How To Set Up An Electric Mountain Bike | E MTB Maintenance

How To Set Up An Electric Mountain Bike | E MTB Maintenance


– So you have literally
just ripped the receipt out of the till, said many
thanks to the shopkeeper. Slung your bike in the van
and headed to the woods, and done one to two hours
ripping round the trails. However, you’ve paid
very little consideration for your bike set up. Now, setting up your E-bike
is really, really important. So today we’re gonna
talk about suspension, tires, but first of all, that fit. The relationship between
you and your E-bike. How do you get the perfect
fit on your E-bike, after all the weight
distribution on an E-bike is quite different to
that on a normal bike. What we’re gonna be discussing is actually the quite complex
and sophisticated connection between your body and your bike. Because it all has a
huge impact on control, comfort, fatigue, and grip. So what we’re talking, we’re
talking hands, bum and feet. Now in terms of E-bike specifics, most of them tend to
have a longer chainstay than normal bikes. And
what that does is means there’s more grip on the rear tire. Added to that, a lot of the
weight on a lot of E-bikes is up front because of
where the battery is placed. And what this means is you
don’t have to be so concerned with keeping that front wheel on the deck. You can indeed run a
higher bar on an E-bike. Okay, so what we’re gonna be examining is the relationship
between the bar, the seat, and the pedals. Because all
combined have a huge impact on the dynamic ride of the bike. It doesn’t matter whether it’s climbing, descending, or ripping
through single track, you will find that the
millimeters do matter. So the first step of the big three figures is that between the
crank and the handlebar. Why is it important? Well, because it has a huge impact on your weight distribution, which in turn leads to levels of fatigue and grip on the front tire. Any shop will be able to help you in getting your sizing right.
That is step number one. However, you can fine tune that distance between changing such
things as your handlebar, your stem, and the position
of your stem in the steerer. Now this is hugely personal of course, different bodies, different
shapes, different weights. But it’s gonna have huge
impact on your comfort, and your control on your bike. Okay, so number two on
our numbers hit list, is the relationship between
the handlebar and the seat. Now, obviously if you’re descending, this number is not really that important. However for climbing and
transferring, that’s a key number. Now, chainstay will have an effect on this but where your position
your seat and your handlebar is gonna have a huge impact
on your weight distribution as you’re going up those hills. You can manage it by shifting
the seat forwards in the rails which has an effect of putting
more weight further forwards, or you can raise the stem or the handlebar which has an effect on
shifting your torso backwards, which means there’s more
grip on the rear tire. And why it’s important is because that you can actually climb steeper, more technical terrain
on an E-bike sat down. So you need to kind of manage exactly where you are on the bike. Number three, the seat
to crank measurement. So why is it important? Well, quite clearly if you’re descending, you really don’t want that
seat getting in the way. Luckily, we have seat droppers today which means this number
is infinitely adjustable. So obviously as you’re
transferring through undulating single track, you’re gonna be altering that height for comfort, traction and power. However, very importantly is on an E-bike, you can have these super technical climbs. So managing that weight
distribution rearwards or forwards which affects the grip on the
tire, is really important. The seat dropper is more
important on an E-bike than on any other bike. Now, many people think of
suspension as a dark art, which it can be, it can take many years to really fine tune your suspension. However most mountain bike brands have a base set up on their website so, it really is the first port of call to get your suspension
set up on your E-bike. If you’re in the field it’s really simple. You’re looking for 30%
sag, front and rear. Now to do this, all you do is put the O-ring on the
fork, down to the seal and you put the O-ring
on the shock absorber, up to the base of the shock there. You get on the bike, Don
can you give us a hand? So remember, you’re looking at 30% here. So you just jump on the bike, and get into like a standing position. Okay that’s up there and that’s
down there, then I get off. Okay, what have I got? I think the fork, probably could have let
a bit of air out of that. And on the shock absorber, I need to put a bit more
air in the shock absorber. But that’s a very basic guideline. 30% front and rear sag. Don, how would you do it? – So with air suspension
