Summer is over and with it, the wet and cold seasons are just around the corner. For many cyclists – including e-bikers – the time has come to mothball their bikes for a few months. But is that really necessary? After all, there are also many beautiful days in autumn and winter that invite you to go on longer or shorter bike tours. Here we explain everything important how to get through the cold seasons with the e-bike.
🚴 Should I even use my e-bike in autumn and winter?
As long as the weather conditions are not too extreme and you feel safe and comfortable on your e-bike, there is nothing wrong with using the e-bike – even in wet and cold weather. Rather, a tour along the leafy paths of the autumn forest or through the revitalizing cold of clear winter days can convey a whole new driving experience.
Of course, you should always attach importance to an appropriate and careful driving style, especially on unfamiliar roads and underground conditions. In addition, all-terrain tyres, for example, can increase driving safety because they have a coarser profile than normal tyres and thus offer more traction and support.
Do you have questions about using e-bikes in winter?
Check the material for function and wear
In general, e-bikes can be used like bicycles without an electric drive in winter. The drive is designed for driving in cold, rain, and similar weather conditions. Nevertheless, there are some important points that should be considered so that there are no nasty surprises.
The material should be checked for its function because there is nothing worse if it works poorly or not at all. Therefore, please check the function and wear of the following bike parts:
- Brakes: Pad wear is higher due to salt, dirt, and other factors. Therefore, make sure that there are still enough brake pads. In general, disc brakes are a bit better than rim brakes, as they have a shorter braking distance in adverse conditions for technical reasons.
- Lighting systems: In the cold season, it is extremely important to have perfect bicycle lighting so that you are not only seen and perceived as a road user but also that you can recognize the danger spots much better yourself. Here it can even be advisable to convert to new LED technology.
- Drive: Similar to the brake, the entire drive train of chainrings, cassette, and chain is subject to greater stress due to the corresponding weather conditions. The correct setting of the components and the timely replacement of wearing parts avoids nasty surprises such as a broken chain and is easy on the wallet in the long run. Wear can be checked using a gauge.
- Tyres, grips, and pedals: Are there any signs of heavy wear such as cracks or broken material? Then it is advisable to replace the parts.
Maintain the material
We also recommend regular maintenance of the material:
- Regular maintenance is very important; above all, clean and oil the chain regularly. She suffers most from wetness and dirt.
- The general rule is no cleaning with a high-pressure cleaner. Improper use of it can destroy both the electronics and the bearings.
☔ Can I use my e-bike in the rain?
Don’t worry: In normal rain, you can use your e-bike without any problems. The electronics of the bike are designed in such a way that they are protected from normal rain as well as from spray water. However, you should make sure that the electronics of the bike are never submerged under water. You should therefore avoid extremely deep puddles that reach the hub. You should also make sure that the e-bike is not exposed to permanently damp conditions.
Discover our e-bikes:
- Cannondale Ebikes
- Cube Ebikes
- Focus Ebikes
- Ghost Ebikes
- Giant Ebikes
- Haibke Ebikes
- Santa Cruz Bikes
- Specialized Ebikes
- Trek Ebikes
❄️ What do I have to consider with snow and ice?
Depending on the region and use of the bike, it makes sense to make some changes, as you know them from the car:
- If the bike is used regularly in winter, you can think about fitting special winter tyres. These are available from Continental and Michelin, for example. Due to the profile similar to that of a car tire, these bicycle winter tyres offer significantly higher traction and safety.
- If you live in regions with long winter phases and permafrost, tyres with spikes can be fitted. These tyres offer a secure grip even on icy surfaces. However, this is only worthwhile if little or no clearing takes place. On the road that is not covered with snow, the wear of the Spike tyres is extremely high.
- With occasional use, it is often sufficient to run the tyres with air pressure in the range of the minimum recommended air pressure (depending on the driver’s weight and any payload). Due to the increased contact surface, the tire offers more traction. However, it should be noted that the driving behavior changes and becomes a bit “spongy” and that the lower air pressure is more likely to cause flat tyres
If you own a bicycle or an e-bike, then your equipment should also include a bicycle pump. It helps you to always have the right air pressure in the tire. Depending on the type of air pump, you can also take it with you on bike trips or bike tours. Here you will find an overview of our bicycle pumps :
- shock pumps
- Mini pumps (particularly suitable for day trips)
- floor pumps
Maintain the e-bike battery
In itself, a battery is very easy to care for and hardly needs any maintenance. In winter, however, it needs a little more attention so that it is not damaged. Therefore, we will first briefly explain how a lithium-ion battery is structured:
Lithium-ion batteries consist of two different electrodes. This is a lithium metal oxide positive electrode and a graphite negative electrode. The two electrodes are separated from each other by a separator. You can imagine it like aluminum foil. It is important that the separator is permeable to the lithium ions, but separates the two electrodes from each other, otherwise, a short circuit will occur. During the charging process, the lithium ions migrate through a liquid electrolyte from the positive metal oxide electrode to the negative graphite electrode. When discharging, the electrons of the lithium atoms flow back and generate a current. Once this principle is understood, the following tips can be better understood:
- Similar to us humans, the battery also has a comfortable temperature. This is between 10°C and 25°C. It works most efficiently in this temperature range. Conversely, this means that at temperatures below 10°C it loses capacity and the range decreases. This is due to the technical structure of the ion battery, as it is difficult to penetrate the separator and the electrolyte. At warmer temperatures, the battery regains its original capacity.
