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Caring for your e-bike during cold winter months

by Maria Kuder |

Winter is here.

This might trigger thoughts of internet memes but there’s an e-bike connection too. Snowy winter weather conditions mean that lots of riders cut down on the time they spend on two wheels while others have to put their bikes away altogether for a couple of months. This period of inactivity can create issues unique to e-bikes and severely compromise their ability to properly function. If allowed to continue long enough, they can even permanently diminish the bike’s performance. 

We’re here to help out with some reminders about some simple things you can do to keep your e-bike in great shape during the long, cold winter. Following a couple of simple routines can ensure that everything will be ready to go when spring finally comes around again.

Before you store, start with the basics

Before you put your e-bike away and forget about it for a while, start by cleaning away some of the dirt and grime that has built up over the last few months, especially on moving parts. You don’t have to remove every molecule of dirt and often a simple once-over with a damp paper towel will do but keeping things clean is a must (and keeps you looking good!).

Be sure to store the bike in a place that isn’t subject to severe temperature extremes. This is important for the battery, which we’ll get to in a minute, as well as other electrical components that are right out of a children’s fairy tail—they like it when things are not too hot and not too cold, but just right. Being careless with where you leave your e-bike during the winter can result in an unwelcome surprise when it’s time to get back on the road so keep it in mind.

Finally, just as with the temperature, be aware of the humidity in the space where you store your bike. Sustained exposure to high humidity can result in moisture accumulating in places where it can do damage, like electronic circuitry and precision instruments.

It’s all about the battery

The biggest single issue for e-bikes during extended periods of inactivity is maintaining battery health. And since the battery powers your e-bike, a damaged battery means a damaged bike. Lithium-ion batteries have their own unique requirements for keeping them in optimal condition but following a small checklist is enough to keep everything in great shape.

The golden rule for keeping your e-bike in top condition is don’t let the battery drain completely. The importance of this cannot be emphasised enough. When batteries are allowed to deplete all the way down to a 0% charge and stay there, it causes cell ruptures that reduce the battery’s overall capacity when a recharge is finally started. You may have noticed this in the performance of batteries in other devices. While a gradual decline in battery life is to be expected over hundreds and sometimes thousands of charge cycles, the process is accelerated when you let the battery completely discharge.

According to the people who make the class of batteries used in most ebikes (and let’s take their word instead of diving into a discussion of electro-chemistry), it’s best not to leave the bike plugged in and charging all the time when in storage. The best way to preserve the battery’s health is to fully charge it before storing, let it self-discharge normally during storage and recharge it for about an hour once a month until it is returned to normal use.

This means making a mental note to check in on your bike a few times during the winter but it’s still a small price for keeping the full capacity and range of your battery.

Don’t let a couple of months of winter take away years of enjoyment on your e-bike! You can learn more about the batteries that are encased inside JIVR here.

When the snow is gone and it’s time to ride again

Before you get back on the road after taking your e-bike out of storage, it’s time for another quick checkup. Just as transitioning from a period of regular use to inactivity meant making sure of a few things, going in the other direction has its own short to-do list that will help you to safely enjoy your e-bike.

Start by wiping away any dust that has collected on the bike, paying special attention to hinges, connection ports and safety features like lights and reflectors. Check moving parts and apply lubrication where needed. Make sure tire pressure is at the appropriate level and brake cables are functioning properly.  

Also, check the mechanisms that hold your seat and handlebars in place to be sure that they are securely fastened. The time to examine everything that moves, rotates, bends, shifts, twists, turns or folds is before you’re cruising along at a nice pace and maybe surrounded by traffic. The only surprise you want when you’re on the road is the feeling of how much you missed your e-bike during the winter! So there you have it. A few common-sense precautions and a focus on taking care of your battery are all you need to extend the quality and quantity of the time you’ll spend in pedal-assisted comfort on your e-bike. Just a few minutes spent now and then on upkeep turns into carefree enjoyment the rest of the year, or at least until winter returns.

Learn more about JIVR and what makes it so special, not just in winter, here.

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