Connected bike and smart maintenance: towards the cycle industry 4.0 model.

The bicycle’s electrification makes maintenance an indispensable guarantee for the cyclist to ensure the durability of his electric bicycle. Connectivity will simplify, accelerate and optimize all maintenance operations, from curative maintenance (repair) to preventive maintenance (upkeep), and even to predictive maintenance (anticipation).

What maintenance plan for an electric bike?

Any use of equipment leads to “normal” wear and tear. The level of maintenance is defined according to the acceptability of breakdowns. In the case of an aircraft, a failure that endangers the lives of people is unacceptable and maintenance is therefore critical. A strict and expensive maintenance plan is applied by airlines to ensure the safety of crews and passengers. For a smartphone, a failure that no longer allows its use is considered acceptable, without endangering people. There is therefore no “maintenance plan”, the actions taken will only be curative.

An electrically assisted bicycle can have both. Critical failures that can endanger the safety of the rider (tire wear and pressure, brake wear, chain or belt wear) and acceptable failures (wear of the electrical system, pedals, etc.). Each rider will have different maintenance requirements. A professional cyclist will want optimal conditions of use and will demand a very high level of performance. An amateur cyclist, or bike rider, will have functional expectations to use a bike in good condition every day. The cyclist will encounter two types of maintenance when purchasing and using a connected electric bicycle:

The curative maintenance of a bicycle

The curative maintenance intervenes after the breakdown and ensures the repair of the e-Bike. Connectivity will save time by quickly identifying which part is defective and what type of breakdown it is. Some operations will be done remotely.

Preventive maintenance of a bicycle

Preventive maintenance ensures that the bike is in optimal condition and prevents critical breakdowns by properly maintaining the bike. Preventive maintenance is possible thanks to connectivity, which will accompany the cyclist, the brand and the repairer in this process.vExample of notifications: “You have ridden more than 1000 kilometres. Make an appointment at your point of sale to have your bike checked.”

The smartbike, toward predictive maintenance

Thanks to connectivity, the connected bike accompanies the cyclist with preventive maintenance. More premium, the smartbike offers another level of maintenance. Predictive maintenance offered the cyclist the possibility to anticipate a future breakdown or malfunction. The implementation of an IoT product in the bike, allowing the continuous analysis of values such as the number of kilometres travelled, vibrations, temperature or pressure, will allow the cyclist to receive in real-time, on a dedicated mobile application, information on the next revision date, or on the nature of a problem (damaged spoke, worn brakes…). He will then be able to have his bike serviced or repaired within a chosen time frame and not be subjected to a sudden breakdown.

Connectivity transforms maintenance into an essential contact point between the brand, the bike shop and the rider. The brand can now offer its customers a diagnosis and direct them to a trusted partner who will perform the maintenance. Predictive maintenance offers new possibilities to all industry players, intervening upstream of preventive and curative maintenance.

Connected bike maintenance: towards cycle industry 4.0

Already implemented in the industrial sector, predictive maintenance has reduced equipment maintenance costs by 10% to 40% and halved the number of breakdowns. Predictive maintenance offers new perspectives and opportunities to all actors in the cycling industry.

  • For brands: benefit from a better image with cyclists by offering them reliability innovation and reducing the number of returns to stores. Thanks to connectivity, the brand and the rider are inter-connected. The brand assists its customer in the maintenance of his bike by establishing, for example, maintenance levels according to the distance travelled or according to the date of purchase and sending notifications to the user to inform him of the actions to be taken to ensure the durability of his bike. The brand can also inform the cyclist of improper use or storage of the bike, which could eventually lead to severe damage. 
  • For stores/maintainers: establish a fast diagnosis, sometimes remotely, and save a lot of time on maintenance operations. The quick identification of defective parts or anomalies allows to considerably fluidify the repair process, from the ordering of parts (which can be placed beforehand) to the correct repair instructions given to the repairer. In addition, retailers strengthen their relationship with their consumer’s thanks to a faster service. By becoming the first point of contact between the cyclist and the brand, retailers can offer their customers additional sales or upgrades.
  • For fleet managers: smooth out maintenance operations to anticipate repairs and optimize the management of the bicycle fleet, but also to reduce the time the bicycles are unavailable. Thus, the fleet manager is always able to offer its users a quality service with bikes in good working order.
  • For the rider: premium functionality, which combines comfort and safety to provide an enhanced mobility experience. By considerably strengthening the link with the brand, the cyclist can anticipate all maintenance operations, ride safely, and have the satisfaction of using a bike in good working order that will last longer.

Connected maintenance is a real asset. By simplifying processes and creating value for the brand and the rider, maintenance is evolving in its predictive dimension and bringing together all the players in the electric bike industry around the smartbike.