Electric Scooters

Electric Scooter Winter Guide: Safe Riding in Snow & Ice

Riding your electric scooter year-round is tempting; however, winter—particularly with snow—presents unique challenges.

Electric scooter from the rental company Voi outside in the snow at night with street lights
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This guide offers crucial tips and knowledge for using electric scooters in winter, including safety advice and when to avoid riding.

We generally do not recommend riding electric scooters in snowy or icy conditions. However, if you're forced to ride in less-than-ideal conditions, this guide offers essential advice for challenging winter commutes.

Let's dive into some actionable tips to make your wintery ride as safe as possible.

Pre-Ride Preparations

Part of staying safe in the winter chill on your electric scooter happens before you ride. To prepare for your ride, do the following:

Battery Management

Cold temperatures affect the performance of electric scooters, and it has a particularly strong effect on the battery. Batteries may experience deterioration in capacity, heightened safety risks, and reduced overall lifespan.

Luckily, there are several steps you can take to mitigate the adverse effects of freezing temperatures.

  1. Warm Storage: Store your scooter in a warm and dry environment when not in use. This helps preserve battery health by preventing the cold from depleting its charge and reducing the risk of damage.
  2. Pre-Heating: If permanent warm storage isn't an option, bring the scooter (or battery, if detachable) indoors for a few hours before use. A warm battery operates more efficiently, even in cold weather.
  3. Limit Ride Duration: Start your trips with a warm battery and keep them short. A brief commute with a pre-heated battery ensures its temperature won't drop to a critical level.

Tire Check

Closeup of an electric scooter's tire in the snow

Slippery surfaces call for an adequate tire setup. A pre-ride inspection goes a long way in ensuring a safe ride.

  1. Inspect Tire Tread: Examine the tread depth on your tires. Deep tread is crucial for maintaining grip and stability in snow and ice. If the treads are worn out, consider replacing the tires.
  2. Check for Damage: Look for any signs of visible damage, such as cuts, punctures, leaks, or abnormal wear. Damaged tires are more likely to fail, especially in harsh conditions.
  3. Tire Pressure: Cold weather can cause a significant drop in tire pressure. Check the pressure and inflate the tires to the recommended level before riding for optimal performance.

Note: We strongly advise against riding on slippery roads with solid tires. Pneumatic tires are vastly superior for grip in these situations.

Tip

If you frequently ride in the snow, consider changing to specialized winter tires or studded tires for enhanced grip.

Brake Inspection

Braking distances increase when the road is wet or icy. It is crucial to ensure that your electric scooter's brakes are in top condition before riding.

  1. Brake Lever Test: Squeeze the brake lever; it should feel firm and responsive. If there is little to no resistance, you need to tighten the brake.
  2. Brake Pad Inspection: If you have a disc brake, ensure the brake pads aren't worn thin; replace them if necessary. If they're misaligned, do a brake pad calibration.
  3. Clean Brakes: Regularly clean your brakes in winter to remove dirt, moisture, and corrosive road salt. This ensures optimal efficiency and prevents premature wear.

For those with hydraulic brakes (typically only found on high-performance models), check that they do not feel spongy. If they do, it's time to change the hydraulic oil.

Tighten Disc/Drum Brakes

  1. Locate Barrel Adjuster: Find the barrel adjuster on the brake lever or near the brake caliper/drum mechanism.
  2. Adjust Tension: Turn the barrel adjuster counterclockwise to extend it, increasing cable tension.
  3. Additional Tightening (if needed): A barrel adjustment is great for quick, minor adjustments. If that isn't enough, loosen the cable clamp bolt on the brake mechanism, pull the cable tighter, and then retighten the bolt.
  4. Test Brake: Spin the wheel to ensure it moves freely. If there's drag the brake is too tight. Loosen the cable clamp, release a bit of tension, and adjust until the wheel spins without drag but with minimal brake pad gap.

Lights and Visibility

Apollo City Pro turn light signal at night

Short winter days and foggy conditions necessitate proper lighting and visibility. Sadly, not all electric scooters are up for the job out of the box. If your scooter does not have the following, we recommend buying them.

  • A bright, high-mounted headlight with a downward angle to illuminate the road optimally and not blind other road users. Look for the following:
    • Easy to mount
    • Wide angle
    • At least 700 lumens
    • Visible from at least 150 meters (500 ft) away
    • High weather resistance rating (IP67 or IP77)
    • We recommend: CECO-USA 1,000 Lumen USB Light
  • A low-mounted, red taillight that can easily be mounted on your e-scooter. Also, look for:
    • At least 200 lumens
    • Visible from at least 150 meters (500 ft) away
    • High weather resistance rating (IP67 or IP77)
    • We recommend: Cygolite Hypershot 250
  • White and yellow reflectors for the side of the wheels and the stem.
    • Mountable plastic reflectors are more durable
    • Stickers are cheaper and easier to mount/remove
  • Reflective apparel
    • Jacket or vest
    • Helmet with reflective strips
    • Reflective arm/leg bands
    • Backpack reflective stickers
Check

Do a pre-ride inspection of all the light sources on your electric scooter to ensure they're working.

