There is a chill in the air, and though we have a few good weeks of riding ahead of us, it's time for some of us to start thinking about how to winterize our ebikes for the cold season ahead. Properly winterizing your ebike is critical to ensuring it doesn't deteriorate through the winter and is ready to go when you emerge ready to ride next spring.
Whether you are placing your bike in storage inside your home, garage, or basement, there are a few steps you should take to make sure that it is kept safe through the cold season. If you don't have space inside your home and you aren't looking to rent a whole storage unit, there are several storage services out there that can store your ebike through the winter.
The important thing to remember is that you should never let your bike rest outside all winter. This will lead to considerable wear and degradation to your ebike. In addition to this, let's look at some ways you can prepare your ebike for winter
Inflate Your Tires
You may not be riding your ebike for a while, but you still need to make sure your tires are inflated. This is important, particularly if you will be resting it on its wheels all winter long. When your tires are not inflated, it means all the weight of the electric bike will be pressing the rubber of your tire against the rim of your ebike, risking damage to the rim and potentially distorting and weakening the rubber.
Inspect and Clean the Frame
You can use soap and a hose for cleaning your ebike so long as your battery is removed and you are careful not to spray directly on electrical components; however, for those worried about rusting their metal parts, there is another way. Take a soft-bristled brush and start removing all stuck on dirt. Look all over the frame and in any places it may be hiding. Next, go over your ebike with a rag removing all the remaining dust, and start removing any grease that has built up and is likely attracting dust and dirt.
Now all this cleaning offers a great opportunity to check for any structural concerns that may have arisen over a long season of use. While you are giving your bike a good look over for grime, try to look for any cracks or signs of metal fatigue. Give a particularly close look at any welds as well as the lower bracket. These areas are the most likely to suffer damage under most riding conditions.
Apply Lubricant to Cables
Your cables can easily build up rust over the extended disuse ahead of them, leaving them difficult to operate on your next ride. So, take a few minutes to lubricate both your gear and brake cables. Only a few drops of a light lubricant on a rag is enough. First, apply it to any exposed cable and then gently work it through the housing. This will protect your cables from any rust buildup and leave them ready for use in the spring.
Clean and Lubricate Your Chain
This is an important step to leave your chain rust-free and efficient for the next season. First, use a stiff brush to work out any dirt and rust that may have built up on your chain from riding. Next, apply a nice coat of lubricant; remember you don't need too much in order to leave it protected and ready to ride when it is needed again.
Store Your Battery
This may be the most important step to protect your ebike and keep it working its best. You probably already know not to leave your ebikes battery unprotected outside. However, during the winter cold, this can be particularly important. Your ebike's battery is sensitive to extreme temperatures, both heat and cold, so make sure to store it inside a temperature-controlled area such as inside your home to keep it from suffering damage. Before storing it charge it up to about 70% power and then give it a full charge before using it again in the spring.
Empty and Clean Water Bottles
You should still keep hydrated, but you won't be needing any bike-mounted water bottles, so feel free to take these off your ebike to keep them safe for next spring. Most mounted bottles are dishwasher safe and easy to clean. For those using backpack-type water bladders, these should simply be flushed with heavily diluted white vinegar and then rinsed thoroughly with hot water to clean them. Then simply leave them open to dry out and store them for the winter.
Wipe Down Other Components
For everything else, including your tires, saddle, and handgrip, simply give them a good wipe down to leave them clean. There are some protectants such as armor-all you can apply to your seat and handgrips; however, these will depend on the specific material they are made from, so check first in order to prevent damage.
While you are cleaning your tires, you can check your spokes and brake pads for damage and make sure the pads don't need to be replaced as well. Feel free to spin the wheels and make sure they still spin straight without wobbling from side to side. Otherwise, you may want to consider taking your bike to a mechanic for some maintenance. Otherwise, you are done!
Now your ebike is ready for the cold weather ahead. Once the winter is past us, your ebike will be in great shape and ready for many more rides to come. Remember that as long as you take great care of your ebike, it will return the favor.