Can Electric Bikes Get Wet? Let’s Avoid Short-Circuit

Can electric bikes get wet without causing trouble? We'll provide some tips and tricks on how to even ride them in the rain.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 15, 2022
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Most people are aware of the danger of mixing water and electricity. For those who don’t, electricity can pass to the ground through you if you are in contact with water because water is very good at conducting electricity. So, can electric bikes get wet? As a bike fan, this is a question you have probably wondered about as electric bikes become increasingly popular. Electric bikes are water-resistant like most modern electronics and safe to ride in the rain just as you would a normal bike. However, they are not waterproof; the level of water-resistance varies from one model to another and bike manufacturers typically indicate the IP rating to specify the amount of water the bike can withstand.

We have compiled all the information you need to know about riding an electric bike in the rain as well as some tips that will keep you safe.

Are Electric Bikes Waterproof?

As with most electronics, electric bikes are not waterproof. However, many are water-resistant with IP ratings that depend on the model.

Can you ride e-bikes in the rain?

Are electric bikes waterproof? The best electric grave bikes can withstand water but only to some extent. E-bike brands provide detailed information on whether you can ride their bikes safely in the rain. A lot of them also indicate the IP rating, also known as the ingress protection code, which is a formal rating for water resistance.

IP ratings consist of a letter specifying the IP, a number indicating the level of protection against solid particles such as dust, and a second number specifying the level of protection against liquids such as rain. For instance, for an electric bike with IPX54, IP means the bike has an ingress protection standard after formal testing. The X means it has been tested for resistance against solids, 5 means it is protected against most dust and 4 indicates the bike is protected against splashing water from any direction.

Learning how to interpret the IP rating of your bike and its electrical components is important because it helps you to understand how much rain it can handle. There are six rating levels for resistance against solids and eight rating levels for resistance against liquids. The numbers also let you know whether the product can withstand immersion or only a steady stream of water. You can find comprehensive IP rating charts online that explain the numbers.

Can you splash e-bikes in puddle?

Although electric bikes are not waterproof, there are several of them such as Surface 604 500W Quad Off-Road Electric Bike that can withstand gentle rain and splashing. Check your model and the information provided by the manufacturer for confirmation. You could also check the IP rating; a higher rating indicates more water resistance.

Can washing e-bike damage it?

Can Electric Bikes Get Wet? Let's Avoid Short-Circuit

Depending on the model, you can wash your electric bike with a non-pressurized hose without damaging it. You could also use a damp rag to clean it for routine maintenance but avoid using a garden hose unless the manufacturer allows it. You should also avoid using a pressure washer or submerging the electric bike in water or riding it in heavy rain.

How to Ride E-Bike in the Rain?

Riding in the rain is a lot of fun but when it comes to electric bikes, there are additional safety precautions that you should know.

Weatherproof gear cover

A weatherproof gear cover will prevent your electric bike from dust and excessive water that would increase maintenance.

Bike fenders

Not all e-bikes come with bike fenders but if you own the best electric mountain bike under $3000, it will definitely be included along with other useful accessories. Bike fenders are essential when riding electric bikes in the rain because in addition to keeping your bike clean and reducing its maintenance, they also keep you dry by catching the water splashing off the tires. When choosing a bike fender, you should consider tire width and clearance. The best option for an area that rains frequently is a full-coverage fender that wraps most of the tire.

Plan route ahead

Electric bikes are a good solution to combat climate change because they can be used to reduce tailpipe emissions Trusted Source Research: E-Bikes | Transportation Research and Education Center Under the leadership of TREC’s sustainable transportation program manager, John MacArthur, TREC has developed a wealth of research around electric bicycles (e-bikes) to understand the potential for e-bikes to address mobility needs, increase access to active transportation options, and the potential of e-bikes to address sustainabilty goals. Findings from this research have been used in policy discussions at the local, regional, state and federal level. trec.pdx.edu . Become familiar with the terrain you intend to ride on for a smoother experience. You can brake in a timely manner or avoid deep puddles and ensure your safety when you already know the route and what to expect.

