- In Calgary's cold winters, eBike batteries drain faster. Store them indoors between rides, and keep them between 50-75% charged during longer periods of non-use.
- Winter roads in Calgary get icy, which can impact your eBike’s tires and their grip. Check your tire pressure frequently and consider reducing it by a couple of PSI for better traction.
- Dirt from melting snow and road salt can make its way into your braking system during winter rides. Periodically inspect your pads for wear and brush out any debris you find.
- Before each winter ride, ensure your eBike's electronics are working, that the battery is charged, and that the brakes are responsive.
- Remember to adjust the way you ride for the season—go slower on icy roads, bundle up in layers, and always pack a spare battery and emergency essentials.
Winter in Calgary still offers plenty of beautiful riding days—you just need to know how to prepare your eBike for them. A little bit of foresight and elbow grease can keep your ride ready to go even on the coldest days of the year.
Our team at Calgary eBikes has put this step-by-step guide together to help you make the most of your eBike this winter. Whether you’re planning simple commutes or adrenaline-pumping backcountry adventures, we’ll help you make sure your eBike is up to the task.
Looking for a new ride? Check out our eBikes on sale here.
Don’t Skip the Pre-Season Check
While summer conditions can sometimes be forgiving enough to let you get away with delaying certain types of maintenance, the challenges of winter weather demand responsiveness and reliability. One of the first things you should do before winter arrives is assess the condition of your eBike to determine what parts need special attention.
The fastest and most effective way to do this is to visit a local bike shop—but if you have the time and skill, you can also run a quick pre-season check at home. Here’s a run-down of what to look at:
Your battery drains faster in cold weather, so it’s vital to make sure it’s in good condition before winter begins. You’ll also want to store it properly during the winter so you don’t lose power unexpectedly on winter rides. Here’s how:
- Store your battery indoors between rides to avoid draining it in cold temperatures.
- If storing the battery for more than a few days at a time, make sure it’s 50% - 75% charged. This will help extend your battery’s usable lifespan.
- Clean the battery contacts regularly to remove dirt and grime. You can do this with a microfiber cloth.
- If your battery appears to be wearing out from prolonged exposure to the cold, consider replacing it rather than risking a loss of power when you’re far away from home in cold weather.
Tires slip more easily on snow and ice, and their pressure can drop in cold weather—so you need to be more diligent about checking their condition during winter. Follow these steps:
- Check the tire pressure before each ride, since cold weather can cause the pressure to drop.
- Consider reducing the pressure in your tires by a couple of PSI—this can give you slightly more traction, which can improve your grip in slippery winter conditions.
- Consider using winter-specific or studded tires for better traction. Make sure to check the size of your tires (printed on the sidewall) before ordering any tires other than the stock tires supplied with your eBike so that you can ensure their compatibility.
Salt from the road can make its way into your eBike’s braking system during the winter—along with dirt from melting snow and ice. Check the following periodically:
- Inspect your brake pads for wear before winter and replace them if they are worn down. Different brake pad manufacturers have different minimum wear levels, but it’s a good rule of thumb to replace them when there’s between 0.9 and 2.5 mm of material left.
- Check your braking system for any corrosion due to salt. You can use a sponge and a solution made from warm water and a little dish soap.
- Use the same solution to clean the brake discs and pads from salt and road grime. Use a toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach areas.
- Test your brakes for even stopping power on both wheels.
Winter wetness can wreak havoc on leather saddles, and cold weather can affect the components in your suspension seatpost (if you have one). Here are some tips to prevent winter from being a pain in your butt when you ride:
- Use leather conditioner and cloth to keep leather seats supple and soft.
- If your suspension seat post squeaks or seems stiff, apply a small amount of white lithium grease to the inside of the seat tube.
- Tighten all bolts securing the saddle to keep it stable.
- If using a cushioned saddle, ensure it remains dry and free of ice.
Chain & Cassette
The oil around your chain and gears can get dirty more quickly in the winter as snow and ice melts, so you’ll need to be more careful about maintaining these parts. Here’s what to focus on:
- Brush out the links of your chain with a toothbrush to remove grit and dirt.
