Bike Safety Checks You Should Always Do
September 9, 2022
Who wants to be surprised by an unknown existing nail in their tire while already out on their bike ride? Definitely not us! That’s why it’s always a good idea to do a thorough bike inspection before you head out biking, regardless of if you’re a brand new electric bike rider or a seasoned one. This will not only keep your bike in tip shop shape but ensure you have a safe bike ride! Not to mention, regular bike safety checks can also help you get ahead of any maintenance that may be needed!
You won’t always need to check every inch of your bike, down to the last axle nut. Instead, we’re going to show you a concise list of things that should be on your bike inspection checklist before each ride, like the ABCs (Air, Brakes, Chain), as well as some things to keep tabs on both post-ride and regularly. Let’s get started!
Pre-Ride Bike Safety Check
To ensure your safety and your ebike’s longevity, there are a handful of pre-ride safety inspections you’ll want to undertake, many of which you may already be doing. If this checklist seems difficult to initially follow, hang in there! In time, you’ll find your routine and it’ll become second nature. And if you’re looking for a more extensive pre-ride bike inspection schedule, check out our Ultimate Ebike guide!
ABCs: Air, Brakes, Chain
- Air: Properly inflated tires help prevent flat tires and promote general safe riding. Check the sidewall of your tire to verify if your tire pressure is within range. The manufacturer will specify the recommended limit. Inflate your tires or deflate as necessary. While inspecting the air, take a moment to check for cracks, obstructions, or excessive wear on your tires. And don’t forget to grab your essential bike repair kit in case you get a flat!
- Brakes: Walk your ebike beside you and take turns squeezing your front and rear brake levers. This ensures your brakes are engaging properly and reducing speed smoothly.
- Chain: With your ebike’s tires safely lifted off the floor, inspect your chain and all the gears (if applicable). Use a clean, dry rag and grasp the chain anywhere between the gears and pedals. Spin the pedals a few times so that the chain runs at least one full cycle through the rag, picking up any dirt or debris. Then apply lube as directed by the manufacturer. This is an important step to ensuring your gears shift effortlessly and your drivetrain stands the test of time.
The second component of your pre-ride bike safety check is to ensure that the essential bolts are tight and secure. This includes the following:
- Wheel: Both wheels’ axle nuts should be tight. Tires should not be wobbling.
- Handlebar: Ensure the bolts are tight and the handlebar is straight in alignment with the wheels. If you have a removable display and/or throttle, ensure the bolts are fitted securely to the handlebar and the handlebar to the headset.
- Saddle: Check that the seat is adjusted to the right height for you and it is centered. Tighten the clamp to lock your adjustment in place.
Post-Ride Bike Checks
There isn’t necessarily an extensive post-ride bicycle inspection checklist. The key really is to address any hiccups that surfaced during your ride; you’ll want to tackle them right away so you don’t forget! If you had nothing but smooth riding, giving your electric bike a quick wipe down is up next on your bike checks. Doing so will not only keep your bike clean, but it gives you a chance to review the major parts of your bike, inspecting for any damage. Using a clean, dry rag, wipe down the chain. You may use a damp rag to clean the frame of your ebike, but be especially cautious of its electrical components. Also keep an eye on the tires, rims, pedals, and straightness of the wheel. If you notice any cracks or damage, do not ride your bike; It's imperative that you consult with a local bike shop or contact the manufacturer for further support. Again, a bike inspection such as this will not only help with routine safe-keeping but can also help you get ahead of any major repairs or maintenance needed!
Routine Bike Inspection and Maintenance
Regular bike checks, consistent cleaning, and careful attention to the anatomy of your ebike will help you discover solutions to any issues before they cause larger problems or compromise your safety. Depending on the frequency of your bike rides, whether you’re a daily rider or weekend warrior, you may need to go through this bicycle safety checklist more or less frequently. You can also reference our Ultimate Ebike guide for a more detailed electric bike inspection and maintenance schedule!
Weekly Bike Checks
In addition to your pre-ride and post-ride inspections, the following are some safe-keeping best practices to monitor at least once a week. You don’t need sophisticated bike tools to do them and should be a straightforward undertaking.
- Inspect the hardware for the proper torque (i.e. exact tightening making sure they aren’t too loose or too tight). Consult with the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that they meet the recommended torque values.
- Inspect the drivetrain (this includes the chain, chainring, freewheel, and derailleur) to ensure it is properly aligned and functioning seamlessly.
- Clean the frame by wiping it with a damp cloth, avoiding any moisture near the electrical components of your electric bike as well as the drivetrain.
Bolts not being torqued to the recommended levels, an improperly functioning drivetrain, or damage to the bike frame and/or electrical components can all cause component failure, or worse, resulting in compromised riding safety.
Monthly Bike Checks
This part of the bike inspection checklist occurs less frequently but is nonetheless equally important. You’ll be conducting a bit more of an in-depth inspection of your ebike, which may require more sophisticated tools for a tune-up. Looking further into the performance and functionality of your electric bike, these bike checks will help determine where safety may be compromised, and if so, what you’ll need to do!
- Check brake pad alignment and brake cable tension, cleaning both the brake and shift cables. Be mindful of any corrosion or shredding among the brake or shifter cables. This could be a sign for a replacement!
- Continue checking if your bike is shifting properly, then clean and lubricate the drivetrain.
- Check spoke tension. True and tension both wheels if you discover any loose spokes.
Following your monthly bike testing is a complete tune-up. It’s recommended to have your electric bike professionally tuned up at least once a year to year and a half if you’re a casual rider, or twice a year if you’re a daily rider. Your local bike shop will likely offer this service, and will check all of the above and more to ensure your bike is performing at its peak and keeping you safe!
A Final Word
Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to electric bike riding and upkeep. With these regular bike safety checks, your own bike personal checks, and routine maintenance, your ebike will last well into your future! But if at any point you’re not comfortable undertaking any of the bike safety checks we’ve mentioned, seek out expertise from your local bike shop! They often have highly knowledgeable technicians who can diagnose any problem and get you rolling back out the door. And always factor in how often you use your bike! The less you ride, the less often you’ll need to take your bike in for a professional tune-up. The more often you ride, the more you’ll want to stay ahead of any problems that may arise. At the end of the day, the goal for your bike is to function in tip-top shape, getting you from point A to point B safely!