E-Bike Storage and Use During the Winter
October 16, 2020
Winter is fast approaching and you may be wondering what to do about your electric bike storage over the winter. Maybe you want to continue your newfound and fun form of exercise, and are wondering if you can ride an ebike during the brisker, wetter months of the year. Or maybe you're wondering about e-bike storage for such an extended period of time.
Here at Aventon we’ve got you covered in both scenarios, with all the tips, tricks, and easy e-bike storage solutions you need to feel confident about riding and storing your ebike and any additional parts through the winter months.
Storing Your Electric bike For The Winter
E-bike storage either during or for the winter means that you’re going to be storing it for a prolonged period; not just 4—5 days like you usually might. Winter also brings the threat of extreme conditions, prolonged rain or snow, and extremely low temperatures. These factors all need to be taken into account when considering e-bike winter storage.
Here’re some best practices regarding e-bike storage during the winter:
Clean before storing
Your ebike, just like your car, requires maintenance and should be cleaned regularly. Aventon ebikes are IPX4 water resistant, meaning that water splashing from any direction will not harm them. This means that you can clean your bike with a bucket and sponge, but should avoid using pressurized water, such as a garden hose jet or pressure washer to wash the bike down, but a “rain-like” sprinkle from a garden hose would be fine.
You should clean all of the dirt off your ebike's frame and then wipe it down with a dry cloth. Make sure to check that the battery contacts are clean and dry so as to prevent corrosion. Afterwards, lube the chain to protect it and turn the pedal to rotate the chain to ensure that the lube circulates around the system.
How to Store your EBike
Electrical devices and components in e-bikes are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Ideally, your ebike should be stored in a cool, dry space, away from high humidity; think a garage or, depending on where you live, an outdoor shed. The ideal e-bike storage temperature is between 32º and 68º, between freezing and room temperature. Ebikes can be stored down to -22º, however the electronic elements of your ebike don’t like such temperatures for prolonged periods so we wouldn’t recommend pushing it that far.
Storing your Ebike Battery
The best way to store e-bike accessories like batteries is by removing them from your ebike. Batteries are the beating heart of your ebike and, much like a human heart, they’re the most sensitive part of the whole. Over time all batteries lose capacity, that is to say, they lose the amount of charge they can hold. Taking proper care of your battery protects its charge capacity and, therefore, maximizes its longevity.
Batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place where they won’t freeze; a wood surface in the garage is recommended. However, if you live somewhere extremely cold i.e. below freezing, creeps in then bring your battery inside and tuck it away somewhere safe. Batteries are best stored close to room temperature, 50º-77º, and can handle extreme temperatures in either direction; but only for a short amount of time before the temperature begins to affect their chemistry and damage the battery.
There are a variety of different types of batteries. The battery used to power your Aventon ebike is a lithium ion battery. Lithium ion batteries should never be stored with their charge level completely depleted, as doing so means that they might be unrecoverable after storage. Your battery should be stored fully charged. Check the charge level on a monthly basis and make sure that the percentage does not drop under 75%. This will help extend your battery's life.
Also, Aventon batteries should not be stored on their charger nor attached to your ebike. So, when you’re putting your battery down for winter storage make sure that it is fully charged, that it is off the charger, and that it is somewhere cool -but not cold- and dry.
After Winter Storage
It is important after storing your ebike that you get it ready for the new biking season. The best and most convenient way to do this is to take it to your local bike shop for a tune up. Here they’ll check to make sure that your brake and gear lines are taut and all working as they should be. They check brake pads, chain lube, gear shifting, and other items so that you have a safe and perfectly functioning bike when you get back into the saddle.
After your tune up, take your bike out for a short test ride to make sure everything is functioning properly. Check the brakes, the gears and ensure that everything is how you like it. If you find anything wrong just head back to the bike shop where they’ll be happy to put things right for you.
Using Your Ebike During The Winter
As previously mentioned, Aventon ebikes are IPX4 resistant, and that means that it's fine to ride them in the rain or through puddles! So if you’re thinking about continuing to use your ebike to commute during the winter then go right ahead!
You may not commute on your ebike and are thinking that you’ll put it away for winter in its entirety, but a day, a weekend, or a week may arise where you find that you want to get out and go for a ride. Here you’re totally allowed to wake your ebike from its slumber! Just make sure that you fully charge the battery and take your bike for a short test ride, either on your driveway or down a quiet street, so as to test the brakes and gears before you set off on a longer, more adventurous trip.
