Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
Post Reply
Electric Earth   100 W

100 W
Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 11 2018 8:02pm

Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by Electric Earth » May 16 2020 3:02pm

I know it's bad to leave the battery out in the cold. Does it matter if you take the battery off of the bike each day and leave the bike itself out in an unheated garage, and in the morning bring the battery out, pop it on the bike, and go? I'm moving to a place without a heated place to store the bike. :(

User avatar
spinningmagnets   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 11752
Joined: Dec 21 2007 10:27pm
Location: Ft Riley, NE Kansas

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by spinningmagnets » May 16 2020 5:26pm

I'm sure it will be fine in an unheated garage. You are right, the battery pack is the part that needs to stay warm (room temp, or more).

User avatar
MJSfoto1956   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1018
Joined: Jul 28 2010 9:28pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by MJSfoto1956 » May 16 2020 5:43pm

My scooter/motorcycle has been in the shed since November. I put it in @ 74V. It is currently @ 72V. I did nothing to keep it warm or prevent sub-zero freezing. YMMV.

M
"Will you shut (TF) up, man?"

QANON is a sick cult: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/cu ... e-1064076/

User avatar
LeftieBiker   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 932
Joined: Nov 06 2012 1:33am
Location: Upstate NY, United States

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by LeftieBiker » May 16 2020 6:17pm

Just to clarify because of the wording of the title: leaving a bike outdoors, even with the battery removed, is bad - it will rust and the plastic will deteriorate. A garage or shed, even an unheated one, is a large step up from that.

User avatar
MJSfoto1956   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1018
Joined: Jul 28 2010 9:28pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by MJSfoto1956 » May 16 2020 6:32pm

LeftieBiker wrote:
May 16 2020 6:17pm
Just to clarify because of the wording of the title: leaving a bike outdoors, even with the battery removed, is bad - it will rust and the plastic will deteriorate. A garage or shed, even an unheated one, is a large step up from that.
+1
"Will you shut (TF) up, man?"

QANON is a sick cult: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/cu ... e-1064076/

User avatar
Sunder   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2997
Joined: Sep 06 2011 11:24pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by Sunder » May 16 2020 7:05pm

It's actually not bad to *leave* a battery out in the cold. In fact, it's good for it. It's bad to *use* a battery that is cold, especially charging it.

When a charge is put into a lithium battery, lithium ions are meant to migrate towards the carbon anode. When it's cold though, instead of reacting, it plates the anode causing irreversible capacity loss.
eBike: Q100H on 16S with Phaserunner FOC Controller
eMotorscooter: Vectrix VX-1 Died... Electrified Ninja in Progress!
eCar: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV... Warramty expired. Still not game!
eHouse: 6.2kw On-grid solar with battery backup coming soon!

After 5 builds, the best advice I can give, is start with high quality products. I prefer http://www.ebikes.ca

User avatar
MadRhino   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7016
Joined: Sep 03 2010 5:28pm
Location: Montreal QC Canada

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by MadRhino » May 16 2020 8:10pm

Some batteries can be left frozen for a long time, but most don’t. So, you need to respect your battery cells spec. In any case, even if your battery specs are OK with freezing, it is not likely that its operation temp is so low, so you would need to heat it some before riding if it is very cold.

Bikes, any bike, does suffer from long time inactivity, frozen even worse, so it will need complete revision after the winter. If you ride it everyday in the winter, you should maintain strictly because melting agents on the streets are very corrosive.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

User avatar
Sunder   100 MW

100 MW
Posts: 2997
Joined: Sep 06 2011 11:24pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by Sunder » May 16 2020 8:49pm

MadRhino wrote:
May 16 2020 8:10pm
Some batteries can be left frozen for a long time, but most don’t. So, you need to respect your battery cells spec.
I guess it depends on what you mean by "Frozen". Below zero celcius? Couldn't find any lithium based batteries that couldn't be stored below 0*C (Freezing point of water), but if by frozen you mean where gel electrolytes become solid, that would have to be true. Any change of state would definitely permanently damage a battery. Looking at the storage temps of most lithium types, I'd guess it'd be around -20*C:

Most Lithium Ion types (NCA, NCM, LiCo, etc), are safe down to -20*C
LiFePo4 is good to -25*C
LTO still operates at -50*c without damage (but with substantial temporary loss of capacity), so who knows what the safe storage temp is.