Riding in Snow & Ice

Rental e-scooter in the snow during winter with snow in a cozy Christmas setting in the city at night

With snow and ice on the road, you must adjust your riding style to stay safe. This section covers practical tips and techniques for riding your electric scooter in winter weather.

1. Adjust Your Speed

We highly recommend reducing your overall speed in snowy conditions. Snow and ice can decrease your scooter's traction, making it harder to control.

By riding slower, you give yourself more time to react and adapt, reducing the risk of accidents. Maintaining a lower speed will allow you to more easily steer clear of potential hazards like icy patches and snow buildup.

Remember, the key in winter conditions is control, not speed. Take it easy and stay alert.

2. Brake Carefully

To safely stop on slippery surfaces, it is crucial you apply the brakes gently and progressively. With the electric scooter's reduced grip, there's an increased risk of skidding.

To avoid hydroplaning, begin braking earlier than you usually would. Also, avoid braking while turning, as your tires are at an increased risk of skidding here. Instead, reduce your speed before entering a turn and gently accelerate again after.

3. Maintain Good Posture

Posture is key to maintaining stability on snowy or icy surfaces.

Bend your knees slightly to absorb shocks, and take a wider stance to lower your center of gravity. A low center of gravity improves handling, and bent knees allow you to shift your weight when necessary more easily.

Avoid making sudden or sharp movements; instead, lean gently into turns and distribute your weight evenly.

4. Ride on Clear Paths

Only ride on paths that have been cleared and avoid areas with deep, loose snow or patches of ice, especially the treacherous black ice. Cleared paths are more predictable and safe.

5. Handling Skids

Infographic explaining what hydroplaning is and what causes it

If your scooter starts to skid, it's important to stay calm. Instead of abruptly turning the handlebars or harshly applying the brakes, gently ease off the throttle and slowly steer in the direction you want to go.

This technique, called "steering into a skid, " can help you regain control. Remember, sudden movements can worsen the skid.

Practice makes perfect, so if you can practice this maneuver in a controlled environment, it may help you react more effectively in an actual skid situation.

Post-Ride Maintenance

You've successfully braved the winter elements, but the work doesn't end there. These post-ride practices will maintain your scooter's longevity and ensure it is safe for your next ride.

1. Clean Your Scooter

Immediately clean your electric scooter after a winter ride. Remove any snow, ice, or road salt. When snow or ice melts and combines with road salt, it accelerates the rusting process of metal parts.

Over time, corrosion can weaken your scooter's frame and affect the motor's efficiency. In the short term, its most immediate impact is on the braking system, particularly the brake pads and rotor.

Start with a soft bristle car brush wherever you can. It's gentle enough to use on the scooter's body and painted surfaces without scratching.

Use a stiff bristle car brush for tougher grime and dirt on the tires. This brush is effective for scrubbing away salt and road debris. However, it may scratch painted parts, so stay away from those.

Use a smaller brush for the brakes. Disc brakes have many moving metal parts, so using a smaller brush will allow you to clean those hard-to-reach spots better.

2. Wipe Down Your Scooter

You've cleaned your scooter; now it is time to wipe it dry.

Start with a clean cloth and wipe off any visible moisture. Be particularly thorough around electronic components and metal parts. It is crucial you use a clean cloth as you don't want to add more dirt to the scooter. Any cloth (or even a towel) will do; just ensure it absorbs water well.

Dab electronic parts to avoid pushing moisture into the components. This holds true for motors, switches, and the display.

We recommend using a disc brake cleaner if you find disc brakes hard to dry. Make sure it is acetone-free.

3. Let Your Scooter Air Dry

Finally, come full circle by letting your electric scooter air dry in a warm, well-ventilated, and dry area before storing it.

Getting 100% rid of all moisture with cloths and swabs is almost impossible, but a warm, dry place will allow the residual water to evaporate.

Best Electric Scooters for Winter

Based on years of extensive testing of more than 50 electric scooter models, we've picked three reliable electric scooters geared for the winter season.

Best Overall Segway Ninebot Max G2

Rasmus Barslund with the Segway Ninebot Max G2 $1299.99$929.99 at Segway
Motor
Tested Speed
22.4 MPH
range
Tested Range
29.8 miles
disc-brake
Brake Distance
11.7 ft
cloud-rain
IP Rating
IPX5
weight
Weight
53.5 lbs
weight scale
Max Load
265 lbs

What we like

  • checkmarkLarge self-healing air tires
  • checkmarkExtremely stable thanks to TCS anti-skid tech
  • checkmarkGood overall performance
  • checkmarkTurn signals and bright lights
  • checkmarkSizable dimensions for comfort

What we don't like

  • cross"Only" IPX5
  • crossDrum brake instead of disc
  • crossFairly heavy

The Segway Ninebot Max G2 is not only one of the most well-rounded and reliable electric scooters on the market - it excels in the winter as well.

