So winter is coming and that doesn’t mean your e-biking has to come to an end. It’s actually where these bikes excel. They love winter, they love going out there in the mud and getting covered in it. There are a few little steps and little hacks we can do to our bikes to get the most out of the bikes and protect them from all that mud, water, and nastiness out there this winter.
So a great little tip when you get out on the trails is to stop that mud getting into your bike or sticking to your bike anywhere. A real prime trap for this is actually on the fork arch behind here. It’s machined out so it means it’s nice and rigid and stiff, but what it does leave us with, is loaded cavities that are a mud trap, especially that front-wheel turning, firing the mud into those gaps.
It’s a really good way for winter to actually tape this off, just get some tape, get some cloth tape, and close all that off so it’s just one smooth surface. That way, any mud on there is just gonna fall off. Or when you come to wash that bike, it’s just gonna blast off. You don’t have to spend ages in there, with a little brush or toothbrush, trying to get that mud out. So just remember, from time to time, peal that tape away. Let any moisture or water that is trapped behind there, just escape. It’ll obviously stop things corroding behind there. Just any little gap you can see, where you think there might be a mud trap, it’s worth just taping it off. Remember, a heavy bike will drain that battery more. It’s gonna weigh more. It’s just not gonna be as nice to ride as a bike that is lighter.
Let’s talk brakes when it comes to winter. Organic pads are going to give to that more bite, and a bit more stopping power on the trails. But they’re gonna last five minutes, with all that grinding and slushy stuff you’re going to get on your rotors from the winter. I strongly advise getting a set of sintered pads into that. They’re gonna last a hell of a lot longer out on the trails. Made of little metal philoins, and a lot harder compound. They might not be as strong, but they’re definitely gonna last a hell of a lot longer. Stick a set of those in, and your winter riding is gonna be more time on the trails, and less in the workshop.
Needless to say, before you hit the trails, just make sure those brakes are bedded in nice and strong. You don’t want to go crazy and go crashing off on the first corner. So another thing I like to do before winter kicks in as well is just make sure all my contacts and my battery connections are all nice and clean as well. Just check the seals around there. All in good condition too because, if any water gets into these parts, it’s gonna cause you a nightmare out on the trail.
Give them a good quick clean with a bit of contact cleaner. Just make sure they’re nice and clean. Also in the battery as well, give that a quick wipe around. Obviously, make sure this is nice and dry before you put anything back together. And whilst you’re there as well, it’s also worth just lubing that key mechanism up, or whatever holds your battery into that bike. Cause if you can’t get that key into change your battery, if you’re out on a big ride, you’re gonna be cursing too. Just make sure those little bits that you might forget, are all nicely lubed up.
So when it comes to tires for your E-Bike, there are lots of options out there. Including mud-specific tires that can be really aggressive. These are something I would probably steer clear of, on your E-Bike. They can be really vague when you’re hitting the road, or anything apart from deep mud. What I would go for is something that dries really well at the rear wheel, gives you lots of grips. And a real predictable tire at the front. Something that’s gonna really bites in when those conditions get loose.
You stick something that’s really heavy and high-rolling resistance, you’re gonna be draining that battery, draining you, and not gonna be making it a lot of fun out there on the trails. So when things get muddy out there on the trails, an essential part of your kit is the mudguard. They come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Different ways they fit your bike, but basically, a basic mud flap like this one, is gonna stop that spray coming up off the front wheels, gonna stop all the mud going into your fork legs, over your battery, and over you as well. So get a little flap one like this as a minimum. I’d rent something like this if the mud if it had been raining.
But when things get super muddy out there, you can’t beat a big moto-styled mudguard. Basically, the little flap one sits in the fork, in here, and just stops that mud flying up. Whereas the full moto one, will fit into your bike, mounts in the same way, but has a lot more coverage. So it stops the mud flying off the front of the wheel and the back of the wheel.
If things get super muddy, you cannot simply beat a full moto-styled mudguard. Actually, you can get away without wearing any eyewear, things like that. Especially in the winter. They are that good. So when it comes to mudguards for your E-Bikes, there’s plenty of options out there. You can even make in your own home. A plastic water bottle, or a drinks bottle, makes a nice mudguard. Just cut the side of that off, craft it so it fits in your fork arch. Put a couple of holes in there, a zip tie, and you’re ready.
