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Quick-Start Guide for Better E-Biking

E-bikes open up new possibilities, but their systems can seem a bit overwhelming at first. We want you to have the best possible experience riding your new e-bike. To get you going faster, we’ve created this easy-to-follow overview and maintenance guideline.

A Few Cycling Basics

Always wear a helmet. Choose a safe route that avoids automotive thoroughfares. Obey traffic laws at all times. Make yourself visible! High visibility/reflective clothing and lights help drivers see you. Using lights at night is mandatory but it’s also a good idea to use them in daylight as a driver’s vision is often impaired going in and out of shadows.

If you’re new to riding e-bikes, remember to always ride defensively; it can be difficult for drivers to gauge the speed of a person on an e-bike. We recommend planning your commute in advance. Often the safest routes for bikes are different than if you were driving. Check out the interactive Portland “Bike There!” map at

Never leave your bike unlocked. We recommend a good quality U-lock, heavy duty chain lock, or folding link style lock. Don’t rely on a cable to secure your e-bike—they’re notoriously easy to cut through.

Properly fitting your e-bike to your body will ensure your physical comfort while riding. Small adjustments to the saddle and handlebars can make a big difference. A professional bike fit reduces your chance of injury, maximizes your performance on the bike and is essential for long distance riding. We provide fitting services that can be scheduled directly from our website.

Think of your e-bike as technology on two wheels.

As with other personal tech items, most e-bikes have firmware that should updated at least once a year.
Updates are free for the first year after the purchase date, so mark your calendar.

Your friend, the app

Most e-bike systems have companion apps that integrate the bicycle with your smartphone. These apps allow you to adjust the motor output as well as manage battery usage. 

Take the time to familiarize yourself with these features as they allow you to optimize the bike for your use case. 

Some apps have mapping features and can connect with other third party apps to enhance your riding experience. Many e-bikes can even connect with a bicycle specific GPS device to display relevant battery and power information on your GPS.

Download Your App Below:

Specialized + Globe

E-Bike Apps

All Turbo Bikes 
Vado, Vado SL, Como, Como SL, Tero, Tero X, Levo, Levo SL, and the Creo.

Specialized Android on Google Play
Specialized for iOS on the App Store

Globe Branded Bikes from Specialized like the Globe Haul ST and LT.

Globe for Android on Google Play
Globe for iOS on the App Store

DISCLAIMER: The Specialized app and the Globe app are SPECIFIC to the bikes. They are not interchangeable and you cannot view a turbo bike in the globe app and vice versa.


E-Bike App

For e-bikes we currently sell from Santa Cruz and Cervelo, those being the Santa Cruz Skitch and Heckler SL, and the Cervelo Rouvida

Fazua for Android on Google Play 
Fazua app for iOS on the App Store

There is also a desktop app called Fazua Toolbox, available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Fazua Toolbox for computers


E-Bike Connect App

For e-bikes equipped with Nyon or Kiox head units. Compatible models include Cannondale Topstone Neo, Moterra, Scott Strike, and Patron. The base Bosch Purion black and white display is NOT compatible with any app, and doesn't need one to function. 

Bosch eBike Connect for Android on Google Play

Bosch eBike Connect for iOS on the App Store


E-Tube Ride Apps

For any Shimano motor equipped e-bike. Currently the bikes we stock with this system are the full power Santa Cruz Heckler and Bullit.

E-Tube Ride for Android on Google Play

E-Tube Ride for iOS on the App Store


E-Bike App

Currently the only models we stock with the TQ motors are Scott bikes, specifically the Solace and the Lumen.

TQ E-Bike for Android on Google Play

TQ E-Bike for iOS on the App Store


My SmartBike App

Currently we only have one Scott model - the Addict E-Ride - with this hub motor system. We have had some Cannondale models in the past with this system.

My SmartBike for Android on Google Play

My SmartBike for iOS on the App Store

Range; it’s complicated

“How far can I go before recharging?” is the most common question we get when talking about e-bikes. 

Since many factors can affect battery life we can’t provide a precise range for a given bike. Rider weight, power output mode, hilly terrain, the type of tires, and temperature can all drastically affect the range of an e-bike. We recommend riding in “Eco” mode on a familiar route so you can learn the effective range of your bike for your riding style.

A pedal assist e-bike is a union between a traditional bicycle drivetrain and an electric drive system that amplifies your pedaling input.   
The drivetrain is the heart of your e-bike.

