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Can You Ride an Electric Bike in the Rain?

Electric bikes are becoming an increasingly popular mode of personal transportation around cities. But what happens when it’s raining? If you’re commuting, you need to ride rain or shine. If you’re trail riding, you may encounter puddles or get caught in a storm. Can you ride an electric bike in the rain?

The short answer is yes. Most e-bikes are designed to be ridden in the rain. The motor and battery are sealed to keep moisture out. That said, e-bikes are not waterproof. Rain can damage an e-bike. To determine how waterproof your e-bike is, look at the IP rating. Most e-bikes can handle moderate rain.

You should not ride your e-bike through deep puddles or water crossings. Never submerge your e-bike’s motor or battery. You should also never hose off an e-bike. Try to store your ebike indoors or under cover when it’s raining.

In this article, we explain how to safely ride an ebike in the rain. We’ll explain how to care for your e-bike while riding in the rain and after riding in the rain to make sure you get as many miles as possible out of your bike.

I’ve been riding e-bikes for about a decade in my rainy home state of Washington. So far, I have not had any issues with water damage but I do take some precautions to protect my bike.

A cyclist walking his e-bike in the rain
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Table of Contents

Can You Ride an Electric Bike in the Rain?

Yes. E-bikes are designed and tested for wet weather conditions. The motor and battery are sealed to keep water out. They are water-resistant. You can ride in the rain, ride through puddles, and wash your e-bike without worrying about causing damage.

It’s important to remember that electric bikes are not waterproof. They are water resistant. There is a significant difference. Water can make its way into your e-bike’s electrical components and cause damage.

Most e-bikes offer enough water resistance to ride in light to medium rain. They can also handle some light splashing water. E-bikes usually are not designed to be ridden in heavy rain or through deep puddles. E-bike motors and batteries can’t be submerged or sprayed with pressurized water.

An electric bike

How Water Resistant is Your E-bike? IP Ratings

Not all electric bikes are built the same. Some ebikes are more water-resistant than others. Exactly how much rain your e-bike can handle depends on how well it’s sealed.

Most electric bikes come with an IP rating that tells you how water-resistant your bike is. The IP rating is a standardized rating that is defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission.

According to this guide, “An IP Rating (also known as an Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Rating) is a way of showing the effectiveness of electrical enclosures in blocking foreign bodies such as dust, moisture, liquids, and accidental contact (2022).”

You can usually find the IP rating on the bike manufacturer’s website. It may also be printed in the bike’s owner’s manual. You could also ask at the bike shop where you bought the bike. They should be able to find out for you.

IP ratings have two numbers. The first number indicates how resistant the e-bike is to solid objects, such as dirt, dust, and sand. The second number indicates how resistant the e-bike is to liquids, like water. The higher the number, the greater the resistance.

You can find an in-depth chart of the meaning of each IP number on this website. According to the chart, an e-bike with an IP rating of IP55 is “Protected from limited dust ingress” and “Protected from low-pressure water jets from any direction”. An e-bike with an IP rating of IP66 is “Protected from total dust ingress” and “Protected from high-pressure water jets from any direction.”

Generally, if your e-bike has an IP rating below IP54, it should not be ridden in sustained rain. If you plan to ride your e-bike in sustained rain, you should look for a model with an IP rating of IP55 or better. If you plan to ride in heavy rain, you should look for an e-bike with an IP rating of IP66 or better.

It’s a good idea to buy an e-bike with a minimum IP rating of 54. This way, you don’t have to worry too much about the bike if it starts raining while you’re out riding. If you already own an e-bike, use the IP rating as a guide to determine whether or not you can ride your bike in the rain.

Are E-Bike Batteries Waterproof?

a Bosch e-bike battery

No. Electric bike batteries are sealed but they are not completely waterproof. They are only water-resistant. Water can seep in. The battery can be damaged if it is exposed to excessive rain or if it is submerged underwater. Most quality e-bike batteries have an IP rating of IP66 or IP55.

Are E-bike Motors Waterproof?

A mid-drive e-bike motor

No. Electric bike motors are not waterproof. Premium e-bike motors, like motors from Bosch, come with an IP54 rating. Some Bafang motors come with an IP65 rating.

