Wondering whether you can leave your electric bike out in the rain? Well, the short answer is that, yes, you can park your ebike outside when it’s wet. However, there’s a longer (and more important) answer too. Because, if your bike is going to be out in damp weather, then you need to take precautions to make sure that it stays in good condition. Let’s take a look at the details.
Yes, you can leave your ebike out in the rain
So, the simple answer to the question of if you can leave your ebike outside in rainy conditions, is that yes you can.
Why? Well, most modern ebikes come with electrical components that are sealed from water ingress. That means that the battery, motor, display/controls and associated cabling – basically all of the electrical bits – are designed to keep the rain on the outside.
That’s great but, underneath all of that technical wizardry, an ebike is a regular bike and a regular bike has plenty of components that will (in time) suffer from damage due to rainwater.
Leave it outside for a day or two and it will likely be absolutely fine. But, if you leave your bike out for longer than that then you will probably start to get problems.
Problems can include rusty chains, seized derailleurs and squeaky brakes. Over longer periods of time you’ll start to see wheel hubs getting jammed and cables becoming corroded.
If your ebike does have to sit outside in the rain, then there are a number of things that you should do in order to minimize any potential water damage.
What you need to do if your ebike is left out in the rain
The best place to leave an ebike when it’s raining is, of course, tucked up snug, warm and dry in the house or, at a pinch, snug, warm and dry in the garage. Sadly, for many of us, this isn’t a viable option.
So, if you’re leaving your electric bike out when it’s raining (or there’s a chance of rain) then it’s good to take a number of precautions. Let’s take a look.
Always keep the battery attached
With the battery fitted to your ebike you will have a seal that keeps most water out from the battery terminals and the corresponding power connections on the bike. That’s normally good enough to stop both rain water and splashed puddles from getting inside.
Take the battery off though and you will have rain falling onto the electrical contacts. This can be an issue for two reasons. Firstly, there is still likely to be residual power stored in the circuitry. Secondly, because there could be water between the power terminals when you fit the battery back on. Both of these can cause the power to short circuit, which can be costly, if not impossible, to fix.
Keep an old towel handy to dry your ebike down
Modern ebikes are designed to keep rain water out of the electronics, but it can still get into the regular parts of a bike (think: derailleurs, brakes and chain). That’s particularly the case when water is allowed to sit on a bike and soak into the components.
After the rain, it’s therefore a good idea to give your ebike and dry down with an old towel. This will get rid of the worst of the pooled water.
Regularly apply lube to areas prone to rust
When you’ve had heavy rain falling onto your ebike (or you’ve given it a vigorous towel dry as per the point above) then it’s a good idea to apply lube to those areas which are likely to seize up and suffer from rust. Choose a good bike lube and apply a light coat to all the moving parts, let it soak in for 10-15 minutes and then use a rag to dab off any excess lube (I always like to use an old cotton T-shirt for this).
Consider a bike cover
The best protection for your ebike when it’s left out in the rain is to not let it get wet at all. For that the ideal solution is a waterproof cover.
There are two main options here depending on your budget and the space available.
Soft waterproof bike cover
These waterproof bike covers are cheap to buy and easy to fold up and pack away when you aren’t using them. The best ones allow you to thread a bike lock through the cover, your ebike and around a suitable immovable object. That way you won’t have your ebike stolen or a strong wind taking off the cover. One particularly useful security feature of these covers is that they make it harder for opportunistic thieves to see what the bike is that’s being covered. Hopefully they’ll move on to the fancy bike next door that isn’t covered over.
Bike storage shed
If you have the space to keep a semi-permanent cover for your ebike, then a dedicated ebike storage shed is a fantastic option. Easier to use than a soft cover, and more robust, these are my favorite option for keeping ebikes outside when it’s raining.