How To Care For Your E-Bikes If You Live On the Coasts

Living on a coast can be an amazing thing. But some elements can challenge the longevity of their vehicles. Sand, salt, heat--all these can present challenges that someone living in a landlocked location might not be as susceptible to.

That doesn’t mean you need to worry. ZuGo Bikes are well-made and built from excellent materials. But everyone loves that little extra bit of support and reassurance.

For that, we offer this guide. Let it help you keep your bike in great shape and make you feel actively involved in its maintenance.

Frame-ing the issue

Protection first

Most bikes boast an aluminum frame. That makes them rust-resistant. And that’s excellent. It isn’t, however, rustproof.

To give you and your bike an extra measure of protection, the application of a silicon spray once a month is a great add-on. Spray it down, give it some time to dry, and you can be on your way, even more protected than you already were.

Besides protecting from rust, a silicon spray has the bonus of protecting your paint job too. So not only will it keep your e-bike going strong, it’ll keep it looking great too.

Keep it clean

While we are sure it is obvious, it bears a mention: when something is dirty, clean it up. That goes for your bike frame too.

How often? There is no hard rule here but as needed is a good suggestion.

Is the bike starting to look dirty? Take an especially muddy ride? Soaked by a thundershower? Those all seem like a fine time to wipe it down.

Best practice may vary between bikes. Generally speaking, though, a gentle rub down with warm soapy water and a soft cloth should do the trick.

For a more intensive clean, an all-in-one bicycle cleaning kit might not be a bad idea. Giving you what you need in a handy single package means it travels well. If you know in advance you are going to be riding some dirty roads, drop it in a saddle bag or put it in your basket.

It will also be great if you take your e-bike on vacation. You might not have easy access to outdoor water or soft washcloths where you stay, but with the kit by your side, you won’t need to.

What’s inside matters

Frequently, we are great about keeping the exterior of things in tiptop shape. It is easy to give a bike a look and notice the mud or dried salt on the frame. However, we might just miss something if we only focus on what we can see.

Moisture can sneak into the bike and you will likely never notice. So rather than try to guess, we recommend being proactive.

Frame protecting sprays with linseed oil--linseed is the key--can do for the inside of your bike what the silicon spray does for the outside. Be sure to concentrate on all the tubes and brackets and your internal steel should be strong for years to come.

Beyond the frame

Don’t go off the chain this time

While the frame is the largest element of any bike, and therefore the easiest to focus on, ignoring the other components can undermine an e-bike’s longevity too.

First among these areas to focus on is the chain.

Rust represents a danger to chains as well. In fact, it probably is a threat you’ll feel more acutely in your chain than the frame. If you look around, you’ve probably seen all kinds of vehicles still work with rusted frames. A rusted chain, however, may very well lead you to walk your bike back home if unaddressed.

The other danger for chains is friction. That’s the irony of it. Friction helps you propel a bike forward, but anything that ends up increasing that friction--sand, dirt, and so on--can turn that process from productive to damaging.

Start cleaning and degreasing the chain. Using a chain scrubber will help you make sure the chain is as clean as it can be.

Once the chain is clean, you’ll need to lubricate it. Selecting a lube will change depending on the season and location. An easy trick to keep in mind is you want to pair wet lubes with places and times of high moisture and dry lubes with drier or more sunbaked locations.

Whatever lube you choose, be sure to steer clear of those with wax. Wax lubes increase the possibility of chain suck. If you couldn’t tell from that name, we assure you chain suck is well worth avoiding.

Once you have your chain cleaned and lubed, it is always a good idea to add a sealant. This’ll add an extra layer of protection for the times between cleanings.

Take a brake for maintenance

Brakes are important to any bike, but they’re especially important to e-bikes. Giving them a once-over twice a month will protect you from any nasty surprises.

Keeping them clean will increase the brakes’ lifetime too. So you stay safe and save money. A highly recommended combination.

Getting the most charge

While e-bike batteries have no moving parts and thus nothing to fear from dirt, sand, or salt, the weather can still impact them. Living on the coast, you know how hot a summer day can get and how cold a winter night can be. Those temperatures can wear down on your battery too.

