E-Bike Battery Safety Tips for Secure Bike Riding

A woman wearing a bike helmet installs an e-bike battery onto her e-bike.

As electric bikes have grown more popular over the last few years, e-bike batteries have become a burning topic—specifically their safety and maintenance. When used properly, electric bike batteries are safe and reliable. But, as with any new technology, it’s important to learn the important details and follow guidelines from reputable manufacturers like Specialized and Aventon.

In particular, the lithium-ion batteries that power most e-bikes have raised concerns. When these batteries are damaged, they can overheat, catch on fire, and even explode. According to the FDNY, the number of e-mobility device fires was about nine times higher in 2023 than it was in 2019. Not coincidentally, sales of e-bikes rose 231% during that time.

Complicating matters is the fact that it’s currently voluntary, not mandatory, for manufacturers to follow industry guidelines for lithium-ion batteries (though legislation is currently working its way through Congress to change that). In addition, the popularity of e-bikes means that some companies are cashing in by using cheap and unsafe batteries to cut corners.

None of this should prevent you from enjoying the e-bike of your dreams! When operated safely, e-bikes offer an easy, fun, eco-friendly ride, as the millions of people who have bought electric bicycles in the US already know. But that makes it even more important to follow safety standards for your e-bike battery.

Read on to discover:

  • The basics of e-bike batteries
  • Safety precautions
  • Storage, charging, and transportation tips
  • How to respond to battery-related issues
  • Preventive maintenance and care
Close-up of an e-bike battery charging.

Understanding E-Bike Batteries

Electric bikes pedaled past the competition thanks to the development of lithium-ion batteries, which offer higher energy density and capacity per pound than older battery types, like nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) and nickel-cadmium (NiCd). Newer e-bikes feature battery packs that consist of individual cells containing lithium ions. (Only the oldest secondhand models may have different chemistries, like the heavy lead acid batteries on the earliest e-bikes.)

E-bike batteries are made with cylindrical, prismatic, or pouch-shaped cells. Reputable manufacturers usually opt for cylindrical cells because they withstand higher temperatures without deforming.

There are several different kinds of chemistry makeups in lithium-ion battery cells: nickel manganese cobalt (NMC), lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), and lithium iron phosphate (LFP). There are trade-offs for each—LFP offers maximum safety but less energy storage, LCO provides high energy storage with a very short lifespan, and so on—but no single kind of chemistry has been deemed superior to the others.

A man installs an e-bike battery pack onto the downtube of his e-bike.

Another important part of the e-bike battery pack is the battery management system (BMS), which regulates the individual performance of each battery cell. This is a crucial piece because each battery cell would behave differently without the BMS; some would last longer than others, some might provide a little more power, and some might glitch out, leading to serious battery safety issues. The BMS is there to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

Lithium-ion battery cells derive power from electrolytes, which are minerals (generally in the form of salts) that carry an electrical charge. If that sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the electrolytes in your own body, which cause muscles to contract. In a lithium-ion battery, the electrolyte solution is a liquid that conducts ions in both the anode (positive end) and cathode (negative end) of the battery.

Most lithium-ion batteries feature a barrier between the anode and cathode. The problem is, when that barrier weakens or is ruptured, a chemical reaction can take place that results in “thermal runaway”—which may lead to e-bike battery fires. Even worse, the main ingredient in the electrolyte solution is ethylene carbonate, which is highly flammable and produces toxic gases when burned. Of course, with a properly manufactured and maintained battery, you should never have to worry about these potential risks.

An e-bike battery charger in the foreground with the e-bike blurry in the background.

Safety Precautions Before Riding

Making sure your e-bike is as safe and efficient as it can be starts the moment you step in the store. Keep these pointers in mind to ensure that your e-bike keeps on rolling as long (and as safely) as possible.