- Apply a wet-conditions lubricant to the chain.
- If you notice that shifting gears is harsh, take your eBike in to have the derailleur examined by professionals.
Nuts & Bolts
Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure all nuts and bolts on your eBike are tight year-round. This is especially important in the wintertime, since loose parts on your eBike can compromise handling and reliability when you need them most for wet or slippery conditions.
- Use a wrench to tighten any nuts or bolts that feel loose.
- Pay special attention to areas exposed to more moisture and road salt.
- Periodically check high-stress areas like handlebars, the seat post, and wheel mounts.
What to Check Before Every Ride
Finally, make sure to check the following on your eBike before each ride in the wintertime:
- Make sure all electronic systems are functioning properly.
- Check your battery level to ensure a sufficient charge for your trip and make sure contacts are free from ice and moisture.
- Check the pressure in your tires and adjust if necessary for conditions.
- Test your brakes by moving the bike forward and pumping them a few times.
- Check all reflectors and signals to make sure they are visible and functioning.
- Visually inspect all cables and wiring to make sure nothing is loose or detached.
It’s also a good idea to carry some basic items on every winter ride—like a first-aid kit in case of emergencies, a bottle of water, and a spare battery. You can buy parts for your eBike here.
What to Consider When Riding Your eBike in the Winter
Winter doesn’t just impact the way your bike behaves—it also requires you to prepare differently and adjust the way you ride. Here are some things to keep in mind whenever you take your eBike for a ride in cold weather:
Cold weather means your battery and your body heat will both drain faster. You’ll want to plan for shorter rides, dress in layers, and bring a spare battery in a backpack or panniers if you have one.
Tire Pressure & Traction
You’ll have to check and adjust your tire pressure more often in cold weather, since cold air can cause the pressure to decrease as the air inside condenses. It’s a good idea to bring a good-quality tire gauge and a spare pump with you on rides—especially if you need to let air out during the ride to increase your traction for particularly difficult riding surfaces.
Remember, snow and ice will give you less purchase on the road—even if you’ve reduced the pressure in your tires a bit to improve their grip. Reduce your speed, keep lean angles modest, and engage the brakes gently to prevent them from locking up.
Comfort & Emergency Preparedness
When you’re stiff, cold, or uncomfortable, your reaction time will drop. Make sure to ride within your abilities and avoid risk-taking in cold weather—and don’t be afraid to turn back if conditions feel too difficult. There’ll be plenty of other riding days!
Choosing an eBike for Cold Weather Riding
The tips above can help you enjoy all kinds of eBikes in wintertime, but some models are designed to offer better handling on challenging surfaces like snow and ice. Fat-tire eBikes, in particular, offer better grip in these conditions and are often built to offer better resistance to the elements.
Find a dealer near you to explore our collection of eBikes and choose a model you’ll be happy to ride all year long. For answers to the most common questions we get about winter riding, browse the FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions about Riding eBikes in Winter
What extra steps can I take to stay safe on winter rides?
To increase your safety when riding an eBike in winter, try the following:
- Wear high-visibility clothing with bright colours and reflective elements. This will help you be seen in dark or snowy conditions.
- Wear thermal gloves and footwear—as your hands and feet will be the first parts of your body to go numb in the cold, which can impact your ability to ride safely.
- Pack snacks and water. Your body will burn more calories and become dehydrated faster when you’re exercising in the cold.
Will reducing my tire pressure increase my risk of a flat?
Riding on severely depleted tires creates significant wear and tear that can eventually destroy them, but dropping your PSI slightly won’t create a significant risk of puncturing them. Fat-tire eBikes come with tires designed to let you do this so that you can increase your traction on tough terrain types.
Can I use WD-40 to lubricate my chain or suspension seatpost?
We don’t recommend it. WD-40 is actually a degreaser, which can remove essential lubricant from these components and cause them to wear out faster. Use a cold-weather lubricant specifically designed for bike parts for best results.