Ebike Drive Train Concerns

reed scott

Well-Known Member
Waiting to get my first Ebike. I've watched several youtube MTB vids on the subjects of chains and cassettes. I'm old. I'm never going to be doing any wild trail riding. I manage a large ranch and will be riding mostly on dirt (rocky, gravely) roads with moderate hill climbing. I suspect I might use the throttle more than a younger person. I am anything BUT a speed freak. I can't think this sort of riding will be all that stressful on a drive train. But my bike will also have a Bafang Ultra motor and MTB gearing. I've had mountain bike style bikes for half my life and understand shifting technique. I'm wondering if anyone here with experience might ride like me and might give me advice on what sort of life I can expect on my drive train before getting a new chain and cassette.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
If you don't like falling down on tyrails, you'll probably ride that bike at a pace that will give you good chain life. What does a chain cost anyway, $25?
 

Lightning P38

Active Member
Waiting to get my first Ebike. I've watched several youtube MTB vids on the subjects of chains and cassettes. I'm old. I'm never going to be doing any wild trail riding. I manage a large ranch and will be riding mostly on dirt (rocky, gravely) roads with moderate hill climbing. I suspect I might use the throttle more than a younger person. I am anything BUT a speed freak. I can't think this sort of riding will be all that stressful on a drive train. But my bike will also have a Bafang Ultra motor and MTB gearing. I've had mountain bike style bikes for half my life and understand shifting technique. I'm wondering if anyone here with experience might ride like me and might give me advice on what sort of life I can expect on my drive train before getting a new chain and cassette.
Riding on dirt promotes chain wear, so there is that. Also depends on type of drive system.....you can get either a mid drive motor that mounts on your bottom bracket or a rear wheel drive motor. The rear wheel motor does not add any wear to your chain, as its power bypasses the chain and goes dirctly from the motor to the hub.
The mid drive motor runs power through you chain and adds wear to the chain.

On Most ebikes you select a power level and then your pedaling activates the motor. I just set a hill climbing power level and don’t use the throttle....as the controller delivers the power automatically so I don’t need to bother with the throttle. As I shift down the gears with the derailer going up the hill I slow down and the motor takes on more of the effort to get me up the hill.

With an ebike I still downshift to low gear when I stop, and run up the gears when I start.

Also chain wear depends on the width of the chain...an 11 speed chain is going to wear faster than a 9 speed chain.

A few variables to consider, but with a rear wheel motor, no additional chain or cassette wear should occur.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I should add, as a rancher, you probably enjoy cleaning your tools. Wipe down the chain as needed and lube it with bike chain lube. I do it once a year, but you might do it more often. A Parke chain gauge is probably a good idea. I don't own ome, but I think they're less tham 20 bucks.
 
Hi Reed,

There are a ton of things you can do to minimize wear on your transmission (I have an Ultra-powered bike too, and most of my riding consists of long climbs and then long descents on fire roads, so similar to what you are talking about, maybe just a bit hillier). First (and I am not a gearhead, so if I have put two and two together to make 5 here, anyone feel free to correct me) is to remember the incredible torque the Ultra motors places at your disposal - and to remember how mid drives convert your effort into a multiplier ... so ride with cadence (a steady chug, not too easy, not to hard) up hills in the lowest gear you can without wasting energy, and the lowest power setting you can ride in without blowing out your legs. AVOID setting the assist power to 5 and putting the bike in a high gear in an attempt to zoom up - you put way, way too much stress on your drive train that way. Next, when you see a hill coming, shift BEFORE you get to it, in a level, easy area, not WHILE you are climbing, if you can possibly help it. All that jerking with the bike under load (you in the middle of a hill) is a crusher to the drive train; if you have to shift on a hill, try and make the application of power after the shift as gentle as possible.