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  • FIRST POST
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 2nd Jul 19, 8:38 PM
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    IanMSpencer
    e-Bike - motor repairs and warranties
    • #1
    • 2nd Jul 19, 8:38 PM
    e-Bike - motor repairs and warranties 2nd Jul 19 at 8:38 PM
    Just asking out of interest.

    I have contacts in the bike repair business (used to do bike repair professionally myself) and of course there are a lot of great e-bikes coming onto the market.

    However, we are seeing a lot of expensive repairs and I was wondering if anyone here had experience of an unexpectedly large repair bill (or surprisingly complicated warranty repair).

    The example I am thinking of is that Bosch motors can go noisy and it turns out that if there is a drive side bearing failure, Bosch suggest that it is not repairable and requires a replacement motor. However, it is possible to repair the bearing.

    Similarly, batteries can be 300+ to replace. Also, bikes have a lot of wearing parts and motors can cause these to wear out sooner (e.g. the chain or cassette).

    I was just thinking that it was not fit for purpose to have an e-bike where you thought you were in for a 2-3k purchase but could be facing very large repair bills in a couple of years. It seems wrong, for example, that Bosch are selling a motor that is not maintainable (officially). The junky Chinese in wheel motors have problems like nylon drive gears that wear out quickly and the replacements can't be sourced, which is a question of not being fit for purpose.

    So just fishing to see if members have had bad experiences or whether seeing it from the workshop side we are just seeing the bad ones.
Page 1
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 3rd Jul 19, 11:27 AM
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    Johnmcl7
    • #2
    • 3rd Jul 19, 11:27 AM
    • #2
    • 3rd Jul 19, 11:27 AM
    I don't have much experience of ebikes aside from organising one for my Mum, a couple of friends have them and a local workshop has a small fleet of them for hire. I think they're all Yamaha motors rather than Bosch (aside from one) but not seen any motor or battery issues with them.

    Chain and cassette I'd expect to wear out quicker although cost wise they're usually not bad particularly as the bikes tend to use nine or ten speed parts rather than some of the pricey 11 or 12 speed parts.
    • Mr_Singleton
    • By Mr_Singleton 4th Jul 19, 7:15 AM
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    Mr_Singleton
    • #3
    • 4th Jul 19, 7:15 AM
    • #3
    • 4th Jul 19, 7:15 AM
    Motorbikes are obviously going to need more and cost more to maintain.

    If you don't like the cost of the repairs OUTSIDE the warranty period don't buy it..... simple really.
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 4th Jul 19, 9:40 PM
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    IanMSpencer
    • #4
    • 4th Jul 19, 9:40 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Jul 19, 9:40 PM
    I don't have much experience of ebikes aside from organising one for my Mum, a couple of friends have them and a local workshop has a small fleet of them for hire. I think they're all Yamaha motors rather than Bosch (aside from one) but not seen any motor or battery issues with them.

    Chain and cassette I'd expect to wear out quicker although cost wise they're usually not bad particularly as the bikes tend to use nine or ten speed parts rather than some of the pricey 11 or 12 speed parts.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    Mate (87 year old!) has a Focus e-bike and he had motor failure possibly due to water ingress. He's running it on Ultegra Di2, which he upgraded from the 11 speed 105. Replaced under warranty. It's great for him as otherwise he couldn't join club rides, typically 70+ miles.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 7th Jul 19, 7:30 PM
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    • #5
    • 7th Jul 19, 7:30 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Jul 19, 7:30 PM
    Just a point. If it's a hub motor, then there is no addition strain or wear on the chain/mech/sprockets, as these are still 'human powered'. The torque of the motor to drive the bike is developed by the hub motor acting against the rear stays (for example).


    Crank motors like the Bosch set-up certainly do increase the stress on the drivetrain as they apply the power at the crankset. It was very noticeable swapping from my bike (hub motor) to my wife's Raleigh Motus (Bosch crank drive). The Bosch was much harsher on the chain and required much more delicate gear changing if you wanted to avoid expensive grinding noises. However, the crank drive feels more natural as the power is more proportional to your effort, so it's swings and roundabouts.


    For the record, my Wisper (hub motor) has covered around 3k miles by now, including a year of all-weather commuting in a hilly rural area, and apart from a new chain and getting the gear adjustment tweaked it has been 100% trouble-free.
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • Xbigman
    • By Xbigman 8th Jul 19, 1:05 AM
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    • #6
    • 8th Jul 19, 1:05 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Jul 19, 1:05 AM
    Standard bikes can be maintained by their owners for between 30 and 50 a year, although there is quite a lot of variation as some years it will be 0 and others years over 100. Pay a bike shop and its 100 to 150 a year (average).

    Ebikes are mostly basic bike technology. The battery/electronics/motor are almost zero maintenance so the same costs apply most of the time. Its when the battery/electronics/motor needs work that it gets expensive. This is just the way it is when you move up a notch in complication.
    It is not a case that they are not fit for purpose, costs should be allowed for when pricing up a new ebike because they certainly do need maintaining.

    The OP does raise a good point. ebike motor spares availability varies between non existent and reasonable. Bosch spares are at the reasonable end of the market but the motors themselves seem designed to be throw away. Any serious issue means a new motor. With average motor life of, say, 15,000 miles the cost is pennies per mile.
    I just bought my second ebike. With my first one having served me well for 5 years but needing lots of TLC I went for a more expensive bike. Availability of parts (Bosch) was a factor in deciding what to buy.

    To put it in perspective. The depreciation on my last car would have paid for my first ebike in 18 months. The last MOT failure would have been more than I paid for my first ebike and not far off the cost of my new one. The costs of the my last 5 years of motoring (2009 to 2014) would have bought my new bike 3 times over, and maintained it.
    It's all relative. Just be aware there is a cost to owning an ebike.