  • Buy your e-bike from a reputable brand. (Seems obvious, but you can always be sure their products are certified by a qualified testing organization, like Underwriters Laboratory. You can even ask your retailer, “Is this battery UL compliant?”)
  • It sounds boring, but read (and follow) the instructions from the manufacturer. The e-bike’s maker knows best.
  • Don’t use an off-brand or aftermarket replacement for your battery or charger. Many battery fires happen with cheap, high-voltage options that haven’t been safety-tested.


  • Store the battery at room temperature in a dry environment to avoid damage to the cells. Don’t store it in wet conditions or in direct sunlight.
  • Keep the battery away from children and pets.
  • Don’t cover or place objects on top of the battery or charger.


  • Always use the battery, charger, cord, and adapter(s) that came with your e-bike.
  • Don’t charge your e-bike battery around flammable materials. It’s best to charge it on flat, hard surfaces.
  • Don’t charge a damaged battery pack.
  • Don’t leave your e-bike unattended while it’s charging, and don’t charge it overnight.
  • Don’t keep the battery at full charge or at zero charge if you’re storing it for a month or more. Try to keep your battery charged between 30-70%.
  • Make sure to check the battery level before heading out for a ride—you don’t want to be stuck with a dead battery!


  • If possible, keep a backup battery pack on hand. If anything goes wrong, you can still reach your destination and contact an e-bike technician later.
  • Remove the battery when transporting your e-bike to protect it from damage.
  • If you transport your e-bike using a car rack, you should remove the battery and transport it inside your vehicle. If the battery detaches from the bike due to road conditions or a loose fitting, it can be damaged.
  • Just like helmets, batteries can be damaged by dropping them, and they should be replaced after a crash.
Two women wearing helmets ride e-bikes on a sunlit street.

Riding Safely with E-Bikes and Their Batteries

Now that you know how to store, charge, and transport your battery, it’s time to take your e-bike for a spin! But there are still a few important things to keep in mind:


There are several options for mounting e-bike batteries, including rear cargo racks, front cargo racks, triangle mounts, top tube saddle cases, and dolphin cases or battery cylinders that connect to the water bottle attachment points on the bike frame.

Each of these mounting styles has its own benefits and drawbacks. Generally, it’s best to position the battery pack close to the center of the frame and as low as possible (which makes battery packs that connect to the downtube especially popular).

As usual with e-bikes, follow the recommendations from the manufacturer or retailer and mounting/installing your battery will be a cinch.

An e-bike battery pack being inserted onto the downtube of a bike frame.


Here are a few easy ways to ensure that your e-bike and its battery remain in optimal condition:

  • Regularly monitor voltage. You can use a multimeter to measure your battery pack’s voltage output. For the most accurate results, charge the battery fully and disconnect it from the charger before testing. If the voltage reads significantly lower than the voltage supplied by the manufacturer, the battery may be damaged.
  • Track the capacity. E-bike batteries lose their energy storage capacity as time goes on. To track the capacity, fully charge the battery, then enjoy your e-bike while measuring the time or distance before the battery is depleted. If the time or distance is drastically less than the original specs, the battery may be losing its capacity and it could be time for a replacement.
  • Check for physical damage. The battery pack is, after all, the part that gives your e-bike its juice, so monitor it frequently for signs of damage. If you see cracks, bulges, or leaks, then the battery could be damaged or faulty.
  • Assess battery charging efficiency. If you notice that it takes longer than usual to charge your battery or it doesn’t fully charge, there could be a problem. Check the charger first by plugging it in and seeing if the indicator light turns on; if not, it may be the charger that’s the issue.
  • Take advantage of the BMS. Most battery packs come with battery management systems to prevent overcharging or over-expending the battery cells. Make use of the BMS’s features—sometimes they come with voltage readings, charge cycle data, and temperature monitoring!

Responding to Battery-Related Issues

Your e-bike and its battery will be fun and easy to operate most of the time—but inevitably, issues will arise. Here’s what to do if you notice a problem with your e-bike battery.

