eBike Brakes: Maintenance, Cleaning & Everything Else You Need to Know
- eBikes can have a few different brake types, including mechanical disc brakes, hydraulic disc brakes, and rim brakes (although these last ones tend to be less common and less effective).
- You’ll need a few tools to do eBike brake maintenance on your own—such as an allen wrench set, torque wrench, cable cutters, brake fluid, a bleed kit, cleaning solution, lint-free rags, safety gloves, and eye protection.
- To care for your eBike’s brakes, you’ll need to clean, maintain, and test them. If you have an eBike with hydraulic disc brakes, you should also flush the fluid out and replace it every year or so.
- Proper maintenance is essential for ensuring the safety, performance, and longevity of eBike brakes. With the right care, your brake pads could last between 3,000 and 7,000 miles.
Reliable brakes are vital for any bicycle, but this is especially true for eBikes, since the electric motor lets you get up to speeds you can’t reach with pedals alone. When it’s time to stop, you’ll want complete confidence that your brakes are up to the task. Learning a little brake maintenance lets you properly prepare for every trip—and we’re here to help!
Michael Blast eBikes might have a vintage look, but our brakes and other key components are fully modern and ready to handle the demands of your everyday rides. Below, we’ll teach you how to maintain, clean, flush, and test your brakes so you can always count on them.
Different Types of eBike Brakes At a Glance
eBikes commonly employ a variety of brake types, each having unique characteristics. The main types are:
- Mechanical disc brakes: cable-actuated brakes that create friction to slow you down by squeezing pads to rotors; known for their reliability.
- Hydraulic disc brakes: disc brakes engaged via hydraulic fluid; often more powerful but also more complex and difficult to maintain.
- Rim brakes: activated by using a caliper to apply pressure to the rim—less common on eBikes than on older bicycles.
Required Tools for eBike Brake Maintenance
Maintaining eBike brakes requires a few essential tools. If you want to do some maintenance by yourself, you should have:
- An allen wrench set
- A torque wrench
- Cable cutters
- Brake fluid (for hydraulic brakes)
- A bleed kit (for hydraulic brakes)
- Cleaning solution
- Lint-free rags
- Safety gloves
- Eye protection
4 Simple Steps to Caring for Your eBike Brakes
- Remove the wheels: Use a suitable wrench to release the bolts or quick-release mechanisms holding the wheels.
- Wipe down the brake rotors: With a lint-free rag and a specific brake cleaning solution, gently clean the brake rotors to remove any dirt or residue.
- Clean the brake pads and caliper: Utilize the cleaning solution and a lint-free rag to thoroughly clean both brake pads and the caliper, ensuring that no dirt or debris remains.
- Inspect brake pads for wear: Check the brake pads for signs of excessive wear or uneven wearing down, replace them if necessary.
- Adjust the brake cables or hydraulic lines: Use cable cutters and an allen wrench set to adjust the brake cables (for mechanical brakes) or hydraulic lines (for hydraulic brakes) to achieve the desired tension.
- Tighten all bolts using the torque wrench to the manufacturer's specifications: Ensure that all the brake system components are securely tightened, using a torque wrench according to the manufacturer's specifications.
- Lubricate pivot points if needed: Apply a suitable lubricant to the pivot points to ensure smooth movement, using a precise applicator to avoid overspreading.
Flush ‘Em (For Hydraulic Brakes Only)
- Remove brake pads: Utilize an allen wrench to remove the brake pads, protecting them from hydraulic fluid during the flushing process.
- Attach a bleed kit to the brake lever: Using the bleed kit specific to your brake type, attach it to the brake lever.
- Open the bleed valve and slowly push the fluid through the system: Wearing safety gloves and eye protection, slowly push the appropriate brake fluid through the system, observing for air bubbles and ensuring a thorough flush.
- Close the valve and reinstall the brake pads: Close the valve using the torque wrench and reinstall the brake pads with the allen wrench set.
- Safely ride the bike at a slow speed and apply the brakes to ensure proper function: Test the brakes by riding at a slow, controlled speed, checking for proper engagement and stopping power.
- Check for any unusual sounds, vibrations, or pulling to one side: Listen for noises, feel for vibrations, and observe any irregular pulling that may indicate issues. If anything seems out of the ordinary, consider repeating the steps above or taking your eBike for professional service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Caring For eBike Brakes
How long do eBike brakes usually last?
The lifespan of your eBike’s brakes will depend on a few different factors, including:
- The type of brakes it uses (hydraulic disc brakes like the ones in the Michael Blast Greaser tend to last the longest, whereas rim brakes usually experience wear and tear fastest)
- The quality of your brake components (Michael Blast eBikes use high-quality off-the-shelf brakes by trusted brands like Taiwan Star Union, which have a demonstrable track record of reliability)
- Riding conditions (keeping your eBike clean and dry will prevent corrosion and help your brakes last longer)
- How well they are maintained (always follow the steps above for best results).
However, with proper maintenance, most brake pads on an eBike last between 3,000 and 7,000 miles.
What happens if I don’t take care of my brakes?
Regular brake maintenance is essential for ensuring the safety, performance, and longevity of your eBike. Neglecting maintenance can make your brakes less reliable, contribute to wear and tear elsewhere on your eBike, and create potentially dangerous situations.
Should I fix my eBike brakes myself or get professional service?
Ultimately, that’s up to you and how confident you feel working on your eBike’s brakes. If you’re handy and the steps above make sense to you, there’s usually no harm in trying—but you should probably start with smaller tasks like cleaning your rotors before you jump right into flushing and replacing brake fluid.
If you decide professional service is a better option, make sure to choose a shop that’s familiar with the type of eBike you ride. For example, going to a Michael Blast dealer near you is the best way to find a technician who can tune up the brakes on our bikes and make sure they’re ready to perform.
How much does brake maintenance cost for eBikes?
Different shops all have their own rates, but brake jobs tend to be on the less complicated side of the things you’d normally bring your bike to a shop for. In most cases, you should expect to spend under $200 to have your brakes professionally cleaned and maintained—even if you’re having a hydraulic system flushed and replacing the fluid.
Stay Safe & Give Your eBike a Brake
Using the info above, you should have everything you need to perform some simple brake maintenance and continue riding safely. Make sure you have the right parts for your eBike, gather your toolkit, and keep on cruising in style.