The fix is simple. When you don’t need it on the bike, bring it inside. That’ll keep it temperate while at rest and remind you to charge it. Another win-win.

The best offense is a good defense

Watch where you are riding

Living by the coast doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ride on sand or in the water. So don’t.

You can still enjoy the thrill and convenience of the e-bike and the beauty of the beach while keeping the vehicle relatively free of encounters with saltwater and sand. This is not a situation where you must choose one or the other.

Ride to the beach and store your bike nearby. You still can have a great day at the beach, use your e-bike to get there and back, and not worry about one might endanger the other.

Perhaps you aren’t a big beachgoer, but you love being near it, taking in the sight of it as you ride. No issue here either. Stick to the sidewalks, streets, or boardwalks that run next to the beach. All the beauty, sights, sounds, and smells, none of the worry.

If you really want to ride on the sand itself, just prepare your bike for the occasion. Favor thicker all-terrain tires at a lower pressure, avoid sharp turns and gear shifts as much as possible, and, when done, make sure you follow through on the maintenance tips listed above as soon as possible.  

Cover up for goodness sake

You may feel great about actively protecting your bike. Cleaning it often, greasing and lubing as needed, not riding where it might do unnecessary damage.

Your concern, though, is what happens when you aren’t around. You can’t keep an eye out all the time and things can happen that you might even realize.

For those times, a cover offers the most “leave it and forget it” protection. There are a variety of options that offer different sizes, materials, levels of reflection, and more. Consult guides online and you’ll be making the best choice in no time.

Look beyond yourself

Take a course

Lots of shops will offer courses on e-bike maintenance to give you guidance and support. Don’t worry if you don’t have an independent shop near you either. Large chains are just as likely, if not more so, to have these kinds of offerings.

These courses are good for general knowledge, which is always useful whether you live in the middle of a valley with no bodies of water in view or right on the beach.

Additionally, if you are living on the coast and taking a course in the same area, the instructors will likely be able to include tips specific to the region. And if they don’t in class, they will almost certainly be willing to answer some questions afterward.

Never hurts to consult an expert

Anyone with an e-bike can benefit from taking it in for maintenance regularly. The recommendation is every 600 miles (or 1,000 kilometers). Again, this is a general guide for anyone with an e-bike.

Still, for those in areas where the weather, climate, and landscape features may pose a unique risk to an e-bike, the need is only increased. Regular maintenance benefits everyone and might just benefit a coastal dweller like yourself even more.

Plus, as with the courses recommended above, getting maintenance done where you live means you are likely going to have someone looking over your bike who is familiar with the challenges that might face it living by the coast.

This means you can count on them to do a great job and they’ll be a super helpful resource to ask about what you can do between routine visits.

Sometimes the manual is best

We all know how it is. We’d rather do almost anything before cracking the spine on an owner’s manual. We’re guessing you do too. Understandable. But this once? We definitely recommend it.

The suggestions above will likely have you covered, but each bike has quirks. You may be able to identify differences on sight, but not always.

For example, some bikes might be able to take a good hosing down without a bit of concern. Other bikes might suggest you be a bit--or a lot--more cautious about how and where you use water. That’s the sort of thing the manual will make sure you know.

Like we said from the start, we don’t just want you to have a ZuGo Bike now, we want to go the distance with you. Taking note of the manual’s suggestions for maintenance will help with that.

Trust your bike

The most important thing to stress here is, “don’t stress.”

Part of the fun of e-bikes is their ability to go nearly anywhere at almost any time. The ZuGo Rhino is a powerful machine made of materials intended to stand up to the elements. So don’t live in fear of salt spray or heavy rain or a windy day kicking up a lot of sand.

No one is perfect. There is no way to avoid everything. So trust that your bike is well-made and meant for the outside. The suggestions above will help give it an ever longer smoother life. But don’t take them to mean your e-bike is fragile.

So get out there and enjoy your coastal living. Your ZuGo can take it.