Can Electric Bikes be Stored Outside?

An electric bike is significantly more expensive than a traditional bike. Hence, an electric bike owner wants to do everything to protect their e-bike from damage or theft.

Ideally, one should store an electric bike inside a garage, a home space, a shop, etc. However, not everyone has the luxury of extra storage space inside their homes.

In such cases, certain measures can help protect the electric bike from the dangers of storing the bike outside.

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Can Electric Bikes be Stored Outside?

Like a traditional bike or a car, one can store an electric bike outside their home, office, the mall, etc. Many shopping centers, parks, and offices have separately marked areas for electric bike parking.

Although storing an electric bike outside is an option, it should not be the preferred choice. Electric bikes are expensive transport vehicles and leaving them outside exposes them to multiple risks.

Read How Do Electric Bikes Without Pedals Work?

Is Storing an Electric Bike Outside a Bad Idea?

It is not uncommon for people to store their electric bikes outside. Some individuals do not have sufficient storage space inside their homes and hence do not have a choice.

Moreover, some people live in places with strict laws restricting an electric bike’s storage. Furthermore, many people have cars already parked in their garages and consequently store their electric bikes outside.

Keeping an electric bike outside may not seem like a big problem since cars and traditional bikes are also stored this way. However, electric bike experts discourage individuals from doing so.

People should refrain from storing an electric bike outside for multiple different reasons. Some of them are:

  • Electric bikes and their components are expensive. If kept outside, someone could steal them.
  • An electric bike is extremely sensitive to extreme temperatures. Storing an electric bike outside when it is too cold, sunny, humid, or raining could damage the bike and its battery.
  • If the electric bike is stored on the roadside, another vehicle could hit it, causing possible irreparable damage.

Read How To Change A Tire On Your Electric Bike

Why is Storing an Electric Bike Outside a Bad Idea?

Electric Bike Stored Outside Is at a Higher Risk of Getting Stolen

The New York City Police Department conducted a study to assess the situation of bike theft in the US in recent years. The alarming results of the study showed the average annual bike theft rate to be two million bikes per year. Electric bike theft contributed significantly to the shocking statistics.  

Hence, in a country where electric bike theft is a major problem, storing your e-bike outside is bad. A thief can even steal its different expensive components, which would be extremely costly for the owner.

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Why is Electric Bike Theft a Big Problem for Owners?

Electric bikes are easily 2 to 3 times more expensive than regular bikes.

The table below shows the price difference between some electric bike brands versus traditional bike brands.

Electric BikesRegular Bikes
Name of the BrandAverage Market Prices (Electric)Name of the BrandAverage Market Prices (Regular)
Cannondale80,000 USDCannondale12,100 USD
Gazelle3280 USDGazelle957 USD
Brompton17,000 USDBrompton2965 USD
 Trek Bike25,000 USD Trek Bike5000 USD

The following are components that cause an electric bike to have such a high price:

  • The electric bike battery is the largest contributor to the bike’s price. It has a high resale value and can be dissembled to make new batteries. 
  • The electric bike’s display screen allows riders to examine their range, mileage, assistance level, battery charging, heart rate, and calories burned. This makes it incredibly expensive. 
  • The electric bike’s sensor, which causes the motor to turn on after detecting the rider’s pedaling motion, costs a fair amount of money.
  • The electric bike’s strong and sturdy frame can retain its quality under electrical pressure and at higher speeds.

Hence, consumers suffer significant financial losses when their electric bike is stolen. As a result, they are discouraged from reinvesting in a new electric bike. 

Moreover, apart from having a high financial value, electric bikes give many people a chance at easy and inexpensive transportation.

Older and younger individuals may not have the strength to pedal a regular bike or afford public transport every day.

An electric bike for such individuals is a chance at independence and convenience. It also gives them a great daily cardio workout without putting unhealthy pressure on their joints.

Hence when a consumer’s bike is stolen, their independence and physical exercise are reduced, and their public transportation costs increase.

Furthermore, with more consumers shifting back to using gas-powered vehicles (if they move to gas-powered bikes), the global GHG emissions continue to worsen.

Read Electric Bike or Gas Bike: Which is Better?

Extreme Outside Weather Conditions Can Damage the Electric Bike

An electric bike is designed to be stronger and faster than traditional bikes. However, in comparison, they are much more sensitive to temperature changes.

Storing an electric bike outside means leaving it exposed to the weather conditions for a prolonged period.

Although doing so should be fine in certain weather conditions, some extreme temperature changes can permanently damage the electric bike.

According to electric bike experts, the ideal temperature for storing an electric bike is 32 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures beyond this range can negatively affect different e-bike components.

Electric Bike Battery

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Most modern electric bikes now come with lithium-ion battery packs. Although these batteries are highly energy-efficient and offer higher ranges, they are far more sensitive to external temperature.

Storing an electric bike outside with its battery attached could expose the battery to extreme temperature changes.

The damage is often irreversible, and in the long run, a consumer might have to reinvest in a new battery, which will put a huge dent in their bank account.

Electric Bike Motor, Chains, and Frame

The electric bike motor is another crucial electric bike component that is expensive and needs proper maintenance.

