Electric bikes have been increasingly popular over the last year with their ability to function just like a motorcycle but have the sleek design of a regular bike. Electric bikes are very powerful machines that require a key to be used like any other electric vehicle.
But just like the keys to our house and vehicles, electric bike keys are also prone to be lost. However, it might be heartening to know that you can use your electric bike without a key as they don’t have a starter motor like cars do.
So, how to start an electric bike without a key? To start an electric bike without a key, you can either try to connect the wires, remove the battery, use a screwdriver, use a bump key, a plastic pen, and many more. And if all fails, you can ride the bike manually and bring your electric bike to your local bike repair shop.
In this article, we will tackle if it is possible to start an electric bike without a key, why electric bikes need keys, and what you can do if you accidentally lose your electric bike keys.
Let’s get right into it.
Do electric bicycles need keys?
Electric bikes don’t operate as motorbikes do. It doesn’t run or start the motorbike, but the key keeps the battery in the ebike locked in place. The key lock system installed on your electric bike is meant to keep the expensive batteries used by your electric bike from falling off the bike.
The key lock system also locks down the battery storage components, making them a safe place and shielding them from potential thieves. Lastly, the e bike keys you will use to secure your battery will also open up the recharging location of your battery.
Without a key, you won’t be able to secure the battery in place, which means the electric bike’s motor wont to be able to receive electric power from the battery, forcing you to ride your electric bike manually without electrical power assistance.
It’s also crucial to know that the key systems are different on different e bikes, which means you can’t use your friend’s e bike key to unlock your bike’s bike lock as they require a specific key to open them.
How To Start An Electric Bike Without A Key
If your keys were lost or stolen, here are some solutions you can use to ride your electric bike safely to your home. Generally, these fixes will work well in starting your electric bicycles; however, these fixes will be temporary.
Connect the wires
Also known as the hot wire method, this has been done on most vehicles like cars and motorcycles. While connecting the wires on your electric bike won’t immediately start an electric bike, they will allow your battery to provide power to your motor, which means you ride your electric bike like how you usually would.
To do this, evaluate your bike and find the correct wires you need to connect to start the battery. The ignition wiring on most electric bikes will likely be located near the key lock system.
Once you locate this, you might be able to see the two wires coming off the simple switch. After this, cut the cables and connect them firmly. Once finished, try to start your electric bike, and if this does not work, try to connect the wires again tighter than before and cover them with electrical tape.
Note that because this method requires meddling with your ignition wiring, you are putting yourself at risk of giving yourself an electrical shock. Tampering with your wires can also damage the components inside your bike, especially if they get wet.
Removing the battery
Removing the battery from your electric bike might be the safest alternative way to start your bike. Removing the battery from your e bike means that you won’t be able to have the electric power assistance from your engine, which means that the bike will solely move from the effort from your legs.
Using a screwdriver
Using a screwdriver is one of the most commonly done alternatives by e bike riders to start their electric bike without a key. To do this method, open up your toolbox and find a screwdriver with its tips like your original key.
Once you find one, insert the screwdriver in the keyhole with some force, and this might be able to start your electric bike. However, this method might not work with newer electric bikes as they are installed with a more complex locking system.
It’s crucial to only apply as minimal force as possible as too much power can damage some components inside your bike’s lock system.
Try a master key
A master key is also known as a bump key. These keys are ones that you can use to unlock any lock. While using a master key might be safer than using a screwdriver, finding a master key is also problematic, and if you don’t have a spare key to your electric bike, it’s most likely that you also don’t have a bump key.
But if you have one, insert the bump key into the keyhole and use the pull-back method to turn the key switch and start the bike.
Applying a shim
Shims are also commonly used to start an electric bike without a key. This is a safer method than using a screwdriver as screwdriver tips are robust while using a shim can be made by cutting up a strip from an aluminum soda can.
A shim is a small wedge used to align the insides of a lock system. To make a shim, cut off the top and bottom parts of the aluminum soda can, spread the plain metal sheet and cut it up until it resembles a letter M shape, and then fold it along its vertical axis.
Insert the shim into the keyhole, and bend and twist it like a key to start your electric bike.
Using a plastic pen
The plastic pen method is one that you should only use in emergency cases as it can severely damage your bike lock system. Locate a pen and remove all the insides of the pen, including the cap and the ink tube out.
Once finished, put the pen over a fire to melt them a little, don’t over melt them as they won’t have the capability to be malleable enough to resemble the shape of your keys. Insert the partially melted plastic over the key hole, and then wait for it to harden.
If you did this correctly, you might be able to turn the pen and get your electric bike working again, or you might be left with a plastic pen stuck to the keyhole.
Ride your bike normally
Perhaps the best way to ride your electric bike without a key is to ride it, usually like how you would ride a standard bike. Just disconnect or remove your battery and pedal your electric bike until you get home or until you find your spare keys.
How to avoid starting an electric bike without a key?
To avoid having to go through something traumatic, like using alternative ways to get your electric bikes started. Here are some tips to keep in mind to prevent starting electric bikes without a key.
The first thing you can do is to have replacement keys to keep you assured that you will have an extra set of keys if your original one gets lost or stolen. Don’t put both the keys in one single place; try to put your original in your pocket and maybe put the other one in your wallet.
Having a spare set of keys will not only save you time in getting your e bike started, but it will also save the integrity of your lock system, as these alternative ways can be pretty damaging to your e bike.
Always keeping your locks clean will also prevent them from getting filled with dust that might jam your keyhole. You can also use a bike rust remover to keep your keyhole free from rust. And lastly, always ensure the safety of your e bike whenever you are going out by locking them with a secure bike lock.
Can any locksmith duplicate my e bike key?
Most locksmiths are well equipped to duplicate your bike key, just like how they would copy the keys to your house.
But not all locksmiths will just easily duplicate your bike key because they would want some documentation or proof that you own the bike, so whenever you are going to your local bike repair shop, bring some evidence to prove that you officially own the bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can electric bikes be used manually?
Yes, you can ride an electric bike without using the motors and battery. Simply turn off the pedal assist and ride your electric bike like how you would typically ride the average bicycle.
How fast do electric bikes go without pedaling?
This depends on your motor power output and efficiency. However, most bikes can go to 20 mph without the need to pedal.
Is it easier to balance an electric bike?
Since e bikes weigh heavier than standard bikes, an electric bike can be harder to balance, especially for younger kids. In addition, electric bikes can also be harder to balance if you can't correctly control the pedal assist provided by these bikes.
Losing your keys can be pretty frustrating and will guarantee to lose you a lot of time, especially when you are commuting, but it’s great that manufacturers have allowed their bikes to be operated even without a key, but only use these alternative ways as a last resort as it can severely damage your bike.
We hope this informative article has helped you learn more about starting your electric bikes without a key.
Andrew Strider is an electric bike enthusiast. He currently owns 5 electric bikes and is an active member of his local electric bike club where he is able to test many other models/brands a few times a month.
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