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Can you ride an electric bike in the rain?

Can you ride an electric bike in the rain?

Authored By Robert Rast 1 Comment(s)

How "waterproof" is the trail?

Jordan Asked:

 We answered:

 

 

The short:

  • Yes, you can ride in heavy rains. 
  • Be sure all rubber seals are in place.
  • Don't go diving with the bike. 
  • Use your best judgement. 

The long:

It's no secret, we give the bikes a lot of abuse. It doesn't matter if you're using an electric bike as your form of transportation or just to hit the trails on the weekends, it needs to be built tough. Unlike normal bikes though, ebikes have an on board power system that could be susceptible to the elements in ways that just didn't matter with your normal pedal bike. As anybody who's dropped their iphone in the toilet knows, electronics and water don't mix well. So how can you tell what kind of abuse your bike will take? 

The drive system on electric bikes typically consist of a motor, controller, battery and display. Each of these components could be susceptible to water damage if not properly built or sealed. Most ebike and electric motor drive systems are built with this in mind, so the rain that serious road warriors run into won't spoil your ride. Light rain is fine for most ebikes, but what about the heavy stuff?

Here we need to look at IP ratings. The Bafang Max motor, controller and display used on the Roadster, Trail and Attack bikes are all IP65, that means they're completely dustproof and heavily water resistant. Being able to withstand water jets from all directions, heavy rains are not an issue. Check the IP Ratings table below for a reference on different IP60+ ratings. 

IP Ratings

IP Rating Digit 1 - Solids Digit 2 - Liquids Testing For
IP60 Protected from total dust ingress Not protected from liquids, limited ingress protection
IP61 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from condensation, limited ingress protection Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect.
IP62 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from water spray less than 15 degrees from vertical, limited ingress protection Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.
IP63 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from water spray less than 60 degrees from vertical, limited ingress protection Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect
IP64 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from water spray from any direction, limited ingress protection Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
IP65 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from low pressure water jets from any direction, limited ingress protection Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
IP66 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from high pressure water jets from any direction, limited ingress protection Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
IP67 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from immersion between 15 centimetres and 1 metre in depth, limited ingress protection Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).
IP68 Protected from total dust ingress Protected from long term immersion up to a specified pressure, limited ingress protection The EQUIPMENT is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the EQUIPMENT is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of EQUIPMENT, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects.


It's important to note both the screen and battery have rubber port seals on them. The display has one for the USB output port while the battery has one for the USB output and charging port. Before riding in heavy rains, you need to make sure these are in place and not loose. 

We don't know of any ebike that is completely waterproof and submergible. While it would be cool in a Bond movie, the overall cycling performance would decrease due to using heavier duty seals that cause more friction on the axle. If you're out forging waist deep streams or pressure washing your bike for extended periods, it's possible for ingress to occur. While you probably won't notice any effects from this in the short term, moisture does accelerate oxidation and wear of mechanical parts over time, something that could ultimately shorten the life of your motor.

It's nobody's business to tell you where and how to ride your bike. We ride on the more extreme end of use cases, maximizing fun and adventure. As such, we give the bikes more strain and abuse than the folks just using them for commutes and cruises. We crash, break stuff, blow tires, scratch the paint etc. etc. it's all part of the fun. If you want your bike to stay in pristine condition forever, you can keep it behind the glass walls of a museum indefinitely. If you're like us though and want to get as much ear splitting enjoyment as you can out of these machines, use your best judgement, service the bike every once in awhile and get out and have some fun!

Enjoy the ride guys! If you've got any questions, let us know in the comments below. We're going to make a video and send a FLX T-Shirt to the best question!

We love you,

Team FLX



POST COMMENTS

Paul Lamparski
Paul Lamparski

I live in upstate New York. This morning’s temperature was 13 F degrees and it will get colder, much colder. I have my bike out in the shed and have ridden it a few times despite the cold. I leave the battery on the bike so long as the charge is above 20% +/-. Is it OK to leave the battery out in the cold or should I bring inside when not in use?

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