  • If a battery overheats or starts acting strangely (i.e., there’s a strange odor, leaking, odd noises, or a change in shape or color), stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer.
  • If the battery starts behaving in alarming ways and it’s safe to do so, move the battery away from anything that could catch fire and (in case of emergencies) call 911. 
  • If you experience sudden power loss during a ride, switch to a lower power-assist mode or pedal without assistance to conserve power. If the issue persists, contact an e-bike technician to resolve the power loss issue.
  • If you experience erratic or weak motor assistance, examine the motor cables and connections to ensure they’re securely attached and free from damage. If everything looks good, review your e-bike’s settings to make sure they’re at your desired levels.
  • If your battery is damaged, take it to an authorized dealer so they can check it before your next ride. (Never open or take apart an e-bike battery yourself! In addition to being dangerous, it’s a bad financial decision: most companies will replace a malfunctioning battery for free, but tampering with it voids the warranty.)
  • Is it time to replace your old (or damaged or malfunctioning) e-bike battery? Just take it to any bike shop, which should forward it to an eco-friendly battery recycling center.
Someone wearing gloves uses Muc-Off to clean a dirty mountain bike.

Finally, there are preventive steps you can take to get even more out of your e-bike battery pack.


  • Always remove the battery before cleaning the e-bike.
  • Clean the battery pack with a damp cloth.
  • The plug terminals between the battery and the controller (where the battery plugs into the bike) should be inspected regularly. Make sure the prongs aren’t bent, and if there’s grit, mud, or snow caked onto the contacts, clean them with a damp cloth.
  • To protect the fragile interior of the battery, it must be cleaned with a steam jet or high-pressure cleaner.


  • After each ride: Check the battery power display. If it’s at less than 30%, it’s probably a good idea to recharge the battery before your next ride.
  • Once a month: Monitor the connection points between the battery pack and the bike. Specifically, check for rust or grime and clean them if necessary.
  • Every six months: Do a general check on the wiring and electrical system, paying special attention to loose or missing connections. If you have a multimeter, you can use it to check the battery’s voltage.
  • Once a year: Get a general checkup at a qualified e-bike retailer. They’ll be able to diagnose any potential issues that can’t be spotted with a cursory inspection.

Performing regular maintenance on your e-bike (and specifically the battery) will extend its lifespan and make your rides as easy and enjoyable as possible!

Key Takeaways for E-Bike Battery Safety at ERIK’S

This might seem like a lot, but remember: e-bikes are fun, convenient, and easy to maintain as long as they’re properly cared for. To recap:

  1. E-bikes and their batteries are safe and easy to maintain as long as you follow manufacturers’ guidelines, but misuse can lead to risk of fire and other hazards.
  2. Store your e-bike battery indoors at room temperature, and make sure it stays dry.
  3. Always monitor your battery while charging it and remove the battery when transporting your e-bike.
  4. Check the battery level before heading out on a ride.
  5. Follow manufacturers’ guidelines for mounting and installing batteries as well as for performing regular maintenance.
  6. Aside from general troubleshooting, always have a qualified technician inspect and repair your e-bike battery!

As e-bikes continue to grow more popular, it’s more important than ever to prioritize safety and make the most out of this exciting, eco-friendly revolution in transportation. Now’s the time—especially in Minnesota, where the state government has implemented a new rebate program to encourage widespread adoption of electric bicycles. 

Two women wearing helmets ride e-bikes up a concrete path.

Still unsure what e-bike is right for you? Check out our e-bike buying guide, browse our exciting collection of e-bikes, and read more about proper storing and maintenance!

You can always be sure that ERIK’S partners with qualified e-bike manufacturers, like Specialized and Aventon, to provide top-notch electric vehicles and the safest possible accessories and equipment. We can’t wait to set you up with new e-bikes, gear, and the expertise you need to ride like never before!

If you have any questions or have concerns about e-bikes, batteries, or any other cycling gear, stop into an ERIK’S location or reach out using one of the methods below.

Text with a Human: 952-243-5476
Live Chat: Click the chat icon in the lower right-hand corner of this screen.
Phone: 952-351-9148
Email: braintrust@eriksbikeshop.com
Store: Find a Store
Toll-Free: 877-885-2453