emily’s bike stuff
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Misc: Routine Maintenance

Just logging some routine maintenance on egret.

E-Bike Consumable Longevity

E-bikes sure do chew up consumables fast. This is egret’s first winter and it has been a rainy one, at least by San Francisco standards (which still isn’t that rainy lol).

I accidentally rode my waxed chain past 0.75% wear because I wasn’t expecting it to get there that fast. It took 1400 km. The first chain lasted 2050 km.

I also wore out the front brake pads I just replaced in 575 km. The rear ones are just about due. So I put another set of resin Shimano M05 pads in. Worth noting that I think these are kind of shitty pads, even for resin pads. It’s a quick job and an excuse to clean the brake pistons. A metallic compound would last longer than these resin pads but the rotors and calipers that come stock on a Kona Dew-E are resin-only — neither are designed to handle the increased heat from metallic compounds. It’s tempting to upgrade but I do like how quiet the resin pads are and I might as well ride all these things into the ground.

A pair of brake pads on a bench with very little pad material remaining.

Frankly that photo makes it look like there’s more material left than there was. It was low enough that the rotor was scraping against something, making a metallic plinking sound.

Also sheesh, winter makes your whole bike disgusting. Here’s the rotor, which I think still has another pad’s worth of life in it. Maybe I’ll try a 180 mm rotor when I change it!

Close-up of a disc rotor in a blue fork. There's a layer of grey grime streaks on the braking surface of the rotor.

Chain Wax

The chain I just wore through was the first chain I’ve waxed. I started waxing to improve longevity. Here’s the old chain. It didn’t stay super clean after several waxings — you can see a lot of dirty wax on it. However, it is clean to the touch and was rolling super smoothly. I hadn’t realized it was worn until I took a chain checker to it just as a routine check.

Close overhead of a chain with dried, dirty wax on it

That clearly didn’t go so well, so here’s some thoughts:

  1. Several folks told me that the increased load of a mid-drive motor will just be a more dominant factor than the chain’s lubrication. I think that’s probably true but I’m a bit skeptical that it’s the whole story here.
  2. Similarly, 1400 km on a chain in the winter for a mid-drive motor could arguably be considered quite performant and thus waxing still helped.
  3. I didn’t care enough for it in the rainy season — I could’ve gone too long between waxings, especially after several instances of having it sit outside in the rain during errands. It was squeaking one time (that I noticed) which means that there wasn’t enough wax left to sufficiently lubricate the chain. A lot of resources say to wipe your waxed chain dry after the rain and top-up the wax right after heavy rain. I’ll probably try to be more aggressive about rain treatment this time around.
  4. I fucked up the waxing process. Perhaps I didn’t clean the factory grease off well enough or contaminated my wax pot too much. This uncertainty about Doing It Right™ is one thing I hate about waxing and I know people who don’t bother with it because of this.
  5. Maybe those CN-LG500 chains just ain’t good for this! They’re certainly on the cheaper end.
  6. As Jay said, “chains just don’t last as long as people think.”

I waxed a CN-HG701-11 chain and installed that yesterday. I wish that Shimano had a shinier silver Linkglide chain instead of just grey ones.

A blue bike with the new waxed chain under a tree in some late afternoon light.


  1. Topped up the sealant on both tires. I was accidentally running them dry for at least a little while. tbh I’m pretty impressed with these standard casing Rene Herse tires — they probably each have 5000 km on them now1 and I didn’t get any flats while riding them dry, on-road and off.
  2. My pedal bearings are loose again! That didn’t take long. I replaced them back in October. I’ve heard these Stamp pedals are kinda infamous for this but maybe that’s just what you get with igus bearings. I’ll fill them with grease for now and I can’t decide if I’ll switch the bearings again or just ride these into the ground and then switch pedals. I kinda want purple Waveform pedals like Kat has on her Trek now.2

Everything reminds me of her.

A valve core tool resting on a valve core with sealant dripping out the stem.

  1. Egret has nearly 4000 km on it but they were on julien biker for a while. ↩︎

  2. Post on that to come! ↩︎