Another real nice way is finding that old bit of inner tube. Punch a couple of holes in here, a couple of holes in the lower part. All you need to do then, zip tie the top bit to your crown, through here and here. And a couple of holes through here and here. Put the zip ties through. What you’ve created is a nice mud flap, that stops all that water spray, and stuff, coming forward off that wheel, hitting you in the face, and going all over your bike. Really effective mudguard that is for not a lot of money. So we’ve got the front wheel covered.
But what about our back wheel that’s gonna be firing off all mud, all over you, all over your bike, all over the bum. It’s a really good idea to get that covered too. Unfortunately, there aren’t many viable options when it comes to rear mudguards. Especially on E-Bikes, if you’re pushing them hard, out on the trails, you’re gonna be flapping around, snapping off, get sagging down with mud. So the only option really, sticks these little tiny flap-style ones in. They won’t really protect you, but what they will do, is protect your bike.
Basically, clip on here, then all that mud is collected, stops it firing up over the seat post, linkage plate, rear shocks. For a really good way to protect your bike, not necessarily you.
So let’s talk lube when it comes to winter. Basically, you want to be putting that dry lube away. Dry lube, you’ve used all summer, in dry conditions, designed to be very low-stick. So that means, it doesn’t pick up all that dust when you’re on the trails. When you switch to the wet lube, what the wet lube does is, penetrate those rollers better in the chain. Also, it clings to that chain a hell of a lot better, so it doesn’t get washed off when the rain starts coming down.
Just remember, if it does get really nasty out there, stick a bit of that in your backpack, and reapply that to the chain when things get nasty. When it comes to lubing that chain, just make sure you try and get it in a drip-style bottle over the spray. If you’re using the spray, it’s quite easy to over lube that chain. And that will drift and go over that rear disk, and contaminate your pads and stuff.
The drip bottle is easier. It gives it a lot more direct. There’s no risk of that getting onto your chain. Just make sure you’ve wiped off the excess, off the chain once you’ve finished. So when it comes to winter, what it does create, is a horrible grinding pace, when it comes to riding your bike. Anywhere that’s in contact with that grinding pace, be it your chainstays, or seat stays, your crank arms, and basically, your frame is gonna take a beating. So the nice way to protect that frame is, anywhere you can see a bit of cable rub, just stick on some of these clear protection patches, over that nasty little bit of cable rub. That’s gonna stop that cable from rubbing through.
In severe cases, if that cable is rubbing hard enough, it can actually wear through that frame. So just keep an eye on that as well. There’s lots of kits available that can actually cover your whole bike, top to bottom, in the clear tape.
Things like your crank arms, as well. You can get Aftermarket crank covers for them. Keeping those all nice and clean throughout the winter. Your gears hate winter as much as you do. Basically, there’s an outer cable that can fill with sand and grit, and make your shifting a nightmare.
What I like to do before every winter, is get that outer cable, give it a good flush-through with some lubricant. And add a fresh new cable in there too. Cause if this things fails out in the middle of winter, in the middle of nowhere, you’re gonna be kicking yourself. So often overlooked, but a really good tip to do before the winter kicks in. So another really cool little tip that we see from the pros, is when things get slippy and muddy, they actually apply a little bit of skateboard grip tape. It’s basically sticky sandpaper. All they do is apply it to their controls. So like the brake lever edges, just stick a little bit of that tape in there. Things like your dropper seatpost, gear levers, brake levers, anywhere that you touch with your hands, things get slippy, add a bit of tape on there. Adds a load of purchase and a load of feel to that.
Gets sticking away on all those controls, and make your ride a non-slip this winter. So another nice little mud trap is this fella here. It’s the bottom of the steerer tube. Again, it’s in that firing line of that front wheel. All that mud and water tries to enter the steerer tube. This is mostly aluminum, but the staff-angled nut, is in fact steel, so obviously steel and water can rust.
So any water going into that area is bad news. So what I would try and find is a little bung, which you can wedge in the bottom of your steerer. Just make sure it’s a nice, snug fit. Plug that off, that’ll stop any moisture getting in there, and rust in the parts, so that heads it out. Bearings, et cetera, just make sure it’s a nice snug fit. Pull it out again periodically, let that water drain away, and it should save you a lot of problems. So something that you can switch up for the winter, is changing from your clipless pedals to flat pedals.
Flat pedals in winter, just allow you to dab that much quicker. You also don’t fill up your cleats and stuff, if you dab in and getting mud on the bottom of your shoes, like clippless pedals can do. Also, it’s gonna give you a bit more bike control. You might find yourself going into sections where you can let off, let that bike float around a bit more. So you know that you can dab that foot if you need to.
I really hope you’ve known how to winterize your E-Bike.