Are E-bikes Waterproof?
Are Electric bikes waterproof? The short answer is no. Electric bikes are water-resistant, that is not something to fear though. Many of the items we use daily are not waterproof but merely water-resistant. You wouldn't leave your phone behind on a wet day, but you also wouldn't go diving with it.
The rain in Scotland
People ride in the rain, especially commuters. In Scotland there is no way around it, you'll have to ride in the rain at some point. The good news is that pretty much all bikes are water-resistant. If you're worried about rain, then there are a few things you can check and do to make sure that you're e-bike is as water-resistant as possible.
Whether you have an e-bike or a standard bike, you need to get on top of cleaning and maintenance when the bike is new if you want to keep the bike water-resistant.
Keep your e-bike indoors
One of the simplest things you can do is to keep your bike inside. You don't want to spend a considerable chunk of money and then leave your bike outside in all weathers.
Some people recommend plastic covers for when their bike is outside. We tend not to. The reason is these covers will stop the rain falling on your bike. The issue is with water from below. The cover traps in moisture this way and then allows the perfect micro-climate for rust. It is incredible how quickly rust can accumulate, and how, once it has started, it is almost impossible to eliminate.
The simple advice is to store your bike indoors. Keeping it indoors should also lessen the chance of it being stolen.
When you get home from a ride, remember and wipe the worst of the water off. It can also be useful to spin the wheels fast to try and remove excess water from the wheel bearings. Make sure to wipe the chain down and under the lower headset bearing. These places are susceptible to water ingress, if needed, use the correct bike lube on your chain.
Batteries don't like water. The slow seepage of water is the most likely candidate for causing issues with your e-bike's electrics. The good news is you can check how well a battery will cope with water penetration before buying a new e-bike.
There is a worldwide standard for batteries to tell you how well they deal The standard is known as Ingress Protection (IP). The information for this will be available in a bike's specification sheet. You should be aware that cheaper bikes purchased from retailers such as Amazon or Sports Direct will not have this information.
The IP code measures protection against more than just water; it tells us about dust or how easy it is to get your finger trapped in something accidentally. Without going through all the numbers and what they mean, we'll concentrate on the water figure. If you don't want to trap your finger, you want the first number to be higher than zero.
The second number in the code is what tells us about water ingress. The scale climbs from 0 up to 9. ) as you can probably work out, means no protection. If the e-bike has a 0 here, walk away.
If you find an e-bike with a number 9 here, the good news is you should be able to clean the dirt away with a jet wash from around the battery. You might want to check the rest of the bike can withstand that though.
At the moment you'll find most e-bike batteries come at number 7 on the IP scale. You can then leave your bike in a puddle a meter deep while you go for a coffee for half an hour. The sad news about this is that your battery will be alright, but the bearings on your bike will probably be dead.
Fit mudguards to your e-bike
Another simple thing you can do to help protect your e-bike from water is to fit mudguards. Not the type that just clips on and keeps your butt dry but the full guard style, the ones that cover most of your wheels.
These mudguards will help to protect areas such as your bottom bracket and headset. These areas are very susceptible to water ingress. You can destroy a headset in a few wet rides if you don't take care. Fitting full guards will stop water from being able to get into your headset.
You also want to fit a quality set of mudguards. Cheaper mudguards are a nightmare to fit. They also tend not to line up well, which means they will rub against parts of your e-bike. The noise from this can be enough to drive you crazy.
If you take care of your e-bike not being waterproof, but water-resistant will not be a problem. Make sure you clean your bike down after riding in wet weather. If you clean your bike after every ride, you'll lessen the likelihood of needing expensive maintenance.