When I was looking to buy an electric bike, something that I wanted to know was whether or not I would be able to cycle it in the rain. So, I did some research to find out if electric bikes can be cycled in the rain and if so which ones.
So, can electric bikes be used in the rain? Most electric bikes are water resistant enough to be used in the rain. If your electric bike conforms to an IP code and the second digit is larger than 1 then it means that the e-bike can withstand up to 10 minutes of 1mm rainfall per minute.
There are actually a lot of factors to consider when determining just how water resistant an electric bike is and how well it will be able to cope in the rain. There are also a number of measures that you can take to prevent your e-bike from becoming water damaged.
How to Tell if an Electric Bike can be Used in the Rain
In recent years many electric bike manufacturers have begun to conform to “IP Codes” which stands for Ingress Protection and tells you how well the battery is protected against intrusion from objects and water.
The IP code has two digits. The first represents how well the battery is protected against particle intrusion a rating of zero means that the battery has no protection against the ingress of objects. A rating of 1 means that the battery is protected against larger objects but can still be touched deliberately. A rating of 2 means that the battery is protected against things such as fingers or similarly sized objects, 3 means that it’s protected against tools, 4 means that it’s protected against ant-sized objects, 5 means it’s dust resistant and 6 means that it is dust tight.
The second digit on the IP code represents how well the battery is protected against water damage. The numbers go from 0 to 9 and their meanings are detailed below.
A rating of 0 means that the battery does not have any protection against water damage. If you have an e-bike that has this rating then you should not be taking the bike out in the rain since you will be at risk of causing damage to the e-bike.
A rating of 1 means that the battery is protected against dripping water from above. If an e-bike has this rating then it should be able to withstand up to 10 minutes of light rain of 1mm per minute.
A rating of 2 means that the battery is protected against rainfall of 3mm per minute and has been tested to be able to withstand this amount of rainfall for 10 minutes.
A rating of 3 means that the battery is protected against water from a spray nozzle at an angle of 60 degrees for up to 5 minutes.
A rating of 4 means that the battery is protected against the splashing of water from any direction for at least 5 minutes.
A rating of 5 means that the battery is protected against water damage from water from a nozzle in any direction for at least 15 minutes.
A rating of 6 means that the battery is protected against powerful water jets for up to 3 minutes.
A rating of 7 means that the battery is able to be submerged in water for at least 30 minutes. There are actually e-bikes that come with this rating, though, I wouldn’t recommend that you submerge the bike in water, this should give you the peace of mind that the battery will be more than sufficiently protected against the rain.
You’re unlikely to find an e-bike with a water protection rating of anything above a 7 but the ratings do go all the way up to 9.
If you would like to read more about “IP Codes” then you can do so here.
With all of that being said when buying an e-bike you should try to look for one that has a second digit on the IP code of at least 4. The reason for that is that this is the first rating where the battery is protected against splashing. It’s one thing to be protected against the raindrops as they are falling from the sky but if it’s raining then it’s likely that there will be puddles meaning that it’s important that your e-bikes battery will be protected from all angles.
Also, it is important to remember that the battery is likely to be water resistant but not waterproof. This means that even though your e-bike will probably be protected against the rain it doesn’t mean that the bike can be submerged in water.
If you know that you will be cycling in the rain often then you should make finding an e-bike that has a high second IP code a priority since that way you will be able to use the e-bike in the rain without having to worry about it getting damaged.
Something else that you should keep in mind is that different parts of the e-bike will have different IP codes. You will want to prioritize the IP code of the battery but you should also consider how water resistant the wires are and the LCD display. Your manufacturer will often provide you with covers that you can put on to the ends of the wires to greatly protect them but the LCD display is also something you should try to make sure is water protected before you get it. You can give the LCD cover additional protection against the rain by covering it with a ziplock back the nice thing about doing it that way is that you will still be able to see the display through the bag.
Another component that could become damaged from the rain is the twist throttle they are difficult to protect from the rain since if you try to you will compromise your grip which could potentially be dangerous. But, the good news is that they some of the easiest and most inexpensive parts to replace.
How to find the “IP Code” of my e-bike?
The IP code of your electric bike is likely to be contained in the instruction manual that came with the bike. If you haven’t bought the bike yet or are considering buying it then the IP code is likely to be included in the product description. Alternatively, and probably your best bet, is to just ask the manufacturer directly and they will be able to tell you just what your e-bike can handle.
What if my e-bike doesn’t have an “IP Code”?
If your bike doesn’t come with an IP code then you should read the instruction manual that came with the bike to see if it mentions using the e-bike in the rain in there. Otherwise, you should contact the manufacturer of the e-bike so that they can tell you directly.
How can I tell if my specific electric bike is able to be used in the rain?
If you want to be really sure of just how much water your electric bike will be able to handle then you should get in contact with the manufacturer so that they can provide you with the most accurate details possible.
How to reduce the chances of my electric bike becoming damaged in the rain?
Dry it with a towel after use, cover the electrical components, such as the LCD display, with something that is waterproof like a plastic bag or ziplock bag, you can also cover any electric cables with caps that are provided by the manufacturer.
Can I wash the e-bike?
If your electric bike has an IP code above 4 as its second digit then it should be able to withstand water from a nozzle for a short time period. With that being said the best thing for you to do would be to ask the manufacturer of the e-bike directly.
Can the e-bike get muddy? Some e-bikes will be able to become muddy without risking being damaged while some others should not be allowed to get muddy. In this case, you will want to look at both the first and second numbers on the IP code ideally the first number will be at least a 5 which means that it’s dust protected and the second number should be at least a 4 meaning that it’s splash resistant. If you don’t know the bikes IP code then you should call or email the manufacturer and find out from them directly.