How Long Does an E-bike Chain Last?

It’s been two years since I bought my first 750-watt mountain electric bike, and the electric bike chain keeps coming off and slipping. I didn’t give a damn until the chain got jammed way in the derailleur.

Afterwards, I did my testing and found that an e-bike chain can last anywhere from 2 to 4 years, depending on the traveling range and terrain type. Some can last for 2500 miles, while cheaper ones won’t even go 700.

Today, I’m giving you everything I found about E-bike chain replacement, when to change it, and how.

I’ve also added a chart of every time you need to change the chain. Check it out to know when you should replace an e-bike chain.

Why Is My Ebike Chain Skipping?

Turns out, my e-bike chain started skipping due to a rusty and worn-out chain and cogs. Plus, I used the mountain e-bike on muddy roads, which further degraded the chain’s quality. Overall, after I traveled 800 miles sharp, it was time for an e-bike chain replacement.

If you want more than 1500 miles of run time from the chains, go for a KMC EPT or Shimano HG71.

Why Is My Ebike Chain Skipping

Don’t use a worn-down e-bike chain for long. Else, your cogs will face premature corrosion.

How long Does an E-bike Chain last: Chart of relevance

Going through chain flaws manually for a replacement is hard work. As it’s a must to change an e-bike chain after certain usage, you can try out this chart to find out your chain’s limit.


Bike Type

Wearing down limit
Traveled distance (miles) Years of usage Charge cycles
Mountain E-bike 600-1500 miles 2-3 years 30-80
City Commuters 2000-2500 miles 3-4 years 100-130
Sand and Snow E-bike 1000-2000 miles 2 to 3 years 50-100
Off-roads and Countryside e-bike 1500-2200 miles 2 to 3 years 70-120
Cargo e-bike 600-1500 miles 2-3 years 30-80

Pro-Tip: City terrains provide the most longevity to e-bike chains. So, if you regularly use an e-mountain bike in cities, the chain will last twice as long.

How Long Does An E-Bike Chain Last According To Road Type

The e-bike chain can wear faster or slower, depending on the road type. Chances are, you ride on any of the five terrains below. Let’s see how long an e-bike chain lasts on these road types:

City or Modern Roads

I got more than 2000 miles of chain longevity on city terrain. City roads are pretty much flat, and I hardly found bumps and woops. No wonder modern is the best for e-biking.

Off-Roads And Countrysides

While riding off-roads, my e-bike chains took quite a lot of damage, especially in the rollers and rivets. However, the chains were usable for up to 1800 miles of roughhousing.

Sand And Snow

Every weekend, I enjoy some peace and quiet on the beach, riding my fat tire e-bike. After riding up to 1600 miles, my chains were loose as a goose. Literally no tension.

I would recommend you to change the chains every 1500 miles of usage. Else, you will need to change the cogs.

Mountain Tracts

Having slopes of various angles, mountain tracts are the worst for e-bike chains. Me and my e-bike for steep hill climbing had tons of fun until the chains snapped right off. Yet, I could ride around 800 miles with the e-bike chain.

Things that determine how long an E-bike Chain lasts

After doing my testing, I found e-bike chains performed the best on smoother roads and without any added weight. Here are all the factors worth mentioning:

Quality of the chain

Better quality chains will provide more run time. Shimano and KMC make the best e-bike chains in the market. So, how long should a Shimano and KMC Chain last for an e-bike?

Well, with the right road and weather conditions and user weight, a Shimano and KMC chain will be anywhere from 1500-2500 miles.


The road type may be the most important factor yet. City and modern roads have a smoother surface, which reduces the load on the chain and other bike parts.

Whereas rough and bumpy roads like off-roads, countryside, and mountain tracts offer the least chain durability.

User weight and carrying load

Other than the terrain type, the user weight and carrying load can also determine how many miles your chain can withstand. This is why cargo e-bikes have a life expectancy of 1000 miles maximum.

Rule of the thumb, don’t shove everything you have on your e-bike. Generally, the total weight shouldn’t be more than 170 lbs.

