Service needs and availability


New Member
I didn't see this in the search.

My wife and I are in our 50s and looking to get 2 e-bikes to do more riding. We're also see retirement on the horizon.

We are in the San Francisco Bay Area, so lots of shop options, but we also can see moving away in 2 or 3 years.

The bikes we are considering are the Gazelle, Specialized, and Pedego city/commuting style. These seem like brands that have been around a while and hopefully won't disappear anytime soon.

So the question is, how much maintenance/service should we plan on for the bikes? I don't see doing a ton of riding, but maybe 500-800 miles a year.

Second, if we do move to another (likely smaller) city, should we be concerned about maintenance/repair? I imagine finding a store that services Specialized is pretty easy. Gazelle seems to have standard components, so can't be too hard to find a shop that works on these. Pedego, however, may be more challenging.

Am I overthinking this?
It's wise to consider where you will get service. A lot of shops won't touch direct-to-consumer bikes or"off-brand" ebikes. If you want to be able to hand any issue off to a shop and be fully hands off, even "standard components" aren't enough if they don't want to touch ebikes.
I’d recommend checking out Trek. When I first started considering e-bikes about a year ago, I reflexively dismissed Trek as too “generic”/boring; because they’ve been such a household name for so long, I just assumed their e-bikes would “decent at most things but not excellent at anything.” I recently proved myself wrong by getting a Trek Verve+ 4s step-through and have been *very* impressed both by the bike and by the service at my local Trek store. I’ll try to post a mini-review at some point; for now, I’d recommend adding Trek to your list of brands to consider. (And there’s a Trek store or Trek dealer pretty much everywhere, so unless you’re potentially moving somewhere remote, there should be one relatively nearby regardless of where you end up, so service should be readily available).

Note: the Trek isn’t my sole ebike - I have two others from “boutique” brands (a Lemond and a Vintage Electric). Each fills different niches/needs; plus, my family members also ride them. But if I had to only keep one, the combination of the Trek bike’s attributes with the very high degree of customer service from my local Trek store would make it a strong contender for the one I’d keep.
Lived in a big city and moved to a small city. Both places had basic bike shops that could do general tuneups on normal bike components. Luckily haven’t had an electric issues. I’ve been surprised how basic the ebike really is and don’t expect many issues. Two years and 2000 miles and just basic tuneups and a brake upgrade for safety and peace of mind. Tires still look new. I do like the pedego warranty of five years for peace of mind on your first bike. I test rode one and was impressed but bought a different bike that just felt right on the test ride. Good luck on your bike search! Be sure to look for torque sensing. Much more natural pedal feel than cadence sensor.
Pedego has more dealers than anybody. OTOH they are a geared hub motor bike, which is okay in hilly S. Indiana but might be a problem with the extreme hills you have in San Francisco. Giant Trek Gazelle & Specialized are mid-drive bikes. Better cooling on hills, but more chain replacements required than hub motors. Service? I get about 2000 miles out of brake pads & tires (knobby for less flats). Tighten the caliper up about every 1000 miles.
Real steel cables about 10000 miles, whereas grey metal cables on bargain brands need adjusting every couple of hundred miles.
Chain, I get 5000 miles on my hub motor bike with 8 speed chain. I oil chain & cables every couple of weeks, but I leave my bike parked in the rain sometimes. Mid drive bikes chain life 3000 to 800 miles, 11 & 12 speeds are the shortest life chains.
Derailleur takeup, the next sharp stick that pokes it will destroy it. Watch out for sticks on the curb on garbage day.
I've got 10000 miles on my bike and have just replaced pedals (non bearing) and the front sprocket I use the most is showing visible wear. Will change it this winter. Rear sprockets are okay, even though I ride unpowered 3/4 of the distance.
I've worn out gears on one hub motor in 4000 miles, but replacement was only $260 plus spokes ($30). First controller started erroring out (pas pickup code, a big lie) at 4 1/2 years & ~8000 miles. Battery has 9000 miles, 5 years, and is fine.
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Where you live you have access to all the bikes. Just test ride them and see what you like. I do my own bike maintenance, so I don't worry about bike shops, but if you spend 2 to 5k on an ebike you'd want a guarantor on the machine. Any bike shop can do the work on the mechanical stuff.. Doing the electrical stuff is more difficult, largely due to that is another level of knowledge.