is aligned between the brake pads.
  9. Attach the safety catch followed by the nut on the centre disc. Repeat the process on the other side of the wheel.
  10. After tightening the nuts on either side, reconnect the motor cable. Align the arrow markings on the cable while connecting them. This helps connect the motor back to the controller.
  11.  Tighten this cable with a zip tie to ensure it doesn’t loosen mid-ride. 

2. Punctured or Damaged Front Wheel

Your e-bike’s front wheel is crucial for steering and stability, so any problem with it is a cause for concern. Luckily, as with a damaged rear wheel, fixing a front wheel is not a hassle if you simply follow our instructions in this manual. 

The Causes Behind Front Tyre Punctures

The front wheel of your e-bike can get damaged if you accidentally ride over a sharp object or run into an obstacle, like a pothole. You can change this tyre if it is damaged or you simply want to use a tyre better suited for your terrain. For example, we recommend using fat tyres if you purchase a mountain electric bike or an off-road one.

How to Change an E-Bike’s Front Wheel

Note that this process is particular to bikes that do not have front hub motors

  1. To remove the damaged front wheel, use a wrench to loosen the nut present in the centre of the damaged wheel. 
  2. Remove the locking washer as well. Lift up the electric bike’s frame and take out the damaged wheel. 
  3. Insert a new tyre and make sure the brake pedals align with the brake discs. 
  4. Lower the electric bike’s frame so it attaches to both sides of the wheel.
  5. Attach the locking washer and nut on top. Proceed to tighten the nut using a wrench.

3. Flat Wheel or Electric Bike Feels Unstable

Let’s be honest; a flat wheel is an unwelcome and frustrating experience for any electric bike rider. Whether you’re cruising through the city streets or exploring scenic trails, a sudden loss of tyre pressure can disrupt your journey and pose safety concerns. One of the first signs that you have a flat wheel is when your e-bike starts feeling unstable

Check your bike’s tyres if you feel like your riding experience has been sluggish or unstable recently. In the case that you intend to store your bike for an extended time, consider inflating your tyres.  

How to Restore Your Unstable Bike to Its Former Glory

You should only inflate your tyres after checking their pressure. Doing so before each ride or after a long ride is good practice. 

Here’s how to fix instability due to flat tyres:

First, unscrew the cap on the valve stem of your electric bike’s wheel. Then, attach the nozzle of the provided bicycle pump. Pump air into your tyre until the air inside reaches your desired pressure. Upon inflating both tyres, ensure that you do so equally otherwise your e-bike will feel imbalanced while riding. 

After inflating your tyre, remove the nozzle of the bicycle pump and screw the valve stem’s cap back on.

4. Wheels Lock Up

Locked-up wheels on an electric bike can put you in a nerve-wracking and potentially dangerous situation. When the tyres of an e-bike suddenly seize, it can lead to loss of control and make you more prone to accidents

When Do E-Bike Wheels Lock Up

It’s possible that electric bike hub motor problems, such as an overworked motor, may result in your electric bike’s wheels locking up.

How to Fix Locked-Up Wheels

To address locked-up wheels on an electric bike, follow these steps:

  1. Power off your electric bike. Place it on a stable surface.
  2. Release the brakes by gently squeezing the brake levers while trying to spin the wheels. This can release brake pressure.
  3. Inspect brake callipers for misalignment or debris. These factors can cause sticking. Adjust or clean as needed.
  4. Use bike-specific lubricant on brake pivot points for smooth calliper movement.
  5. Lift the electric bike and manually rotate the wheels to locate the resistance points.
  6. If the issue persists or if you’re unsure, consult an electric bike mechanic. 

5. Battery Won’t Charge

An electric bike’s lifeline is its battery, powering the electric motor and providing energy for a smooth and relaxing ride. In case the battery stops working, your electric bike might start suffering from various problems, such as running out of charge suddenly, not working at all, or the electric bike motor cutting out. 

Why Your E-bike’s Battery Isn’t Charging

If you notice that your battery won’t charge when plugged in, it could be because of a faulty charger, a loose connection between the battery and the cable, or some other battery functionality issue. 

Solution

You can figure out what exactly is causing your electric bike’s battery to not charge with a voltmeter. A voltmeter is a device that measures electrical voltage. Take out your battery and attach the voltmeter prongs to its positive and negative ends. 

A low voltage might mean you’re dealing with a faulty charger or battery. In case of a faulty charger, plugging it into a socket won’t cause any indicator lights to turn on. 

