It’s a fact that there has been a sharp increase in the sales of electric bikes in the Indian market during the pandemic. In contrast to traditional cycles, electric bikes are slightly costlier but you certainly can’t deny that it is one of the most convenient modes of transportation. Along with this, to keep your electric bike in perfect order, it needs to be maintained very well. However, the climate of the Indian subcontinent can be harsh at times owing to the great variations in the temperature. This, in turn, can harm any vehicle, including your electric bike, if not maintained properly.
The biggest enemy for an electric bike is moisture, not only for rust but it can also for damage to the electric components present inside. Although all-electric bikes sold in India are IP rated, certain things need to be kept in mind when riding out in the rain.
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Monsoon Conditions in India
The monsoon in India generally starts from June and lasts till September every year. Due to India’s vast geographic extent, the rainy season is not evenly distributed in all parts of the country. As a consequence, some places experience the heaviest downpour while other areas are known for scarce or no rainfall. For instance, cities like Port Blair receive an annual rainfall of 2800 mm whereas Leh receives around 100 mm. The average rainfall received in the metropolitan cities ranges from 500 to 1500mm of rain.
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Road Conditions and Waterlogging
I wonder how people find the monsoon to be such romantic weather! For me, going out on the wet streets with my e-bike is a nightmare! All thanks to the condition of roads in India. And it gets worse during the monsoon. Almost all highways and roadways are well maintained whereas when it comes to the lanes and bi lanes, they’re maintained the least. As a word of advice, one should avoid choosing a pothole-filled road as it will increase the rate of wear and tear of the cycle. (At least, that’s what I do!)
Waterlogging is also a very common occurrence during the rainy season in India. To keep both you and your e-bike safe, it is highly recommended not to ride an electric cycle on a waterlogged road. The reason? There is a high risk of damaging the battery, calling for expensive replacement or repair.
Precautions to Take Before Starting Your Journey
Indian monsoons are notorious for being unpredictable; the weather can change as quickly as a chameleon changes its colour. You may enjoy a clear blue sky right now but one hour later, dark clouds can start hovering over the sky, gearing up for a heavy downpour.
But what to do if you need to run out and it’s raining unceasingly? For these times, here are a few tips that will help you have a safe ride.
- Check tyre pressure. Try to avoid a fully inflated tyre during wet conditions as it will reduce traction. Reduce your tyre pressure to about 10-15 psi from normal to get maximum grip on the road.
- Don’t forget to carry a portable air pump
- Add mudguards that properly cover the rear and front wheel. These will prevent your electric bike from getting dirty on the muddy road you’ll be travelling.
- Always carry a raincoat. Is there anyone who wants to drive in the rain and get laid with 101 degrees Celsius fever the next day?
- Apply bicycle chain lubricants on the drive shaft properly before riding your bike. Make sure the lubricant is weatherproof.
Wondering what lubricant I use? It’s called the Looplube all-weather lubricant and it works wonders for my cycle.
- Check for rust formation on any part, especially around the driveshaft area. As a precautionary step, you can apply WD-40 over the chain and gears before leaving. It will help melt the rust and leave a temporary oily layer behind which will prevent rust from damaging the metal.
- Add a bright tail light and headlight. This is crucial if you regularly ride your e-bike on the main road. Visibility drastically reduces in the rain and it is crucial to make yourself visible to others to avoid accidents.
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Precautions to Take While Riding in the Rain
At times, it might start raining when you are riding your electric bike down the road and things might get slippery with low visibility. You need to be extra careful in such situations as one wrong step can lead to dangerous accidents.
Here are a few things to follow:
- Do not speed up – Electric bikes are well-known for functioning at higher speeds than traditional cycles despite the same effort. As electric bikes are equipped with pedal assist mode, it gives you an extra push to reach a higher speed.
Wet road conditions and poor visibility mean you will not only have low traction on the road but also have less time to react.
To be on the safer side, try to notch down the speed of the pedal-assist and remain more cautious in the rain.
- Apply brakes early – Ever heard this line, ‘with more power comes more responsibility?’. In the case of electric bikes, the braking system will be majorly responsible for your safety. Electric bikes offer more power due to the addition of a battery pack and a motor. Electric bikes have different modes like Pedal assist with speed regulator and full-throttle mode to derive maximum power from the motor.
To keep the power under control, the braking system of an e-bike must be better than a standard cycle. Most electric bikes are equipped with Disc brakes, which are more responsive in wet conditions than a rim or a V brake offered in traditional cycles.
Just keep in mind that you need to apply the brake a little early when you ride your electric bike in the rain.
- Do not lean against corners at high speed – Don’t push the bike to the edge and speed into the corners in wet conditions. You can easily lose grip at high speeds and things can turn brutal. Not even a professional will risk his/her life by riding like this on wet roads.
- Avoid waterlogged roads – Many electric cycle brands have their charging port placed at the bottom of the frame. The placement of the port makes it dangerous if the electric circuit makes contact with water.
Precautions to Take After Your Ride
Normally after a ride, we do not tend to wash our bikes or check if anything is loose. We tend to be casual after a trip and procrastination hit us even more. Water has always been the number one enemy as it causes rust and it will surely erode your electric cycle components if you’re not careful.
These are the after-ride maintenance tips you should follow:
- Check the drive chain for any dirt, or sand. Sand, if present on the shaft, can act as a scrub if not cleaned. It will accelerate the wear and tear of the gears. Wash the drive chain with a jet spray and then apply soap to clean any dirt sticking to the frame.
- Use chain cleaners or brush to clean the extra dirt on the chain.
- After washing your bike, add lubricants to the shaft.
- Check for any rusting and apply WD-40. But do not apply lubricant over WD-40, as the lubricant can’t stick to the metal due to its oily nature.
- Check the battery pack and electrical system for any damage or leakage. Make sure all the electrical parts are working properly.
- Visit your cycle mechanic if there is any damage and you can’t access it or don’t know how to fix it. Trusting a professional is always a wise decision than implementing DIY techniques.
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