If you’re a new owner of an electric bike – or you’re thinking of buying one soon – then you’ve likely paid at least a passing thought to weather and water. Just what will happen if your electric bike gets wet? Can electric bikes get wet? Will it be able to handle a spot of rain, or is it a bike you can only ride in the summer? And how are you meant to keep it clean?
These are common worries, so don’t worry – you’re not alone in having these questions! We’ll answer them for you in this article on ‘Can Electric Bikes Get Wet?’
Can I Ride In The Rain?
Before going into depths over the question ‘Can Electric Bikes Get Wet?’, let’s look at whether you can ride in the rain.
Yes, you definitely can! As long as your bike is properly maintained, in good working order, and all electrical components and connections are fitted and sealed properly, you can ride your electric bike in exactly the same conditions as you can ride your leg-powered bikes.
Your bike will be designed to be able to be used in the same weather conditions as any other bike – after all, if you would have to stop riding halfway through a journey because of a sudden splash of rain, your bike wouldn’t be much use!
This is because your bike’s powered components and battery will be sealed against the weather, and ingress of things like mud. They’ll have something called an IP rating, which is an assessment of how well protected these parts are against water and other things.
The IP rating consists of two numbers. The first tells you the protection against foreign objects, and the second tells you its protection against liquids.
Each bike can have a different IP rating, so it’s important for you to check the rating for your particular bike to see precisely what sort of protection it has against the elements.
Typically, however, you can expect to be able to ride your bike under the same circumstances that you’d ride the non-powered version of that bike under.
So, for example, an electric mountain bike should give you the ability to ride the same tracks and trails that a normal mountain bike would.
However, it’s important not to put your bike through conditions that exceed its IP rating. So, make a point of checking this before taking your bike out, so you’ll know exactly what it can and can’t take!
However, this is all thrown out of the window completely if your bike is in bad condition, and the electrical components have bad connections, or damage.
This would mean that the integrity of any ingress protection is compromised – and that you won’t be able to rely on the IP rating to tell you what conditions are safe to ride in.
Of course, it’s important to remember that the IP rating is for the bike, and not the rider.
So, while it might be fine for the bike to go out in the rain, it doesn’t mean that it’s any safer for you – you’ll still need to exercise the usual caution. Maybe even more, as you might be traveling faster than you would normally!
And if you find there might be weather conditions that exceed the capabilities of your bike, then don’t ride in them! Of course, you shouldn’t ride your bike in torrential rain anyway, electric or not – in most cases, weather that’s bad enough to damage your bike is the sort of weather in which you’re better off staying off any bike entirely.
Next we will look deeper at the question ‘Can Electric Bikes Get Wet?’
What If My Bike Falls Into Water?
If your bike simply falls into a puddle for a moment – for instance, if you’re unfortunate enough to come off – then you probably don’t have anything to worry about – as long as your bike is in good condition, and its IP rating allows for it, of course. As long as you don’t leave your bike sitting in water, and get it out of the puddle as soon as you’ve got yourself up from the floor, you likely won’t have anything to worry about.
If you’re particularly worried, you can always err on the side of caution and leave your bike to dry before using the electric power on it, but as long as you’ve stayed within the conditions of your bike’s IP rating, the components aren’t damaged in any way, and all the seals are in good condition, you’ll be fine to ride straight away.
If your bike falls into a larger body of water – such as a lake, river, canal, or pool, then you might have bigger problems. Of course, again, this depends on the IP rating of your bike – and some will offer better protection against immersion in water than others.
However, if your electric bike’s IP rating doesn’t cover immersion, then you’ll definitely need to give your bike enough time to dry out before use – and you’ll need to check all of the electrical components for damage. Depending on exactly how protected your bike is against water, total immersion could be completely fine – or it could be instant game over.
Of course, the best practice is to keep your bike out of the river in the first place!
Storing an Electric Bike
Your bike might offer protection against water ingress, but that doesn’t mean you should store it where it can be exposed to the weather.
For a start, it might well only be rated against water for a certain amount of time – so an overnight stay in a rainy place could well mean your bike is going to give you a lot of trouble when you next come to ride it, to say the least of what you’ll have to do and pay to get it repaired.
And, of course, there’s the worry of getting it stolen – after all, a good electric bike isn’t a cheap investment, and even the least expensive is going to be a target for thieves.
All in all, you should keep your electric bike stored inside wherever possible. It’s better for the bike, and better for your peace of mind.
Cleaning An Electric Bike
Again, this is something you should definitely take the IP rating of your bike into consideration for. Typically, you’ll be absolutely fine to clean your electric bike as you would any other bike – as long as you’re not using a pressure washer, that is!
A pressure washer pushes a lot of water out very quickly – and it can easily force its way into the electrical components of your bike, past any seals.
This, to say the least, is undesirable. Unless your bike’s IP rating specifically mentions that it can handle high pressure water, keep it well away – or you could end up completely wrecking the electrical internals.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be completely afraid of getting your bike wet while cleaning it.
AFter all, you’ve gotta clean it somehow, and a bike that couldn’t be cleaned after being ridden wouldn’t last very long at all! Stick to a normal cleaning routine, as you would for any other bike, and you’ll be fine.
Hopefully this article has helped to answer any questions you might have had about your electric bike’s defense against the rain! In most circumstances that you could ride a normal bike, you’ll be absolutely fine to ride your electric bike too.
Check the IP rating of your bike to be sure, of course! And make sure to keep your bike in good condition with routine checks and maintenance – after all, that IP rating only counts when the seals are all working, everything is fitted properly, and there’s no damage to anything!
There you have it – answers to the big question: Can Electric Bikes Get Wet?