It’s also in your best interest to check whether you’re dealing with a blown fuse inside the battery. Burned fuses result in the small wires inside them breaking. In this case, you’ll only need to replace the fuse instead of the whole battery. However, if your fuse seems fine as well, you might have a faulty battery that needs replacing. 

We don’t recommend opening up the battery if you do not have the technical experience and know-how. You can book an appointment with us at E Movement or visit your local e-bike repair shop.

6. Battery Not Holding Charge or Damaged Battery

As one of the most important components of an electric bike, an e-bike battery that stops holding charge or gets damaged will shut down your vehicle. While it is a very frustrating experience, it is still a relatively easy problem to solve. 

Reasons

There are lots of reasons why your e-bike batteries might have trouble holding a charge, for example:

  1. Natural battery degradation with age.
  2. Exposure to extreme temperatures. 
  3. Improper charging habits like overcharging or deep discharge.
  4. Physical damage to the battery or connectors.
  5. Failure of the battery management system (BMS).
  6. Overusing the battery on steep inclines or under heavy loads.
  7. Improper storage practices.

Solution

Although this problem can be very frustrating, it is relatively easy to solve. Here’s what you need to do depending on your e-bike frame and type to go back to enjoying rides as soon as possible:

S20, S3 Commute, and Panther E-Bike

The best way to remove the battery of these electric bikes is by unclasping the latch on the top tube and splitting it open. Use the provided key right under the battery to release and pull it out. However, keep in mind that you don’t require a key for the S3 Commute battery. To put the battery back in, simply place it inside and use the key to lock the battery in place before you clasp the latch. 

Thunder Plus, Thunder Special, and Thunder Special Plus E-Bike

You can insert the battery key next to the battery on the e-bike down tube. Turn the key anti-clockwise and simply pull the battery out. The process for placing the battery back in is the same as we mentioned above. Make sure to lock the battery key as well!

7. Changing Display Setting From KPH to MPH

The display serves as a vital interface that provides essential information about speed, distance, and battery level. It can be customized to show different information, including the speed in kilometres per hour (kph) or miles per hour (mph). If you’re accustomed to mph instead of kph, seeing your speed in kph can be confusing and hinder your overall riding experience. Fret not, we’re here for you! 

Read on to know how to change the display setting from kph to mph (or vice versa). This way you can get a clear understanding of how fast you are compared to your friends.

Solution

Follow these simple steps to change your display setting from kph to mph:

  1. Turn on your pedelec.
  2. Press and hold the plus and minus buttons on the side of the display; the display will show a menu of options.
  3. Use the plus or minus button to scroll until you find the option for changing the units of measurement (kph or mph).
  4. Press the plus or minus button to change the units from kph to mph. 
  5. Press the plus and minus buttons together to save your settings.

8. Error E-07 on E-Bike

Imagine you’re out taking in fresh air on your road-legal e-bike and an error E-07 pops up on your display. You would wonder what it means and how to fix it. The appearance of this error indicates a specific issue within the bike’s electronic system

Let’s discuss the E07 error and how to solve it: 

What Does the E-07 Error on Electric Bikes Mean?

Error E-07 indicates that the connection between the electric bike and the motor is loose.

What to do if your e-bike is displaying an E-07 error

Follow these steps to get your e-bike up and running in no time after this error:

  1. Switch off your vehicle.
  2. Unplug the motor cable.
  3. When plugging the motor cable back in make sure the arrow marks on both these cables are lined up. 
  4. Plug the cable in tightly and use a zip tie to hold this plug in place. 
  5. The error should be gone and you can safely use your e-bike again, so don’t hesitate to turn it on!

9. Electric Bike’s Brakes Not Working

When you take your pedelec out for a spin, it’s essential that the brakes work properly for everyone’s safety on the road. Since electric bikes can go very fast, you need robust braking mechanisms to stop safely. So if the brakes are not working, you should not ride your bike to avoid a crash.

What Can Make an E-Bike’s Brakes Stop Working

Pedelec brakes are no exception to ageing with time, which reduces their functionality and effectiveness. External dirt, debris in the brake system, broken brake pads, damaged rotors, and poor brake alignment can also lead to the brake malfunctioning. A connected issue might also be the brake motor inhibitor. 

What to Do If Your Electric Bike’s Brakes Are Not Working 

If your electric bike’s brakes are not working, first clean out any dirt or debris in the brake system and the brake discs. In the scenario that the brake pads and rotors are worn out or damaged, you’ll need to replace them. Additionally, check the brake lever to see if it’s loose or not.  You can tighten a brake level to ensure more sensitive braking power

On the other hand, if the bike has been dropped or shaken roughly, the motor inhibitor switch might get stuck in “on” mode. Determine whether the brake levers are jammed or not and try to move them. An inability to make them budge typically means you’ll need to replace them. 

