Winter is coming! That doesn’t mean you need to stop riding, e-bikes are great fun to ride in wet and cold conditions. But it does mean it’s time to get yourself and your e-bike ready for the cold.
We’ve got some great winter riding advice to help you prepare properly.
Of course, you'll want to make sure you stay warm to make sure you enjoy your ride. E-bikes are great for winter riding because you can cut down on your car use and enjoy the benefits of exercise without getting as cold. But to stay safe and warm while riding, there are a few things you should know.
Here are a few simple tips and tricks to keep you safe on the trails and the roads!
Winter weather is no excuse for your E-bike to sit around collecting dust. With the right gear and preparations, you can enjoy E-bike riding in the winter, and it's just as much fun as biking in warmer months!
- Wear waterproof, cold-weather gear. Winter weather can be more changeable. One minute you’re in the sun, the next it’s chucking it down. So you’ll want to bring along something warm and waterproof to don, just in case. It’s a good idea to have a pannier or backpack so you can keep your clothing for all situations.
- Wear a neck warmer or balaclava. When it’s really cold, it’s important to keep your core warm. You can do this by protecting your neck, head, and face from cold air.
- Wear a helmet and goggles that don't fog up. If you’ll be hitting the trails during the winter months, don't skimp on safety—make sure you can see where you're going by choosing anti-fog goggles to wear with your helmet and balaclava.
Wear neoprene gloves, windproof gloves, or hand warmers
—whichever your preference is for keeping warm, but gloves are an essential!
- Wear good quality winter boots. Good quality shoes will keep your feet warm, dry and safe. You’ll also want to make sure your shoes have plenty of grip on the pedals when wet
Make sure your Battery stays Warm.
Your e-bike battery is an amazing piece of technology, but it needs a bit of TLC. It’s especially important to look after your battery during the winter. If you’re not going to be using your bike (and therefore its battery) for longer than a month, you’ll need to put it into a safe storage state.
It's always best to store your battery indoors when temperatures drop below 10°C. Leaving your battery in the cold for extended periods will not only reduce its maximum capacity but also make it charge more slowly. If you know you won’t be using the battery for a while, never leave it discharged or you’ll likely find it dead when you come to use it again. The best state to leave it is around 60-70% charged. So charge it up and go for a quick ride to bring that charge down a little.
So whether you’re up for some cold-weather riding or heading somewhere warmer for the winter, don't leave your e-bike's battery out in the cold! Other solutions to consider are a specialised battery bag to keep it warm and safe or wrapping your battery in a towel and placing it somewhere well-insulated.
Get a set of Winter Tyres.
If you’ll be riding in true winter conditions and expect to encounter ice and snow, you should consider switching out your regular tyres for winter ones. Winter tyres have a studded grip pattern allowing them to grip while riding in wet conditions or in ice or snow. They should also have an appropriate type of rubber compound that will remain pliable even in low temperatures. But before buying a set of winter tyres, check to make sure they will fit the wheels of your bike and the width of your front fork and frame.
Check out your Brakes.
E-bikes are heavier and more powerful than regular bikes, which makes good brakes all the more important. Your brakes are one of your e-bike's most critical safety features, so they must always be in good working order. Check them to make sure there are no irritating squeaks or squeals, and check the brake pads to see if they need to be replaced. If you have disc brakes, give them a thorough cleaning and check them for damage. But be careful to use an appropriate method when cleaning the brake rotors – avoid oils and other contaminants as they’ll reduce your brakes’ stopping power.
Install Safety Lights.
Visibility is the key if you're riding in inclement weather and low-light conditions. Just because you're not going to be riding in the middle of the night doesn't mean you won't need lights. Winter brings longer times of low-light, low-visibility conditions, which mean you’ll want to make sure you can see and been seen while riding. You probably already have a light on the front of your bike, but it's essential to supplement that with a bright strobe light for the back of your bike, too. Lots of lights will ensure other road users can see you.
Clean your E-bike before Putting it in Storage.
If you decide to take a break from riding your E-bike during the winter, you’ll need to prepare your bike for storage in cold weather. In addition to looking after your battery, here are a few extra tips for storing your bike over winter.
- Clean it. Salt and other debris from the roads can damage your bike and cause rust spots when left on your bike for long periods, so make sure you clean it thoroughly before you store it.
- Dry it. If you don't want your bike to rust, dry off all of its components after cleaning.
- Lube the chain and cables. A little bit of chain lubrication and protective oils will help coat your bike and keep all the parts moving smoothly when it's time to ride again next spring!
- Store it in a cool, dry place. Temperature is critical here: if your e-bike is too hot or too cold, it will warp and rust over time—maybe even before you're ready to ride again in the spring!