Ebike tires play a significant role in your rides and handling. Thus, finding the right tire is crucial to help you get the most out of your electric bike. Finding the best ebike tiures for your needs can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to! With some tips and research, you can find the perfect set of tires for your ride.
Your Ebike Tires are Not Car Tires
Car tires have sipes, which are the grooves and cuts on the tires. Bike tires don’t have these, and if you look closely, they are a lot smoother at the center with not a lot of grooves. Why?
The lack of grooves on ebike tires allows for a better grip because the contact area is tiny and the center section is built to conform to the surface.
Ebike Tires vs. Traditional Bike Tires
A common question we get, especially for new eBike users, is the difference between ebike tires vs traditional ones. The truth is—there’s a reason there are ebike-specific tires.
The functionalities and features of electric and traditional bikes are different. Electric bikes come with a motor and a battery that add weight to the bike, while a traditional bike doesn’t have these features. Many e-bikes also come with extra features, such as front or rear racks, fenders, lights, and other accessories.
It’s normal for ebikes today to weigh around 50 and 80 pounds, while your average mountain bike is only around 30 pounds; some even at 20 pounds.
Let’s move on to the regulations. Regulations for ebikes vary, but no specific rules exist on whether traditional bike tires may be used for electric bikes in North America. Thus, this makes it okay to use traditional bike tires. (BikeRadar, 2022)
So, the question now is—why are there electric bike-specific tires?
Many manufacturers have created e-bike specific tires with higher Threads-Per-Inch (TPI) in their sidewalls.
The tire casings are thicker as well because e-bikes can go at higher-than-average speeds that impact the overall wear and tear that electric bikes are exposed to. Thicker tire casings allow for greater puncture protection that reduce wear and rear.
The e-bike specific tires have also undergone testing for suitability for higher speeds and torque.
Overall, buying a traditional bike or ebike-specific tire, at this point, all comes down to personal preference and budget.
If you want better performance for your e-bike, then a tire built for it is the right choice. But before you spend a bit more money on an ebike tire, consider the category class of the bike first. Class 1 bikes might not get the most out of an e-bike specific tire because the bike is designed to provide most of sits assistance while climbing hills. (Wired, 2020)
On the other hand, road bikes that fall under the Class 3 category may benefit from an e-bike specific tire because of the higher durability and safety.
Tire Size vs.Wheel Size
A huge part of your electric bike’s performance is attributed to the tire and wheel size. You will find that a lot of electric bikes today come with wider tires to provide weight support to the bike’s components.
In general, those with wider tires are better used for riding on dirt trails, but it also works well on the road.
The size of the tire is determined by its width. Your tire’s width will have much to do with the e-bike type and the terrain you will ride it on.
The wheel size pertains to the diameter, which can range between 12 inches and 29 inches. Typically, large wheel sizes are found on sport electric bikes and cargo e-bikes.
The Different Types of Tires
Road bike tires are skinny, around 23 to 25 mm, and are often the choice of many because it brings lighter rides. A road tire can be smoother and skinnier to enable it to roll faster.
Commuter Bike Tire
Consider this a flexible e-bike tire for electric bikes used for urban or commuter settings. It is slick for better efficiency, yet wider widths give the tires additional volume and comfort for tough streets. It also has protection from punctures.
Gravel Bike Tire
A gravel bike tire can be described as a cross between road and mountain bike tires. Designed for adventures, the gravel bike tire may also be used for commuter e-bikes for those who want more grip.
You will notice that gravel bike tires usually have a lower-profile tread pattern in the center of the tire, delivering lower rolling resistance and more aggressive knobs for better traction and handling.
Mountain Bike Tire
A mountain bike tire is a lot wider compared to other types of bike tires for maximum grip. It’s bigger to allow for better shock absorption, and its tread pattern is more aggressive. This helps prevent riders from sliding out, even in the most sticky situations.
How to Choose the Right Size of E-bike Tire
When choosing the right tire size for your electric bike, you need to consider the width and diameter. Keep in mind that the right size, especially for newbies, will need to go through some trial and error to find the perfect size.
The diameter is the size of your wheels, and an effective way to get the right bike size tire is to check the spec on the side of the rim to know what diameter you’re working on.
Another thing to remember is that inconsistencies between tire manufacturers can make this challenging because the diameter varies depending on the brand. To solve this, look at the stock brand or spec of tires for the bike or fork and use it as the baseline. (Evo)
Have some space for the wheel and frame flex, along with mud and wood clearance.
Fat Tires for Electric Bikes
Tires that are 3.5 inches or wider are considered fat tires. This type of tire contains more air volume that delivers a softer ride quality and more stability and traction.
Fat tires are huge, and you can feel their weight when you bike under your own power. You will feel the need to pedal harder to get the same speed. Still, it’s what you pay for when you get this type of tire. Some riders prefer it because it allows for a smoother ride, and the extra traction is very much welcomed. Ultimately, it all comes down to your preference.
Plus Size Tires for Electric Bikes
Not to be confused with fat tires, plus size tires are different. One, their width is between 2.4 and 3.25 inches. Compared to fat size tires, plus size ones are a lot lighter but still provide comfort and stability.
Plus size tires are perfect if you frequently go uphill because it delivers more power to the electric bike. They also extend the range because your ebike motor doesn’t need to work as hard.
Thin Tires for Electric Bikes
A thin tire is narrow that features smooth treads that delivers a firm grip for easy handling. It is designed to be used on the roads and is typically between 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
Thin tires on electric bikes make pedaling more manageable and it doesn’t get punctured quickly. They last longer compared to other electric bike tire types on the market today.
Ready to Ride?
Finding the best ebike tires for your needs isn’t as hard as it may seem. By considering factors, such as the tirze size, the types of ebike tires available, and where you will use it make the process a lot easier. The journey requires knowledge and patience, and with the right information, you will find the best ebike for your needs.
“Electric Bikes and the Law: Everything You Need to Know about Ebike Regulations.” BikeRadar, 1 Nov. 2022, www.bikeradar.com/advice/buyers-guides/electric-bike-laws/.
Jancer, Matt. “What Are Ebike “Classes” and What Do They Mean?” Wired, 4 Oct. 2020, www.wired.com/story/guide-to-ebike-classes/.
“How to Choose Bike Tires - Mountain, Road & More | Evo.” Evo.com, 2022, www.evo.com/guides/how-to-choose-bike-tires.