This question was most recently asked by Gary Ares, who writes for a blog about E-bikes at www.velochef.com:
Maintaining an Optibike is much like maintaining a traditional bike, with a few exceptions. Because the bike is heavier and you will go faster- the tires and brakes will wear out faster. Also, because the Optibike uses the derauiller system for the motor drive, you will see faster wear on the chain.
The Optibike was designed to be serviced at your local bike shop. Many local bike shops will not work on E-bikes becuase most manufacturers use low end components that make cyclists cringe, because they are harder to maintain and make work well over the long haul. Also, E-bikes with hub motors present challenges to the typical bike shop with no experience with motors/wiring. From our experience, 98% of bike shops welcome Optibikes because they are made from the quality brand name components they are used to seeing- and the wheels are easy to take on and off with quick release levers. Further- they will not have to touch the wiring, because its all on the inside of the frame.
This a list of maintenance points, the frequency of maintenance depends on the amount you ride. This list does not replace the advice of a qualified mechanic, and is only meant as a general guide- not a end all discussion. (legal disclaimer)
Tires: You want to check your tire pressure every time you ride, and also check for wear and cracking. Proper tire pressure enables you to ride faster and more efficiently.
Spokes: Make sure your spokes are tight. Because the Optibike drives through the rear wheel and puts more pressure on the spokes- checking them from time to time ensures your wheels will remain strait and true.
Chain: Learning how to properly ride an Optibike can be hard on your first chain, after that- chain life is a bit less than on a regular bike and can be replaced at your local bike shop. They are pretty inexpensive $20-$40.
Suspension: All Optibikes use Air suspension from Fox Racing with the exception of the oil filled fork on the USV. Air filled suspension components require you check the air pressure about 1 time per month- a special pump is included with every Optibike.
Battery: Charging the battery after every use is a good idea, as is running it completely empty from time to time. In the winter months, if you can prop the rear wheel up and run the battery dead- it will prevent a sluggish first spring ride. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, get bundled up for a long winters ride like Jeff does. The battery does not need any further routine maintenance other than to be used!!
Motor: The Optibike motorized bottom bracket (MBB) does not need any regular maintenance.
Brakes: The disk brakes on an Optibike give you the confidence to really tear around and stop on a dime. When your pads wear out, you will know it, and you can wheel it into your favorite bike shop with a $20 bill and have them replaced.
I really wanted to write: “Zen and the art of electric bike maintenance” somewhere, so I will do that here. 🙂