With all of that said, there are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to riding during the winter months.
Only ride in safe Weather Conditions
Most importantly, only use your ebike if you’re absolutely sure you can ride it under the prevailing conditions. Your safety is paramount and, even if you’ve taken all the precautions which follow here, there’re some days where you might want to consider commuting using an alternate method or giving your weekly ride a miss.
Braking Is Different
The heavier an object and the faster it travels the longer -or more friction- it takes to stop, these are the laws of physics. Ebikes tend to be heavier than regular bikes and they travel faster so, naturally, they take longer to stop. Meaning that you need to brake sooner especially in slippery conditions.
When there is water on the road this reduces friction even further, thus increasing your stopping distance, meaning that you need to brake even sooner in the rain or whenever there is water on the road.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Ebikes can be operated below freezing, and even down to 0º degrees, but this is not ideal. Electronics are sensitive and even though they can operate down to this temperature it doesn’t mean they should.
Below 32º electronics don’t operate at their optimum level and once you drop to 32º and lower, batteries begin to lose their charge even quicker, resulting in a drop-in mileage. If an ebike gets too cold you can kill the battery cells and then you’re without your battery until you get home and may even need to order a replacement.
A good rule is: If it’s too cold for you then it’s more than likely too cold for your battery too!
As mentioned in our previous post, Tips for Ebike Commuting, make sure that you have many thin layers which you can shed and put on as needed; as opposed to a few thick, bulky layers. In the winter this is much more important and it is also a good idea to have a warm base layer in the mix. A rain jacket is always necessary and your top layer should always be a bright color so you’re highly visible, this is even more important in the winter when conditions are often a little on the worse side.
Improve Visibility with Headlights
The winter days are much shorter and you don’t want to get caught out in the dark. Proper planning can prevent this but for safety purposes make sure that you have front and rear lights on your ebike; not only so that you can see where you’re going but so that others can see you too.
Stay Seen with Reflectors
Reflectors are there to reflect the lights of other vehicles to let them know you’re there. They won’t replace lights but they’re an excellent tool for bringing your presence to the attention of others. The ones which fit between the spokes of your wheels are especially when crossing side roads.
Reflectors don’t just have to be on your bike. You can buy fluorescent and reflective clothing -all the way from socks to hats!- and reflective stickers too. All of this ensures your safety by making sure that you are highly visible to everyone around you.
Wear a Helmet, Obviously
It goes without saying that you should always ride with a helmet; especially once the conditions start to get worse and the light begins to fade quicker.
Knee & Elbow Pads
Some riders wear pads year-round, others opt for them during wintertime and in the presence of tricky conditions. Water can make roads and trails slick and slippery, and ice can be a big danger during winter. As many drivers know, black ice is one of the greatest dangers found on the road. Protect your joints with a set of knee and elbow pads. They’re comfortable and stylish!
Check Your Tires
In adverse conditions, your ebike needs to be the best it can be. Your tires are your contact with the ground so it is important that they’re in top condition. The tread on your ebike tires will wear, just like those on your car. Check your tires periodically throughout the year and especially during the winter.
Protect you & your bike with Fenders
Fenders are a good idea to have on your ebike in general but if you don’t have them you’re going to want them for wintertime riding. Fenders will protect you, your clothes, your bike, and your battery from dirt and debris kicked up by your tries. Not only do they provide this protection but not having this material flying up toward you makes for a much more comfortable ride.
Keep your ebike clean
It is an excellent practice to clean your ebike after every use. This becomes even more significant on rainy days where your bike is more likely to have gotten wet and dirty. Simply wiping your ebike down after each trip can prolong its life and ensure that it stays free from rust. When doing this make sure to dry wipe the contacts where the battery connects to the bike, ensuring this integral part of your ebike stays in optimal condition.
Properly storing and taking good care of your ebike is a common sense practice that every rider should undertake. If you do this then you will get enjoyment out of your investment for years to come! Don’t be afraid to take your ebike out of storage for a nice weekend and then put it back, just follow the tips above for storing your ebike each time you do so and you’ll be ready to go! More importantly, make sure you take any necessary safety precautions to keep you safe whilst you’re out having fun on the road or the trail.