Environment and maintenance

Moist, wet, and muddy environments are the worst for e-bike chains. You can try lubricating the chains a bit.

I maintained my e-bike chains regularly, like removing the dirt, readjusting the chain, and a few fixes here and there. Surprisingly, my riding range skyrocketed 300 miles more.

When Should I Change My Ebike Chain? Let’s find out

If the chain drops from the cogs, get tangled, or stretched bike chain symptoms are too much, it’s time for a replacement. So, how do I know if my chain is worn?

Well, I tried pulling the chains first and started calculating the total charge cycle. My mountain E-bike can go 25 miles per charge, so I had a total distance range of 800 miles. A loose chain is the first sign it needs a replacement.

Here are all the ways you can use to detect a bad e-bike chain:

Low tension symptoms

A low tension is the first thing you will see before a chain goes bad. Here are the steps you need to follow to know whether the replacement is a must:

  • Take the chain to the lowest cog.

Take the chain to the lowest cog.

  • If the cage plate touches the cable adjustment barrel, your chains are too loose.

If the cage plate touches the cable adjustment barrel, your chains are too loose

  • Make sure the chain has a bit of tension and the cage plate is a bit lower.

Make sure the chain has a bit of tension and the cage plate is a bit lower

Lifting the chains and doing the road math (Not 100% accurate)

  • If you can see daylight from three or four teeth after pulling the chain, your chain is loose.

Lifting the chains and doing the road math (Not 100% accurate)

  • If you traveled more than 1000 miles with the same chain, chances are, you need a replacement.
  • You can also calculate the miles traveled by multiplying the charge cycle number with the mileage per charge.

Using a ruler scale

  • Take a ruler scale with 12 inches length.
  • Now, line up the first rivet at zero and measure the length of the chain.

Place the chain checker in-between the chains

  • Your 24th rivet should line up with 12 inch of the ruler.

Your 24th rivet should line up with 12 inch of the ruler

  • If the 12 inches of the ruler doesn’t line up with exactly 24, you need a replacement fast.

With a Chain Checker (highly Recommended)

This method is the easiest and most accurate of them all. However, you will need a chain checker.

I used an MZ-32. You can use any chain checker you want.

Here are the steps:

  • Place the chain checker in-between the chains.

Place the chain checker in-between the chains

  • If the value shows 75, your chain is way beyond repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change my e-bike chain?

If the chain stretches more than 0.75% or skips the cogs frequently, then it’s time for a chain change. Other than this, there are no fixed parameters on how often you should change an e-bike chain.

Why my E-bike Chain Keep Falling Off?

A longer chain is to blame if it keeps falling off the cogs. With usage and time, the rivets and rollers wear down or rust, leaving you with a longer chain.

What is the price for changing an e-bike chain?

The price of changing an e-bike chain can be anywhere from 25 dollars to 100 dollars. However, the price will vary depending on the durability, materials, and brand.

How long should a Shimano Chain last?

A Shimano Chain should last about 1500 miles of travel on any terrain. If you use it on city roads, you can reach more than 2500 miles too.

Are expensive bike chains better?

Expensive bike chains are better, more durable, and long-lasting. Then again, every e-bike chain has its limits. You can extend the riding range about 400 miles more with an expensive ebike chain.

Which e-bike chain lasts the longest?

Mountain e-bike chains last the longest on all road types. Generally, a mountain e-bike chain needs to take down high torque and varying road conditions so it’s more durable. Though you need to pay a bit more, it’s still worth every penny.

End Note

Hope now you can find out how long your e-bike chain will last and how often it needs changing. Always remember to maintain your e-bike properly, clean the chains, and replace it in time.

A well-maintained chain lasts at least 200-300 miles more than the neglected one.

This is all for today. If you have any questions, give us a hit, and we will be there to help you out.

Ricky White

I had to struggle to solve different problems back when I got my first ebike. As I pursued my career in it, as a pro ebike technician, now I'm dedicated to help others avoid their struggle with their rides. And that's why I created this blog. Hope it helps you get the right ebike and maintain it well. Happy riding!

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