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True bike lovers can barely stand to take a break from daily riding—and many don't, even on the bitterest winter days. And you don't have to take a winter break either. You can ride your e-bike year-round, even if most of the world doesn't understand or see it as the most practical or pleasant choice. But once you know the passion of riding electric bikes over other modes of transportation and forms of regular exercise, it's tough to go back to anything else.
The great thing is you don't have to give up winter bike riding, even if you need to safely store it for a few extremely brutal days, you can get right back out there with some thawing action. More than anything, you need to use more care and adopt some practices to keep yourself and your bike safe all winter.
With that, you’re probably ready to start making winter plans for your bike, whether you plan to buy one soon, store yours for the harshest conditions, or ride through it all.
Are You Trying to Decide What to Do with Your Electric Bike This Winter?
With winter on its way, you might wonder what to do with your treasured electric bike (e-bike) during the cold months this year. The truth is you can keep it out and ride it all winter if you don't mind the frigid temperatures. However, if you want to store it and keep it from incurring rust and other cold-weather damage, you might need some ideas.
Let's explore some top tips, tricks, and hacks that help you feel good and confident when continuing to ride and storing your e-bike during the most wonderful but harshest time of year.
Riding Your E-Bike This Winter
If you are extremely bold or live in a mild enough climate, you might want to power through and ride your e-bike until spring and beyond. For you hardcore e-bikers, you might want to do some preventive care of your e-bike and yourself to keep both of you in good condition.
Here are some tips to keep you road-ready, even with ice, sleet, and snow coming down or on the ground.
Invest in Winter Tires
Just like winter car drivers sometimes need to buy winterized tires, you might need to take the plunge and buy winterized electric bicycle tires for better performance and safety. Keep a few things in mind when buying winter tires:
You might search for different types of tires, depending on whether you own a mountain or road e-bike. Let's take a quick look at both.
Mountain E-Bike Tires
With a mountain electric bike, you'll probably experience different conditions from those riding road e-bikes. Some conditions and treads to consider include:
Road E-Bike Tires
With road e-bikes, your tires should be smooth to deal with wet conditions and studded to deal with ice and snow.
Don't Lose Power—Taking Care of Your Battery
Auto drivers experience issues with car batteries during bitterly cold temperatures, so you might have to manage those instances as well. It's important to protect your e-bike's battery from the snow and cold. Many e-cyclists invest in a neoprene cover specifically designed to fit, cover, and protect your battery. Since cold batteries don't perform well, you'll get a better buffer and range when taking the effort to keep your battery as warm as possible.
Even better, on really cold days, detach your battery from your e-bike and bring it inside your home to ensure the core stays warm. No need to leave it outside, even if in the garage, which is probably only slightly warmer than it is outside.
If you need to charge your battery, make sure you bring it to room temperature slowly without placing it near a heater as a strategy to warm it up.
Another tip to consider is taking your e-bike's battery charger to work with you to give it some extra juice while working. You might even keep an extra battery at work for those frigid days.
General Care for Your Electric Bicycle During Winter Riding
While salt and grit put down on snowy or icy roads help soften the surface to a manageable slush, these materials can also take their toll on your bike's paintwork and working components.
Dedicated e-bikers wipe down their machines at the end of each ride in these conditions, wiping down the components and adding a fresh layer of oil to the chain. You might also consider buying rust-proof spray to shoot into small crevices in your e-bike where moisture can creep in and cause problems.
There are even special "cold weather" bikes to consider that are able to stand up to harsh conditions better. However, not everyone can afford an e-bike for every season, so try to implement care and maintenance tips, and your ride should get through tough winters. When spring comes, you'll feel like you've earned the easier conditions.
Safety During Winter E-Bike Riding
Let's face it, winter riding is often tricky at best, treacherous at worst. Do your best to stay safe out there, dealing with unpredictable conditions. Depending on your location and climate, you might see a combination of rain, snow, freezing rain, and sleet. Sometimes all in the same day.
