Investing in a new E-Bike is definitely worth it for so many reasons. But if the bike only gets a few months of use – it’s pointless. So how long do Electric Bikes last, and what can you do to keep them from breaking down?
How Long Do Electric Bikes Last?
This obviously depends on how much you ride, what type of riding you do, and how well you take of yours. On average an Electric Bike will last at least 5-10 years. You will likely need to replace the battery once, tires once or twice, as well as the chain a couple of times.
However, it’s definitely possible to get an Electric Bike to last well over 10 years if you take good care of it and replace small parts over time. The only big difference between one and a standard bicycle is the addition of a battery (which can easily be replaced) and a motor (more complicated to replace or service).
How Long Do Electric Bike Parts Last?
Parts of an E-Bike that don’t move generally last much longer. Smaller, more complicated parts take more wear. Anything that moves a lot or rubs against other parts will break down much faster.
On a standard bicycle, you can expect basically everything to hold up pretty well – apart from chain replacements, tire punctures, or small bits of maintenance. On an E-Bike the battery and motor introduce new problems to think about.
On any given Electric Bike, the battery is probably the part that will last the least amount of time. Now that doesn’t mean the battery will straight up die really fast. However, it does mean that the maximum charge it can take will drop over time.
The vast majority of Electric Bike batteries will last a good 3-5 years with minimal degradation. If you’re using the bike non-stop, expect that to drop. Cells deplete over time, even when not used.
The things that will help your battery life most are: –
- Never fully discharge the battery – Much like car batteries this can entirely kill cells or make them not hold as much as charge ever again.
- Keep the battery in the right conditions – Cold temperatures kill cells, as do hot ones. Optimal temperatures are between 59 and 95°F (15 to 35°C) though 32 to 113°C (0 to 45°C) is fine. Outside of these is OK but not great.
- Don’t overcharge – Don’t leave your battery charging after it’s full and don’t charge it every time after a ride unless you absolutely need to.
- Don’t store a battery fully charged long term – If you won’t use the E-Bike for a while, leave it at 60% or thereabouts. This prolongs battery life.
Motors are the most variable parts of an E-Bike, meaning that some motors will last longer than others based on a tonne of different variables. In general, quality is better. Over time though some motors will just have random issues, and certain lines may have specific faults.
Some motors like Bosch, Shimano, or Brose are made to high design and assembly standards. You’re more likely to get a warranty for replacement or repair on these. They’re also more likely to have specialists who can rebuild or service them if faults occur later on.
We’d expect motors to last years if taken care of. The main issue that could cause faults is if the casing is damaged and debris or water enters. After muddy rides make sure to take care when cleaning the motor and its casing for the best long-term use.
Brakes / Derailleur / Other Parts
- Chain – A standard chain wears and stretches. Of all bike parts, these need to be replaced the most. You can ride on a chain that’s worn out but it’s more likely to break or slip.
- Belt Drive – This will last much longer than a chain belt because there is less friction and movement. It’s more expensive to replace but the quality of your ride will go way up.
- Brake Pads – Cheaper rim brakes burn out pretty fast and need to be replaced every 500-1000 miles. Disc brakes last about twice as long.
- Cassette / Gears – These can wear down but if you keep them in good shape with cleaning and maintenance they’ll last years.
- Headset / Freehub / Bearings – These really vary depending on use and upkeep. Dirt, water, mud, or other debris getting into these can cause problems. Otherwise, these can last years and may just need rebuilding instead of replacing.
The frame on an E-Bike really should last 10 years or more without any issues. Poor welding is normally the cause of a bike frame to start to crack – which can be very dangerous. You can judge poor welding pretty easily by eye.
If you see a crack forming at a joint on a new bike, talk to the point of purchase and ask for a refund or replacement. However, most bike frames will last a decade or two and you can buy bikes from the 70s with perfect frames today!
Electric Bike frames are generally made to withstand more force and weight. In fact, E-Bikes are definitely better suited than most to people who weigh a little more. We even have a rundown of the Best Electric Bikes for heavy riders to help out.
If you have suspension, you may find it wears down, becomes less responsive, or just bottoms out over time. You can expect Electric Bike suspension to last a few years of use but you’ll probably need to adjust it a little over time.
Most of the time it will hold up very well without much bother. However, make sure dirt and water don’t get into the forks. This can kill your suspension and it’s common with riders who prefer muddy trails.
You can repair E-Bike suspension yourself or even get a shop to do it fairly cheaply. Sometimes the biggest problem will be getting the right parts and it does depend on the model of bike.
It’s tricky to judge how long tires last on Electric Bikes. In general, you’ll get a couple of years of regular use before needing to think about replacing them. However, it really depends on your use and the weather conditions they’re exposed to.
If you’re out on rocky trails, heavy gravel, or taking a lot of drops – expect problems sooner. Carry a spare inner tube or puncture repair kit and learn how to do a repair on the road.
You can also get by with worn-down wheels and it’s up to you to decide how much wear before they’re unsafe to ride. Manufacturer’s guidelines are the best guide to this.
One tip is to never ride on deflated tires. This makes it way more likely to get a puncture and increases overall wear.
E-Bike wheels will carry more weight so are generally a bit beefier than standard bike wheels. as ever, look for quality parts. Double-walled tires are absolutely worth the investment too.
A good way to judge roughly how long an Electric Bike and its specific parts will last is with the warranty. A higher quality bike will have a warranty for years – though often broken down by part.
One of our favorite Electric Bikes and currently our top pick for the Best Electric Bike For The Money is the Gazelle Ultimate C380. It comes with the following warranty: –
- 10 years for the frame
- 5 years for the fork and paint
- 2 years for the motor, battery, display, and other parts
That likely shows they expect the frame to essentially never break. The forks and suspension can take five years of battering and still be fine, as will the paint. Paint will naturally chip and break down with UV damage over the years, as with every bike or car.
However, the battery and motor can run into problems after a couple of years of use. It’s not unreasonable for people to hammer their bikes on the daily and see performance issues. Other parts would need replacing much like a standard bike.
All that being said, this is a great example of an excellent bike with high-quality parts and build quality. Not many manufacturers offer a warranty on anything but the frame.
Gazelle Ultimate C380
- Bosch Performance Motor
- Integrated 500Wh / 13.8Ah battery
- Carbon belt drive
- High-quality, name-brand parts
- Disc brakes
- High price
- Limited availability