I do forget that we have members from places that get well below -20*C, so I should have been more careful with my wording.

All the studies I've seen for calendar aging showed that energy density and power density loss were lowest for the lowest temperature used in the experiment, some of them down to -25*C.
eBike: Q100H on 16S with Phaserunner FOC Controller
eMotorscooter: Vectrix VX-1 Died... Electrified Ninja in Progress!
eCar: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV... Warramty expired. Still not game!
eHouse: 6.2kw On-grid solar with battery backup coming soon!

After 5 builds, the best advice I can give, is start with high quality products. I prefer http://www.ebikes.ca

goatman   10 MW

10 MW
Posts: 2155
Joined: Jun 23 2019 6:50pm
Location: Surrey, B.C.

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by goatman » May 16 2020 9:24pm

yep, I pull the tarp off, put my warm battery in and full throttle
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=103834#p1521349
you might want to use a heat gun or hair dryer if your brakes are frozen though

User avatar
MadRhino   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7016
Joined: Sep 03 2010 5:28pm
Location: Montreal QC Canada

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by MadRhino » May 16 2020 10:42pm

Here the winters are very cold. I don’t like my bikes parked outside. They are in a garage heated about 10C, so I always start a ride in comfortable temp zone. I am lucky to have a garage at both ends of my commute, making bikers life much better when the weather is bad.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

User avatar
LeftieBiker   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 932
Joined: Nov 06 2012 1:33am
Location: Upstate NY, United States

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by LeftieBiker » May 17 2020 5:47am

MadRhino wrote:
May 16 2020 10:42pm
Here the winters are very cold. I don’t like my bikes parked outside. They are in a garage heated about 10C, so I always start a ride in comfortable temp zone. I am lucky to have a garage at both ends of my commute, making bikers life much better when the weather is bad.
I heat my garage to about 45F, but in frigid, windy weather it can drop to about 31F for a few hours. No issues.

John in CR   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 14641
Joined: May 20 2008 12:58am
Location: Paradise

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by John in CR » May 17 2020 2:29pm

Since when did inside a garage become "outside"? To me outside means exposed to the elements.

User avatar
MadRhino   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7016
Joined: Sep 03 2010 5:28pm
Location: Montreal QC Canada

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by MadRhino » May 17 2020 5:53pm

John in CR wrote:
May 17 2020 2:29pm
Since when did inside a garage become "outside"? To me outside means exposed to the elements.
If course, that is why we keep it inside and heated. It is freaking cold here in the winter. -15 is a comfortable day, when we unzip out coats and take the coffee on the terrace of the ski center. :D
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

John in CR   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 14641
Joined: May 20 2008 12:58am
Location: Paradise

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by John in CR » May 19 2020 9:34am

MadRhino wrote:
May 17 2020 5:53pm
John in CR wrote:
May 17 2020 2:29pm
Since when did inside a garage become "outside"? To me outside means exposed to the elements.
If course, that is why we keep it inside and heated. It is freaking cold here in the winter. -15 is a comfortable day, when we unzip out coats and take the coffee on the terrace of the ski center. :D
I'm so spoiled after living here over 20 years that below +18°C (64°F) gets a bit nippy at night and 22° or higher I turn on the fan, which is rarely used. During the day it gets few degrees warmer, but there's generally a breeze. Living in the tropics at altitude is hard to beat.

The OP did say he was pulling the battery, so unless he rode his bike in plenty of heavy rain for water for there to be water inside his hubmotor, his bike won't care how cold it gets in the garage. If that's the case the motor should be checked regardless...especially if he didn't employ a proper drip loop.

User avatar
MadRhino   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7016
Joined: Sep 03 2010 5:28pm
Location: Montreal QC Canada

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by MadRhino » May 19 2020 1:18pm

John in CR wrote:
May 19 2020 9:34am


I'm so spoiled after living here over 20 years that below +18°C (64°F) gets a bit nippy at night and 22° or higher I turn on the fan, which is rarely used. During the day it gets few degrees warmer, but there's generally a breeze. Living in the tropics at altitude is hard to beat.
Altitude is best anywhere, except for active volcanoes maybe. :D
I spend the whole winter in the mountains. We get used to the cold, especially that it is a dry cold at altitude.