- Therefore: Do not store the battery outside, but take it with you into the house or office so that it is protected from the weather.
- Only charge the battery when it has reached room temperature. Otherwise, in extreme cases, the separator can be damaged and cause a short circuit.
- The battery can be charged between charges without hesitation. It does not have to be completely empty, nor does it have to be fully charged. As a result, the battery does not suffer from a memory effect or similar damage.
- For these reasons, it is advisable to only mount the battery on the bike shortly before starting the ride and to ride with a little support from the start. In this way, the battery does not cool down as it produces its own heat during use.
🏠 Where is the best place to store my e-bike?
When choosing the right storage space for your e-bike, you should consider two things in particular: First, it should be stored in a place that is protected from rain and snow. On the other hand, you should make sure that the air can circulate sufficiently around the bike, otherwise, there is a risk that the e-bike will be exposed to constant moisture due to the formation of a backwater.
Incidentally, storing it together with a car is only recommended to a limited extent, since the car secretes dirt particles and moisture, which can also be transferred to the bicycle and, for example, result in corrosion.
🧥 How do I dress properly for autumn and winter tours?
With these tips, nothing should stand in the way of e-biking in winter. Or maybe yes? Are you equipped with the right clothing for winter driving? Here we give some tips:
- We lose a lot of heat through our heads. Therefore, a windproof helmet cap or headband is a very good solution. They fit very well under the helmet. Helmet covers also provide some protection from the cold wind but are not nearly as effective as protective items made of fabric.
- In general, we always recommend riding with a bicycle helmet!
- The face is particularly sensitive to cold. A tube cloth or a face mask is recommended here. In extreme cases, a protective or warming cream can be applied to free skin.
- Good gloves are essential in winter. Particularly interesting are the “lobster mittens”, where two fingers are stuck together in the glove. These keep the hands warmer than ordinary gloves and the hand function is hardly restricted.
- The feet also need special protection. Special winter shoes with a higher shaft and padding are a good option. In addition, thermal overshoes made of neoprene or a similar material keep your feet warm and are slightly cheaper. If necessary, additional heated insoles can warm your feet like seat heaters in a car.
- The onion principle has proven its worth for the upper body and legs. Therefore, pull several thin layers on top of each other. This can consist of, for example, a long undershirt/pants, a short jersey, a long jersey, and a rain jacket. Special functional fibers or merino wool are particularly suitable. For the outermost layer, it makes sense to use a windproof and waterproof material that is at best light and reflective so you can be seen in the dark.
- In general, before you buy new cycling clothing, you should test it on your bike. How do the thicker gloves feel on the handlebars? Do I feel comfortable with the trousers on the saddle?
Tips for safe driving
Now that you and the e-bike are ready to go, you should note a few important things:
- In general, you should leave both the bike and the car parked in extreme weather conditions. You can only ride a bike if the weather conditions and your own abilities allow it.
- Always ride with a helmet. It’s about your own protection!
- The highest support level should not be selected when starting off. Start off in low gear to prevent the rear wheel from spinning or slipping.
- Even winter tyres or spiked tyres do not always protect against slipping. Therefore, always drive carefully and with foresight. Avoid jerky steering movements and snow walls, otherwise, you may fall.
- If it does get slippery, avoid braking and keep the lane straight. Let the wheel coast until you are back on safe ground
- Similar to starting off, you should also avoid hard or jerky braking. In this way, you prevent the wheels from suddenly locking and the resulting fall.
We have the right helmet for every purpose. Check out our helmets:
- Bicycle helmets for children
- MTB helmets
- Full-face downhill helmets
- Road bike helmets
- BMX / dirt helmets
- City, trekking and Urban bike helmets
Store the e-bike / hibernate the e-bike
If you don’t want to use your e-bike in winter but want to store it, we have the following recommendations:
- The optimum battery charge level for storage is between 30% and 90%. Since the battery has a slight self-discharge, you should make sure that it does not discharge deeply, otherwise, it can be damaged. Even if the battery is fully charged, this puts unnecessary strain on the cells. Accordingly, a charge level of 100% should also be avoided during storage.
- Thorough cleaning is highly recommended. So that the wheel is stored in a clean condition and no corrosion damage occurs over time. So it can be made ready to go again in spring with just a few simple steps.
- The e-bike should be stored as dry as possible. Therefore, do not leave the bike in front of the front door. In this way, all electronic parts are best protected.