The year is coming to an end soon, and along its paths, it drags along the cold.
With winter approaching, it is no new thing that transportation will not be the same as in other seasons. For some commuters, especially bikers, winter is a time to store their means of transportation and or hobby safely and get a new one to pass the time.
In the case of an electric bike, it becomes essential that you store your bike well as the season gradually changes to winter. This way, when the weather becomes fair and lovely again, you can enjoy a nice riding experience without fearing a malfunction and the bills it will attract because you have done the needful beforehand.
For this, you need to know how to store your e-bike in the cold winter season properly. And if you must, what to do when you wish to ride in the cold season.
Your Electric Bike in the Cold Weather
What runs an e-bike is a battery. Essentially, without your battery working in optimal condition, you won’t get the best performance from your bike. Even you own an electric bicycle with a powerhouse, the inadequate care will cause these features to dwindle.
Exposing e-bikes to cold temperatures (anything below 5oC) will cause the battery to get cold, which is never a good thing. And although e-bikes batteries are very sensitive to temperature change, the effects will be more significant the lower the temperature is.
What happens when your battery gets cold is the gel inside the battery that transfers electrical energy from cells around the battery will harden, thus, reducing the charges supplied to the bike from the battery. The gel hardening will shorten your battery life and causes your bike to have a shorter distance range even when fully charged.
The beauty of any e-bike is in traveling considerable distances; take this away, and the bike becomes no better than a traditional bike that keeps having frustrating chain problems, which can be excruciating. To avoid this, every e-bike owner should know the following steps to store and ride their bikes in the cold seasons.
1. Clean the Bike
The second step to storing your bike in the cold season is a pretty straightforward one – Clean the bike! Whether you take the bike for long-distance cycling or use it as your transportation to work to avoid being stuck in traffic all morning, as long as you are ready to store the bike for winter, you must thoroughly clean it.
After your ride, you must keep the bicycle as clean and fresh as possible. This will remove dirt, stones, and mud from the bike and prepare it for your next outing.
For cleaning, refrain from using a pressure washer, as this can force water into areas that would damage the internal components of the bike. The bike’s battery, for instance, is at risk of such damage if proper care is not taken.
Instead of a pressure washer, wash by hand using a small soft cloth. After washing, cleaning, and drying the bike, it is time to take out the battery and store the bike in a secure place.
2. Keep Your Battery Inside
Keeping your bike outside overnight at a subzero temperature should not be done, even by accident. Storing your bike in a cold place will cool the battery till the gel inside thickens, and this will reduce the distance range available on the bike.
Understandably, not everyone might be able to keep their bikes inside and away from the cold.
In this case, the best thing to do if you own an e-bike enabled with removable batteries, as the Honbike brand offers, is to take the batteries out.
Store them inside where it is warm and safe, and the bike can remain in the garage or shed since it won’t be affected by the cold.
Before storing your battery, you need to have it partially charged. Not fully charged, partially; about 40-50% charge is sufficient. In subsequent winter months, you can recharge the battery but never to 100%, as storing it away fully charged reduces the battery life.
And if you are thinking of storing the battery away flat, this is your warning not to. Do this, and the battery may be completely damaged by the spring. This will only leave you frustrated and with an extra bike bill to pay. Instead, have the battery on average charge; remember never to charge the battery to 100% to avoid any damage to the battery.
3. Keep in a Dry Place
Electric bikes must be protected from harsh weather conditions, both cold and hot. Whether or not you decide to ride your e-bike during the winter, you still need to ensure it is properly kept, and this is not just the positioning.
After removing the battery from the bike, you should store it indoors in a cool, dry place. Where you keep the bicycle should not be humid or prone to flooding because, like any other electrical device, water will ruin e-bikes.
You can fit your bike in your indoor space no matter how little it is if you own the Honbike U4, the recently launched foldable model of the series.
But if you must keep it outdoors, use a protective plastic covering to protect the body of the bike from harsh weather conditions.
Riding Your Electric Bike in Winter
In winter, the roads will get slippery, and this will cause accidents if the proper gears are not installed on the bike before the ride.
The effect of the weather on the road and your bikes cannot be eradicated, only managed. As a bike rider, you must adjust to the change in the season and add extra features to your bike to ensure a seamless ride and safety. Here are a few other tips that are sure to help:
1. Upgrade Your Tires
It would be best if you did not ride with the same tires you have in spring or autumn in winter. The threads on the tires would have probably worn out, and putting them back on the road in winter will be a safety hazard.
It would help if you had tires that have a firm grip on the road and will not slide off because of the ice on the road and causing accidents in the long run. For this reason, performing regular checks on your tires will help to ensure they are always in good enough shape for the winter road.
2. Take Safety Precautions
Riding in the snow can be exhilarating, but with winter’s short days, it can also be dangerous on the road due to the ice on the terrain and even the other commuters. Without the appropriate gear, riding such landscapes is not at all advisable.
Checking your equipment before you set out cannot be overemphasized, as you don’t know what lies ahead. It is best to be prepared for anything and everything that might happen.
Your bike’s lights and reflectors should be properly positioned and working properly, as being visible on the road is important for you and the other commuters on the road.
Wearing helmets are also non-negotiable. In some countries, any rider caught without a helmet will be fined a certain amount of money. This way, their riders must abide by the law, which invariably keeps them from harm’s way. The helmets are for your good as a rider. Leaving home without them is like placing a bet on your safety.
A mudguard for your brake and battery is also needed. This will work great in keeping the mud and snow off your brakes and battery. There will be little to no chance of something getting stuck in the snow, and they will also keep you drier, warmer, and overall more comfortable by deflecting the snow from you.
3. Layer Up
If you will be riding your e-bike in winter, your bike needs to be in good condition and have the necessary gear; the rider must also match this energy.
However, you should not overdress. Sometimes, it is very easy to overdress for a winter ride, but there is a hack to it; when dressing up, step outside and take a little walk around (don’t get on your bike yet.)
If you feel any warmth, you are likely overdressed. Think about it like this, when you are riding, your body will still generate heat asides for the one your clothes provide. That means you will build up a lot of body heat and, as a result, will be uncomfortable.
But say you step out to take a walk, and you feel a bit of a chill; not too much, though. This will be much better as you don’t want to get too warm when riding.
With electric bikes, the riding experience is undoubtedly more enjoyable, and winter doesn’t have to stop you from doing something you love.
As a rider, you need to take proper care of your bike. From cleaning and taking care of the bike’s battery to storing it in a dry place, maintaining your e-bike is a meticulous task but worth it. Following the instructions in this article, you are assured of the most enjoyable cycling this winter.