Are Electric Bikes Waterproof?January 27, 2023
Before I answer this question, take this with a grain of salt, I can’t speak for every conversion kit and e-Bike. I will not be held accountable for the consequences of your own actions.
Back to the question, ‘are eBikes waterproof?’. The short answer is no. A Rolex Deepsea is waterproof (sort of), but an electric bike is not. You can submerge the Rolex in water and it’ll be fine, but eBikes will suffer some serious damage.
Why Aren’t They Waterproof?
There is a misconception that electric bikes (and even watches) are waterproof. For watches, this is somewhat true to a certain degree, but for eBikes this is not true at all.
The word waterproof is thrown around a lot, but used incorrectly. A product that is waterproof is something that is impervious to water. Although watches like the Rolex Deepsea can withstand dives up to 3,900m, water will still enter the system beyond this depth, thus deeming it water resistant. This is the same for electric bikes as it’s not completely impervious to water.
Let’s Rephrase the Question
Let’s rephrase the question, the better question to ask is ‘are electric bikes water resistant?’. The answer to that question is yes. Most kits and eBikes nowadays are water resistant. What does this mean exactly in terms of electric bikes?
It means that the bike will not catastrophically fail if the bike catches some splashes of water or you’re caught riding in a bit of a drizzle. However the amount of water the bike can withstand differs from models and brands. This is where it gets complicated!
What’s The Standard For Water Resistance?
For electrical enclosures or mechanical casings, there is a standard called the IP code (International Protection code). This is the same standard that rates the iPhone 7 with an IP67 and this exact rating was also given to the Specialized Turbo Levo’s battery. According to the standards, the battery pack from the Levo can be submerged under 1 metre of water for 30 minutes. I don’t recommend trying it and I don’t see why you would want to, but it gives an idea on the resistance of the Specialized eBike. Because of this I wouldn’t be afraid of spraying down the battery pack and possibly the surrounding areas.
With that being said, I would not spray directly into the LCD display and thumb controllers/throttles. These electrical components are not as robust and would suffer water damage. This makes the whole water resistance issue more complicated as different components are more susceptible to water damage. It should be noted, that only some eBikes will possess an IP rating.
I’ve never personally ridden in the rain or wet with my eBike (all thanks to the Aussie climate); however I have met and been told by numerous people that have. According to owners of KTM eBikes, their eMTB’s are quite resilient and can withstand riding through mud and puddles (see Instagram comments in video). I’ve also been told that by some people on this website that they have ridden on their eBike through heavy rain without any dramas. Most of them however, recommend covering the most vulnerable electrical components as much as you can.
These include the controller, LCD meter and other controllers such as throttles, on the handlebars. The motor and battery are usually left unprotected, and seem to hold up. I don’t see how you could cover the motor even if you wanted to. If you watch the video, you can see I use a plastic bag or even a zip lock bag just to provide some sort of protection to the display meter and thumb controller.
I definitely recommend covering extra cables with caps provided by the manufacturer. When plugged, these cables are generally quite water resistant. I may, or may not make a video on how to prepare your bike for the rain or wet rides, we’ll see how the response for this video goes.