Electric bikes are popular. Throughout 2021, people bought roughly 790,000 electric bikes, exceeding the number of electric cars sold during the same year. However, the word electric makes people nervous. After all, how well will an electric bike stand up to the rain?
So, can electric bikes get wet? Is there such a thing as an all-weather e-bike? Let’s look at whether you can get an electric bike wet, where you can find that info, and what else you can do to improve your performance and safety while biking in the rain.
Can You Ride an Electric Bike in the Rain?
Regular wet bikes can be a pain to ride, but what about an electric bike? After all, electric bikes have way more sensitive components that could be damaged by water. You wouldn’t want to ride one of those during a rainstorm, right?
It turns out that the answer is a little more complicated than that. While some models of e-bikes can’t be used in the rain, there is a wide range of e-bike options that don’t break down from a splash of water or a downpour.
So, depending on their model design, electric bikes in the rain are not a problem.
What About a Waterproof Electric Bike?
Are e-bikes waterproof? For many models of e-bikes, the answer is yes. Many models of e-bikes for adults on the market have some water resistance, if not waterproofing, done to them.
Most e-bikes rely on a coating of some kind for their electronics. Common materials for these coatings include epoxy, urethane, or acrylic systems. Each of these coatings creates a water-tight seal around the electronics while also staying non-conductive so that no stray electric signals can spark around inside the bike.
E-bike manufacturers get a lot of their inspiration for this from off-road vehicles, where the conditions can be rough to the car’s internals without some protection. Thankfully, most e-bikes won’t have to worry about the same debris as an off-road car, but the coatings help keep electronics safe and dry.
Introducing IP Ratings
IP ratings are a double-digit code given to electronics to show their resistance to damage from solids and liquids. IP ratings are also called International Protection codes and are backed by product testing on the electronics before they go up for sale.
IP ratings use two digits to represent their durability against solids and liquids. After the IP designation for the code, the first digit represents resistance against solids, while the second refers to liquids. Since we’re talking about water resistance, the second digit is the one we care about right now.
In total, nine digits can go into that spot on the IP rating. The higher you go in value, the better the electronic’s waterproofing. Here are what each of those digits means:
0: Not protected at all against liquids
1: Protected against vertically dripping water
2: Protected against water dropped at a 15° angle
3: Protected against a water spray at a 60° angle
4: Protected against water splashing from any angle
5: Protected against water jets from any angle
6: Protected against powerful water jets and heavy ocean waves
7: Protected against submersion in three feet of water for 30 minutes
8: Protected against the effects of prolonged submersion
How Do I Know if I Have A Waterproof Electric Bicycle?
Using the IP ratings above, we can see that waterproofing sets in at IPX4. Once an electric bike has an IPX4 rating or higher, the bike is waterproof and can be taken out into the rain without worrying about long-term damage.
But where can you get this info? The first place to check will be the owner’s manual for the bike. These manuals come with not just info about how to use the bike but also all the safety and manufacturing info you need as the owner to take care of the e-bike. The IP rating should be part of the safety or maintenance info inside the manual.
If you can’t find it there, you should have the support number for the manufacturer in the manual. Giving that number a call will put you in touch with someone at the company who can give you the rating.
How to Waterproof E-Bike
In addition to having the right IP rating for your electric bike, there are some other things you can do to keep your e-bike running in the rain. Here are some of the best tips we found to get a more waterproof e-bike:
- Use bike fenders: Adding these above your tires can prevent large pieces of debris or excess water from getting into your e-bike’s internals.
- Get weatherproof storage: If you plan on keeping your phone or other electronics on you, a waterproof bag on the back of your weatherproof e-bike will prepare you for the rainy road.
- Add headlights/taillights: Visibility gets lower during the rain, so adding some lights you easier to see through the weather.
- Get high-visibility waterproof clothes: Besides keeping the rain off, something to help you stand out while on the bike will greatly improve your safety.
- Wash your bike out: Clearing out the water and mud that can splash up into your bike will help keep everything running clean for longer.
- Don’t skip maintenance: Keep up with your e-bike’s maintenance so that something doesn’t give out while traveling.
Transporting E-Bikes in the Rain
Transporting a waterproof e-bike won’t cause too many problems since you won’t have to worry about excess water damaging the bike. However, if you have an electric bike that can’t handle the water, check out some of these tips to help you transport your bike around:
- If you have the space, store the bike inside your vehicle during transport, so it stays dry.
- Buy a waterproof cover large enough to cover the bike, especially if it has a low IP rating.
- You can use Velcro straps to secure the bike cover around sensitive parts on the handlebars or neck of the bike.
- Turn off the bike and store the battery away in a dry place during the length of the drive.
- If you transport the rain on salted roads, don’t use a low-mounted rear hitch where the salt can get kicked up into the bike’s internals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the common questions out there about making electric bikes waterproof:
Are e-bikes reliable?
Overall, e-bikes are much more reliable than they were in years past. The electrical parts going into many consumer e-bikes get better every year, meaning cyclists can now put more trust into their bikes than before.
Still, if you’re unsure, check out things like the electronics system warranty or the waterproofing rating.
Are electric bikes waterproof?
Electric bikes are waterproof if they receive a high enough IP rating. Most electric bikes fall under this category, but some models, especially those designed for children, won’t.
Every e-bike prints this waterproofing rating in its owner manual. Checking through that manual for the IP rating will tell you how much water you can expose your e-bike.
Can you ride an e-bike in the rain?
Taking e-bikes in the rain can be fine, assuming the waterproofing for the e-bike is high enough. E-bikes, like other electronics, receive IP ratings that show how well they stand up against solid debris and water exposure over time.
To keep your electric bike running smoothly, you won’t want to take it out in the rain unless it has an IPX4 or higher rating.
Is the Jetson Bolt Pro waterproof?
While the Jetson Bolt Pro is water-resistant, it isn’t waterproof. This electric bike didn’t get a high enough IP rating to be waterproof.
So, for this e-bike, it’s better to let it stay in the garage when the rain rolls in!
Overall, an electric bike will tend to be waterproof. With how popular these vehicles are getting in cities, manufacturers have put more care into designs that protect the electronics from water and debris.
The best waterproof electric bike will be one that has at least an IPX4 rating. With this rating, an electric bike is safe from the amount of rain you would expect to deal with while traveling across the city. Ensure you follow all the other safety tips we laid out during the bad situation!