While E-Bikes can be enjoyed by anyone, not everyone will have the perfect storage area. This is for those of us in an apartment, somewhere with narrow stairs, or just out on the road. Can you leave an electric bike outside, or is that bad news for your new toy?
Can You Leave An Electric Bike Outside?
You can leave your electric bike outside, but you will need to have a good cover. You’ll get away with leaving it outside temporarily in good weather, but in bad weather or in the longer term you could damage sensitive parts of your expensive new mode of transport!
If you need to leave a bike outside a store or a friend’s house for a short time, don’t worry too much. As long as you use a good lock setup and always use it, you’ll be ok for a few hours. If you can, always bring it inside away from weather and opportunists.
Ideally, we don’t recommend leaving your E-Bike outside at all if possible. The exposure to weather and the possibility of getting it stolen is too high. If you have to, we’ve got a guide to leaving an electric bike outside safely below.
Problems With Leaving Your E-Bike Outdoors
Leaving your e-bike outside might not seem like a big deal, but there are some big problems with it.
- Thieves – E-Bikes are high-value targets for thieves, and leaving yours outside is likely to attract attention. Even with the best locks, it’s still possible for a determined thief to break or cut them given enough time and effort.
- Rain + Moisture – While the battery and motor are normally well-sealed on most electric bikes, moisture will get in. Too much moisture and not enough heat to dry it out can end up damaging the internal electronics.
- Sun Damage – Your tires, saddle, and paint will all wear from sun damage over time. On E-Bikes, direct sunlight can also heat up the battery and lower the capacity of the cells over time. Extreme heat (more frequent these days) can kill a battery pretty quickly.
How To Keep An Electric Bike Outside Safely
- Use A Cover – If you’re going to be storing your E-Bike outside regularly, a cover is a great investment. It will shield it from the sun and rain, and make it just that extra bit harder to steal. Well worth it.
- Get Some Good Locks – A flimsy cable lock or folding lock won’t cut it. As in, they will get cut – by thieves. Without a good lock setup like this Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain & U-lock combo, you’re essentially letting your bike get taken.
- Take Your Battery Out – Your battery is the thing most likely to degrade in extreme heat, direct sunlight, or from water damage. Bringing your battery indoors with you is fairly simple and makes the bike less attractive to thieves. It’s a top tip and definitely worth that little extra step.
If you can’t store your electric bike all the way indoors, try and find something that covers it a little. A shopfront or awning that blocks a little rain and sun works in a pinch. Even a shed is better than directly out in the garden.
If space is the problem in an apartment, consider a mount high up on the wall or a pulley system to get it up out of the way!
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Can You Leave An Electric Bike In The Rain?
It’s a bad idea to leave your electric bike in the rain. Most E-Bikes will be classed as water-resistant to some degree, but most Electric bikes are not waterproof. So a little drizzle or very light splashing in puddles should be OK – but anything worse won’t be.
If you live in an area or country that rains a lot, invest in an E-Bike cover that’s waterproof. Areas that are humid or damp a lot will also mean moisture in the air. Keep your E-Bike in a dry, room-temperature place to avoid damage to circuits in the battery and motor.
Can You Leave An Electric Bike Outside In Winter?
Absolutely not. You really should avoid leaving your E-Bike outside in winter – especially when it’s snowing. Not only do low temperatures affect E-Bike batteries (see the Should I Keep My E-Bike Battery Inside section below), but snow settling on your bike is a problem.
Snow will melt and seep into electric parts cavities. If it gets cold enough and freezes again, that’s an even bigger problem. On top of that, regular bikes don’t do well with snow or water. Parts will rust, rubber and materials will break down, and you’ll have a lot of expensive repairs or replacing to do!
Can You Leave An Electric Bike In The Sun?
Too much heat is bad for e-bike parts, and leaving your electric bike in the sun directly exposed to UV light isn’t a good idea. A little sun isn’t the end of the world and won’t be much of a problem. However, hours of exposure to high temperatures and UV is.
UV light breaks down rubber tires, handlebars, seats, and brake cables over time. The paint also breaks down and will peel. Any areas that are greased will need to be regreased regularly.
On top of all of this, the E-Bike parts can break down. Motors are too big of an issue but heat affects the internals by drying out grease and lubricant. The battery is the bigger issue as extreme temperatures really have a bad effect on lithium-ion cells.
Most E-Bike batteries are in a hard black plastic shell. Black objects heat up faster than other colors and you’ll find the inside of the shell is probably a higher temperature than the outside! Use a cover that will deflect light, store indoors, or at the least under an awning.
Should I Keep My E-Bike Battery Inside?
Ideally, you should always keep your electric bike battery indoors. Basically, all E-Bike batteries are lithium-ion. Most batteries are covered by a hard plastic shell but need some tiny air gaps for safety reasons.
The battery is made up of lithium-ion cells, plus a few basic electrical parts and normally a couple of safety circuits. The circuits are susceptible to corrosion from rust caused by rain or moisture in the air.
