Maintaining an e-bike is relatively more pocket-friendly than maintaining a car or a regular bike. However, a faulty disc brake system can prove to be harmful if not taken care of immediately. Typically, the lifespan of the brake system is affected by how often you ride it and where. In addition to this, your style of riding a bike will also affect the brake system’s durability.
However, a typical brake system should last anywhere between three to six thousand miles. You should take some precautionary measures in order to ensure the brake system of your eBike lasts as long as stated by the manufacturer. First, let’s take a look at what a disc brake system is and how it works.
Disc Brake System
Disc brakes usually come in two variations; mechanical brakes or hydraulic brakes. Depending on your preferences and needs, you can choose either of the two. Both of them have a lever attached to the brake caliper located in the center of the wheel. The brakes make it harder to turn and slow down the electric bike as the caliper is pressed with a rubber.
The resistance of the brakes will depend on the pressure applied to the lever. Disc brakes are different from the regular rim brakes that apply pressure on the tires directly. A disc brake slows down the rotor rather than the tires.
A hydraulic brake requires less power as it applies pressure to the rotor through a fluid. On the other hand, mechanical brakes are preferred by those looking for more pocket-friendly and low-maintenance alternatives.
Here are some of the major components of the disc brake that you should maintain for a longer brake lifespan:
- Master cylinder
- Caliper and brake pads
1. Maintaining the Rotor
Rotors are the round discs attached to the rear and front wheels. They provide surface area for the brake pads to slow down the electronic bike. When you pull the lever, the rotor can get hot, and after a while, its temperature goes back to normal. However, this change in temperature can cause warping.
Spotting an issue with the rotor is easy as it makes a noise when you pull the brakes. If you’re familiar with using an adjustable wrench, this will be a relatively easier component to fix. However, using a rotor-turning tool will ensure the rotor doesn’t take any more damage.
Notice which part of the rotor is making a noise and from where; once you’ve spotted the issue, you can use the rotor-turning tool to bend it and make it straight. It’s also good practice to clean the rotor with isopropyl alcohol to increase its lifespan. Cleaning the bike once in a while will ensure all its components are free of dirt and debris.
2. Maintaining the Master Cylinder
The master cylinder is attached to electronic bikes with hydraulic brakes. The master cylinder pushes the brake fluid into the braking circuit when you pull the lever. You may notice uneven braking power when the master cylinder starts to fail, or you may even notice a leak in the cylinder.
There are several components of the master cylinder that you’ll need to evaluate. For example, the O-rings that seal the cylinder may be wearing out. An issue with the O-rings would indicate you need to rebuild the master cylinder with a kit.
If you haven’t done this on your own, it’s better to visit the nearest eBike shop. If you want to adjust your lever throw or were recently in an accident, you may need to bleed the hydraulic brake system. Bleeding is referred to changing the fluid in the brakes with new fluid.
3. Maintaining the Hose
The hose of an e-bike’s disc brake system is either made of rubber or stainless steel. The hose delivers the force of the brake to the pads through hydraulic and brake fluid. Luckily, you don’t have to do a lot to maintain the hose of the braking system. However, it’ll be a good idea to regularly inspect the hose for damage.
If you notice any damage, you may need to replace the hose with a new one and re-bleed the system. The hoses bend more strenuously at certain parts of the bike, such as the cockpit. If you can readjust the hose to prevent damage, do so with caution.
In case you need to cut a hose, use a sharp brake hose cutting tool to make a clean cut. You can install a barb setter to ensure the fluid doesn’t leak out. If you don’t know how to seal brake lines, it’s better to leave this work to professionals.
4. Maintaining the Calipers
Calipers are located on the fork in the front and the frame in the back wheels. The calipers push the brake pads with the help of pistons installed in them. The lever is connected to the caliper with a hose. You should inspect the condition of the brake pads and the calipers from time to time.
You may also need to center the calipers on the rotor in case of a crash. This can easily be done by loosening the bolts and centering the caliper while ensuring the rotor doesn’t rub against the pads. You can also use a brake alignment tool to make the process more efficient and effective.
Let’s take a look at some other tips to ensure the disc brake is in good working condition:
- Ensure the brake pads are not oily
- Clean the rotor
- Tighten brake bolts, if needed
- Keep the cables in check
E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular around the world. With so many consumers roaming the streets, you may feel the need to jump on the bandwagon. However, it’s important to note that although maintaining an electric bike is relatively pocket-friendly, it’s not something you can overlook.
As we mentioned earlier, maintaining the disc brake system of an eBike is crucial to ensure the safety and longevity of the bike. If you plan on investing in a bike or already own one, you should remember to maintain and evaluate its components from time to time.