- 9 April 2021
What Is the Drivetrain Wear and Service Cost for e-Bikes?
Are you considering purchasing an e-bike? Are you wondering about the cost of ownership that you will encounter? Then we’ve got the answers you need!
Generally speaking, an electric bike is more expensive than a regular bike – on top of the “normal” bicycle components, you need to account for the cost of the battery, motor, design, and electrical equipment. The actual investment depends on the chosen brand, the size of the battery, and the type of components.
The e-bike community often refers to the mantra ‘you pay for what you get’; buying cheap often goes hand-in-hand with buying twice. Digging deeper in your piggy bank when you purchase an e-bike should therefore definitely guarantee you loads of reliability, satisfaction, and lower costs in the long run.
E-bikes that are used for commuting purchases often become the primary means of transportation, whilst an e-mountain bike offers significant power to ride trails more regularly, both at higher speeds and for longer distances.
So, whether you are planning to use your e-bike as an alternative to your car for you daily commuting or for mountain-biking for pleasure with your friends, after the purchase often comes the question of the type of maintenance needed.
Either way its purpose, e-bikes usually wear out components, especially the drive line and gears way faster than their non-electric counterparts.
So, what are the real cost of ownership of an e-bike? Does it vary between the gear type that you choose for your e-bike? Let’s get started!
Do e-bikes need maintenance?
All types of bikes, no matter if normal or electric, need servicing.
As an e-bike contains both electric and non-electric components, regular workshop visits are required to maintain the desired efficiency and performance. The need for maintenance depends on the type of e-bike components, the usage, the riding style, etc.
The non-electric parts are usually exposed to more speed, force, and weight and are therefore quite prone to maintenance activities – some components, such as the brake pads or tires, will need to be exchanged more frequently than for a traditional bike.
What wears out the quickest on your e-bike? Based on our experience, it is the drivetrain and gear. On e-bikes the difference between the built-quality of different driveline and gear systems is huge, resulting in different needs for maintenance.
Generally, cassettes and chains must be replaced several times in the e-bikes lifespan; whilst the motor and battery system are built for lasting several 10.000kms, a cassette or chain will last a few (2-3) thousand kilometers at best.
What are the service costs?
No matter if you hop on your e-bike every day, only on the weekends, or are climbing steep mountains with it – every e-bike needs regular servicing.
The degree of service costs greatly depends on your e-bike activities. Do you commute on your bike almost every day? Then a trip to the service station every 2 to 3 months would be recommended. If you, however, use your e-bike for leisure weekends, the service need might shift to every 5 to 6 months.
Maintenance price will depend on the specific bike workshop and whether new parts need to be installed; some service stations charge an additional fee for e-bikes, also when only a normal check-up is performed.
On the bright side: if maintained properly, a high-quality e-bike should serve you for 7 to 10 years!
Can the need for maintenance be reduced?
As mentioned before, some e-bikes demand more service activities than others. One of the bike components that affect the need for maintenance is the drivetrain, which is the choice between an internal gear hub and external derailleur cassette gear.
Can one say whether the cost of ownership is cheaper for internal gear hubs or derailleur gears? Not necessarily! Like with the other components of your e-bike, the service costs very much depend on different factors, such as the years in usage and the kilometers ridden.
We have made some simple calculations to facilitate the comparison; assumptions that we made include the average lifespans of a cassette, a chain with cassette, a chain equipped with the XIV, the avg. price of a 10-speed cassette and 10-speed chain.
Internal gear hub or derailleur for the e-bike?
Whilst derailleurs have a cheaper cost of acquisition than the Kindernay XIV internal gear hub, the picture of service cost changes significantly throughout the usage years. This means that although the derailleur is relatively cheap when purchased, its service cost will skyrocket throughout the e-bike’s lifespan. By experience, you can expect to change components of your derailleur such as chains and sprockets regularly after approximately 800 miles.
Accumulated Cost of Ownership per kilometers
The Kindernay XIV internal gear hub, on the contrary, is more expensive in its acquisition but will have an almost constant service cost during the entire lifespan.
This is mainly because the internal gear hub is adjusted for life and requires almost zero maintenance, therefore lasting much longer and having a bigger service interval; the only cost of service is limited to an oil change every 5000km / or once a year. So, no matter where or how you are planning to ride your e-bike, the internal gear hub will not disappoint.
Accumulated Cost of Ownership per year
Another crucial aspect to consider is the hidden costs of having to change your drivetrain.
Generally speaking, there is a big discrepancy between the lifespan of your e-bike motor and the cassette, meaning that you have to change the cassette relatively often to match the lifetime of the motor.
The process of changing your drivetrain at the workshop can be a real pain, as it will most probably leave you without your e-bike for the days to follow. As the Kindernay XIV internal gear hub needs way fewer service efforts, it therefore reduces the time and the frustration of service costs – and increases the time and joy spent on the e-bike!
Are you curious to find out more about the Kindernay XIV? Check out our webpage and find out more information about it!
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