These motors are only designed to be water-resistant. Ebike motors are mounted low on the bike either in the hub or between the cranks. It is expected that they will suffer some splashes while riding through puddles. They are not designed to be submerged. Even electric mountain bike motors can not be submerged.

If a small amount of water seeps in, it will most likely dry out and the motor will be fine. Moisture could also cause corrosion. This will shorten the life of the motor. When a large amount of water seeps in, it could ruin the motor by causing it to short out.

How to Transport an Electric Bike in the Rain

If you’re transporting your e-bike on an external car carrier, such as a roof rack or rear rack, you need to take some precautions to protect your bike from rain.

While driving, the water pressure of the rain hitting your bike is higher, due to your speed. Pressurized water can more easily make its way into electrical components. To keep the motor, battery, handlebar-mounted display, and other electronic components parts safe, it’s best to cover them.

Many manufacturers sell covers that you can install on the battery, display, and motor while transporting your bike. These are usually simple neoprene covers that attach with hook and loop, straps, or elastic.

Different types of covers are available for different battery and motor sizes and placements. Alternatively, you can make your own covers if you’re handy.

The covers just need to block the rain from hitting your e-bike’s electrical components. They don’t need to be completely waterproof. If a bit of water seeps into the cover, it’s fine.

If your bike has a removable battery, you should remove it and carry it in the car. In this case, you should still cover the pins where the battery connects to prevent corrosion. You can buy a battery plate or pin cover or make your own.

An electric bike with a rear hub motor
A man carrying an ebike

7 Tips for Riding an Electric Bike in the Rain

1. Use Mudguards (Fenders) to Keep Dirt and Water Off Your Bike

Mudguards can prevent water and mud from spraying over your bike’s drivetrain, motor, and other electrical components. As a result, these parts stay cleaner and dryer.

When you use mudguards, it is less likely for water or debris to make their way into your bike’s motor and electrical system. This can improve the longevity of your bike. You also won’t have to do as much cleaning after riding in the rain.

An e-bike with mudguards
Mudguards help keep you and your bike cleaner and dryer while riding in the rain

In addition, fenders will keep you cleaner and dryer while you ride. You won’t have a big strip of mud down your back when you reach your destination. Fenders also help to keep spray out of your eyes so your vision stays clearer. This allows you to see the road better while you ride.

If you expect to ride in the rain frequently, fenders are pretty much mandatory. Many electric bikes that are designed for commuting come with fenders installed from the factory.

2. Avoid Riding Through Puddles and Potholes

Riding an electric bike through puddles and potholes can be risky. Water and contaminants such as dirt and mud can splash onto your bike. If they make their way into the electrical components, they can cause damage.

You never know how deep a particular puddle is before attempting to ride through it. Puddles can be deeper than expected. Your motor could be submerged in a particularly deep puddle.

For those occasions when you have to go through a puddle, try riding through at lower speeds than usual. This way less water will splash up on your bike’s components.

You can also dismount and walk around any deep pools of standing water instead of trying to go through them. This will minimize the risk of moisture getting into sensitive electronics.

3. Weatherproof Yourself and Your bike

To stay comfortable riding in the rain, you have to dress for the situation. You’ll want to wear a good rain jacket. Consider choosing a high vis jacket for extra visibility. Also, consider wearing a cycling cap with a large brim under your helmet. This will help keep the rain out of your eyes. If the rain is heavy, it’s also a good idea to wear glasses or goggles. You should also wear gloves to keep your hands warm and dry. Gloves can also improve your grip. Choose a pair that offer enough hand dexterity to work the gears and brakes.

An e-bike with a pannier
Carry moisture-sensitive gear in a waterproof pannier

You should also consider lowering your tire pressure when it rains. Lowering the tire pressure is a great way to improve traction and stability when riding in wet conditions. Softer tires can better conform to the surface of the road. This increases the friction between the tire and the road, greatly improving grip. When lowering the tire pressure, make sure not to reduce it too much. Try dropping the pressure by around 10 psi.

