Electric Bikes in the Rain...?

Drivenox

New Member
I am still awaiting the shipment of my Volton Alation 500. It should be arriving very soon. I am in Florida and a new concern has came up, which is heavy rain.

When Florida rains, it pours heavy strong showers that make driving a car scary. If I'm in the middle of my commute and it starts pouring, there's very little I can do about it due to the fact I am commuting a stretch of 6 miles where 4 miles of it are on an open road with no cover. I could always cover myself with rain gear and waterproof shoes, but how about the bike? Is it okay to have it soaked in rain water?

I was wondering about the LCD panel, battery, gears, motor, brakes, etc....any input and advice would be much appreciated.

-Dan
 
Shouldn't be a problem. In 4 years of selling bikes we've only seen one damaged by water. That was from a customer that stored their ebike outside... which is crazy and would ruin any bike.

Just do normal maintenance and don't ride it into the ocean. :)
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Dan! Well, first of all, Heavy Rain is an awesome video game for the PlayStation 3... So if you're ever stuck inside due to the weather (and concern for your new ebike), you might enjoy checking it out ;)

On to the real question! Personal safety is the biggest concern, especially if full sized cars are sliding around. Even if your ebike does fine with the water, it won't hold up very well to a big fall or collision with an automobile. Each electric bike is designed differently so I'm going to comment on the Volton Alation specifically. The battery pack is sealed pretty well with the new rubberized cover. I think that will be fine and prevent any water from leaking in. The motor should hold up alright as it is pretty much sealed and the wires are all covered and bound together. Keep an eye on them over time however because the action of steering may pull and twist the cables which could wear through them and start to let water in. You may want to trace the length of the cables and tape over vulnerable spots (but this could also trap water inside, so be thorough and check regularly).

The LCD and twist throttle are the biggest vulnerabilities in my opinion. I owned an ebike that had a similar display and the buttons got unresponsive after a couple of very wet rides I took. Had to replace it at a local ebike shop and that made me think twice the next time it rained. I started using a ziploc bag to cover the display whenever it rained. Any sort of basic protection will work and you may be able to do something similar with the twist throttle but be careful there because you wouldn't want to compromise your grip. Twist throttles are easy to replace and inexpensive, they tend to go out after a lot of use regardless of water. Try to avoid letting it spring back quickly when you are reducing speed, this jars the wires... and has cost me a couple of throttles over the years.

Great thinking in general about the rain, nothing lasts forever but water and electronics are always tricky. Thankfully, the Volton ebikes use a modular design that lasts well and their support is good so you can get replacements as needed. As for the rest of the bike, try to dry it off and remember to lube the chain every few months (there are howto videos on YouTube that explain putting oil on and then wiping it and the dirt off). I recommend checking out one of the environmentally friendly lubes like these and the video actually includes some good tips about maintenance and cleaning from the owner of Blue Monkey Bicycles ebike shop in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Drivenox

New Member
Thanks for the great advice. Volton recommends Boeshield T9 waterproof lubricant/rust protection. Not too sure how environmentally friendly that product is. however I will keep this product in mind.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting... Thanks for pointing this out! I've never heard of Boeshield T-9 before but just looked it up. The website says:

The formulation, based on a unique combination of solvents and waxes, is designed to penetrate metal pores and dissolve minor corrosion, then leave a resilient waxy coating that lasts for many months.

Many months? I wonder if that means you should re-apply the stuff three or four times a year. Probably want to wear a mask if so... I've used car wax on bicycles and the synthetic stuff often provides UV protection in addition to water resistance. Just be careful not to slip-slide right off your bike ;)
 

calvin

Active Member
My bike got caught in the rain and this time I was not on it, so it took the full brunt of the rain.. Ever sense then it's been acting up, and now my throttle simply doesn't respond. I suspect it's finished. I have voltage going to it, but when you twist the throttle, it doesn't change.
Swap the throttle out, they are cheap....Sealed off or not, electric components and water are not compatible. If it looks like rain, I take my car. If I am forced to ride in the rain I know that I have already used black silicone sealent on any accessible electric connectors or entrance and exit wounds on the motor. Like Court said: sandwich bag the LCD screen.
 
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youth

Active Member
After a recent moderate rain during a 1 hour commute I noticed my Bionx G2 console develop some blue-green white corrosion at the contacts. Thankfully still working fine.