Of course there are some days I’d like warmer, but I really appreciate the clean cold air of the mountains. And, winter does clean the environment of so many nuisances. No flies, mosquitoes or any insects, no snakes or dangerous animal species. The fishes, birds or deer that we catch for food are freezing quickly, in ideal sanitary conditions.

When warm days are back, like now, I am in town and feel lazy. Unfortunately the restaurants and terraces are still closed because of stupid virus fear...
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
Current bikes
Street:
Trek Session 10 mod. Variable geometry. 70mph
Dirt:
Santa Cruz V10. 50mph

Electric Earth   100 W

100 W
Posts: 105
Joined: Nov 11 2018 8:02pm

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by Electric Earth » May 19 2020 4:11pm

John in CR wrote:
May 19 2020 9:34am
I'm so spoiled after living here over 20 years that below +18°C (64°F) gets a bit nippy at night and 22° or higher I turn on the fan, which is rarely used. During the day it gets few degrees warmer, but there's generally a breeze. Living in the tropics at altitude is hard to beat.

The OP did say he was pulling the battery, so unless he rode his bike in plenty of heavy rain for water for there to be water inside his hubmotor, his bike won't care how cold it gets in the garage. If that's the case the motor should be checked regardless...especially if he didn't employ a proper drip loop.
If you don't mind my asking, where do you live? I've travelled to a couple different places to live now, in search of nice people and nice weather year round.

I will most definitely be including a drip loop. And the battery will be pulled anytime it's going to drop below 50 degrees at night. I still need to read up more on battery care, but from what I've read so far, I think that'll be plenty safe. For charging, it'll be allowed to sit inside for a couple hours and come up to room temp. I'll have no choice but to store and charge the battery inside, but the plan for that is to build a small brick box for it, with a chimney that vents into the dryer vent. I'll need to research this more too, but that's the idea I've come up with so far. Brick shouldn't have any trouble if the battery did catch on fire, and routing to the dryer vent should direct smoke safely. Hopefully with a properly built battery made from quality cells and BMS, that won't ever be a problem anyway.

My other thought for battery storage is perhaps finding an old broken ceramics kiln for cheap, since they're made to withstand very high heat. No idea yet what those temperature tolerances are, though, and if actual flame would be contained. Another idea I'll need to research more.

John in CR   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 14641
Joined: May 20 2008 12:58am
Location: Paradise

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by John in CR » May 21 2020 2:07pm

Electric Earth wrote:
May 19 2020 4:11pm

If you don't mind my asking, where do you live? I've travelled to a couple different places to live now, in search of nice people and nice weather year round.
I live in the central valley of Costa Rica, which abolished its military with the signing of the 1948 new constitution, so it's a peaceful country with a true middle class unlike most other developing countries. Instead of wasting money on machines of war, they invested in infrastructure, schools and roads. If you do move here for the first couple of years stick to temporary accomodations, because within small distances you can tune your climate to your liking due to the numerous micro-climates within this small country. My favorite spot is about 15 miles from where we live now, which was significantly drier due to the topography, but my family all whined that it was too cold there, so we moved to a town with great access to the new highway to the beach, but that area was a bit too warm. I think our current location will be permanent in a nice quiet safe neighborhood quite close to everything and is 3°C cooler. Plus almost all of the roads in San Jose proper have been resurfaced in the past 2 years, so it's ebiker heaven, especially with the 5kw cutoff above which an ebike becomes legally a motor vehicle requiring plates and annual inspection...plus the transit police who handle all vehicular stuff actually know the law, so a silent vehicle means never getting hassled.

john61ct   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 6308
Joined: Dec 18 2018 2:06pm

Re: Is It OK To Leave The Bike Outside In Winter?

Post by john61ct » May 21 2020 2:54pm

Reminds me of the Louis CK routine, God comes back, the prissy human complains like Goldilocks about how the temperature needs to be "just right".

Sorry couldn't find the clip, think it was from his Hilarious special, had fun looking for it though.

Poor Looie (not)

Post Reply