Storing the electric bike outside in extreme weather conditions could damage the motor and affect how it functions.

Moreover, the electric bike’s chains and frame have metallic components. These components could get rusty and might eventually have to be changed.

Read Do Electric Bikes Save You Money?

How Do Different Weather Conditions Damage an Electric Bike?

High External Temperature

Storing an electric bike outside when the weather is too hot and sunny is a bad idea. Too much UV radiation can cause the electric bike’s battery liquid to heat up.

An overheated battery loses its charge storing capacity and can even pose a risk of exploding.

The heat can permanently damage the electric bike’s frame and cause its paint to fade. Moreover, the heat can melt and deform any plastic or rubber components.

Furthermore, other electrical components such as the motor and the touch screen may also get damaged. Their connecting cable can melt, and the touch screen surface could crack.

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Low External Temperature

Just like excess heat, extremely low temperatures can cause irreversible damage to the electric bike and its components.

Temperatures below the freezing point can cause severe damage to the e-bike’s battery and motor.

If the lithium-ion battery’s liquid freezes or gets too cold, it will lose 30 to 45% of its charge storing capacity.

As a result, the electric bike’s range will be reduced, which will necessitate an expensive battery replacement.

Moreover, an electric bike usually has a carbon fiber or steel body. While this is great for rigidity and strength, extremely low temperatures can cause the frame to crack and break.

Read How to Take Care of an Electric Bike

High Atmospheric Humidity

Humidity is bad for an electric bike’s body and its main components. Since more e-bike parts have metallic bodies, the moisture in the air could cause them to rust.

When different bearings, bolts, and wire connectors get too rusty, they can break. As a result, the electric bike’s structural integrity is reduced, and it will require expensive repairs.

Rainy Season

An electric bike can withstand a rainy day to a certain extent. However, storing it outside during the rainy season can cause the electric battery and motor to get permanently damaged.

Moreover, the inevitable rust will cause its frame to lose strength and affect the integrity of all its different metallic components.

The chances are that the electric bike owner will have no choice but to purchase a new electric bike.

Electric Bikes Left Outside Could Get Hit 

Many people who live in small apartment buildings with narrow streets do not have any extra space to store their electric bikes. They might just set up a bike lock and leave it out on the road.

Although the lock may help prevent bike theft, it cannot protect it from getting hit. A fast, reckless driver could hit the parked bike and completely crush it.

Read How Much Electricity is Used to Charge an Electric Bike?

How to Safely Store an Electric Bike Outside

Storing an electric bike outside has many risks; however, certain preventative measures can help reduce these risks.

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Use Proper Electric Bike Security Locks

Electric bike theft is extremely common and can be very devastating for the owner. The chances of e-bike theft are amplified when the bike is stored outside.

Proper electric bike locks and security systems can help prevent e-bike theft.

Invest in Electric Bike Locks

Over the years, bike locks have experienced continuous innovation to be more complicated and harder to break.

Newer bike locks require a lot of experience and tools to break open and hence help reduce the chances of e-bike theft.

In the USA, modern electric bike locks that come with complicated designs and use high-quality materials usually have a market price of 100 to 250 USD.

They come in different sizes and thicknesses to fit different-sized electric bikes.

Hence, before purchasing an electric bike lock, one should measure the dimensions of the e-bike carefully. A poorly fitting lock will not provide the electric bike with much protection.

Moreover, consumers should tie their electric bike locks around fixed structures outside their homes, such as lamp posts or a fixed shed.

Furthermore, electric bike owners should try to store their bikes in well-illuminated areas to easily view their bikes from inside their homes.

For greater protection, they can also install security surveillance cameras outside their homes to monitor the e-bike. Yes, it’s an added expensive, but it’s a multi-purpose one.

Read How Much Weight Can an Electric Bike Pull?

Prepare an Electric Bike for Storage in Extreme Weather Conditions

  • Always clean your electric bike before storing it outside. Moreover, apply a thick coat of grease and oil to all different metallic components such as cables and connectors. Doing so helps prevent rusting during rainy and humid conditions.
  • If the weather is extremely hot, use a durable polyester fabric electric bike cover to reduce the e-bike’s sun exposure. Storing the bike under a tree or beside a tall fence could further protect the e-bike from UV damage.
  • Remove the electric bike battery and store it inside to prevent it from getting too hot or cold. To ensure that the battery retains its quality and range, store it away with at least 60% of charge.
  • Cover the electric bike with a polyester bike cover to prevent it from freezing if the weather is too cold. Many electric bike covers come with heat sealing and double stitching that help prevent the bike from getting too cold.
  • Using a polyester bike cover during humid conditions would increase the e-bike’s moisture buildup and boost rusting. Hence, refrain from covering the electric bike. Instead, if possible, invest in building a shed around the e-bike to save it from humidity while allowing it some air.

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Final Thoughts

An electric bike is an expensive vehicle with multiple benefits for a wider range of consumers.

Although one should always try to store their e-bikes inside, lack of storage space or strict building rules can prevent that.

In such a situation, one should invest in CCTV cameras and electric bike locks to minimize the chances of e-bike theft. Moreover, using suitable bike covers and storing the battery inside can help prevent damage caused by extreme weather conditions.