10. Tightening Hydraulic Brakes

Hydraulic brakes are common in e-bikes given their superiority to mechanical brakes. They use hydraulic fluid to transmit force from the brake lever to the brake calliper, allowing for smooth, powerful braking performance. However, over time hydraulic brakes can become loose and lead to poor braking performance. For this reason, it is important to tighten the hydraulic brakes in your electric bike! 

When to Tighten Hydraulic Brakes

The hydraulic brakes of an e-bike should be tightened in the following scenarios:

  1. When the brake fluid leaks out or the brake pads are worn down, your brakes might not feel as responsive as they used to. 
  2. If the brake pads are worn down or the rotors are dirty, these brakes make a squealing or grinding noise when applied.
  3. You are dealing with less effective brakes because the brake fluid has boiled. This might happen due to heavy brake usage after a long ride or a downhill descent.

Tightening the hydraulic brakes should be one of your top priorities to ensure proper braking performance and extended brake pad life

How to Tighten E-Bike Hydraulic Brakes 

To tighten your hydraulic brakes, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the bleed screws on your brakes near the handlebars.
  2. Use a wrench to tighten the bleed screws (in an anti-clockwise motion) until the brakes feel firm.
  3. Test the brakes to make sure they are working properly.

11. Faulty Brake Sensor

Brake sensors significantly contribute to an electric bicycle’s safety system, automatically cutting off power to the motor when the brakes are applied. This allows for smooth and controlled deceleration. If the brake sensor on an e-bike is faulty, it can prevent the vehicle from stopping properly and is a serious safety hazard that can result in accidents. 

You’ve probably guessed by now that a faulty brake sensor is a serious problem but we’re here to help you figure it out!

What Causes Faulty Brake Sensors

A few reasons why a brake sensor in an electric bike would be faulty include physical damage to the sensor, loose or corroded wiring, or a software problem

How to Tell Your Brake Sensor is Faulty

You’ll see a little exclamation mark (!) on the right side of your display screen if you have a faulty brake sensor. 

The brake lever has two wires attached to it; a large one for the brake pads and a small one for the sensor. When you press the brake, the sensor is released. However, if the sensor is faulty, it will be released even if you’re not pressing on the brake. Consequently, the controller won’t register the brakes and your e-bike won’t work. 

What to Do If Your Electric Bike Has a Faulty Brake Sensor

There are some temporary measures you can take to solve a faulty brake sensor:

Firstly, always make sure that the sensor wire attached to the brake lever is tightened. In case this doesn’t solve your problem, try and press on the brakes after inserting something soft, such as some cloth or cotton, in the middle to ensure the brake sensor is always pressed. Or you can try disconnecting the wire that is connected to the controller for the brake sensors. This would cause the motor to run even when the brakes are applied. This is because the controller would no longer be able to detect that the brakes are engaged. Please consider this a temporary measure and disconnecting this wire for longer would be risky. 

As for permanent measures, adjust the sensor’s position so that it aligns with the brake levers and triggers accurately. Use a multimeter to test for continuity (of the sensor circuit), and if none is detected, consider replacing the sensor with a compatible one. Make sure to follow the installation guides carefully. Finally, seek professional assistance if you’re unsure or if the problem persists.

12. Damaged Battery Wire

An electric bike’s battery wire helps power the bike by carrying electricity from the battery to the motor, enabling the bike to move. If the battery wire is damaged, it can prevent the pedelec from moving. 

We’ll now discuss how the battery wire can get damaged and what to do in case you discover that it is. 

What Can Cause Damaged Battery Wires in Electric Bikes

There are a few reasons why the battery wire on an electric bike may be damaged, with the most common one being that the wire has become old and brittle. Another possibility is that the wire has been damaged by physical impact, heat, or chemicals.

A damaged and corroded battery wire can lead to reduced battery life, electrical problems, and even a fire hazard

You can spot whether your battery wire needs replacing by inspecting it closely. If it is cut, crushed, or burned then the wire is damaged. In contrast, a corroded wire is typically covered in green or white deposits. And these problems with the battery wire could be why your battery isn’t charging.  

What to Do If Your Electric Bike Has a Faulty Battery Wire

To replace a faulty battery wire, follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn the e-bike upside down. 
  2. Cut the zip ties holding the wire in place.
  3. Unscrew the four screws around the battery wire.
  4. Remove the cap.
  5. Unhook the faulty wire and replace it with a new one.
  6. Pass the new battery wire through the cap hole. 
  7. After placing the cap back on, screw all four screws back in. 

