Riding an electric bike in the winter brings additional dangers. You need to worry about slick terrain, limited visibility, and damp conditions.
From riding at slower speeds to switching to a fat tire electric bike, here are a few preparation tips for safely riding an electric bike in the wintertime.
Use Wider Tires for Your E-Bike
If you plan on riding on potentially slippery surfaces such as icy streets, ensure that your e-bike has good winter tires. Use wide, studded tires for standard e-bikes when riding on icy terrain or plowed roads.
When riding on soft snow and slippery roads, use a fat tire electric bike. The wide tires cover more ground compared to the tires found on standard e-bikes.
You may also want to lower the pressure in the tires slightly. You get better traction and more grip, reducing the risk of losing control.
Lower Your Seat
If possible, lower the seat on your fat tire electric bike or standard e-bike. Sitting lower on the bike lowers the center of gravity, which increases stability and control.
You should be able to place your feet firmly on the ground when you sit. While this makes it more difficult to pedal in a fully upright position, the lower seat helps you stay balanced.
Slowly Warm the Battery
E-bikes can operate in below-freezing temperatures but the battery needs to slowly warm before charging.
Cold batteries charge more slowly and may not reach full capacity, limiting range and power. However, rapidly heating the battery may cause damage.
Bring a cold battery indoors to slowly warm it to room temperature. If you need to park your e-bike outdoors in the cold, use a thick protective cover to insulate the bike and battery.
Install Fenders or Mud Guards
Along with cold temperatures, the damp conditions caused by snow and ice may damage the battery.
Protect the battery for your fat tire electric bike with fenders or wrap-around mudguards. The guards keep mud and slush from reaching the battery and other components.
Ride at Slower Speeds
Snowy or icy roads require you to slow down, no matter the vehicle. Ride a slower speed than normal. This gives you more time to react to potential dangers such as a slick spot on the road.
As a final tip, check the lights on your e-bike. Snowy conditions limit your visibility. Use a strong beam and keep your eyes on the road.