When you buy and use an e-bike, there is an inevitable responsibility to maintain and store the e-bike according to certain standards in order to ensure proper and safe usage.
What is the best way to store an e-bike? E-bike is best stored in a cool, dry place, away from high humidity and frequent changes of temperature. Store e-bike battery partially charged. Store it separately from the e-bike. The ideal temperature for storage is between 0 and 20C (32 to 68F).
If you are planning not to use your e-bike for an extended period of time, it is even more important to make sure you still take care of your e-bike and its battery before and throughout its storage period. While you may be able to leave a traditional bicycle in your garage for months on end, e-bikes require more frequent maintenance.
As well, e-bikes operate best when they are used frequently, so try not to abandon it in storage for too long. Have no fear, though: if you follow the appropriate steps, you’ll soon realize that storing and maintaining your e-bike is not a difficult thing to do.
This article will outline what you need to know in order to best store your e-bike safely and optimally!
What to consider before storing your e-bike
Before preparing your e-bike for storage, there are three main factors to consider and understand: proper cleaning, charging, and battery care. The reason these factors need to be taken into account is that they play a large role in the short and long term safety and functionality of your e-bike.
Get to know your battery
First, get to know your e-bike’s battery. There are a few different types of batteries used for e-bikes, but the most popular are either lead or lithium-based. If you would like to know more about e-bike batteries, check out this post.
Lead Acid batteries are considered to be the ones that need to be tended to most frequently, and should not be stored at high temperatures as this can quickly decrease their battery life. It is recommended that they are charged at least every three months. It is recommended storing these batteries in a cool, dry place. They can also be refrigerated.
Lithium batteries come in a few different assortments, including Lithium Manganese, Lithium-Ion, and Lithium Iron Phosphate. Lithium batteries need to be charged at least every six months. And, similar to Lead Acid batteries, they should be stored in a cool and dry place.
While lithium batteries are considered to be a fire risk, the chances are extremely low if you follow proper protocol and ensure that your battery is not being stored or charged close to fire hazards; nonetheless, you should still be aware of potential risk.
It should be noted that a “cool and dry climate” is emphasized time and time again as being the optimal climate for storing batteries.
You preferably should choose an area that doesn’t face major temperature fluctuations. A climate that endures extreme temperature change (such as an outdoor shed) is not favorable because this can lead to condensation, which can cause damage to your battery.
Charge the battery
Next, make sure you charge your battery according to the instruction manual that has accompanied your e-bike. Not charging your battery properly can lead to deterioration and potentially a dead battery. And batteries can be expensive to replace. Later in this article, we will further outline what the optimal charge and exact temperature range are required for battery storage.
While using your e-bike, you should not let your battery discharge below the recommended cut off voltage. When you plug in a charger to a battery that is below cut off voltage, the charger often will not detect it and will not recharge the battery.
Clean your e-bike
Once you have maintained and properly looked after charging your battery, it is important to clean your e-bike, particularly if you are planning to store it for an extended period of time.
A buildup of dirt, water, salt, and mud could be natural if you use your e-bike often. So, prior to storing it, you want to be sure that you eliminate any chance of corrosion or damage to your e-bike parts by cleaning it regularly.
How to prepare your e-bike for storage
Now that you know why it’s so important to properly maintain your e-bike before and during storage, we will move on to how to accomplish the steps you need to take to do so.
Store e-bike battery separately
First of all, you should not leave your battery on your e-bike while you are storing it. This is because changing temperatures and climates, particularly those that involve the possibility of condensation buildup, can corrode battery contacts.
It is advised that you remove the battery from your e-bike when you are preparing it for storage. Using a “thin layer” of terminal grease on your battery helps protect the battery contacts from corrosion.
Store e-bike battery 30-80% charged
Next, it is recommended to not store your battery either fully charged or fully discharged (eg. either at 100 percent or 0 percent). It is recommended charging your battery between the range of 30 and 80 percent for storage. Having your battery be partially charged for storage is best because it will help retain the battery’s capacity for a longer time.
Here is the science behind how temperature affects batteries. In this particular case about lithium batteries: “The lithium powder inside the battery cells decreases its electrical resistance as it warms up. This means that in warmer conditions your battery will discharge more quickly and will need charging more often. A lithium battery is best stored in cold conditions where its internal resistance is greatest and will remain fully charged for longer.”
While you should be storing your batteries in cool and dry climates, the battery should be warmed to room temperature before you charge it, since charging it from a cold state can cause potential damage.
You should not leave your battery charging for the entirety of your storage time, because though this will not affect its life, you may increase the risk of electrical fires. It is a good idea to invest in a wall-plug timer, which will automatically turn the main current off after a certain amount of time. This will help make the process that much easier for you!
Store e-bike battery at 0-20C
It is also recommended that your battery should be stored between the temperatures of 0 and 20 degrees Celsius. And the ideal temperature somewhere in the middle around 10 degrees Celsius. This will ensure that your battery will last longer.
The most important factor to remember is that your battery should not be stored below freezing temperatures.
Clean your e-bike before storing it
When it comes to cleaning your e-bike before storage, there are a few basic steps you can take. All you need are a few washcloths, some water, bicycle oil and lubricant, and dishwashing soap.
The main components of your e-bike that you should be cleaning, are the frame, chain, cassette, and gears. Use bicycle lubricant on your chain to ensure that rust does not form on your e-bike. You can find more tips on how to clean an electric bike in this post.
You should not use pressure water on your e-bike, as it can cause potential damage. After your chain and cassette are thoroughly dry, be sure to apply some lubricant to both.
Once your basic cleaning is done and if you are mechanically savvy, you can take your e-bike pieces apart for more thorough cleaning. However, there is also the option to go to your local e-bike shop for further cleaning before you store it.
If you are storing your e-bike outdoors or in a non-temperature regulated basement, be wary of the moisture and condensation in the air, as they can cause rust. If you are not able to store your e-bike anywhere else, be sure to check in on the conditions of your e-bike frequently throughout your storage period.
Important tips to remember
Ultimately, the steps you need to take to maintain your e-bike and battery while storing it are simple. When in doubt, remember a few main things.
First, always consult the instructions and/or manuals that accompany your e-bike and e-bike battery. Manuals list important information and protocol regarding the specific make and battery type of your e-bike.
For batteries like lithium-based batteries that have a small risk potential of fire, precautionary measures can be taken such as installing a smoke detector over the area where you charge your battery and buying a fire extinguisher, placing it in appropriate vicinity to where you are charging.
Make sure not to charge batteries close to flammable objects – even having it too close to your car can be a potential risk.
Lastly, do not use any other charger other than the one that was supplied to you with your specific bike and/or battery. Follow proper cleaning instructions for your e-bike to ensure that it stays optimally functional, and check in on your e-bike often to maintain it.
There is no need to be intimidated by maintaining your e-bike for storage. So long as you exercise the necessary cautions, it is incredibly easy to properly care for and store your e-bike!