In addition, you should also use lights when it’s raining. Mount a bright headlight and flashing red taillight. This will greatly improve visibility. Make sure you choose lights that are waterproof.

4. Be Extra Cautious

When riding in the rain, one of the most important things to remember is to brake early. Wet surfaces reduce friction, making it harder for your tires to grip the ground. You need more time and distance to stop.

Brake early to give yourself plenty of time and space to slow down safely. Apply pressure to the brake levers progressively to prevent the wheels from locking up. Use both brakes.

If you plan to ride in the rain frequently, choose an e-bike with disc brakes rather than rim brakes. Disc brakes provide more stopping power and function more reliably in wet conditions.

A woman cycling on a wet road

Also, try not to lean into corners. Slow down more than you normally would. Never accelerate your e-bike through a corner. Some electric bikes don’t accelerate smoothly. This is common with electric bikes with cadence sensor pedal assist. The motor kicks in and supplies a surge of power. This can cause the wheel to lose traction. To stay safe, simply coast through the corner.

Be sure to keep an eye out for slippery spots. Avoid riding on painted lines on the road. They can become extremely slippery when wet. Metal grates and manhole covers can also become very slippery. Also, keep an eye out for rainbow-colored puddles. This is a sign that there is slippery motor oil or other chemicals on the road. Also, try to stay away from any loose gravel that could increase your chances of slipping or sliding. Wet fallen leaves can also be slippery when wet.

While riding your electric bike in the rain, always ride at a manageable speed. If you’re riding too fast, you may not have time to react to slippery spots or obstacles. If you can’t avoid these obstacles, ride over them slowly and carefully.

5. Clean and Dry Your Electric Bike After Riding in the Rain

After riding in the rain, take the time to properly clean and dry your electric bike. This will help prevent water from seeping into electrical components. It will also help keep out contaminants like dust and sand particles.

If you leave contaminants on your bike, they can make their way into the motor or battery and cause wear and tear. Contaminants can damage the seals over time, making your bike less water-resistant. If you leave water on your e-bike, it can seep into the electrical components and cause corrosion.

Wipe down the motor and battery with a cloth. Remove the battery and wipe down the contact points to prevent corrosion. It’s also a good idea to apply some contact cleaner to the contact points.

It’s also important to clean and lube your drivetrain after riding in the rain. Water can wash the lubricant away. Dirt and mud can also splash up onto your chain and cogs. This can cause abrasion, which can wear your chain and gears out prematurely. Use chain lube that is designed for use in wet conditions. This is known as wet lube.

You should never spray an electric bike with pressurized water from a pressure washer or garden hose. Some electric bikes are waterproof enough to hose off but it’s best not to test the waterproofing. You should also never use compressed air to remove water from your e-bike. The air pressure can push water into the electrical components and bearings. These parts can wear out faster as a result. To be safe, it’s best to simply wipe your e-bike with a damp cloth.

6. Don’t Charge Your Battery When Your E-bike is Wet

Charging a wet battery can be dangerous. If the connections are wet, you could cause permanent damage to the battery or the charger itself. Charging a wet battery could also increase the risk of sparking a fire or electric shock.

To safely charge your e-bike’s battery, you should always make sure that it is completely dry before plugging it in. If you notice any moisture on the surface of your battery, use a soft cloth to wipe it off then let the battery air dry for at least 15 minutes before plugging it in.

7. Check All Seals Before Riding Your E-Bike in the Rain

Electric bikes are sealed to protect them from the rain. There are seals on all ports and around electrical connections. Give the seals an inspection once in a while. If they look damaged, worn, or old, the bike may not be water-resistant. It can be hard to tell whether a seal is water-tight or not just by looking at it but if you find that a seal is obviously damaged, you can repair it or replace it.

It’s important to note that the bike can become less water-resistant as it ages. The seals that make your e-bike water-resistant can degrade or get damaged over time. For example, if your e-bike is older, the seals could dry out or crack. If you have to open up your battery or motor for whatever reason, you could accidentally damage a seal. Older e-bikes may not be as water-resistant as new models.