Weatherproof clothes

Can Electric Bikes Get Wet? Let's Avoid Short-Circuit

You can ride an electric bike in rain but don’t forget to keep yourself warm and dry. Layer up with weatherproof clothes such as rain jackets that will prevent you from getting wet. If possible, you should keep waterproof clothing in a backpack for unexpected rain.

Use headlights

Rainy weather can limit visibility. GigaByke 500W Swift Electric Bike has a smart backlite LED screen as well as headlights that allow you to see and be seen by the other people around you.

Look out for deep puddles

E-bikes can get wet and you can safely ride them in the rain as long as you avoid excessive water like deep puddles. Remember electric bikes are not waterproof and you wouldn’t want any water getting in the electrical components.

Use brakes timely

Consider braking early when you ride electric bikes in the rain since wet roads are slippery and your tires won’t have as much traction. Apart from that, ride slower than normal especially when taking corners.

Clean bike after ride

Maintaining your electric bikes will extend its lifespan and keep it in good shape. As we have already noted, e-bikes can get wet and as you ride in rain, your bike will gather mud and dirt.

We recommend wiping the bike with a damp rag after your ride since some components such as the chain can develop rust if they remain wet for a long time and it would be harder to clean them.
 You should clean and lubricate the chain since a rusty chain will increase friction and probably require replacement in future which would be an extra expense even for the best electric bikes under $1500.

The lubricant for the chain is to help the drivetrain maintain its efficiency and shift smoothly. Polish the top tube after cleaning the chain and do not use lubricants on rotors, rims or brake pads.

Many bikes do not have protection against high pressure so avoid using high pressure water to wash your bike. Also, never use compressed air to dry it because it might make some water seep into the bearings and electrical parts since electric bikes are not waterproof, and mixing water and electricity Trusted Source Conductivity (Electrical Conductance) and Water | U.S. Geological Survey Water and electricity don’t mix, right? Well actually, pure water is an excellent insulator and does not conduct electricity. The thing is, you won’t find any pure water in nature, so don’t mix electricity and water. Our Water Science School page will give you all the details. www.usgs.gov is dangerous, unless it is pure water.

Clean the rim brakes and pivot joints to prevent braking issues from accumulated dirt.

After wiping the electric bike with a damp cloth, remove the battery and use a dry, clean rag to clean the battery and electrical components like the metal leads.

You can ride electric bikes in the rain but you should never leave your bike overnight when it is raining because there is still a chance of your bike collecting water that might make its way into sensitive components. Store your electric bike in a safe place indoors because despite the IP rating, the protection indicated is for a specific period.

Additional tips:

  • Gather all the cleaning tools you need and make sure they are accessible to save time.
  • Remember to use protective clothing like gloves.
  • Also, it is easier to clean the bike from the top and then work your way down. Use a workstand to secure your electric bike instead of overturning the bike to clean it.

To remove stubborn grime and mud, wipe the bike with warm water and concentrated bike cleaner. Next apply a generous amount of degreaser and leave it for a few minutes to soften the dirt. After that, use a stiff-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to scrub the dirt on the drivetrain and then wipe it off with a damp rag.

Final Thoughts

You can ride electric bikes in the rain although they are not waterproof as long as you take a few precautions that will ensure that moisture does not get in the sensitive electrical components. You should also remember that riding an electric bike when it is raining comes with challenges such as possible limited visibility, reduced traction for your tires, splashing mud and water that will make you wet and dirty. The grime and mud on your e-bike might also be difficult to remove if you let it accumulate over time. We have provided everything you should know to avoid these problems. Can electric bikes get wet? Yes, and we have explained the proper way to clean, dry and store your bike after your ride.

References

1.
Research: E-Bikes | Transportation Research and Education Center
Under the leadership of TREC’s sustainable transportation program manager, John MacArthur, TREC has developed a wealth of research around electric bicycles (e-bikes) to understand the potential for e-bikes to address mobility needs, increase access to active transportation options, and the potential of e-bikes to address sustainabilty goals. Findings from this research have been used in policy discussions at the local, regional, state and federal level.
2.
Conductivity (Electrical Conductance) and Water | U.S. Geological Survey
Water and electricity don’t mix, right? Well actually, pure water is an excellent insulator and does not conduct electricity. The thing is, you won’t find any pure water in nature, so don’t mix electricity and water. Our Water Science School page will give you all the details.
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