There's a part of us that often laments the last of the foliage falling and the chilly frost sticking to the grass in the morning. Nothing, however, compares to the sensation of being deep in the woods under the cover of pristine, silent snow. So, before the first snowflake falls, we spend some time making sure our cold-weather gear is prepared and ready to go so we don't miss a beat. Knowing how to prepare an electric mountain bike for the winter is a big part of that.
However, if you dwell in a place like Southern California or Florida, where you can ride year-round without fear of freezing (but not fortunate enough to enjoy the magic of winter riding), you can ignore the majority of these suggestions. You could perhaps take a vacation!
Although braving the cold for a snow-covered winter electric mountain bike ride might seem scary at first. However, with a bit of planning, bike maintenance, and additional clothing, it just might become your new way to experience your favorite fair-weather path.
What is the best way to store an electric bike in the winter?
When the mercury outside hits freezing, it's vital to remember that an electric mountain bike won't be able to keep up with the rest of your bike arsenal in the cold. While no bike should ever be put out in the extremes (constant exposure to rainfall, snow, slush, and ice may cause rust, fuse components, and skyrocket your bike shop cost), e-bikes have a few more items that don't fare well even when kept undercover in subzero conditions. In a nutshell, treat an e-bike the same way you would an electric scooter.
Store Batteries in the House
Lithium-ion batteries are standard on most e-bikes. Simply put, even premium-quality batteries do not perform well in frigid temperatures. Here are our top recommendations for ensuring that your e-bike batteries not only function when riding in the snow but also live up to their potential and keep you riding for years to come, irrespective of the weather:
- Charge the battery inside: To recharge your e-bike inside, we suggest removing the battery. It is because the temperature typically gets too low for your batteries to charge adequately outside or even in the carport. In a freezing climate, if you leave the batteries in the basement overnight to charge, by the time you wake up, it will display an empty battery due to the freezing temperature.
- Allowing your battery to sit for an extended period of time is not a good idea. Did you know that even premium-quality lithium-ion batteries, such as the ones included with your electric mountain bike, suffer from self-discharge? This gradual loss of charge is unavoidable and usually unnoticeable until you leave your battery sitting for an extended period of time. When your battery indicates a charge of 0%, it's actually notifying you that it's at the lowest potential charge before it starts to destroy the battery. As a result, when it stoops below, injury can ensue. If you're going to let your battery sit for more than two to two and a half months, make sure you charge it every few weeks with an overnight charge.
- When the snow starts to fall, most of us stop going outside. So, even if you don't ride for a week or more, placing your batteries inside keeps them warm and ready to go.
There are numerous - and often gimmicky gear options available to assist your bike in preparing for the winter season. The most crucial of all is studded tires. On ice and packed snow, even if you're riding high-quality knobby fat tires, a good set of studded tires can make a significant difference.
The possibilities appear to be limitless. Because there are so many various forms of winter riding, your electric fat tire mountain bike will most likely have a right and incorrect studded tire.
Clean your electric bike regularly.
Riding in the wintertime will inevitably make your bike dirtier than it was during the other seasons. This is owing to the tactics employed to keep the road passable during the winter. To defrost the ice and snow and make the roads passable, sand, grit, and salt are used. Magnesium salt, which is more aggressive than normal salt, can occasionally be found in the grit.
After each winter ride, wipe your bicycle down with a moist cloth to keep it clean. When wiping the chains, make sure to use a bicycle-specific lubricant.
Close to Home Test Ride
Our greatest tip, and possibly the most crucial: test ride your electric mountain bike in your yard or down the block before heading out to the icy tracks. We've heard far too many stories of folks who think they've done everything perfectly, only to discover that by the time they get to the hill, unpack their bike, gear up, and jump on, they are left with only have a bar or two of battery capacity.
Learning to ride a bike in the winter is a whole different experience. Don't be intimidated by some trial and error! However, executing that trial and error in your front yard instead of an hour out at the start of your journey will definitely benefit you.
So, when is it too frosty to go on a bike ride?
Simply said, you can drive your e-bike in the harshest conditions, just make sure you're properly bundled up with warm headwear that fits over or under your helmet, gloves and outerwear. However, this does not guarantee that your battery will work as expected. Your ion lithium battery's operational capacity falls when the temperature drops below freezing. Our advice is to leave your batteries in the car on the way to the trailhead, put it in either "boost" or "turbo" mode if it appears to be getting freezing, and plan for short rides to stay near to the car in case it abruptly drops to zero.