Due to its costly and sensitive electrical equipment, an e-bike carries a bigger responsibility for properly maintaining it and keeping it safe than most other bikes. So, it’s natural to question whether it should be stored outside.
You can keep your electric bike safely stored outside if there is low humidity, mild weather, and it has a durable, weather-proof protective cover. Before storing, you should clean it, remove the battery, and keep in a cool, dry location between 32 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Properly storing your e-bike also depends on how well it’s prepared for storage beforehand and your own concern about protecting it from thieves.
When Is It Safe to Store Your E-Bike Outside?
It’s generally safe to store your electric bike outside when it is cool and dry. So, let’s define exactly what “cool and dry” means.
As mentioned above, “cool” temperatures between 32F and 68F are ideal for safely storing your e-bike outside.
Some manufacturers actually state that you can store your e-bike down into the negative temperatures, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.
The electric components are very sensitive to cold. So chances are that below-freezing temperatures will damage these components, as well as increase overall wear and tear on your e-bike.
It’s further suggested that your e-bike is best stored where it is “dry”. In general, this means that you should avoid storing your e-bike where there is high humidity or lots of moisture in the air.
Humidity above 50% is considered to be “high”. Humidity above 70% is even believed to cause damage to your home. Therefore, any level of moisture in the air above 70% could damage your e-bike as well.
So you’ll really need to take e-bike storage seriously if you live in a place with heat and high humidity year-round, such as in Florida, Hawaii, or any tropical location.
If you live in one of these areas, or where it rains a lot, such as the states of Oregon or Washington, you should strongly consider storing your bike inside if you want to keep it safe from the elements.
Otherwise, your e-bike can probably be safely stored outside (consider getting a GPS tracker in case it’s stolen). But do follow directions for preparing it, storing the battery, and giving it a protective cover.
How to Prepare Your E-Bike to Be Stored Outside
There are two things you should do when preparing your electric bike for storage.
1. First, remove the battery from the bike. Since the battery is what ultimately makes your bike move, you should take good care of it so that it retains its ability to charge.
To prepare it, apply a thin layer of “terminal” grease on the battery contacts to protect them from rust and corrosion.
Keep reading below to learn how to take care of and safely store your e-bike battery.
2. Next, you should clean it, even if you don’t see any dirt. In fact, you should clean it every time you put it away, no matter whether it is for one day, a week, or several months.
This is especially important if you’ve been riding in the sand, dirt, or mud.
To clean your e-bike, wipe it down with a damp rag to remove abrasive particles and to ensure that it stays free from rust. Don’t forget to wipe down the battery connectors at the point where they attach to the bike.
How to Safely Store Your Battery
Once you’ve removed the battery from the bike before storing it, it’s important to take good care of it.
- First, keep it inside!
Just like the e-bike itself, the battery needs to be kept in a cool and dry location. Ideally, it should be kept closer to 50-68 degrees Fahrenheit, even though recommendations are to keep it above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The slightly warmer temperatures will ensure that it lasts longer.
Whatever you do, don’t keep it anywhere below freezing! You’d be lucky if it still had power after lengthy storage. Further, make sure that the battery is warmed up a bit before charging it to avoid damage.
- Second, your battery should be stored with the correct charge.
Storing a battery at either a 0% charge or at a 100% charge can reduce its life.
Instead, take the middle ground and charge your battery between 30% and 70-80% before storing it.
- Only use the charger that came with your battery as the wrong charger could destroy your battery or at least damage it.
- Keep your stored battery safely away from flames and flammable objects, especially if it’s lithium-based.
You might also wish to have it near a smoke detector and fire extinguisher just in case.
When in doubt about how to handle your e-bike’s battery, read the manufacturer’s instructions which will provide the exact procedures to take care of your particular battery model.
Get a Durable, Protective Cover for Your E-Bike
When you’ve decided to store your electric bike outside, you need to find a high-quality, well-fitted cover to protect it.
Although an inexpensive cover may be good enough for a standard, non-electric bike, you’ll probably need to pay a little more in order to get one that will take good care of the motor and other electrical parts.
The cover should be strong and durable, protecting from dust, water, and UV sun rays. A good cover will not only sit snugly on top of your e-bike but will securely fasten underneath.
Note: If humidity is a concern, then putting a cover on your bike may actually do more harm than good as it’ll allow moisture to build up inside the cover.
Another interesting idea to cover your e-bike outside is to use a bike storage shed. They’re just big enough to fit your bike, so they won’t take up a lot of room. They can be made of a hard protective material like plastic or metal (the same as any regular size shed) or a durable, waterproof vinyl or “tent” fabric.
The great thing about the solid bike sheds is that they can be locked up more securely to prevent your bike from theft. After all, they’re not easy to cut through like a plastic cover.
Safety from Theft During Outside Storage
One more huge concern to consider before storing your e-bike is keeping it safe from theft.
You’ve most likely thought of this already but brushed the thought aside, assuming that it’s very unlikely. However, electric bikes are generally expensive and therefore very valuable to thieves.
And, anytime you leave your e-bike outside, it’s more prone to getting stolen.
Keep your e-bike safe outside at home with these tips:
- Put up a “Beware of Dog” sign (in front of where they could get to your bike).
- Cover it or camouflage it behind bushes or yard junk.
- Alternatively, keep it in an area that’s well lit with security lights, security signs, and even cameras.
- Most importantly… lock it up to keep it safe, even if it’s in your own yard! Use the most secure locks including, U-locks, D-locks, and heavy chains (which require more than one cut and are hard to hold while cutting).
- And don’t be shy to use multiple locks. Use them all! And lock your bike to the toughest pole or metal object around.
When to Store Your E-Bike Inside
There are many good reasons to store your electric bike indoors if at all possible.
- If you live in a really cold location or it’s a cold winter, easily getting below 32F overnight, then you shouldn’t store your bike outside.
- Or if your humidity is frequently 50-70% or more, you’re better off storing your e-bike inside. If you have to store it outside temporarily, at least keep it in the shade and away from direct moisture, such as under a big patio cover.
- You may wish to store your bike inside if you live in a high-theft area or you’re unable to secure it safely outside.
- Keeping it indoors also makes it much easier to jump on and ride when the weather turns nice for a day or your car won’t start and you need to get somewhere.
When you can’t store your e-bike outside due to weather or security issues, then you’ll need to find a way to store it inside.
Of course, storing your e-bike indoors means you’ll have to take space and location into consideration. Do you have a spare room to keep your e-bike in? Or can you fit it into your bedroom, hall closet, or family room?
My husband and I actually keep our bikes in our home’s entranceway. We don’t have to worry about the weather or keeping them clean. Further, we don’t have to unlock, untie, or pull out from the back of the garage.
Yes, they’re kind of in the way, but we do have the option of folding them up to save space.
Finally, you can keep your e-bike safely stored in a garage or shed, as long as the temperatures stay over 32F and the humidity is below 70% (and preferably 50%).
Your First Ride After Storage
When you’re ready to ride your e-bike again, give your bike a thorough visual inspection.
Check to see that the motor and other important equipment like your headlight, GPS, and helmet are in good condition.
Then fully charge the battery before riding. Make sure your battery is warm and hasn’t been damaged before charging. Give it a quick visual inspection for leakage or damage to the charger.
This is also a good time to check your tires for tread wear and proper inflation. The inner tubes are likely to have deflated during storage and you don’t want to damage your tires by riding them without the correct psi inflation.
Finally, take a short ride. Test the brakes and gears by riding down your street or around the block. Don’t plan a major ride before you’ve done this. If you find anything wrong, you can fix it instead of getting stranded miles from home.