You got yourself an electric bike, terrific! Now you want to get out there and use it. But what if you bought it in the summer, and then when the first snows of winter fall, you wonder if you can ride your electric bike in the snow?
Maybe you’re worried about how the cold will affect the motor or if the mud and salt will damage your bike. After all, you wouldn’t be an adventurer if you didn’t give some thought to your equipment and its care.
Can You Ride An Electric Bike In The Snow?
Just like a traditional bike, you can ride your electric bike in the snow. You’ll need to take extra precautions and kit yourself and your bike out with some specialist equipment, but there’s no reason at all that you shouldn’t enjoy the freedom of an electric bike in the winter.
Can You Leave An Electric Bike Outside In Snow?
Like all bikes, an electric bike is designed to be water-resistant. You can ride it in the snow and rain without worrying that the components will get damaged. You can even leave it outside for a short time, but because of its electric components and the sensitivity of the battery, it’s best to bring it indoors when it’s not being used.
The big concern is for the battery and motorized parts of the bike. These were not designed for long-term cold and snow exposure.
eBike batteries are usually lithium batteries, and they don’t cope well in extreme cold. Also, remember that your eBike battery won’t charge in temperatures lower than -32 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit), so it’s always best to bring it indoors.
How Cold Is Too Cold For An eBike?
In general, eBikes can’t operate the battery below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit); the closer you get to this temperature, the shorter the range on your battery will get. If the battery stops working, the pedal assist will stop, so an eBike’s effective working temperature is the battery working temperature.
Another good recommendation is not to store your electric bike in temperatures lower than -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). The stress on the parts, battery, and motor will take their toll over a long period.
All bikes, especially eBikes, should be stored somewhere dry and cool. Rust and corrosion are the enemies to be avoided.
Tips For Riding An E-Bike In The Snow
With a few modifications to your electric bike and some protective gear, you will be riding in the wet and snow like a champ.
Here are our top tips for riding your eBike in the snow:
Check Your Brakes Before Riding
You need to check the brakes because your brakes might have gotten wet from rain or snowmelt the last time you were out.
Any water that has gotten into the brake mechanism may freeze and cause the brakes to be stiff or stuck open or closed. Obviously, you don’t want your brakes to jam while you’re out on a ride, so always check the brakes are completely dry and working before you head out.
Don’t forget that your braking distance in the snow will be far longer than in the dry, so always take that into account when heading out to ride your electric bike in the snow!
Choosing Appropriate Tires For Snow And Ice
The right tires could mean the difference between a fun ride and a trip to the ER. Let the snow tell you which tires are the best: use studded tires on your eBike when you know you’ll be riding on ice or hard-packed ice, but fat and knobby tires are your best bet on soft snow.
Experienced riders recommend fat tires for better grip. Also, letting a small amount of air out of the tires as well, this increased surface area will give you that much more grip than hard-pumped tires.
If you’re heading out into the snow, nobody needs to tell you about the wind chill and the harsh snow conditions. Snow gear similar to what you’d use on a snowmobile or ski slopes will serve you well.
Warm woolens and windbreakers are a must but don’t skimp on protection for your head, hands, and feet.
You’ll want to get an insulated helmet and possibly some snow goggles for your head. A balaclava or ski mask will protect your face and neck, and make sure to sip your jacket all the way up!
For your hands, big mittens and thick gloves could make gearing up and down and using the brake levers a nightmare. Rather install bar mitts onto the bike. This will let you wear thinner gloves while still allowing you to do all the things with your fingers and thumbs that you would in the summer months.
Lastly, don’t neglect your feet. Remember that they will be exposed to more water, snowmelt, and mud than any other part of your body. Waterproof and insulated shoes are a must!
Slow Down And Ride Cautiously
Snow and ice can be dangerous. Even experienced riders approach a snow ride more cautiously than any other kind of ride. The potential to slip unexpectedly or hit a hidden hazard goes up exponentially in the snow, even if you have the correct tires!
One of the best safety tips for riding in the snow is to slow down and be cautious. Remember, the fun is in riding the bike, and the snow will give you an extra challenge. Slow and steady wins the race!
When you’re out on your electric bike in the snow, you want to be seen, not just to show off your riding skills but also because it’s safer.
The more visible you and your bike are, the safer you will be. Being highly visible is great for two reasons: First, you are far less likely to be ridden into by other riders and cars if they can see you easily. Secondly, if something goes wrong, you will be more visible in the snow wearing a high-visibility vest or bright colors.
Avoid Hills And Steep Slopes
In the summer months, you may consider yourself a king of the mountains, and with the pedal assist on, you can tackle hills and steep slopes without a second thought, but in the winter and snow, you should think twice.
Not only are the slopes slippery because of the snow, but when you ride an eBike up a slope or hill, your centre of gravity shifts from the front of the bike to the back. This can make it much harder to steer, particularly in an emergency.
Where possible, rather make a detour around hills and slopes.
Take Care Of Your Battery
The battery is arguably one of the most important parts of an electric bike. The better you look after it, the further it will take you. If you mistreat it, you could lose precious miles of pedal assist when you need them most.
Always charge your batter properly between rides. When you’ve ridden your eBike in the snow, always remove it from the bike, and store and charge it indoors at room temperature. Check the connection points are dry before re-connecting them and store the battery upright.
As we said above, because of the lithium casing in the battery, you can’t charge it in temperatures that dip below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), and you should use the battery in temperatures lower than -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).
Consider Using Winter Accessories
Our top four winter accessories for your eBike are:
- Good winter tires
- A cleaning kit
- Handlebar warmers, and
You should consider using one or all of these accessories to increase the safety and enjoyment of your ride.
Clean Your E-Bike Regularly
While this isn’t exactly a tip to help you ride better, if you clean your bike regularly, you’re setting yourself up to get the best experience you can out of the bike.
Very few people enjoy cleaning their bikes. After all, you got the bike for the fun of the ride, not so you could spend hours cleaning it.
But remember, good maintenance isn’t only about safety. Parts and components that work at their optimum will give you a better riding experience, they will last longer, and you will have the satisfaction of a well-running machine every time you go out for a ride.
Because of the frigid weather, water left on the bike may freeze between uses. The expanding and contracting of the water may damage your bike, so always make sure it is dry and wiped down before putting it away.
It’s always best to get into a habit or routine when it comes to cleaning. Make it your mantra to clean and maintain your electric bike after every ride!
Riding your electric bike in the snow can be fun, but there are some very serious considerations to take into account and adjustments you’ll need to make to the bike before heading out. The right equipment, protective clothing, tires, and approach to riding will make all the difference. Bring on the snow!
Read Also: Can Electric Bikes Get Wet?