December has arrived! Meanwhile, many places in the US have gradually paced into winter. A lot of our riders have been asking how to properly store their ebike during the long, dark and cold season, and we have already made a blog about it. If you plan to store your ebike for a long period of time during these months, please read our previous blog article.
On the other hand, some riders also wonder: is it possible to ride an ebike in winter? There are always a few days when the sun is out, weather is fine, and you want to take your ebike out for a run and enjoy the winter view. Or the winter scenery is quite amazing in your area and you want to explore.
We’ll give you an answer first: Yes! But... There is also a but :) Follow us in the article and learn how to safely enjoy ebike riding in winter.
What temperatures are suitable for operating an ebike?
Technically, Hovsco ebikes can operate in temperatures as low as -4°F(-20°C). But keep in mind that this temperature is referred to operation. DO NOT charge the battery below 32°F(0°C), the freezing temperature. And for storage temperature or tips, please check our previous blog article.
To make it clear, here are the temperature range numbers that you need to pay attention to:
Ebike usage temperature: -4 - 149 °F
Battery charging temperature: 32 - 86 °F
Ebike storage temperature: 32 - 86 ℉ (Ideally 50 - 77 ℉)
The temperature ranges listed for e-bike usage and storage serve as guidelines. It's strongly advised to avoid exposing your ebike and the battery to extreme conditions whenever possible!
What are the differences between ebiking in winter and in normal temperatures?
It goes without saying that the biggest challenge of riding in winter is the temperature. Consider this factor not only for the ebike, but also for yourself. If you find the weather to be too cold or harsh to ride in, then it’s probably not the right day for your ebike as well.
It is very challenging for the human body to endure such weather, not to mention the cold wind will come blowing at your face when you are cycling. So it is crucial to be fully prepared for winter ebiking. Here are a few suggestions of what to prepare before a winter ebike ride:
- Helmet (as always)
- Warm clothing
- Sunglasses or snow goggles
- Gloves or handlebars gloves
- In dark hours, visible and warning outfit and devices such as bike lights
As the previous Q&A mentioned, ebikes can operate in a low temperature. But the battery is not a big fan of coldness! It will not perform as good as in normal temperatures. Actually, its performance and durability are severely influenced by cold temperatures. Therefore, you will notice a shorter range riding in winter. So it would be better not to plan for a long ride at those times! You can choose to apply a battery protective cover to keep the battery warm to enhance its performance.
3. Road condition
Two of the roughest road conditions for cycling appeared in winter: snow and ice. If you choose to ride your ebike in winter, you are most likely to experience these two road conditions. Sometimes winter roads can be wet too, either in some areas that rain instead of snow in winter, or from the melting snow. Hovsco ebikes have a water resistant level of IPX4, so they are capable of these road conditions,
Fat tire ebikes are best for riding in such conditions. The fat tires have wider contact with the ground, therefore offering more grip and friction. But even with fat tires, it might not be enough. Consider getting studded tires for a smoother snow or ice riding experience. According to Electrek, keeping the bike’s PSI between 5-20 is perfect for riding on the snow.
No matter what kind of bike or ebike you have, always take a short test ride before your actual trip in winter. On snow or ice, ebikes are far more harder to handle, maneuver and brake. They do not have the same stability as vehicles or as in warmer times, and braking time is much longer. So take a short test to experience what it’s really like to ride on snow and ice. Then consider if you are comfortable with riding in this kind of condition before deciding to go for a longer trip.
Another thing that should be noticed is that when you are riding on the snow, the tires are certainly going to throw snow and slush on the ebike and you. So it is highly recommended that you install fenders on your ebike for winter riding.
What should I do after finishing riding in winter?
Winter poses significant challenges for a bike's exposed drivetrain due to the abundance of sand, salt, and road debris. These elements quickly accumulate, causing the chain and derailleur to become clogged and less effective, leading to unpleasant noises such as squeaks, clicks, and clatters. Even in areas with milder temperatures, the rainy winter months worsen the issue by washing dirt onto the roads, which ends up flung into the bike's drivetrain by the wheels.
To counteract these effects, regular maintenance is key. If you choose to ride your bike during winter, frequent cleaning and lubrication of the drivetrain are essential. Focus on clearing out accumulated dirt, sand, and salt after nearly every ride using a chain cleaner, rag, and an old toothbrush. Applying a suitable chain lube for your climate helps maintain optimal performance. Additionally, wipe down the brakes post-snowy or dirty rides, ensuring the contact surfaces with the wheels remain clean. For bikes with disc brakes, avoid touching the rotors or brake pads with bare hands to prevent residue from skin oils affecting braking power.
If we were to summarize one principle for winter riding, it would be: SAFETY FIRST. Riding in winter presents more challenges compared to other seasons, but it can also be rewarding. Experiencing the serene beauty of snowflakes falling or relishing the crisp air during winter rides are joys that other seasons may not offer. Winter riding may demand more effort, but it also molds us into stronger, more adaptable riders capable of navigating various environments.
BEST Ebike for Winter
HovAlpha is the flagship electric bike model by Hovsco. It’s known for its 26x4 inch fat tires, enabling effortless navigation through diverse terrains like mountain trails, beaches, snow and grasslands. One of its standout features is the integration of the advanced torque sensor. It ensures a natural and comfortable riding experience like on a real bicycle. With a powerful 750W motor, it offers an astonishing power boost for cycling while complying with the US power limit regulations for electric bicycles in the United States. The astounding 960Wh battery capacity allows for an impressive maximum riding range of up to 80 miles. There is a step-over and step-thru version both available for your preference and fashion choice.