Short leisure trips & commutes are a good way to refresh your mind and to explore the beauty of nature. However, unfriendly weather conditions can sometimes become a serious nuisance especially for the people who are out on their bikes or those who’re planning a bike trip. It is a no-brainer that simple bicycles can be ridden in wet conditions simply because they have no electrical components, but it is a different story for ebikes and an increasing number of ebikes owners are asking whether they can ride their ebike in the rain or not?
This article answers all such queries so that there remains no ambiguity regarding the viability of ebikes in wet or rainy conditions.
Can I Ride an Ebike in the Rain?
Electric bikes, despite having two major electrical components, can be ridden in the rain. Their ability to traverse through wet patches and rainy conditions can be checked by the IP rating given to them. The IP rating is the measure of protection given to various devices & machines that rates their protection against factors such as water, dust, and electrical fields. The electrical components in most ebikes are sealed quite firmly which is the reason why they’re IP rated just like some smartphones that are IP rated for dust & water protection.
However, it is important to keep in mind that ebikes aren't built to go through knee-deep water. The IP rating is a measure of resistance against water and dust, it doesn’t turn an ebike into a waterproof bike. Moreover, some non-IP-rated ebikes can also be comfortably driven in rain but it is good to have an ebike that has an IP rating.
How Can I Know If My Electric Bike Can Get Wet?
The IP rating, as mentioned earlier, provides a good indication of whether an ebike can get wet or not. It is usually mentioned on the packaging or sometimes on the electrical components of an electric bike. Nevertheless, there are times when IP rating isn’t mentioned on either the ebike’s frame or the packaging. In such a case, it is a good idea to contact the customer service or visit the manufacturer’s website to know whether their ebike offers protection against water or not. The absence of IP rating on the frame or the packaging does not necessarily mean that the bike isn’t water resistant, some manufacturers just mention their IP certification on their website.
What are the Dos & Don’ts?
There are some dos and don’ts as far as riding an ebike in the rain is concerned, but first, let’s begin with the Dos:
Be Vigilant – It is important to remain vigilant in wet conditions because the braking and cornering abilities of an ebike are compromised. Moreover, one needs to limit his ebike’s speed in slippery conditions not only because it is slippery but also it gives some time to think ahead.
Precautionary Measures – Bikers are especially prone to accidents in wet conditions; therefore, it is a good idea to take precautionary measures such as lowering the tire pressures and packing your wet weather gear with yourself in case there’s a good chance of rain.
Also, it is a good idea to cover the battery & display of an ebike so there are fewer chances of water penetration. The availability of aftermarket covers makes it easier to cover vulnerable points in wet conditions.
Post Rain Measures – Some measures should be taken care of once the ebike has been ridden in the rain. Cleaning the whole bike, especially the motor, battery, and its terminals is a good way to ensure their longevity and to avoid rust. Lastly, the chain and the drivetrain should be re-greased or re-lubed after they’ve dried.
There’s one big Don’t that should be kept in mind while riding an ebike in wet conditions and that is to stay clear of areas where water has accumulated considerably. This will keep your battery & motor safe from water damage and short circuits.
Do Waterproof Ebikes Exist?
Sadly, there isn't any waterproof ebike available in the market at the moment. Water-resistant electric bikes should not be confused as waterproof bikes because doing so can pose a grave danger in extreme situations. Some high-end ebikes do provide better protection against moisture/water infiltration but even they aren’t completely waterproof.
Can I Upgrade the Water Resistance Level of my Ebike?
Most manufacturers do everything they can to enhance the water-resistance level of their ebikes, but there's always room for improvement especially as the bike gets older. Even the smallest measures can make your ebike more drivable in wet conditions.
The main & the most important measure one can take to improve water resistance is to regularly clean & grease the electronic contact points. You can also use liquid tape in place or in addition to the dielectric grease if you want better water protection. Using removable water shields or covers over vulnerable areas such as speed gauge and the battery adds another strong defense layer that can be removed anytime without the need of specialized tools.
Other Tips to Ride an Electric Bike in the Rain:
The aforementioned tips are tried & tested; therefore, they can make riding an electric bike in the rain more convenient, but there are some additional tips that can make your rainy rides safer:
Rain reduces visibility which is why it is important to install reflectors and lights that will make your ebike more visible especially in the dark. Also, don't forget to wear gear that has reflective stripes.
Since wet surfaces offer less friction, therefore, it takes longer to come to a complete stop. To counter this issue, you need to use the brakes earlier than you’re used to in normal dry conditions.
Look out for potential hazards such as a greasy patch, fallen leaves, or even a stray wrapper. All of these are a ticking bomb for anyone riding an ebike in wet weather and an accident resulting from their presence can cause a major injury or fracture.
Waterproofing yourself is necessary but protecting your stuff from water is also important. Use a waterproof bag or a sealed pannier bag to store your goodies in rainy weather so they can be used afterward.
Fenders are a great way to minimize the impact of splashes, some ebikes come as standard with fenders but some don’t. Nevertheless, you can easily install an aftermarket fender to make your ebike more usable in the rainy season.
Is Electric Bike Battery Waterproof?
None of the electric components of an ebike are waterproof and the battery is no exception. Having said that, some ebike batteries are IP67 rated which essentially means that they are dustproof and water-resistant. The IP67 rating provides water protection for almost 15-30 minutes at a depth of below 1 meter. Loosely translated, your ebike’s battery will be perfectly fine even after a rainy ride but it would definitely not survive if submerged in water.