13. Tightening a Loose Handlebar

Everyone steers their bike using the handlebars, and if these are loose, it can be challenging to control the e-bike and avoid accidents. So, tightening your handlebars before you ride your electric bicycle is essential. Let’s discuss why this problem occurs and how to fix it.

Why Do Electric Bike Handlebars Get Loose?

Unfortunately, several factors can contribute to your electric bike’s handlebars getting loose. The bolts holding the handlebars in place may not have been tightened enough or the stem (the part of the bicycle that connects the handlebars to the frame) may be damaged. The headset bearings might also be worn out; these are located at the head tube’s top and help keep the handlebars aligned with the front wheel.

How to Tighten Electric Bike Handlebars

To tighten the loose handlebar of your electric bike, tilt open the handlebar and search for the bolt at the bottom. Grab a hex key and tighten this bolt, as doing so will fix your loose handlebar. Finally, tilt back the handlebar tube on top and lock it in place with the latch.  

14. Malfunctioning Display Settings

Your electric bike’s display can only be as useful as your understanding of it. If the display settings are not working properly, it can be difficult to get the information you need.  

Problems That Can Occur If You Mess With the Display Settings

Fiddling with the default display settings of your electric bike could lead to various problems such as:

  1. Overheating: If you increase the motor assistance level significantly, the motor may overheat and get damaged. This shortens its lifespan, reducing the efficiency of your bike. 
  2. Battery drain: Increasing the motor assistance level too high could also drain the battery faster. This is dangerous as it can leave you stranded without power.
  3. Malfunction: Don’t change a setting that you don’t understand because this could cause the display to malfunction, making it challenging to read the display or use the electric bike’s features. 

 How to Fix Your Electric Bikes Settings Through Display

The best solution in this case is prevention. Avoid experimenting needlessly with the display settings, especially if you don’t understand them. While it sounds boring to read the owner’s manual, we recommend going over it to understand what each setting entails. Make sure to only change the settings that you understand. 

In case you cannot revert the bike settings, contact the company you bought your e-bike from so they can guide you.

15. Electric Bike Fails to Restart After Battery Recharge

Let’s take a look at why your electric bike won’t start and what you can do:

Why is Your Electric Bike Not Starting?

Never let your electric bike’s battery drain to 0%. Ideally, you should charge it once it’s down to 30-50%. This is because if you fully drain your electric bike’s battery, you risk shutting down the e-bike’s battery management system (BMS). Since BMS needs constant power to function, a fully drained battery puts it into sleeping mode. After recharging, the BMS doesn’t “wake up” from this mode. 

Other repercussions of full battery drainage are reduced battery life, increased risk of battery failure, reduced performance, and increased risk of fire. Fire risk increases because the battery cells become unstable and might lead to a thermal runaway event. 

 What to do If Your Electric Bike is Not Starting

Firstly, avoid draining your battery fully and regularly charge it even when it’s not in use. Also, storing the battery in a cool, dry place is in your best interest. 

If your battery has been fully drained, it’s unlikely that your pedelec will restart. To solve this, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer over an electric bike repair shop so they can jump-start the battery management system (BMS). 

16. Electric Bike’s Display Doesn’t Show the Right Battery Power

Usually, an electric bike’s battery life shows up on its display. However, some of our electric bikes display their battery life on both the display and the battery. You might notice that the percentage showing up on the battery and that showing on the display aren’t the same. Don’t worry because there’s no reason to be concerned. 

Why Is My Bike and Battery Displaying Different Battery Power Ratings

This problem can occur when the display is using a different calculation method than the battery. For example, an e-bike display might be calculating the battery’s percentage based on the battery voltage. The battery itself, on the other hand, might be calculating the percentage based on its capacity.

Or your battery may be losing power since batteries tend to naturally lose their ability to hold a charge over time, especially if you ride your bike at high speeds. So its percentage might be lower on the display than on the battery itself.

Solution

If your battery life shows differently on your battery than the display while you’re going full speed, you shouldn’t worry. Since your battery is consuming more power (a condition called voltage sag which occurs when the battery is under heavy load and drops temporarily) when the e-bike is ridden at high speeds, it won’t fluctuate once you slow down.

17. Controller Doesn’t Work as Expected

The controller, as the name indicates, controls the power output of the e-bike motor. If the controller does not work as expected, it can make the bike move erratically or stop moving altogether. By following the tips we’ve given below, you can troubleshoot this problem and get your electric bike back on the road.  

