Sooner or later, e-bike owners face a reasonable question: “Can I ride my e-bike in the rain?” Fearing the failure of expensive drive components, many people move to public transport in bad weather. However, rain is an insidious phenomenon – it can start at any moment, catching you off guard… How to prepare properly for an unplanned meeting with precipitation?
E-bikes in the Rain. How to Ride Correctly
According to bikesbros.com, despite popular belief, an e-bike works without any problems both in the rain and cold winter – snow and drizzle are not that scary for it. However, in order to avoid breakdowns, you need to be more careful and follow a number of simple guidelines:
All electrical components of the hybrid must be protected against water by a sealed housing. A good e-bike is designed to ride in light rain, drizzle, allowing you to ride safely through small puddles. However, you should be extremely careful with this – an e-bike will probably not survive the ride through tough brooks, streams, and other water bodies.
During rainfall, the risk of accelerated discharging and corrosion of the clamps is greatly increased. Even if vulnerable components are tightly sealed, don’t get too relaxed – all plugs and wire connections risk breaking down because of the water.
If you plan to ride in the rain, buy a special bag-cover made of waterproof fabric for the controller and battery. Specialized stores also offer additional protective enclosures. In case of emergency rainfall, even a large plastic bag is suitable.
Protecting the contacts with silicone sealant isn’t a bad idea at all. The battery outlets can also be coated with moisture-proof lubricant.
Alas, to date, no electric bike can withstand heavy downpours without any consequences. It’ s also better not to ride it in thunderstorms and fog without an emergency. Do not accelerate and carefully avoid deep puddles. Ideally, you should hide somewhere under a shelter or indoors, if possible, until the weather is fine again.
If your hybrid is still heavily wet or has fallen into the water, you need to take urgent action. Quickly turn off all the power and thoroughly dry the poor victim, removing the battery and controller cover for better drying.
The battery should be put in a dry and warm place for a day or two. The main thing is not to turn the bike on until it’s 100% dry. If it seems that the water is “hidden” somewhere even after this, take your bike to a service center without turning it on.
Naturally, you cannot bathe with your electric bike. But you can ride in light rain. The question is whether you have waterproofed certain joints, in case that was not taken care of by the manufacturer.
The issue can be resolved with an automotive sealant. You have to insulate all parts where the controller, battery, cable inlet, motor outlet, and controller inlet are located – everything must be sealed. Then, in case of light rain, you can drive without fear of anything.
Normally, an e-bike needs to be washed and dried after any rainy weather, even if it wasn’t pouring – this will greatly increase the lifetime and normal operation of electrical parts of the hybrid.
Washing an E-bike after the Rain
Only by hand, don’t be lazy. No car washes – fragile equipment simply won’t survive a combat test like that. Make sure that the water does not get directly on electric parts, it is better to just gently wipe them with a soft cloth. Use a wet sponge to remove all dirt from the bike itself, and then wipe it dry.
Electric bicycles, even hand-assembled ones, are, as mentioned above, quite fragile. They require constant care and careful handling.
Riding on such a bike in light rain and through shallow puddles is quite acceptable, but you better wait for a downpour to stop and hide somewhere under a roof or at least cover your hybrid with cellophane.
If there is nothing at hand, and the downpour has caught you in a field, turn off the power and keep pedaling, just as you would on a regular bike. Then carefully wash and dry your bike at home.
Another thing is that the grip gets very bad in the rain, even if you have a fat bike. Riding in downpours and in the rain in general, you need to be very careful – you can easily lose control over the situation and hurt yourself (and, probably, others).
So, if you’re already riding in the rain, it’s better to take it slow and easy and remember about traffic rules.
E-bike Safety Rules When Riding in the Rain
I would like to give you some essential tips on riding an e-bike safely in the rain:
- Make yourself visible on the road to other drivers/riders. On rainy days, poor road visibility is common. Therefore, if you have to ride an e-bike in cloudy and wet weather, I recommend that you install a bright bike headlamp, as well as reflectors on your bike. so that other road users can see you even through the wall of rain.
For this purpose, it is also advisable to wear neon or luminescent clothing with reflectors in the back, arms, and legs.
- Follow traffic rules, watch out for hazards. Bike riders should be much more careful on the road than car drivers, as they are more likely to be injured in road accidents. In addition, the risk of an accident is significantly increased in rainy weather.
- High speeds should be avoided.
The range of visibility of the horizon in rainy weather can be significantly reduced. Therefore, e-bike riders should not exceed 15.5 m/h (25 km/h), as the approach time to low-visibility objects is significantly reduced with higher speeds, which may make it virtually impossible to avoid any collision hazard.
- Another negative factor in rainy weather is the increased braking distance of an electric bicycle, as the brakes get less efficient. Rapid braking on slippery and wet roads should be avoided, as that may cause a spin-out.
As a rule, the most dangerous time is when it starts to rain, as water droplets are mixed with road dust, forming a thin layer of mud on the road surface, due to which the grip with the road is reduced.
- Plan a safe route. Pay attention to things on the road such as gravel and rocks, wet leaves, large puddles, cracks, twigs, etc. Of course, nothing can be more pleasant than riding an e-bike through splashing puddles but don’t forget that they can be 4″ deep, so I doubt that such a ride on the “mirror-like surface” will be useful for your e-bike. In this regard, my advice to you is, if possible, avoid large puddles to protect yourself and your e-bike from possible injuries.
- When you ride an electric bike in the rain, don’t forget to pick the right clothes to protect you from cold droplets of rain. Wrong clothes may, at least, cause a cold. As a rule, with the rain comes and cooling – the air temperature drops by 40-50F – such temperature changes are not good for your health, especially if you are wearing thin and easily moistened clothes.
Therefore, on rainy days, you should wear dense, waterproof clothing made of quick-drying fabric with reflective stripes on it. It would be great to have a special bicycle raincoat with you in case of extreme rainy weather.
Not only will it provide excellent rain protection, but also increase your visibility on the road for other road users, as it has a fairly bright color and special reflective bands on its surface.
- Having waterproof gloves or glove covers, a waterproof helmet in case of rain is a good idea as well. Special waterproof boots are produced for cycling in wet, cold weather. Bicycle goggles or, at least, regular sunglasses will protect your eyes from water droplets.
- To protect against rain, you can even use a special canopy umbrella (if you e-bike allows that) or under-cover-like umbrellas boot which is attached to the handlebar.
For this purpose, you can, of course, try and use a regular umbrella but you understand that proper management of the bike, in this case, is almost impossible. Though, if you are not riding alone, you can ask someone to hold that umbrella for you 🙂
Ok, jokes aside. The last piece of advice is serious… When you get home, don’t forget to take a warm shower and make yourself a cup of hot tea/coffee – this will keep you warm and inspire you to do more on your favorite e-bike.
Have a nice and safe ride!