Rainy-day biking does not scream “fun” to most people- it is understandable. But, when you have to commute every day and do not have a car, the costs of taxi rides will add up. This, however, should not be a reason why you can’t enjoy the great outdoors. Thus, the simple, short answer is yes, you can ride your electric bike in the rain. But, there is a catch- you need to be prepared. As soon as the clouds appear, you need to prepare yourself and your bike for the rain with the appropriate gear.
Are e-bikes waterproof?
As an e-bike owner, you need to have proper knowledge of situations so that you can do what is best for your bike. This means understanding that electric bikes are water-resistant and not waterproof. It should, therefore, be treated under the rain as you would any other piece of electronic. In the short term, your bike will probably survive a day or two in the rain, but in the long term, there will be serious consequences.
How to prepare your e-bike?
Before riding in the rain, you need to ensure the battery and computer are adequately protected. The first thing you need to do is buy fenders. With all the elements both from the ground and the sky assaulting your bike, riding in the rain can be a nightmare. However, with good quality fenders, riding will be bearable. They will shield you from mud, water and grime. Most riders will keep off fenders because of aesthetics, but their benefits outway a little beauty.
You may also consider using cycle caps. These not only keep your clothes dry, but they also keep the upper electrics on your bike dry. You should also know that the motor is not waterproof on most bikes. So, ensure that the cables exit downwards as they head to the controller. You may also need to seal the six disk brake with thread lock, so they do not fail.
In some cases, you have to move the controller away from the wettest part of the bike. You also need to use a sealant that will last. While silicone will work for a few weeks, it will not be as permanent as sealants made for gutters. These are sticky but remain flexible. If you can’t cover the entire bike, keep your hand on the throttle as you ride to keep the water away. For your battery, buy a rain-resistant battery bag this keeps off 90% of water.
Additionally, remember to rustproof your electric bike by applying dielectric grease at the points where your bike is prone to getting in contact with water. After the ride, make sure you take a dry towel and dry the bike. Remove grit from your chain to keep them from wearing out.
How to prepare yourself: accessories you may need
Visibility in the rain is diminished and often makes riding dangerous. You need to make sure that the e-bike lights are on because it takes longer to slow down or completely stop. You need a back and front light that is bright enough to illuminate the road.
You need to ensure you stay as dry as possible to keep the cold away. There are waterproof jackets that are boldly colored, lightweight and affordable. These have a front zipper and are packable when folded, so you can carry them everywhere without consuming too much space.
Gloves are great for the cold weather. Ensure you choose ones made of neoprene. The material is waterproof and insulates heat. These gloves allow mobility.
A waterproof pair of trekking shoes will work wonders. These will give you a solid grip and allow sufficient movement.
Stick to a cycling cap
During the summer, the air vents on helmets are perfect, but during the rainy season, these can be horrid. Choose a good cycling cap that you can wear under your helmet. You may choose one with peaks to protect your eyes too.
Nothing will keep your feet completely dry when it is raining heavily. Your best bet is using plastic bags to cover your feet. You can use them along with some Seal Skinz socks.
Lower your tire pressure
In wet conditions or during winter, bike tires with higher pressure make it difficult for the rider to maintain traction. Even expert cyclers face this issue when their 21mm tire is inflated to 120psi. If you can, change the tires to 25mm during the rain. Also, ensure you reduce the inflation to 90psi maximum. This will increase the surface area and improve the grip on the road.
Do not lean into corners
When it is dry, leaning into corners allows you to maintain the speed. In the wet weather, this decreases the contact patch of the tire. When you get to corners, it is recommended that you decrease your speed and take a smart line. It will help you keep your weight over the back wheel.
Seems like something obvious, but when the raindrops are hitting you hard, you may feel like you have to rush to get to shelter. Remember, in the rain it will take you twice as long to come to a complete halt.
Keep off painted lines
These lines are dangerously slick, especially when it is wet. Avoid these marked parts, particularly when taking corners.
Steer clear of rainbow patches and puddles
Keep your eyes on the road as you ride to avoid rainbow patches. These are often oil from cars and will cause you to slide. Puddles are also hazardous because you cannot see what is underneath.
In a nutshell
Riding your electric bike in the rain is not completely impossible. As long as you keep yourself safe, you will get to your destination in peace. Keep all electric parts of the bike dry because while short-circuiting is rare, it is still a risk.