As we approach colder winter weather, we are getting more and more questions from riders about how to keep their ride well-maintained for winter, as cooler temperatures can create unique challenges for e-bikes.
An important factor affecting your bike's performance is the battery, and how well it's looked after. We've got you covered with plenty of useful advice on battery care, plus tips on cleaning, maintenance and planning for your rides, to help ensure you stay happily on the road even during more challenging weather.
Battery maintenance matters
As the power behind your assisted rides, it's super important to keep your e-bike's battery healthy and happy during colder weather. Batteries do not enjoy prolonged exposure to lower temperatures, so we have a few tips for helping to keep them at their best:
- When not riding, keep the battery out of the cold. If your e-bike has a removable battery, simply bring it indoors, ensuring that the battery contacts are protected against the elements. If your bike's battery is integrated, it's best to bring the whole bike inside when the cold weather arrives. Find out more about the pros and cons of integrated and removable batteries here!
- When outdoor temperatures are around zero degrees Celsius or lower, ensure the battery has come up to room temperature before charging. This applies to any power banks you might have, too – if you carry yours in your backpack, let it reacclimatize when you come indoors.
- Keep an eye on the battery's charge level – ideally keep it charged between around 40-70%, when not in use. This is good practice all year round, as it helps to prolong your battery's lifespan!
- It's quite normal for a battery's performance to drop along with the temperatures – don't worry, it should return to its usual performance levels when the weather gets warmer. Do bear in mind that you may need to charge it more often than usual, however.
- When riding, avoid behaviour that could place excessive demand on the battery. Don't overload your bike – too much weight can use up battery power dramatically. Use the powered assistance appropriately to the riding conditions – keep to the lower or 'eco' assistance levels if your route allows.
If you want to explore more ideas for e-bike battery care in general, our 4 top tips is a great place to start!
Checking your tires regularly is an important step to take if you are riding throughout the winter months. They are your e-bike's contact with the road, so it's vital that they're in good condition to ensure you're fully prepared for potential adverse conditions, and properly inflated. Did you know that colder temperatures can affect the pressure of your tires? Check them outdoors before you ride, referencing the pressure range on the tire's sidewall if necessary. Remember that properly inflated tires offer less resistance during riding, which will help ensure your e-bike's motor is running at its most efficient. Another way to boost your e-bike's range when riding in demanding weather conditions!
Keep it clean
Winter can throw a lot of dirt at your e-bike, so if riding regularly, you will need to give it a clean more often than you would in the spring or summer. A gentle scrub with warm water and wiping dry afterwards is the best way – do not be tempted to use a pressure hose, as this could damage the electrical parts. If your e-bike has a removable battery, ensure the battery contacts are clean and dry and will not be exposed to the elements, to avoid corrosion.
If your e-bike has a chain drive, ensure it's properly cleaned and well-lubricated, – it is particularly vulnerable at this time of year, thanks to the corrosive nature of road grit combined with wet or snowy weather. For an easier winter maintenance experience, belt drives – such as the Gates carbon belts on our CGO Commuter series and AGO T models – are ideal. With no metal to rust, and no lubrication needed to keep moving smoothly, they are straightforward and super-dependable!
Plan ahead for riding
Darker days and colder weather present extra challenges to any cyclist, so ensure you stay safe on the roads on your e-bike with a little forward thinking.
- Make sure you're visible to other road users – high-viz clothing with light-reflective elements is ideal for you, and when it comes to your bike, keep its lights charged up, and always feel free to add extra!
- Check weather forecasts so that you're not caught out by sudden rain or snow showers. Waterproof clothing is your friend, helping you to keep rolling despite downpours. If you're likely to face heavy snow, consider that you may need to lift your e-bike over a snowdrift; bear in mind that some e-bikes can be quite heavy, so be prepared for this.
- Be alert to seasonal hazards on the road; deep puddles or snow can hide potential dangers, and ice can be tricky to spot, so ride cautiously if in doubt about the state of the road ahead.
- Take your time – the riding conditions in winter weather can make the going a little slower than in sunny seasons, so leave yourself plenty of time for your commute or errand.
- If your e-bike has gears, take care to shift them appropriately for the terrain, and anticipate the need for gear changes such as upcoming hills. Being in the best gear or powered-assistance level for the terrain you're riding will help your motor run efficiently, and so reserve battery power, helping you to stay riding for longer.
With a little planning and care, you and your e-bike can keep rolling happily in the winter months. We always love to hear from our community of Tenwayers, whatever the weather – share your cold-weather riding stories in our Facebook Group!