Generally, use common sense if things seem extra hazardous outside. You know the difference between an annoyingly slushy day and one that could take you down and out for the rest of winter or worse. On days you suspect you'll encounter black ice or you know freezing rain or a blizzard is in the forecast, give yourself a break. You have nothing to prove and your health and well-being to lose. Not to mention your e-bike.
If you feel like you must brave the worst elements, make sure you have studded tires, reflective gear, high-quality lights, and your helmet.
Gear That Helps Ease Your Winter Riding Conditions
There are some daily things that make it easier to get out there and ride in winter conditions. Here are some favorites of the most dedicated riders:
Storing Your E-Bike This Winter
If you decide it's time to give you and your bike a break for a prolonged period, meaning more like four to five months versus four to five days, it's okay. With the right strategy, you'll both be ready to roll when everything thaws out. It isn't always worth the risks you might encounter out on the roads while riding your e-bike during harsh winter conditions.
Here are some ideas and best practices for e-bike storage when facing conditions like snow, cold, sleet, rain, and slush.
Take It To Your Local Bike Shop for Basic Maintenance
Schedule a fall maintenance appointment with your local bike shop first to give it a once-over and ask them to check out any issues you’ve recently experienced. Better to learn about any problems before winter than when the spring warm-up comes, and you have to try to squeeze in an appointment with tons of competition. It’s better to sacrifice having your bike in someone else’s possession when there is less chance of riding.
Here are some important items for your bike mechanic to inspect and take care of:
Clean It Up
The same way you prepare your car or home with a good fall cleaning—or anything you want to put away for long-term storage—you should do the same with your bike.
Since your e-bike is probably water-resistant, you take a bucket full of warm soapy water and clean it with a sponge. However, you don’t want to use any type of jet spray from your garden hose to rinse your bike. Instead, shower it with a light overhead sprinkle from a dispersive garden hose nozzle.
Here are a few more cleaning steps to take to cover it all:
The Best Way to Store Your Electric Bike Frame for Winter
We’ll discuss storing your e-bike battery in the next section. Here, let’s talk about everything else on the body. All the electrical components and devices associated with your electric bike are sensitive to the elements and freezing temperatures. Do your best to store your bike in a cool, dry space. Avoid placing it anywhere with high humidity. The best spots include:
Anywhere that maintains a storage temperature from 32-68 degrees—between freezing and ideal room temperature—will keep your bike safe. If you can’t avoid it, your e-bike can survive storage temperatures down to minus 22 degrees, but at that point, you are pushing the limits of your ebike’s electronic components. It isn’t recommended, but if you must, you must.
The Best Way to Store Your E-Bike Battery
It might not come as a surprise to you that the first and best thing to do for storing your ebike battery is to remove it from the bike. Your e-bike’s battery is the nerve center of the whole operation, keeping everything moving right along. This sensitive component needs extra care for long-term functionality. If you expose it to harsh conditions, over time it will lose capacity. You’ll find your bike can hold less charge. This single small step will help maximize your battery’s longevity.
Store your battery in a cool, dry place in your home. Choose someplace that is unlikely to freeze. If possible, place it on a wood surface in your garage, shed, or basement. If there is any risk of a dip below freezing, bring your battery inside your home, and place it in a dry room or an enclosed cabinet. Anywhere in your home that stays between 55-77 degrees is optimal for your battery’s health. Try to avoid leaving it at any extreme for a long time, since that will negatively affect the battery’s chemistry.
The Only Thing Left Is to Wait for the Spring Thaw to Ride Again
Now that you have some ideas about how to keep your e-bike in pristine condition during the coldest winter months, all you have to do is wait. Easier said than done, but it'll be worth it!
Take some time to explore our selection and contact our Six Three Zero team if you need any additional ideas on keeping your bike in ready-to-ride condition all year long or about buying your ideal electric bicycle.
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