Water and electricity. Not generally considered a good combination, right? With this in mind, it’s hardly a surprise we are often asked by our customers, “are electric bikes waterproof?” And you don’t have to be a fair-weather cyclist to be unsure about taking your electric bike out in the rain. There are certain considerations to ensure personal safety and in order to limit wear and tear on your e-bike.

However, you can ride your electric bike in the rain. That’s right - no excuses! Ignore the weather, and hit the road. Read on for all the key information around the question of whether electric bikes are waterproof.

Are electric bikes waterproof? The facts

As stated above, electric bikes, certainly all those sold bike Eco Bike Co. are waterproof. While water and electricity don’t mix, this isn’t a concern when riding an electric bike as generally the electrical components (the battery, motor, and controller) are full water-resistant and sealed from the elements.

That said, being weather resistant (even when it’s bucketing it down) isn’t the same as fully submerging your electric bike. Whatever the extent to which the manufacturer has labelled it as waterproof, no one is going to be recommending drenching your bike for extended periods of time unnecessarily.

Indeed, as we often tell clients: if you wouldn’t do it with a normal bike, don’t do it with an electric one. There are obvious downsides to bikes being exposed to wet conditions for long periods of time - and we’ll talk more about this later.

It’s worth noting, that not all e-bikes are built equally. As such, each electric bike will be given an Ingress Protection (IP) code which rates a bike's level of protection against intrusion (of water, dust, and contact with electric enclosures).

IP codes: electric bikes and water resistance ratings

Chances are you will have seen IP codes on other electrical items, including smartphones (which are now increasingly water-resistant). IP codes feature two digits, the first referring to dust resistance and the second to water. Lower digits reflect a lower degree of resistance. For example, an IP code of IP60 would denote a high degree of dust resistance, but unproven or untested water resistance. IP codes are internationally universal so making comparisons between products are easy. The highest level of water resistance is 9. You can see a table of IP codes here.

If you’re unsure about your electric bike’s IP code, check with the manufacturer or feel free to contact our friendly team for advice.

Wet weather maintenance for e-bikes

So, electric bikes are waterproof (to varying degrees). But that doesn’t mean you want to leave your bike out in the rain unnecessarily. Just as it would with a normal bike, extended time in the rain will degrade electric bike components such as the drive train, chain, and gears.

If you can’t keep your bike inside, we’d suggest investing in a good quality waterproof cover. It’s also worth investing in a cover if you plan to be driving regularly or long distances with your bike on the back of the car. Whatever the weather, we recommend electric bike users give their rides a quick “once over” on returning home from an excursion.

If you’ve been riding in the rain, and especially if you’ve been hitting the trails, it’s likely your e-bike will have taken a bit of splattering from mud and dirt. It’s worth giving your bike a rinse with warm soapy water (nothing too abrasive) and using a soft cloth or sponge to wipe it down.

As we’ve stated, an electric bike battery is waterproof and sealed, but it doesn’t hurt to remove it to ensure all contact points are fully dried. A wet ride also means the chain will require some attention. Our fool proof routine involves a dribble of de-greaser followed by lubricant while paying attention to any bits of dirt and debris that have become stuck between the links.

After a wet few months, you might feel happier to take your electric bike to a specialist for a full service to ensure everything is as it should be.

How to ride safely in the rain

While your electric bike might be safe in the rain, it’s important that you are too. You’ll need to adjust the way you cycle to avoid endangering yourself, or others, on the road.

First of all, slow down.

Wet roads mean less friction, making maintaining control more of a challenge. It also means braking distances will be greater. Braking early and gently is a must. Wet weather generally means dark skies. Make sure you’re wearing bright, high-viz clothing, and you have working lights on your bike to ensure other road users can see you.

Indeed, to protect your health (and for your comfort), it’s worth investing in some specialised waterproof cycling kit. Reduce the risk of catching a cold, or chafing in damp clothes, by purchasing a quality jacket and pair of waterproof trousers. Gloves are a good idea, too, to ensure handlebar grip.

Make sure any luggage remains safe and dry too by purchasing a set of waterproof panniers - our preferred way to keep our belongings secure while out cycling.

It’s worth considering whether your regular route to work is wet-weather suitable. If there are a lot of tight corners or traffic, or poorly lit areas for night riding, it may be worth taking an alternative route.

Riding an e-bike in wet weather: Final thoughts

The good news is electric bikes are safe to ride in wet weather. E-bikes are increasingly advanced pieces of technology, and it’s hardly surprising that key components are water resistant.

Different bikes, though, may have different levels of water resistance. Be sure to check the IP code with the retailer or manufacturer to get a sense of how well the bike handles wet weather.

Remember, best practices for maintenance should always apply, whatever the level of water resistance. After a wet ride, show your electric bike some “TLC”. A quick wash down followed by drying is important to keep your bike in the best possible condition.

Think about storage, too. A damp, or open air storage, location is hardly going to be ideal for limiting wear and tear. Cool and dry is what you should ideally be looking for, but if this isn’t possible, invest in a quality waterproof bike cover.

And remember. Wet weather means careful cycling! Don’t forget the essentials: proper equipment (lights and clothing) and to cut your speed.  If you’d like to find out any more about riding an e-bike in wet weather, get in touch with our experienced team of riders for more information.

July 20, 2022