How to Prepare Your Electric Bike for Winter Riding

Riding an electric bike in the winter - Montebello, Quebec

With advancements in tire technology and clothing warmth, why not to take your electric bicycle out and enjoy Canada’s winter season.

Some might say their Pedego electric bike is too special to subject it to the snow and cold, but the fact is they’re designed for whatever elements you throw at them. Especially the Pedego Trail Tracker, which boasts extra wide tires that can handle the snow perfectly. But with the right tires, any Pedego electric bike can handle the winter.

That said, it’s important you follow the key points listed below to ensure you enjoy riding your ebike during the colder, snowier months.

(However, if you’d still rather store your electric bike during the winter, please follow the guidelines we lay out in our Prepare Your Electric Bike for Winter Storage blog.)

#1. Battery Care

It is important to make sure your battery is above 0 degrees Celsius before charging, otherwise you could harm the cells. This is because lithium ions in the e-bike batteries float in a liquid electrolyte which can freeze. It is no problem to ride the bike in below-freezing conditions (it doesn’t harm the battery). However, when you are riding in very cold weather, you will notice a drop in power and range; this is normal and expected. You can help avoid this by bringing the battery inside whenever you aren’t riding to keep the temperature of the battery up. That way you will get that extra bit of power! Always warm the battery up slowly. Never put it next to a heater hoping to speed up the process.

#2. Keep Your Electric Bike Clean

The first thing you want to remember about riding in the winter is that your electric bike is bound to get dirtier than it will during other months. That’s because our roads are kept safe for driving with the use of sand and gravel and there is often a magnesium salt in the grit that can be even more aggressive than regular salt. Therefore, it’s important you keep your electric bike clean by regularly wiping it down with a damp cloth. Also, use a bicycle-specific lubricant for the chain and following the guidelines in our How to Clean Your Electric Bike blog to avoid rust and grit build-up.

#3. Rust Proof Your Electric Bike

Another good way to avoid rust is to use preventative products such as Rust Check, which you can get at most automobile or home supply stores.

Spray it into every spoke nipple, which is where the spoke meets the wheel. You can also spray it on any exposed metal before riding to help prevent salty water build up on various parts of your bike.

Just be sure to keep the spray away from the LCD screen and any of the electronics. Leave a coating of the spray and wipe it away in spring. Check your bike’s body and chain regularly for rust and reapply Rust Check.

#4. Use The Right Tire

Chances are the rubber tires that came with your electric bicycle are excellent for most summer riding conditions but, as with a car, winter ice and snow requires something different. Studded tires are amazing and transform your bike into a winter vehicle! The studs are great on plowed roads and for hard-packed or icy conditions. Fat tire bikes (without studs), like those found on the Trail Tracker, are excellent for softer/deeper snow (studded fat tires are available, although quite expensive).  Note that fat tires cannot be put on regular bikes as the forks have to be specially designed to accept wider tires.  Studded tires can be purchased at most bicycle stores and you can follow our directions here about how to replace your tires.

#5. Try Not to Ride Through Slush

Riding your electric bike through snow is not only possible, it’s super fun! (Watch the video below for proof.) What’s not fun is riding through slush. The watery, salty snow gets splashed up into your gears and can seep into hard-to-reach areas, causing rust to form. If you do have to ride through slush, be sure to wipe the entire bike down and lube the chain etc. afterwards and, if possible, store in a warm, dry location.

#6. Store In a Dry Place

This holds true for every season of the year. Your electric bike is fine in the snow and rain for short periods of time but when storing overnight, be sure to keep it in a dry location and if it’s especially cold, (-10°C or lower) bring your battery inside to avoid the associated reduction in power and range

#7. Wear Special Attire

It goes without saying that for winter riding you’ll require warm clothes, a waterproof, breathable jacket, winter boots, toque and gloves. And because it gets darker earlier, consider wearing visibility outerwear for safety and use extra lights and both the front and back of your electric bike.

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