The safe operating temperature for lithium-ion cells is between -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to 60 Celsius), with the optimal temperature between 50 to 86 Fahrenheit (10 to 30 degrees Celsius).
Outside of this, higher and lower temperatures can lead to “degradation of performance and irreversible damage” according to many studies. Essentially this will lead to cell damage that reduces the maximum charge, increases charge time, and leads to gradual declines in both.
Once you’ve damaged a battery cell, it’s basically impossible to repair it without replacing or intensively recycling it. So if your battery is exposed to cold, frost, or direct heat, you could be in trouble.
Essentially, keeping your battery inside is the safest thing to do for long-term use. It also makes it harder to steal for thieves as they can’t ride away as easily, plus would have to replace an expensive part before reselling.
Too long; didn’t read: Take your E-Bike battery inside with you. Also, cover the exposed battery slot from rain. Read our article on E-Bike Batteries Explained for more
However, they should not be left outdoors in the elements without protective covering. You should at least take the battery off, bring it inside, and store it in a dry place. If you leave an e-bike in the rain for prolonged times, dew and moisture could eventually seep into electrical components and ruin them.Can you leave your electric bike outside? ›
If you want to avoid any dust or nicks to the paint, we recommend putting a cover on your bike while it is in storage. Electric bikes should not be left outdoors in the elements without some protective covering; eventually dew and moisture will get into electrical components if they are left outside.Can you leave ebike outside in the rain? ›
Although e-bikes are water-resistant, it is preferable to keep the e-bike indoors while it is pouring outside. More rain may degrade waterproof seals, leading to leakage in the future. If keeping the e-bike inside isn't an option, you may want to look into getting a waterproof bike cover.What happens when an electric bike runs out of power? ›
If your e-bike runs out of battery, you can simply continue riding. The motor on the e-bike only assists your pedaling (instead of doing all the work), so you can continue riding as usual without the pedal assist. This is a good thing to know when trying to figure out what is a reasonable commute on an electric bike.How many miles can an electric bike go without pedaling? ›
The distance an electric bike can go without pedaling depends on several factors, including the battery capacity, the power of the motor, and the terrain. On average, e-bikes with a fully charged battery can travel between 20 to 60 miles, depending on the level of assistance used.How long can a bike sit outside? ›
The bottom line: Leaving your bike outside for a day or two won't do major damage. You may see signs of rust after a week of neglect. After one month in bad conditions, your beloved bike parts will start to degrade.Can I leave eBike in sun? ›
They will absorb heat when exposed to direct sunlight. As a rule, remember to park your E-bike in the shade and avoid keeping it sitting in the sun for more than a few minutes.How cold is too cold for an e-bike? ›
Winter temperatures can fall below freezing in many areas. Always wear the appropriate clothing and gear if you decide to ride in frigid temperatures. An electric bike can usually handle temperatures as low as -5° Fahrenheit for riding. However, the battery cannot charge at 32° Fahrenheit.Is cold weather bad for electric bikes? ›
Like most standard bicycles, electric bikes are water-resistant and can be used in cold or wet weather. Though, you may need some accessories (like rain gear or studded tires for winter) to ride safely. Most e-bike models also provide a high-quality, water-resistant casing to protect your battery when wet and cold.What is the lifespan of an electric bike? ›
A well cared for ebike can last well over 10 years. Weather can be hard on your ebike – especially rain and snow. Store your ebike away from the elements, preferably somewhere inside. Rusty parts wear down faster and can affect the overall lifespan of your ebike.
Generally speaking, most electric bikes do not charge when you pedal. They need their batteries to be plugged into a power outlet to be powered. However, some models offer the possibility of charging while you pedal, although this is often very inefficient.Can I ride my ebike with the battery off? ›
Yes, you can still ride your -bike even when the battery is dead or absent. An ebike is just an upgraded standard bicycle with the regular pedals still on. Most people use the battery when looking to go faster or for assistance when going uphill. You will notice some things when riding the ebike with a flat/no battery.How far can an electric bike go on a full charge? ›
Juiced electric bikes have a riding range between 40-100 miles depending on a variety of factors including battery size, average speed, terrain, rider weight, and more. With a smaller 48V or 36V battery, typical range will only be 15-35 miles per charge.How much does it cost to charge an e-bike? ›
In most cases, a full charge will cost between $0.15 and $0.25 per kilowatt-hour. For example, if you're charging a 12 amp/hour battery pack at home. The cost of charging your e-bike could vary between $2 and $4.Can electric bikes get rained on? ›
Your ebike's components are all water-resistant, but you should still avoid large puddles, streams, or very heavy rain. While it's okay for your ebike to get wet, don't leave it in the rain for prolonged periods of time.Can I leave my ebike outside in the winter? ›
Electrical devices and components in e-bikes are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Ideally, your ebike should be stored in a cool, dry space, away from high humidity; think a garage or, depending on where you live, an outdoor shed.Can electric bikes stay in the rain? ›
Come rain or shine, most avid cyclists are keen to get out on their bikes to enjoy a ride. However, when it comes to electric bikes, you may be pondering whether or not they are safe to ride in the rain. In essence, yes you can!