it’s actually really simple to change all the air pressure in there. But you will need a shock pump. It’s not very easy to do
this with anything else. It is possible but it’s a bit of a bodge. To let air out I’ve seen people just use their fingernail and push it in, but you’re not gonna get a
very accurate measurement. So use your shock pump for
putting air in and taking out. So again, if you need more
sag obviously take air out. If you need less sag, put more air in. On my fork, it’s really helpful this, there’s a sticker on the back
of it that gives you a guide, as Steve’s talked about really. You can find these on the
websites, but this is on the fork. And it says for my
weight, so about 70 Kilos, it says 55 to 65 Psi, however
you need to add 10 Psi to that for an E-bike, to account for that weight. So we’re talking 65 to 75 Psi, hopefully that’s gonna
get your sag about right. So things get slightly more complicated when you go to the back on my bike, because I’ve got a coil shock. So I don’t have an air
shock, like Steve has. And I don’t the advantage of
being able to see the stroke, and have that rubber ring
for the amount of sag. What you will find is that bikes come with different rated springs on there. So this is a medium sized bike, that spring rate should there
or there abouts suit me. When you go to the large or an XL they will get higher rated springs. However, for a really light
rider or a really heavy rider, you may have to change
the spring on that bike. You can wind some preload
on using that cap, but you can’t do too much of that. My best piece of advice here would be to actually talk to the
manufacturer or the bike shop. They should be able to
recommend you a spring weight, for that bike and for your weight. Moving on to some pro
suspension set up tips here, I think our 30% sag rule works
really well for most people, but I think with some experience, you’ll come up with your own
preferred suspension set up. And actually I like to run
a slightly harder fork, so I actually aim for about
20 to 25% sag on my fork. However, on this bike here I’ve got this Rockshox Lyrik up front, 180 mil’ travel. And actually I find that
after a day’s riding, my O-ring sits about there, so I’m not using the whole travel. If I was using that full 180
mil’ it’d be sat up there. And actually what that tells me is that I’ve got the sag set correctly, but my fork is too progressive and it gets too hard at
the end of its travel. So what I can do is take out
some of those volume spacers in that fork, make that
fork less progressive, make it more linear,
and I’ll probably find that fork works a little
bit better for me. – Okay the basics here are tire pressure. Now, if you’re a newcomer
to mountain biking or you’re light, you need to be looking
at between 15 to 20 Psi, at least you can get away with
that. As you become faster, you’re gonna need higher tire pressures. Now, I’m 90 Kilos and
I run about 28 to 30. The Don, who’s pretty
fast and is 70 Kilos, he runs about 28 to 30 as well. But there’s a much bigger
picture to talk about with tires. I mean the first thing is tread pattern. Now on an E-bike, you’re gonna be climbing
the super steep hills. Make sure that you’ve got
plenty of grip on the back tire. Now, some E-bikes come with
quite a slick back tire. Now, if you live in
kind of dry, hot climate with smooth trails, that’s gonna be fine. However, if you live in a climate where there’s a bit of wet, bit of dry, bit of kinda this and that, you should be looking at a
different tire type on the back possibly something that’s
got some bite in there. Okay, secondly let talk about
the broad range of tires. You’ve basically got wet tires, dry tires and intermediate tires. Now, you might wanna explore this as your riding experience
kind of broadens. So it’s definitely gonna
be a massive advantage if you’re living in a wet
climate to ride a wet tire, cause its gonna give you loads
more confidence on the trail. Equally if you live in a dry
climate with loads of rocks you don’t wanna be riding
a wet weather tire. So just some things to bear in mind there. Now there’s another part of tires that comes into the picture as
well, which is tire compound. Now, I think that on an E-bike, you can actually get away
with softer compound tires. Which means you’ve got
more grip, everywhere. The thing with soft compound
tires on non E-bikes is that they’re quite
drag, they’re very heavy, they’re about between one to 1.5 Kilos so it puts a lot of people off using them. But on an E-bike it’s not such a problem and so it’s definitely
worth something to look into is getting soft compound tires, maybe kind of 2.5’s on your
E-bike in dry conditions. So, thanks for watching. Like I said if you want some more detail, we’re more than happy to do this. If you wanna see some E-bike
tips from The Don, click here. Don’t forget to give us a thumbs up and we’d love you to subscribe. Thanks guys.