Let’s face it, winter is not for everyone. But for some of us riding in the cold weather, whether for fun, a trip to the local grocery store or your daily commute, can be a blast. Our e-trikes are built tough enough to handle inclement Canadian weather and are safe to ride and enjoy during the winter season as long as you look after them with some basic maintenance.
Keep It Clean, Dry and Use Rust Proofing
Snow is ok, slush and salt are not. You will soon realize that your e-trike will get a fair bit dirtier when riding in the winter when compared to summer riding. This is because road salt, sand and other goodies are used to keep our roads driveable and safe for motorists in winter.
Always wipe your electric trike down with a cloth after every ride to remove any trace of salt, sand, grit and general winter debris to avoid parts rusting and grit getting into moving parts causing additional and unnecessary wear damage to components.
You should also do regular preventative maintenance on your electric trike for adults by applying rust proofing products on exposed metal to help reduce the amount of wet salty slush building up on your trike. Key areas to rust-proof are the chain, gears, spokes (where they join the wheel). A coating of rust proof spray can be used on any exposed metal as an extra barrier, just make sure not to get any on or in the electronic components and LCD screen.
IMPORTANT: Always bring your battery indoors and ensure it is above freezing or even better, room temperature, before charging or you risk damaging the lithium-ion cells.
Riding your e-trike during winter is generally not a problem in most circumstances, cold weather will not damage your battery. The biggest impact of riding in the cold is reduced range and charge on your battery, keeping your battery warm when not in use and before riding will help somewhat but generally the colder it is the less range and charge your battery will hold.
Tires For Winter
Our current models of electric trike all use 4” fat tires by Kenda and CST and can be ridden all year round without having to change them. The wider tires with chunky treads are great for softer and deeper or fresh snow. If you are riding regularly on icy or hard packed roads, you might want to consider additional grip with studded tires.
Storing Your E-Trike
It does not matter what season you are riding your electric fat tire trike in; it will be fine for short periods of riding in inclement weather like snow or rain. After your ride and your trike is cleaned and dried you should always store it in a dry location. If it is regularly below -10C bringing your battery inside when not riding will help you avoid riding on a cold charge with reduced range and power.
Powerful front and rear LED lights helps make sure you are visible and depending on where you ride you might want to do more. With less space to ride on the side of the road in the winter, getting dark earlier and often reduced visibility it is important that you can be seen by other drivers and pedestrians while out on your ride. Adding a high-vis vest to your riding kit is a good idea.
What To Avoid
While riding in the snow on an electric trike can be extremely fun and is far more stable than a 2-wheel bike, riding through water and slush is not so much fun and should be avoided wherever possible. The salty wet slush is packed with grit and often extra magnesium added which is even harder on your trike and components than regular salt. Because it is wet and sticky it will easily get into your gears, chain and all kinds of places that are difficult to clean so you should try and steer clear when you can. If you don’t have a choice but to plow through some slush, then make sure you give your e-trike a complete wipe down and re-lube and rustproof your chain and gears.
Storing Your Electric Trike Over Winter
For those who are not that keen to be riding in the winter months there are a few simple things to do before you park your trike in the garage or storage for more than 30 days. It is recommended not to store your battery at full charge and not to let it drain completely while in storage for extended periods. It should be stored safely with a charge level between 40% and 80% in a location that does not experience extreme temperature fluctuations, either hot or cold.
If your e-trike does not have a removeable battery, then the whole thing should be stored indoors. Alternatively, a removeable battery can be taken indoors while the trike itself is stored in a garage or other un-heated environment.
You should check your battery monthly to determine it’s charge level. If it drops below 40% you should top it back up to between 40% - 80%. Setting a calendar reminder is a good idea.
When Is It Too Cold To Ride?
While a traditional bike can generally be ridden through all kinds of winter weather, once it gets colder than -10C your e-trike battery will struggle to keep a charge for longer than 50% normal and your range will drop significantly. Some electric trikes also use hydraulic disc brakes, the viscosity of the mineral oil used will increase when the temperatures drop which will make the brake levers feel slower and take more applied pressure to stop.
Get out and ride!