Drivetrain essentials

The electric drive system on your e-bike is an advanced piece of technology that requires software updates in addition to regular bicycle drivetrain maintenance. These updates fix bugs, improve battery usage, and keep your e-bike operating properly.

Bicycle drivetrains wear from mileage, riding conditions and the amount of force applied while pedaling. E-bikes equipped with mid-drive motor systems transmit the motor’s power to the rear wheel through the chainring, chain
and cassette. 

Since mid-drive e-bikes significantly increase the force on the drivetrain, expect to see shorter service life from drivetrain parts, with chains typically having the shortest life.

Chain wear indicators can be used as a guide for when to replace your chain but even when following the manufacturer’s recommendation you may experience a decline in shifting performance when using a new chain on an older chainring/cassette.

Your e-bike’s cassette, chain, and rings wear in unison. It’s difficult to determine if the cassette or an individual chainring is worn out until a new chain is installed and the full system is tested together. Proper testing is crucial to ensure safety and functionality.

Good habits for drivetrain longevity

You can minimize wear on your drivetrain by following the service and riding guidelines below. Note, the drivetrain of e-bikes equipped with hub drive motors will experience wear similar to that of an analog bike but these guidelines will still be beneficial.

Keeping your chain clean and lubricated will extend the life of the rest of the drivetrain. Use a quality bicycle chain lube. We recommend a drip lubricant, rather than aerosol, to avoid overspray on your braking surfaces.

The chain will make noise when it needs lubrication. Replace the chain every 500-600 miles; alternatively, invest in a chain wear indicator and replace the chain when indicated.

E-MTB note:  Harsh conditions seen in mountain biking make it even harder to estimate how many miles a chain will last. Inspect the chain for damaged links, and inspect the cassette for damaged or worn teeth each time you lubricate.

Good shifting technique can significantly prolong the life of your drivetrain. Try to ease up on the pedals every time you shift gears. This cuts power to the motor the moment you make the shift resulting in a much quieter and smoother shift. 

When shifting gears while pushing hard on the pedals, the added power from the motor will cause the chain to make a loud pop as it moves from gear to gear. This added stress on the drivetrain accelerates wear and can lead to premature failure.

Use the gears of the bike like you would drive a manual transmission car. Shift to an easier gear before coming to a stop. If you come to a stop with the bike in a high gear, getting started again puts a tremendous amount of strain on the motor and drivetrain components. 

Just like a car, it’s possible to start in 3rd gear but it’s really hard on the clutch and the engine bogs down.

Each motor system has an optimal cadence range. This depends on the brand and model of the motor, but is normally between 70-90 rpm.

When pedaling below this range the motor will be called on to provide its maximum torque which will drain the battery faster and increase stress on the drivetrain. Pedaling in the 70-90 rpm range will improve your battery’s range because the motor is being utilized in the range of its peak efficiency.

Shift your gears frequently to maintain the optimal pedaling cadence. This helps distribute the wear across the entire drivetrain.

We often see people ride their e-bike in just two or three gears, heavily relying on the motor to help them accelerate from a stop. This can wear out the cassette in as little as 250 miles, because it concentrates the wear in just a few gears.

Get to know your battery

The battery of a modern e-bike stores a lot of energy and requires special consideration to achieve the best efficiency and maximum lifespan. We’re all familiar with the basic care needs of rechargeable batteries and many of the same rules apply to your new e-bike.

Charge times will vary depending on the size of the battery, measured in Watt-hours (Wh). Typically, the battery can be charged to 80% relatively quickly, the final 20% charge is what takes the longest time and places the greatest stress on the battery cells.

If you’re using your bike daily it is a good habit to charge it up to 80% on most days and up to 100% occasionally to rebalance the charge of the individual cells.

If the bike is going to be stored for more than two weeks, the battery should not have a full charge. Most manufacturers suggest that a battery should be stored with 50-80% charge, at 60-70 degrees.

Check the status of the battery every 90 days if you are not using the bike, the battery will slowly lose charge when sitting idle. If left too long, the battery can completely discharge causing irreparable damage to the cells. If you go for a ride and completely drain the battery, plug it in to a charger as soon as possible after returning home.

Avoid charging the bike to 100% if you plan to be riding or transporting the bike in hot weather. Most systems will shut down if the temperature of the motor or battery cells rises above the safe operating temperature.

