By Emily Drinks
It’s every electric bike rider’s worst nightmare. You’re making your way up a steep hill when suddenly the motor cuts out, and you’re left trying to make up the slack as you power up the hill on your own. Why would your electric bike cut out on you while you’re riding it, and what can you do to keep this from happening again, especially if you don’t live near a shop that services e-bikes?
Since e-bikes are battery-powered, the first logical place to start troubleshooting would be the electrical system. E-bikes work primarily like regular bicycles, with a few extra electrical and mechanical parts to contend with.
A dead battery would be our first potential culprit. But if you’re experiencing intermittent cutouts, it might be a little bit more complicated than that. If you have an older e-bike battery, it may begin to fail under a load even if it’s fully charged. If a single cell in the battery starts to fail, your bike’s battery management system may be shutting off your power to prevent the battery from overheating.
Next, check your battery prongs. The issue could have been as simple as a loose connection that got knocked around whenever you hit a bump or a rough patch of road. The location of the battery and its prongs will depend on the bike. Some have them installed on the cargo rack, while others might have them attached to the frame of the bike.
At the same time, you’ll also want to double-check the e-bike controller. This mini-computer handles things like power distribution and transfer. If it starts to fail, it could cause your bike’s power to cut out.
Why is My Electric Bike Cutting Out? Mechanical Problems
If the electrical system on your e-bike checks out, your next step will be to start looking at mechanical parts that could fail.
These could include anything from the throttle on your handlebars (many of which start to stick and fail after repeated use) to the brake sensors. Notably, brake sensors determine when to shut off the power because you’re trying to slow down.
A super bumpy road can also knock the brake or pedal assistance sensors out of alignment, which is enough to cause an intermittent cutout.
While there are other mechanical components to a bicycle, when it comes to troubleshooting an e-bike power loss issue, they aren’t going to apply to this situation.
Image: sipa/ Pixabay
When to Ask for Help
If you have gone through all these steps to troubleshoot the issue, and you’re still experiencing intermittent cutouts with your e-bike, it might be time to ask for help.
There may be some calibration issues that you’re not equipped to handle, or there may be something that you need specific tools for that aren’t readily available at your local bike shop. Either way, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
While they’re traditional bikes at their core, e-bikes do have some electrical components. It can take the skills of a trained electrician to keep them running.
Don’t Stop Riding
Don’t let something like a cutout issue make you stop riding your e-bike. You might take some time to get used to it, but once you get the hang of keeping these bikes running, they’re a fantastic tool that can help keep you fit while reducing your carbon footprint.
While power cutouts can be inconvenient, they’re not generally dangerous unless you’re in traffic. You’ll have to work a little harder since e-bikes are heavier than traditional bikes, but you won’t be stranded on the side of the road.
If your bike starts cutting out when you’re driving down the road, try out these troubleshooting tips. You might be surprised by how easy it is to fix yourself.
Emily Drinks, a Digital Content Specialist, worked with Juiced Bikes (JuicedBikes.com) to create this content. Juiced Bikes is a California-based electric bike company offering innovative and top-performing electric mobility products at an accessible price.