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What’s the Lifespan of an Electric Bike & How to Extend It

Apr 25, 2024

What’s the Lifespan of an Electric Bike & How to Extend It

So, you’re considering an electric bike. But you’ve got questions…chief of which: how long does an e-bike last?

I get it. With all the supply chain issues for electric components and the general idea that “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” floating around, is an e-bike really a good investment?

Short answer: Yes. But there are things you should know.

In this article, you’ll get the full download on the actual lifespan of an electric bike and how to extend the life of yours.

So, what’s the average lifespan of an electric bike?

A typical e-bike lasts around ten years if we're talking raw numbers. And if e-bikes are anything like traditional bikes, they’ll have multiple owners during that decade.

Aside from the overall lifespan of the bike itself, here are a few other figures you should know:

  • Electric bike batteries typically last 3-5 years or between 800 and 1,000 charges.
  • Batteries reach their peak performance at ~500 charge cycles.
  • You can normally expect to ride 10-30k miles before replacing your battery.

While the e-bike and battery go hand-in-hand when it comes to your daily ride, when the battery is shot, you aren’t forced to go out and buy a whole new bike. Luckily, the cost of replacing an e-bike battery is pretty reasonable by comparison.

BUT..while we’re talking about longevity, let’s talk about the numerous things that can directly impact the life of your e-bike and battery.

7 Important factors that affect the lifespan of an e-bike

Just like with a traditional bike, many things come into play regarding how long your e-bike lasts and whether it will be a money pit.

Here are the key factors that affect the lifespan of an e-bike:

1. Configuration and Build

Making sure you have the right build for your intended usage is critical to getting the most mileage out of your e-bike.

Obviously, if you select a bike that isn’t specifically designed for a certain type of terrain or usage, it won’t hold up. You wouldn’t take a beach cruiser out on the desert crags and expect it to perform, right? It’s the same concept, even for simple usage like commuting or pleasure cruising.

2. Size

This is an instance where size matters. Make sure to get the right e-bike size for your height and weight IN CONJUNCTION with the intended terrain and usage.

TIP: Learn more about selecting the right size e-bike for you in this article.

3. Quality of the Components

The quality and durability of the components inside your e-bike play a huge role in the longevity of your ride.

The cheaper the bike, the cheaper the components. This means it will most likely not last the average decade-long lifespan that I mentioned above.

However, even the best components have a limited lifespan.

  • Chains and tires last between 1,000 and 3,000 miles.
  • Gears near the front cog last 3 to 4 years.
  • Batteries last between 3 and 5 years.

You should expect to replace some of these basic components every few years…which is similar to what you’d expect with a traditional bicycle.

4. Basic Maintenance

How you care for your e-bike and whether you regularly service it also plays a huge part in whether you’re gonna get the full ten years.

Think of it like getting oil changes on your car. You know better than to skip it…the last thing you need is a busted engine.

Find a local bike shop you trust that has a good track record of working with high-performance electric bikes and make a habit of having it serviced regularly.

Or, if you’re a cycling aficionado, do the work yourself. Just don’t forget.

5. Daily Care and Cleaning

Environmental factors like temperature, humidity, dust, and rain can have a major effect on the lifespan of your bike as well.

So remembering to wipe down your bike after every ride, especially particularly dusty or muddy rides, is crucial. The last thing you need is rust or muck seizing up your gears on a steep hill.

If you work toward wiping it down after every single ride, no matter what, you’ll be well on your way to an e-bike you can pass down.

6. General Usage Patterns

Keep in mind that the harder you push your bike, the faster it will wear out, especially if it’s not made for the beating you’re giving it.

Ride hard, but remember that your e-bike will respond to the abuse, especially if you’re riding hard in extreme weather. Big swings in temperature can put your bike components under more stress than usual, and the rate of failure is much higher.

7. Storage

Where and how you store your e-bike when it's not being used is another critical factor that plays into its longevity.

Just like with daily care and cleaning, making sure that you’re intentionally storing your e-bike during downtime is a simple thing that can turn into a major disaster if ignored. Most important is storing your e-bike during the winter, the wet season, or unseasonably hot times.

TIP: Get the skinny on how to properly store and winterize your e-bike. 

Factors to consider when buying an electric bike for longevity

Just like the items mentioned above, there are many factors to consider when purchasing your next e-bike, especially if you’re going for the long haul.

Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind:

Battery Capacity

It’s a pretty standard rule that the higher the voltage, the higher the battery efficiency. And while it’s not 100% guaranteed, higher efficiency could result in a longer battery life.

Component and Material Quality

As with standard bicycles and pretty much everything else out there, the higher the material quality and component quality, the longer the lifespan of the machine.

Name-brand components are always a good bet, but since many components are manufactured overseas, nothing is guaranteed. So, make sure to do your due diligence when selecting an e-bike.

TIP: Here are 7 Reasons a Cheap E-Bike Will Cost You More In The Long Run

Customer Reviews and Brand Perception

Crappy reviews are there for a reason. It doesn’t matter how big a brand name or how high-end the components are if something’s rotten at the head of the brand.

Poor customer feedback and brand perception could shed light on issues that may not be obvious when you’re researching the numbers or public documentation.

Support & Service Access

A high-performance item like an e-bike is only as good as the after-sale support and service you have access to.

Always research your local bike shops and related warranties before making a purchase.

How to prolong the lifespan of your electric bike

Whether you already have an e-bike or you’re looking to get one, keeping it in tip-top shape and treating it like the high-performance machine it is are key to making it last.

When it comes to prolonging the life of your e-bike, the same 7 factors that affect the lifespan are the key to pushing it further.

  1. Select the right type of e-bike for your intended usage or riding patterns.
  2. Make sure you have the right size bike for your height and weight.
  3. Do your research to ensure that the components and materials are top-tier.
  4. Service your e-bike regularly, just like you would a car.
  5. Wipe down your e-bike after every ride.
  6. Don’t push your e-bike too hard in extreme weather conditions.
  7. Always store your e-bike in a dry, temperature-regulated place.

An e-bike can last you a good long time if you treat it right.

Electric bikes are just like everything else out there. If you make sure you buy the right e-bike for your needs and take good care of it, it will take good care of you for about ten long years.

If you’re lucky, it might even last longer.

Bottom line: Don’t go cheap if you want your e-bike long enough to make your investment worthwhile. Here’s a rundown on why buying a cheap e-bike is the worst decision you could make.