    Darren

    PS crank motor ebikes are harder on the chain/gear cassette than a standard bike but it is not that big a difference. Maybe 10% or 15% more wear. So 1700 miles from a 16 chain instead of 2000 miles. Its much less of an issue than many seem to think.
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    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 8th Jul 19, 7:41 AM
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    silverwhistle
    • #7
    • 8th Jul 19, 7:41 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Jul 19, 7:41 AM
    It was very noticeable swapping from my bike (hub motor) to my wife's Raleigh Motus (Bosch crank drive).
    Originally posted by Richard53

    What do you think of the Raleigh?


    I'm thinking of a men's frame Motus (Tour?) to increase the number and distance of journeys I make, and the loads that are carried. I'm getting on a bit and although I could cycle to football training on my s/h Claude Butler Cotswold it's cycling home after a session that puts me off and it's so easy to jump in the car.



    Some interesting comments on this thread. I'm capable of doing the basics of home maintenance (changing chains/cables/rear mechs) etc. but electro/nechanical is beyond this lass. It's the putting it all back together I find problematic..
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 9th Jul 19, 4:00 AM
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    Nebulous2
    • #8
    • 9th Jul 19, 4:00 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Jul 19, 4:00 AM
    A relative has a reasonably cheap front hub e-bike and it has been largely trouble-free.

    A new chain and some brake blocks in about 2000 miles.

    The biggest issue was running out of battery on a particularly cold day, which prompted buying a spare. Over 400 for a battery on a bike which cost less than 1000 was a shock.

    I've heard of engines in the rear hub causing broken spokes.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 9th Jul 19, 4:21 AM
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    Richard53
    • #9
    • 9th Jul 19, 4:21 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Jul 19, 4:21 AM
    What do you think of the Raleigh?


    I'm thinking of a men's frame Motus (Tour?) to increase the number and distance of journeys I make, and the loads that are carried. I'm getting on a bit and although I could cycle to football training on my s/h Claude Butler Cotswold it's cycling home after a session that puts me off and it's so easy to jump in the car.



    Some interesting comments on this thread. I'm capable of doing the basics of home maintenance (changing chains/cables/rear mechs) etc. but electro/nechanical is beyond this lass. It's the putting it all back together I find problematic..
    Originally posted by silverwhistle
    She sold it after a year. She has serious mobility issues and we thought an ebike would be a help, but in fact she couldn't get on with it and lost confidence.


    I rode it to work a couple of times (26 mile round trip, hilly) and I liked it. It had the low step frame which made it a bit whippy for a big chap like me, but other than that it was fine. There are several difference power/assistance levels, and at low power the range looks excellent. It was comfy and well-made, and it had an overall quality feel - nice castings, good paint etc. I was at one point considering part-exchanging my Wisper for a men's Motus, but the part-ex value was ridiculously low and I decided to stick with the Wisper (which I don't regret).


    The only think I was less keen on was the Bosch crank drive. To get silent gear changes you needed to be very careful to have no power going through the chain, but still keep it moving IYSWIM. Good gear-changing practice for any bike, but on a Bosch ebike it is critical. It has a nice feel, as it assists you proportionally to your effort, but in the end I prefer the simpler and cheaper hub motor. I'd disagree slightly with the % figures given by Xbigman above. I'd say with excellent gear changing technique there would be little difference in wear, but if you're clumsy or heavy-footed you could trash a chain and sprockets in 100 miles.


    All that said, I'd seriously consider one if the Wisper was stolen or wrecked. But definitely a man's frame.
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    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 9th Jul 19, 10:04 AM
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    silverwhistle
    Thanks, definitely sounds worth looking at. I'd get the men's frame as I'm more Jill Scott with bulk than Nikita Parris!


    I take it on the gear changing front you'd need to anticipate a bit in traffic to get your changes in before stopping for lights and the like?
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 10th Jul 19, 12:12 AM
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    Richard53
    Thanks, definitely sounds worth looking at. I'd get the men's frame as I'm more Jill Scott with bulk than Nikita Parris!
    Originally posted by silverwhistle
    Two fine-looking women, as I now realise, having had no interest in football whatsoever until the last couple of weeks. I could become a convert.


    I think that, unless you actually need a 'woman's' or low-step frame, it's a no-brainer to get a man's frame. Much more stiff and stable.

    I take it on the gear changing front you'd need to anticipate a bit in traffic to get your changes in before stopping for lights and the like?
    Originally posted by silverwhistle
    I think that's good practice anyway. Essential if you have a derailleur, optional with a hub gear. Think what gear you are going to need to get away, and then be in that gear before you stop.


    Apologies if you know this already, but the way a derailleur (as on the Motus) works is by moving the chain across the sprockets. It's fairly brutal in mechanical terms, but it works well. You need to be sympathetic, though. The chain must be moving (or it can't cross the sprockets) but any pressure on the chain will make it grind on the sprocket teeth. The ideal technique is to take all pressure off the pedals while keeping them turning. It takes a while to get the 'feel' for this. When the chain is on the next sprocket up or down, you can apply pedalling pressure again. It only needs to be momentary, perhaps half a second with practice. The steeper the hill, the slicker you need to be!
    If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.
    • Lioness Twinkletoes
    • By Lioness Twinkletoes 10th Jul 19, 8:45 AM
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    Lioness Twinkletoes
    I've got an e-bike, I've had it for about a year and have done circa 2,000 miles in it. No issues at all, it appears to be a solid workhorse. The battery life isn't great, so I am thinking of buying a spare for longer journeys.
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