How do I use my brakes correctly

Although brakes are there for your safety, improper use can result in an accident and injury. It is important that you know the potential risks of applying the brakes too sharply. Because ebikes can travel at higher speeds than normal bicycles and weigh significantly more, it is important to use high quality brakes because the bike will require more force to bring it to a stop than a traditional bicycle. A danger with eBikes and a reason why their maximum output is limited is the speed that they can travel at. Applying the brakes too firmly at speed can be dangerous,

Wheel Lock

Applying the rear brake too harshly you can experience wheel lock or skidding. Wheel lock can be dangerous for inexperienced rides as it will cause a temporary loss of control while the the wheel is not in motion. If you experience wheel lock, it will actually reduce the effectiveness of your brakes. The braking effectiveness can be thought of in terms of a scale, the easier you apply the brakes the longer it will take you to slow down and the harder you apply them, the faster you will slow down. Your brakes are at their most effective right before you experience wheel lock and any extra pressure on the brakes after this point will cause your wheel to lock and at that point your grip will be significantly reduced. This point can change depending on the weather and riding conditions along with the condition and level of wear on your brakes.

Where rear wheels experience wheel lock, applying too much force to and locking the front brakes can result in a “load transfer”. This is where your bike and the load on it wants to keep moving forward despite the front wheel being locked. This can come to a point where the rear wheel lifts off the ground and potentially throw the rider over the handlebars due to the rider’s forward momentum. Similar to braking with the rear wheel, your brakes will be most effective at the point where the rear wheel is just about to lift off the ground.

Kill Switch

Motors on eBikes are directly connected to the brakes and feature a “kill switch”. This is an important safety feature that comes into effect when the rider applies pressure to the brake, the motor automatically switches off even if you are pedalling or holding the throttle. This is to prevent the motor overpowering the brake and making your braking ability less effective.

Take Care

Taking proper care of your brakes is crucial so their effectiveness is not sacrificed. A common mistake people make when assembling their electric bike is touching their disk brake. You should avoid touching the disk with bare hands as much as possible. Oils from your skin can get onto the brake and reduce its effectiveness. It is also important that if you are cleaning or maintaining your bike with oils or lubricants not to get any on the disc itself as this will also result in a loss in braking power.

The brakes on electric bikes work by pinching the brake disc. It is crucial that when you are storing or transporting your bike that you do not damage your disc. The mechanism that pinches the disc as the brakes are applied depends on the disc being absolutely true for maximum effectiveness. The pads need to pinch the disc equally and if the disc is slightly off, warped or dented the brakes will not be effective.