When winter comes it brings with it some of the most unfavorable riding conditions. Sub-zero temperatures, dense snow, strong headwinds; these conditions are usually not suitable for cycling.
However, with a few tweaks to your e-bike, riding your electric bike in the winter won't suck so much.
In this article, I will recommend some of the best electric bikes for winter and snow commute and outline a few upgrades you can make to your electric bike to equip it for winter rides.
One important thing to mention; make sure it's completely safe to ride in your area before taking your ebike out.
Winds exceeding 40 miles per hour will blow your e-bike off balance. This might lead to you seriously injuring yourself.
Can You Ride an E-bike in the Winter or in the Snow
Riding an electric bike during winter or in the snow is not the same as riding in dry conditions. Increased wind and tire resistance impede the bike's performance while minimal friction between the tire and the road increases your chances of slipping.
However, it's possible to ride in the snow, you'll just need an electric bike fitted with components that provide better traction and generate enough torque to plow through heaps of snow.
How Cold Is Too Cold for an E-bike
The thing is, most electric bikes will perform just fine under freezing temperatures. However, as mentioned above, riding under such conditions will be hampered by multiple factors.
Temperatures below 10° Celsius (50°F) will prevent an electric bike from performing at its peak. The main reason behind this is the battery pack's inability to provide enough energy to the motor.
Lithium-ion batteries tend to discharge slower when exposed to extreme cold. This is due to the ions in the battery traveling at much slower speeds than when they're at optimal temperature.
Can I Leave an Electric Bike Outside and Does Cold Weather Affect E-bikes
Even if your e-bike's electronic components are watertight, exposing them to the elements
for extended periods might cause them to corrode quicker.
Once again, never leave your e-bike's battery outside after riding. Low temperature affects a lithium-ion battery's efficiency.
Charging an electric bike or riding one that was previously exposed to extreme temperatures shortens the battery's lifespan. If the battery is integrated into the bike's frame, just store the e-bike indoors at room temperature.
If it's detachable, charge it inside your house. After riding in cold weather, wait for the battery to warm up a bit before charging it.
How Do You Winterize an E-bike
Below are a few things you can do to prepare your electric bike for the coming winter.
1) Replace Standard Tires With Fat or Studded Tires to Maximize Traction
Road surfaces tend to get wet and slippery during cold seasons. Minimized tire-road friction makes riding dangerous.
A good way to mitigate this effect will be to replace your standard e-bike tires with a wider pair. Fat tires provide better grip especially when their air pressure is between 5 & 20 PSI.
If a fat tire won't fit in-between your e-bike's forks, studded tires are another great option for improving an e-bike's grip in wet conditions.
If you're on a budget and can't afford a new wheel, wrapping zip ties throughout your wheel's circumference should prevent them from wobbling around when the road gets slippery.
2) Use Reflective Tape for Better Visibility
During winter, your — and other riders' — view of the road can get very foggy. To ensure your safety, consider sticking reflective tape on your e-bike's frame.
You can even stick some around your wheel's circumference. This makes you more visible to other vehicles — especially heavier vehicles.
Wearing bright-colored clothes should help as well.
3) If Your Bike Doesn't Have Any, Consider Purchasing Front and Rear Lights
Head & tail lights are a necessity for riding in snowy conditions. If your e-bike does not have a headlight, purchase an aftermarket front-facing LED headlight.
They (LED lights) are brighter and more energy-efficient than conventional Halogen lights. Another advantage of a LED headlight is its beams.
A LED bulb doesn't illuminate just what it comes in close proximity with, it emits beams that travel far ahead of you, illuminating the path ahead.
Consider purchasing a rear brake light as well to make you more visible to other road users.
4) Applying Lubricant to Your Chain
Lubricating your chain before taking your ebike out for a ride in sub-zero temperatures will help prevent moisture from penetrating deep into its links. The lubricant acts as a shield, locking out moisture from the atmosphere to the surface of the links.
You have to be careful though, not all lubricants are suitable for application on ebike chains. You might want to consider a wet lubricant. These take longer to dry and will protect your chain from the elements for longer.
Best Electric Bike For Snow And Winter Commute
1) Aventon Level Step-through E-bike
This 60-pound monster can generate up to 750W (1 Horsepower) at peak performance. That's enough power to beat strong headwinds and ride through snowy terrain.
A rear rack at the rear lets riders store extra gear for their commute. The Level's battery is stored safely inside its frame which maintains its optimal temperature and protects it from the elements.
Aventon Level Step-through E-bike
2) Radmini 4
This bad boy is born ready to take on harsh weather conditions. Its 750-Watt motor will power it to overcome any resistance mother nature throws at it.
The Radmini 4 also comes with 4-inch wide tires that will help maximize traction and maintain stability when riding in loose conditions. Its collapsible frame is fitted with front and rear fenders to protect you and your battery from moisture and dirt.
3) Aventon Aventure
With the Aventure, you never have to worry about moisture getting into your battery's contacts. This e-bike's 48V 15A battery fits snugly into the frame and can be removed when necessary.
The Aventure is rigged with 4-inch wide studded tires and front & rear fenders. Its 750W rear hub-motor can generate up to 1000 Watts at peak power.
How to Store an Electric Bike for Winter
If you don't plan on riding your e-bike through the winter, make sure you take good care of the battery pack. If the battery is detachable, remove it from the frame and store it at temperatures above 20°C.
If it's integrated into the bike's frame, find somewhere warm to store the bike. Also, try not to store the battery when it's fully charged.
Optimally, you want to store it when it is around, or below, 50%. Following these steps, and carrying out periodic maintenance on the other components of the e-bike, should preserve your bike through cold climates and extend its battery's life.