Here Are Some Tips For Riding an Electric Bike In the Snow

Winter is typically a time when outdoor adventurers and hobbyists put away their electric bikes and scooters and break out the skis and snowboards. However, there are some electric bike owners that need their battery-powered two-wheelers for their everyday commutes – even during the wintertime. For those brave road warriors, here are some tips for riding an electric bike in the snow.

If you’re a beginning electric bike rider, you should start out slow

Lindsey Vonn from the USA rides an electric bike on the snow after the FIS Alpine World Cup Women's Downhill.
Lindsey Vonn from the USA rides an electric bike on the snow after the FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Downhill. | (TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

If you just purchased your electric bike, or are currently shopping for one, the folks at electrek recommend starting slow when riding it in the snow. This means starting out with shorter rides in order to get used to this type of riding and turning off the pedal-assist function. While the pedal assist can help boost you along under electric power in normal situations, it can actually hinder pedaling when the road gets slippery.

Electrek mentions that if the pedal-assist function is set to “0,” the rider should still be able to use the throttle to get the bike moving in heavier parts. After which, the rider can then ride the bike like normal.

The type of bike you ride can make a difference

A cyclist rides a bike along the Pacific Electric Trail in Rancho Cucamonga against a backdrop of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains.
A cyclist rides a bike along the Pacific Electric Trail in Rancho Cucamonga against a backdrop of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains. | (Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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In addition to riding the electric bike at a slower speed in the snow, it’s important to note that the type of electric bike you have can also make a difference. Hub-motor bikes, which have the electric motor in the center of the wheel, and mid-drive bikes, which have the motor at the pedals, are both good for winter riding. Mid-drive bikes, like the All-Terrain R750, have a mid-drive setup and fat tires, which are great for riding in the snow. However, there are also plenty of others in the market.

Electrek only warns that bikes with front-hub motors may not do as well in the snow since they are more prone to losing traction.

The fatter the tire, the better

A man rides a Fat Bike electric bicycle on a snow-covered field.
A man rides a Fat Bike electric bicycle on a snow-covered field. | (JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking of tires, the size and width of the tires that your electric bike is fitted with can play a huge role when trudging through the snow. After all, your bike’s tires are the only things connecting the bike to the ground, so it’s important to have a proper set. Fat, knobby tires will do the best on the snow since they ride on top of it. On the other hand, mountain bikes tires – which can still work – cut through the snow, which can lead to less traction.

Stopping distances are longer in the wintertime

Another safety tip is to mind your electric bike’s brake system. While the brakes make the bike stop well on dry pavement, it’s a much different story in the snow. The slushy ice and wet conditions will lead to less traction and farther stopping distances in addition to the possibility of freezing the brake housings.

Most importantly, dress for the weather

People ride Fat Bike electric bicycles on a snow-covered field.
People ride Fat Bike electric bicycles on a snow-covered field. | (JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Above all else, makes sure that you dress for the weather. A heated jacket and layers can do wonders, as can a good set of gloves. But another trick that electrek recommends is buying handle-bar mittens, which keep the bike’s handlebars warm when you’re not riding as you’ll quickly find out that cold handlebars are an issue.

Whether you ride your electric bike on rare occasions or use it every day, it’s important to stay safe when riding during the wintertime. By following these tips, you can ensure that riding your electric bike all year round is as easy – and warm – as possible.

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