How Can You Tell That Your Electric Bike’s Controller is Not Working

The controller is one of the most crucial components of an electric bike. It regulates the electric bike’s motor and battery. If the controller stops working, you’ll notice that your bike either suddenly stops working, starts to go too fast or too slow, or makes odd noises.

 What to Do If Your E-Bike Controller Is Not Working Properly

In this case, you can adjust the speed settings of your electric bike after consulting the owner’s manual. You should also check for loose connections and upon finding any, tighten them securely. If your controller has a circuit breaker, reset this breaker, and inspect the e-bike’s fuse as well to determine whether it is burned out. A burned-out fuse should be replaced as soon as possible. 

If all the measures mentioned above are tried but fail to get the controller working, you might need to replace it. 

18. Electric Bike Throttle Not Functioning

The throttle is responsible for controlling an e-bike’s speed, enabling you to accelerate and decelerate on your adventures. If the throttle is not working properly, it can cause a safety hazard. We’ve discussed below what you need to do in such a situation to make sure you can safely ride on your e-bike again. 

When Can Your Electric Bike’s Throttle Start Behaving Abnormally

Throttle assist allows you to engage the motor even if you’re not pedalling, a crucial part of what makes an electric bike easier to ride than a traditional one. A malfunctioning or overused throttle will likely lead to this feature not working. Consequently, the throttle will also get damaged or loose. You’ll notice this when the throttle assist suddenly stops working while you’re riding.

What to do if your Electric bike’s throttle is not  working

First, check the throttle’s position near the handlebars. Is it stuck in the rearmost position instead of moving back to its place? If yes, the throttle is malfunctioning and you should manually pull it back into its original position. However, in the case that the throttle doesn’t pop back into its original position or does so slowly, you might need to replace it. 


19. Pedal Assist Isn’t Functioning

The pedal assist system (PAS) is a feature providing electric power to the wheels when you pedal. It’s especially helpful for more daring and long-range rides, such as uphill ones. If the pedal assist feature isn’t working properly, it can be very frustrating to ride your pedelec since the motor won’t help you pedal. Keep reading to figure out your next steps in this case. 

Why Your Electric Bikes Pedal Assistant Is Not Working

A PAS malfunctions when the power cuts off, the power supply is inconsistent, or the pedal assist sensor isn’t working properly. The motor might not be functioning or the battery might not be charged. There might also be a problem with the wiring of the electric bike or the magnet ring might have been misplaced or dirty.

 What To Do If Your Electric Bike’s Pedal Assist is Faulty

If the pedal assist sensor is not working properly, you’ll need to get it replaced. But before you do this, we recommend examining whether your electric bike’s motor, battery, and wiring are working well. A dirty or misplaced magnetic ring can be adjusted using a flathead screwdriver with gentle pressure to move the ring closer to the sensor. 

Only when all these measures don’t work should you take your electric bike to a qualified technician for diagnosis and repair. 

20. E-Bike Engine Shuts Off When You Restart It

The e-bike motor engine provides the power required to make your vehicle move. You will not be able to use your electric bike’s  pedal assistance if the motor is not working

Reason

Perhaps everything seems fine but your engine shuts off suddenly when you restart it or there’s an odd smell or noise coming from your motor. In this situation, the hub motor of your e-bike might be at fault. 

Solution

Check all of the wires connected to the hub motor to determine if they’re functioning fine and aren’t damaged. Additionally, carry out a hall test. During a hall test, you should flip your hub motor backwards and then plug the wires in before turning it on. If the motor seems clogged and doesn’t move freely when turned on, you might need to take your electric bike to a professional technician and get it fixed.

In Summary

While electric bikes offer several benefits and a thrilling riding experience, they can encounter certain issues over time. Understanding these common electric bike problems and their solutions is crucial for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your beloved two-wheeler. From battery malfunctions to motor hiccups and brake troubles, addressing these problems promptly can save you from costly repairs and unnecessary downtime. 

Remember, a well-maintained electric bike not only ensures a reliable and safe ride but also allows you to relish the sheer pleasure of cruising along effortlessly. We hope reading this article made you more familiar with your electric bike’s problems and their solutions. With regular maintenance, proper storage, and adherence to our manufacturer guidelines, nothing can come between you and a fun, joyful ride on your electric bike!

If you’re facing a problem with your electric bike that’s beyond your area of expertise, feel free to drop us an email to get your electric bike repaired or serviced.