Proper storage

It’s best to store the bike in a dry, temperature controlled area. The temperature should be between 35-90 degrees, with the ideal range being between 68-77 degrees.

Mind the water

Most modern e-bikes are rated for riding in the wet conditions we experience in the Pacific Northwest; however, do not submerge the motor or battery while crossing a stream or puddle as this can cause the system to fault. While cleaning the bike, avoid direct spray towards the motor and
any electronics.

Schedule your free 30-day inspection

Your free 30-day inspection should be done 30-60 days after purchase. This inspection allows our mechanics to make any necessary minor adjustments to your bike after it has been ridden several times. Please visit our website under the “Services” tab to schedule your 30-day service Inspection appointment online. 

Note that the appointment time is for bike drop-off only, not the time your bike will be serviced.

If you’re bringing your bike from outside the Portland area please call ahead to schedule your service appointment.

Make regular maintenance part of your routine 

Keeping your bike in good mechanical condition will providelongevity for the components, ensure safety and create a better riding experience overall. Here’s some basics.

Cleaning your bike will familiarize you with its parts and give you a chance to inspect for damaged tires, worn brake pads,
damaged cables, and, if your bike has front suspension, loose pivots.

Disc brakes are standard equipment on e-bikes because they provide more braking power with less hand effort than rim brakes and are less affected by adverse weather conditions. 

When new, disc brakes need to be broken-in before they reach their full stopping power. The process involves repeatedly accelerating to 15-20 mph then firmly applying one brake until you have slowed to walking pace but not a full stop. Repeat this approximately 15 times for each brake.

With the added weight of an e-bike and the higher speeds they can attain, brake pads and rotors can get hot and wear at a faster rate. Inspect your brake pads and rotors regularly and replace them when worn.

Hydraulic brakes should be serviced every year to flush the old fluid out of the system. Avoid dragging the brakes for extended periods as this can overheat the rotors and braking performance will suffer.

Familiarize yourself with the proper use of thru-axles and make sure the wheels are secure. Make it a habit to regularly check
that the thru-axles are secure, the perfect time to do this is when checking your tire pressure before leaving for a ride.

If your new bike is tubeless tire compatible/ready, we strongly recommend setting them up as such. Tubeless tires offer tremendous benefits to traction and eliminate the possibility of pinch flats. 

The sealant should be replaced every two to six months to ensure optimum performance.

Inflate your tires before every ride to prevent pinch flats. Lighter weight riders require lower pressure than heavier riders. Inspect the tires for debris and remove any shards of glass or thorns.

Learn how to fix a flat tire. It’s not difficult, but it does take practice. Fixing a flat tubeless tire is a different process than replacing a tube. Be sure to carry a tubeless repair kit. 

Our staff universally loves and recommends the Dynaplug Tubeless Tire Puncture Repair Tool.

Tires with tougher casings are available if more flat protection is needed. Adding tire inserts will eliminate nearly all punctures and provide added rim protection.

E-MTB considerations

Suspension is the biggest technological advancement since the advent of the modern mountain bike. It significantly reduces the impact the rider must absorb and gives more control by keeping the tires in contact with the ground. To get the most performance out of your suspension, the setup is critical. 

Suspension forks should be set up with 15-20% sag while rear suspension should be set to approximately 25-30% sag. Always refer to the manufacturer’s website for suspension setup instructions.

Suspension forks and rear shocks should be wiped clean after every ride. The suspension fork and rear shock should be serviced according to suggested intervals specified in the suspension owner’s manual and manufacturer’s website. Preventive maintenance is inexpensive compared to the cost of a new fork or shock.

Dropper seatposts allow for significantly more control in steep technical terrain by allowing on-the-fly adjustment of the saddle height. They operate in much the same way as the height adjustment on a modern office chair. It’s a good idea to include the seatpost alongside your fork and shock when servicing.

Annual service

We recommend getting your bike serviced at least once a year—more if you ride a lot. The off-season is the best time to schedule service, during summer months the service department is booked out weeks in advance. 

Our service pros will always do an on the spot evaluation and do their best to address immediate needs while scheduling more involved repairs for a 1-2 day turn around.

We’re always here to help!

E-bikes are a rapidly evolving technology and manufacturers are racing to develop new parts that will meet the added demands the motor puts on your bicycles drivetrain.

You can count on our Service pros to give you the best advice regarding replacement parts when it’s time to service your bike.