Can You Ride an Electric Bike in the Rain?

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Your new favorite set of wheels is an e-bike [1], and you’ve been riding it to work, to drop your kids off at school, or to run errands on the weekends, but uh-oh…it’s raining out! The good news is, it is safe to ride almost all e-bikes in the rain.

“E-bikes operate at low voltage levels, or below 60 volts, and there is no danger to your life when you ride in the rain,” Marco Sonderegger, director of e-bike experience product management for Specialized Bicycles in CITY tells Bicycling [2]. Specialized bikes, like most e-bikes, are “designed, validated, and tested for the outdoors and for real bike use,” he adds.

E-Bikes in the Rain: The Deets

The International Electrotechnical Commission [3] defines the Ingress Protection code (“IP rating”), regarding the degree of protection electronic devices have against water, dust, and accidental contact. According to Sonderegger, “E-bikes rated below IP55 should not be ridden in permanent rain.” Although a quick ride through a light sprinkle may be fine, if you plan to ride in permanent rain, he recommends bikes you use a bike that has an IP code of 66 or higher.

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The triangle icon that indicates to play So, although most e-bikes have been tested for riding in the rain, you should check your manufacturer’s website to confirm that your e-bike is safe for wet weather. Also, consider that just because an e-bike is rated to ride in the rain, that doesn’t mean it’s rated to be fully submerged in water. Just like you wouldn’t want to drive a car through a river, you wouldn’t want to ride an e-bike through a deep stream or maybe even though a downpour.

Bike in the rain the way you (we hope) drive in the rain

Just like with non-electric bikes, you’ll want to allow yourself more time to stop because wet weather makes it slightly more difficult to slow down or come to a complete stop. In addition to allowing more time to brake in the rain, you’ll also want to cut your acceleration on turns. By slowing down, you can avoid leaning too much. This keeps more of the tire on the ground, which is especially important on wet roads.

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Store your bike indoors

Though it may be safe—and fun!—to ride an e-bike in the rain, you’ll want to avoid storing it outside because bikes that are stored in wet or humid environments can degrade and corrode more quickly. While this is a bit less likely to occur with newer, more high-end bikes, which tend to have better seals on hubs, headsets, and other parts, it’s still possible, particularly if the bike is kept outdoors for extended periods.

[1] Your newfound preferred method of transportation is an e-bike [1]. In times when you head to your workplace, drop your kids off at school, or run your errands on weekends, you may encounter a predicament: rain! But fear not, as most e-bikes are suitable for rainy conditions.

[2] Marco Sonderegger, director of e-bike experience product management for Specialized Bicycles in CITY, assures you that riding an e-bike in the rain poses no danger to your safety [2]. E-bikes, including Specialized bikes, undergo thorough design, validation, and testing processes to ensure they can withstand outdoor conditions and real-world usage.

best rain gear for biking

E-Bikes in the Rain: Everything You Need to Know

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) outlines the Ingress Protection (IP) code, which determines the level of protection electronic devices have against water, dust, and accidental contact [3]. Sonderegger advises against riding e-bikes with an IP rating below IP55 in constant rain. While riding in light rain may still be acceptable, it is recommended to choose a bike with an IP code of 66 or higher if you plan to regularly ride in heavy rain.

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Before assuming your e-bike is suitable for rainy rides, it is advisable to consult your manufacturer’s website for official confirmation [4]. Additionally, keep in mind that an e-bike’s rain capability does not guarantee its resistance to full submersion in water. Similar to how you wouldn’t drive a car through a river, exercising caution when riding through deep streams or heavy downpours is crucial.

Navigate Rainy Conditions with Your E-Bike

Just like traditional bicycles, adjusting your riding techniques during wet weather is essential for your safety [5]. Allow yourself a longer braking distance as rain makes it more challenging to slow down or stop completely. Moreover, when turning, reduce acceleration to maintain stability and prevent excessive leaning. This ensures greater tire traction, which is particularly crucial on slippery roads.

Recommended Readings

– Discover the Best Rain Gear for Cyclists [4]

– Uncover 8 Compelling Reasons to Ride in the Rain [5]

Protect Your E-Bike by Storing It Indoors

While riding your e-bike in the rain can be an enjoyable experience, it is advisable to refrain from leaving it outdoors [5]. Exposure to wet or humid environments can accelerate the degradation and corrosion of bicycles. Although modern high-end bikes often feature improved seals on hubs, headsets, and other components, they still remain susceptible to damage if left outside for extended periods.

**Cover your bike during rainy rides**

Protect your bike and yourself from the rain

Lots of great cycling rain gear is available to safeguard your body from the rain. Additionally, bicycle fenders, also known as mudguards, help in keeping rain and mud away from you and your bike. Given that visibility is reduced in the rain, it is crucial to have good bike lights when riding in such conditions.

Should you clean your e-bike after riding in the rain?

If your bike remains clean after the rainy ride, it might not be necessary to clean it. However, wiping away excess moisture is advisable. In the event that your battery gets wet, it is crucial to remove it from the bike and dry it along with its cabin using a towel.

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Suppose your e-bike becomes dirty during the ride, for instance, if you go through a muddy section. In that case, it is suggested to clean off the “parts that move,” such as the chain and brakes. Nonetheless, the top rule for wet weather bike care is not cleaning your bike; rather, it is essential to keep your chain lubed. Whether you opt for a low-priced or a high-quality bike chain lube, it is crucial to apply it after riding in the rain or washing your bike to ensure the smooth functioning of your bike components.

What if your e-bike is damaged by rain?

While it is highly unlikely for a brand name e-bike to be damaged by rain, the possibility exists when dealing with budget bikes produced by unestablished companies. To prevent water from infiltrating the battery and connecting components, manufacturers must take precautions to properly seal the entire system. According to Chris Haunold, president of the Boise-based bike and outdoors retailer Idaho Mountain Touring, an incredibly cheap e-bike usually indicates the quality you will receive.

Moreover, Haunold mentions that extremely cheap bikes are often irreparable, and if they can be repaired, the cost of freight shipping back to the company can reach $400-500. Haunold advises potential e-bike buyers, whether online or in physical stores, to inquire about warranty information regarding moisture damage and the process involved in getting it fixed.

When you embark on rainy day rides, you will join countless dedicated cyclists who find joy and excitement in such rides. Not only will you become a more skilled and adventurous rider, but you will also embrace the essence of this unique cycling experience.