Best way to store your new e-bike
When we were kids we'd often come home after a long day of riding around the neighbourhood on our bikes. We'd ride right up into the front yard and drop our bikes on the lawn, kickstands be damned. If we were diligent, sometimes the bikes would make it into the garage before a parent would have to sternly remind us to do so. Now that we're older and riding around on e-bikes, we tend to want to take a bit more care in how we park and store our e-bikes.
The best way to store your e-bike while it's not being used is completely dependent on how you and where you live. Since e-bikes (whether hybrid or purpose built) are full of electrical parts, this all but rules out exterior storage. While it might seem intuitive to simply store an e-bike in the garage or in a shed with your standard bikes, weather plays a part in proper storage. At the same time, it seems unreasonable to suddenly store a bike in the house, just because it has a battery attached to it. So what's the solution?
Again, completely dependent on the options you have available to you. Storing an e-bike in the garage or shed isn't a terrible solution. It still keeps it out of the weather, but is susceptible to humidity. However, if you properly maintain your e-bike (keep it clean and oiled) then storing it outside won't really affect it much, especially if you use it often. If you don't have a garage or outdoor space for storage, then you can skip the rest of this article because you either have your e-bike leaning against the wall in a hallway or hanging on a wall rack.
Batteries stored separately
The most important part of storing an e-bike outside is the thing that makes it an e-bike. If the battery is removable, then it should be removed when the e-bike is in storage. Most e-bikes have lithium-ion batteries, which should be stored in a cool, dry place. Storing them outside in the heat decreases electrical resistance and causes them to discharge quicker. This means that if you store your entire bike outside, you'll need to charge before you ride and expect poorer battery performance.
At the same time, you shouldn't store your battery fully charged either. Keeping it under 80% during storage will extend the life of the battery. Also, not leaving your battery on the charger constantly will reduce the already low risk of electrical fire. It's not a huge concern, but any battery continuously hooked up to a charging source always offers a small sliver of electrical danger. Batteries can also be kept cold, but should be warmed up to room temperature before charging.
If you are storing the bike itself outside and the battery inside (the most likely scenario for e-bikes with removable batteries) then you'll want to make sure the battery terminals are nice and clean before you snap the battery back on. A bit of terminal grease goes a long way to ensuring a solid connection and you'll want to make sure there isn't any rust building up around any metal connections. Keeping your bike clean is just as important as keeping your battery healthy.
Winter is coming
During the cold season you have little choice but to store your e-bike indoors. Find a space. Whether it be a closet or on a hook in a hallway, leaving your bike out in the ice and cold will destroy it with rust and degradation. There is no way around this. While in the summer it can survive outside for a while without too much damage from possibly humid conditions, as long as you keep your battery healthy, in the winter keeping it outside may as well be akin to tossing it in a lake.
If you are forced to store your e-bike outside during the winter, then you'll want to keep it clean. The battery should still be kept indoors because near-freezing temps and moisture will destroy it over time. Your bike itself can survive if you keep it clean. Visit it often, dry it off, keep it covered and possibly read it stories about warmer times. Keep your chain greased and when spring comes, it would be wise to disassemble and clean all the parts separately.
Keeping your e-bike safe against the conditions will extend the life of your e-bike. This should be fairly obvious. The battery is the most important part, as letting it fall victim to adverse weather conditions would be detrimental to its health. Storing your e-bike properly is integral to keeping your e-bike running smooth for as long as possible. Charging and storing your battery properly is just as, if not more, important than the bike itself. Keep it clean, keep it happy.
Written by @alex on August 3, 2020