Pitfall of electric bike

2 minute read


When I moved from Connecticut to San Diego in 2013, one thing I paid attention to when searching for a house was to find one within reasonable distance from work. I knew that San Diego has nice weather and commuting by bicycle was feasible. So to save money and get some exercise, I cut the number of vehicles in my household from two to one and bought an electric bike to commute. (In 2020, I went back to two vehicles because we could no longer keep up with only one vehicle to manage kids’ activities.)

Commuting with an electric bike has been great because I can avoid the traffic jam and the parking fee charged by the university. However, after commuting for nine years, I am no longer so sure if keeping an electric bike is worth it.

Given the distance and frequency I have been riding the bike, it is normal that I got many flat tires and had to replace the brakes (twice). Once the bike got stolen on campus. Luckily it was covered under my home insurance (after paying for the deductible). Once the bike frame snapped in two pieces. Luckily I only got minor scratches because I was riding at low speed on campus. Furthermore, the frame was under lifetime warranty and the manufacturer sent me a new frame. I was able to get all parts transferred to the new frame at a nearby bike shop. The battery died twice. This was the most painful thing to deal with because the battery is expensive. The first time was because it started to rain heavily while I was riding and water leaked into the battery. The second time was because I didn’t use the bike for over a year during the pandemic.

But now I have a new problem. When I turn on the motor, I lose power for no apparent reason. Sometimes power comes back shortly, other times not until a long time. This is too inconvenient because San Diego is hilly. Unfortunately, the bike manufacturer (Prodeco) went out of business a few years ago and it’s no longer possible to get parts. I contacted 6 or 7 bike shops nearby but they all refused to service electric bikes. One bike shop owner even told me that he doesn’t recommend buying electric bikes because it is nearly impossible to get the bike serviced when there are issues in the electrical components.

I am not sure what to do with my bike. For now it’s sitting in the garage. Maybe I will eventually find a bike shop that can fix it. Or maybe I will remove all electrical components (to make it lighter) and use as a regular bike.