View Full Version : Condensation and general Waterproofing a bike

15 October 2015, 0356
Hi Guys,

Brilliant Forum with plenty of info!

I am currently planning my own build.

One big question I havent found an answer yet is, what about condensation (starting up on cold mornings) inside the motor an other electronic parts when storing the bike outside.

1. Is it an issue to be considering?
2. Is it a total no-go to not store the bike in a garage over night due to this?
3. Is the motor goosed when, lets say, one drop of water gets into it and you start it? Shortening?
4. Is it possible/realistic to drive an e-bike in lashing rain (I am based in Ireland and planning to use the bike no matter what the weather ;-)

I am putting much planning in the waterproofing of the components and planning custom fairings to achieve that no rain and wheel splash will reach components.
Is it overkill? Most bikes I see on pictures are completely exposed. Are they only fair weather bikes?

Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere and I missed it (please direct me if you know if it)

Thanks in advance for your advice

15 October 2015, 0734
I ride a scooter in Canada all year long, everyday no matter what the weather. You are on the right track by planning in advance to protect your ride against the elements. Big fenders and fairings to keep splashing water down low are great ideas. Doing what you can to waterproof switches and connections is good but I found that sometimes brings other unwanted aspects like moisture getting in and being trapped with no ways to dry up. I went overboard once in trying to waterproof everything and found out that some things can still work with a bit of moisture and are better left exposed so they can "breathe". My scooter sleeps in a heated garage all night and stays outside for 10 hours at work. Going on five years of doing this and I never had a problem with the electronics or electrics doing funky stuff because of the cold. The only problem was that cold batteries don't perform as well when cold. If you can plug in at work, a system to keep the batteries at a constant temperature solves this problem. A cover to put on the bike when sitting outside is very useful.

remember the rider also, a big windscreen and screens to protect your legs, feet and hands from the wind and splashing water will make you enjoy your ride no matter what the weather throws at you.

All weather tires is a good idea I think, I use Heidenau tires and they are brilliant on very wet pavement and even snow.

hope this helps.

16 October 2015, 0016
Thanks for your infos Ray. Gives me confidence that its possible.

Good point with the overproofing and problems with not "breathing" I was thinking about that already.
I am now not worried that my planned system wont work in lashing rain but I am still worried about possible condensation inside the motor as it will definitely be in atmosphere, covered against splashing and down pour but obviously not sealed. I think it should be fine inside a garage or shed however we dont have such luxury like "heated garages" here lol ;-)

Lets say if potentially there is condensation inside the motor and you start it up it would be a major issue and cause slight shortening wouldnt it? At least for the first few turns?

16 October 2015, 0616
I'm not sure if the performance will be affected by a little condensation or a few drops of water inside the motor. Someone else with more knowledge can maybe chime in on that matter. I would be more concerned about rust forming inside the motor after a couple years.

17 October 2015, 1935
I've ridden through downpours with a brushed DC motor with no problems. Rain water is actually a pretty poor conductor. Plus the main issue would be at the brushes, and any water getting in there while the motor is running will be vaporized before it hits the surface. But I wouldn't do it very often, and I wouldn't leave it where you could get a lot of condensation with the bike sitting because the copper and other metals will corrode.

A brushless motor will do much better, since there's no bare commutator and the copper windings are sealed. You may still get corrosion and rust on other parts, including the terminals, if the motor gets wet a lot. If it's protected from direct spray it might be OK.

You could look into a sealed, liquid cooled motor like this one (http://www.electricmotorsport.com/ev-parts/motors/brushless-motors/dlc-28-brushless-57hp-liquid-cooled-pmac-motor-24-120v.html). You'd still have to worry about electronics, terminals that aren't sealed, etc. But the motor internals would be fine.

20 October 2015, 0337
Thanks Guys, good info there. I will keep it in mind but risk of corrosion is worrying me a bit, will try to lookout for a place WITH a garage so ;-)