Electric bikes are just like regular bikes, but with some extra parts. That means taking care of electric bikes and, for Canadians in cold weather climates (uh, almost all of us), is just like getting a regular bike ready for winter storage but with some extra steps.
With ebikes, though, a couple of these steps are very important. Not properly storing your ebike over the cold winter months could actually cause serious damage.
Here are the basic steps to get your ebike or eMTB ready for winter storage.
1) Clean your bike
This is the first step in getting any bike ready for winter storage, and it applies to ebikes, too. Letting a bike sit dirty for months at a time can cause damage to the frame, drivetrain and other bearings. The cleaner you put your bike away, the easier it is to get it ready to ride in the spring.
2) Battery charging
When you’re riding your ebike regularly, you probably want to have it charged up and ready to go. But, when you’re planning to store it for months at a time, the rules are different. Ideally, you want to store your battery at around 60 per cent charged (anywhere between 40-60 per cent is good). Leaving a battery fully charged for months causes stress on the battery cells. Leaving a battery to sit empty for months could lead to a flat battery that might not revive come spring. That is an expensive fix, if it is fixable.
Put your battery away with a 60 per cent charge. Then, if possible, check every month or so to make sure it’s still holding a good level of charge.
3) Don’t leave your bike plugged into a charger.
Do not leave your bike or battery plugged into its charger for long periods of time. Not only is it bad for the battery to store fully charged for long periods of time, it could also be a fire hazard.
4) Store in a warm dry place
Where you store your bike and battery matters. A warm (above freezing, up to room temperature) place is ideal. For Canadians with cold garages, that means it could be a good idea to bring the bike, or at least the battery (if it is removable) indoors for the winter.
Most ebikes are relatively weather proof, but leaving them stored in a damp location all winter still isn’t a good idea. Especially if there’s any chance that resulting condenstaion could freeze on the bike.
5) Store your bike right side up or vertical.
Most ebikes, whether commuter, road or eMTB, use hydraulic disc brakes. Hydraulic systems do not love being stored upside down. Vertical isn’t great either, but if it is the only option, it’s better than upside down. No matter how you store your bike it’s a good idea to check if the brakes are working when spring arrives, before you hop on and ride.
6) Dropper posts up
This is mostly for the eMTB crowd, but any bike with a dropper post should be stored with the seat post at full extension. Storing it with the seat post at full compression for long periods of time is not good for the system.