Ample performance, a high-capacity battery combined with sizable dimensions for comfort is its recipe for success.

The Max G2 has an excellent lighting setup with handlebar-mounted turn signals and plenty of reflectors for visibility.

10" self-healing tubeless tires and adjustable dual suspension come together with Segway's incredible TCS anti-skid technology to give one of the most stable rides we've ever tested.

The Segway Max G2 "only" has an IPX5 weather resistance rating, but its design has been proven to handle changing weather well and our personal experience with it backs that.

Read our full Segway Ninebot Max G2 review

Best Dual-Motor Option Apollo City Pro

Rasmus from ERideHero with the Apollo City Pro 2023 electric scooter $1799$1599 at Apollo Scooters
Motor
Tested Speed
32.2 MPH
range
Tested Range
29.8 miles
disc-brake
Brake Distance
11.7 ft
cloud-rain
IP Rating
IP66
weight
Weight
65 lbs
weight scale
Max Load
265 lbs

What we like

  • checkmarkIP66 rating
  • checkmarkTurn signals
  • checkmarkIncredibly well built
  • checkmarkExcellent performance
  • checkmarkUnmatched ride quality

What we don't like

  • crossQuite expensive
  • crossVery heavy

For those that like the Max G2 but want more power, the City may be the answer. The Apollo City Pro is one of the most comfortable electric scooter we have ever tested.

It boasts exceptional dual-motor performance with strong acceleration and hill climbing ability, but doesn't skimp on range and comfort.

The City Pro 2023 also boasts 10" self-healing tubeless tires and has a rare IP66 weather resistance rating, meaning it is geared for demanding commutes in wintery weather.

While this dual-motor powerhouse feels like a cloud to ride on, it is also quite heavy, which may be a dealbreaker to some.

Read our full Apollo City Pro review

Best Performance-Value Emove Cruiser S

Rasmus Barslund from ERideHero with the Emove Cruiser S electric scooter $1199 at Voromotors
Motor
Tested Speed
31.3 MPH
range
Tested Range
46.7 miles
disc-brake
Brake Distance
10.2 ft
cloud-rain
IP Rating
IPX6
weight
Weight
56 lbs
weight scale
Max Load
350 lbs

What we like

  • checkmarkIPX6 weather resistance
  • checkmarkGood for heavier riders
  • checkmarkExcellent specs for the price
  • checkmarkDual hydraulic brakes
  • checkmarkTurn signals

What we don't like

  • crossSomewhat dated design
  • crossA little bulky
  • crossRequires more maintenance than its competitors

For those who want a snow-resistant electric scooter that puts performance and value first the Emove Cruiser S is our recommendation.

Despite getting slack for its somewhat dated design (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), it undisputably offers the most performance for a scooter at its price.

With an IPX6 rating, 10" tubeless tires and highly responsive XTECH hydraulic disc brakes, the Emove Cruiser S is not only safe but also durable.

It looks a bit bulky, but the handlebars fold for compactness and the 52V 30Ah LG battery offers an incredible 46.7 miles of real-world range.

The Emove Cruiser S is hard to beat at its price point. It ticks all the boxes that makes a reliable winter scooter, and its high payload makes it an excellent pick for heavier riders.

What to Look for in an Electric Scooter for Winter?

We've ridden countless electric scooters through challenging weather and assessed the four most important features that make them winter-approved.

High Weather Resistance

Winter brings rain and snow. Look for an electric scooter with vetted strong weather resistance.

Weather resistance is specified using an IP rating. The bare minimum should be IPX5 or IP55. IPX6 or IP66 are great, while IPX7 and IP77 are excellent.

Bright Lighting & Visibility

Dark days and stormy weather require an extra powerful lighting and visibility setup.

Look for an electric scooter with a bright, high-mounted headlight and a bright red taillight that flashes when you engage the brakes.

Reflectors or stickers on the sides are a big plus but can be added as a cheap DIY solution.

Turn signals (especially 360-degree ones) are a game-changer for safety and visibility.

Large Pneumatic Tires

Air tires provide better traction on wet surfaces than solid ones.

Look for an electric scooter with sizable tires and plenty of deep tread.

Rear-wheel motor (or Dual)

Rear wheel motors typically offer better weight distribution, keeping the rear grounded.

While you may sacrifice a bit on acceleration, rear-wheel drive provides better traction and greatly improves handling and stability.

Dual motors are also acceptable as they distribute power delivery. Some of them allow you to turn off the front motor, which we recommend you do in the snow.

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Rasmus is the founder of ERideHero. Through half a decade, he has tested more than 110 electric rides across more than 6,400 miles. He handles the review process, content creation, and all things web and video.