8. Don’t Turn Your E-bike On If You Believe an Electrical Component Got Wet.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your motor or battery get wet, turn off your e-bike immediately and not turn it back on again until you are absolutely sure that it is completely dry. This may be necessary if you ride through a deep puddle that submerges your motor or battery or if you accidentally leave your e-bike outside during a heavy rainstorm.

When in doubt, never turn on an electrical component that may have gotten wet. Your ebike could short out. This could ruin your bike.

It may take several days for your ebike to dry out completely if it gets wet. On some models, you can open up the motor and battery and inspect them to ensure that they are free of moisture. This isn’t always possible. Sometimes the motor and battery are sealed and are not easy to open.

For more tips, check out my guide to cycling in the rain.

A black electric bike

Can You Leave an Electric Bike Out in the Rain?

It’s not recommended to leave an electric bike out in the rain for prolonged periods of time. Over time, moisture could seep into the motor, battery, control unit, or display. This can damage the bike’s components.

In the long term, it can also lead to corrosion. If you leave your bike out, the chain, cassette, frame, and other metal components can rust. Corrosion can also occur in the motor or battery if water seeps in. This may not be immediately noticeable but it can shorten the life of your ebike.

It’s best to keep your electric bike in a garage or covered area when it’s raining. Many electric bike riders bring their e-bike indoors. If you do have to leave your electric bike outside, make sure all the components are protected from the elements. A bike cover works great for this.

What If My Ebike is Damaged by Riding in the Rain?

If you ride a low-end ebike and it’s damaged in the rain, you may be out of luck. It can be difficult to find someone who will work on no-name electric bikes. Cheap components often can’t be repaired. You may be able to send the bike back to the manufacturer but this could cost you $400-$500 in shipping alone plus the cost of repairs. It’s not worth it in most cases.

If you ride a high-end e-bike, it is unlikely to be damaged in the rain. If your bike does suffer from water damage, you should check the warranty to see what’s covered. In some cases, damage caused by moisture may be covered or partially covered. If it’s not, you’ll have to pay for repairs out of pocket.

Most damage can be repaired but it can get expensive. For example, if you need a new battery, it might cost $800. If you need a new motor, it could cost $300-$500 plus the cost of labor to install it. When buying an electric bike, it’s a good idea to buy a model with a dealership nearby so you can get repairs done if necessary.

Is it Safe to Ride an Ebike in the Rain?

Yes. It is safe to ride an electric bike in the rain. You do need to take some additional precautions when it’s raining.

Rain reduces visibility. While riding in the rain, use lights to improve your visibility. You should have one forward-facing headlight and one rear-facing blinking red light.

You also need to change your riding style while riding in the rain. Brake early. Don’t lean too far hard while cornering. This is necessary because the road can get slippery when it’s wet.

Consider installing fenders to prevent water and mud from splashing on you and your bike and to keep your clothes cleaner and dryer.

For more general info on e-bike safety, check out my guide: Are E-Bikes Safe?

How to Choose the Right Electric Bike

When selecting an ebike, consider the climate you plan to ride in. Also, think about whether or not you actually will ride in the rain.

If you expect to ride in the rain frequently, you will want to look for an electric bike with an IP rating of IP56 or better. If you’re a fair-weather rider and you don’t plan to ride in wet conditions, you don’t need to worry as much about water resistance.

Not all electric bike riders need a water resistant bike. If you don’t ride in wet conditions, it’s still a good idea to choose an e-bike with some water resistance. That way, if you get caught in the rain unexpectedly, you don’t have to worry about ruining your e-bike.

Final Thoughts

Most electric bikes can be ridden in light rain. The electrical components are sealed to keep moisture out. Some electric bikes are not designed for use in wet weather. Before you ride your electric bike in the rain, it’s a good idea to check your e-bike’s IP rating to determine how water-resistant your bike is. Moisture can damage an ebike.

You should take some extra precautions while riding your ebike in the rain. Install fenders and avoid riding through puddles. Don’t leave your bike sitting out in the rain. When you get home, wipe your bike off. This will all help to prolong the life of your ebike.

Do you ride your electric bike in the rain? Share your riding experience and tips in the comments below!

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