Electric bike tire choice makes a big impact on how your electric bicycle handles and rides. Speed, range, suspension and maneuverability are all highly effected by different types of bicycle tires.
Choosing the right tire is even more important on an electric bicycle because ebikes spend a lot more time riding at higher speeds than a standard bicycle.
When choosing the right tire for your electric bicycle, the first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of terrain you’ll be riding on, specifically if it’s on-road or off-road.
Most people ride their ebikes on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. This type of riding requires a smoother tread meant for those hard, flat surfaces. Commuter style tires are best for this type of riding.
Commuter tires have flat, smooth tread patterns with just enough all-weather tread to allow for safe riding in wet conditions. As opposed to commuter tires, super skinny road tires can often be entirely slick and aren’t great for wet conditions due to their higher potential for slipping. Instead, look for a nice commuter tire with a balance between slick tread and grooves for water dispersion.
On the other hand, anyone who does the majority of their riding off-road on surfaces like dirt, sand and grass will want a knobby tire with an aggressive tread for grabbing the earth and achieving maximum traction in less forgiving environments.
Which Electric bike tire Size Should I Get for My eBike?
When it comes to a budget eBike, generally it’s fine sticking with the wheels that come with the stock eBike model. If you’re building your own eBike, smaller eBike wheels will be less expensive, but the cost difference between a small and large wheel isn’t considerable. Ultimately, you want to consider what your eBike is used for and determine your wheel size by purpose rather than by price.
2, City Commuters
City commuters are built with both wheel sizes, and it’s not a surprise to find a wheel between the two sizes. Larger wheels maintain momentum better, while smaller wheels are easier to accelerate. Smaller wheels will provide better handling and maneuverability, especially at low speeds.
Keeping up with traffic at high rates is easier to control overall if you have an eBike with a larger wheel size. As such, you’ll find all kinds of city commuters with all sorts of sizes, especially if it’s a folding, hybrid, or long-distance commuter eBike.
3, Mountain Bikes
On a mountain bike, you are better suited to having a larger wheel size. Large wheels will have better traction and climbing abilities, handle bumps and potholes better, and provide a smoother riding experience overall. Unless it’s a hybrid eBike, you will want to stick with larger, wider tires when you’re shopping or building mountain bikes.
4, Racing/Cross-Country Bikes
Racing and cross-country eBikes are similar to city commuters, but with an extra emphasis on speed; they often wind up with a unique wheel setup. Racing and cross-country bikes typically have 26’’ diameter wheels and larger, but 1.85’’ wide wheels and thinner.
The larger diameter retains momentum better, while the narrower tire results in greater acceleration and less effort required to initially build up inertia. Bike races often have particular wheel requirements, but if you want to buy or build your own custom size try to look for taller yet thinner wheels.
5, Cruiser Bikes
The opposite of racing and cross-country bikes, cruiser bikes typically have a mixture of 22’’ and shorter wheels and smaller with 2.25’’ and wider tires. The shorter size is better suited for riding through sand and on boardwalks, while the extra width helps with stability and for having a more comfortable riding experience. Cruisers with additional cargo support might have tall and thick tires, but it will depend on the total weight support you need for your cruiser bike.
6, Family/Cargo Bikes
Family and cargo eBikes are built with weight support in mind, and even if they had highly maneuverable wheels, they don’t have great handling due to their large frame size. As a result, many eBike companies will stick huge, fat tires on family and cargo bikes, often in the 28’’ and 2.75’’+ range. You’re not going to have great acceleration, but you’re going to have a smooth and stable experience while you ride with your electric bike.
How do Electric bike tire Different from Traditional Bicycle Wheels?
When it comes to design, the majority of eBike wheels will be almost the same as you find on a traditional bicycle, especially if you have a mid-drive motor. If you have a hub-drive engine, you must swap out or rework the wheel to fit the motor.
If you take your eBike to an experienced bike mechanic, they can install the motor without too much trouble. The overall performance of a wheel on a bicycle and an eBike is mostly going to be the same as well, though there are two significant differences to be aware of.
Weight. An eBike weighs more than a traditional bicycle with the same dimensions. There are several components on an eBike that a conventional bike doesn’t have, including the motor, battery, and other electronic parts. As a result, an eBike compared to a traditional bicycle is often going to be 15 to 20 pounds heavier.
However, some bikes are heavier due to extra features. In contrast, others barely change due to their lightweight electronic setup. Even so, the added weight means that larger wheels are often included with eBikes. Even if the wheels are the same, you won’t have the same feel compared to a traditional bicycle.
Speed. While eBikes are slower to accelerate with the motor off, eBikes are going to outrace a traditional bicycle with the motor on. Depending on whether you have a class 1, 2, or 3 eBike, your bike will accelerate to 20 or 28 MPH within a few seconds of riding before the motor shuts off.
Since electric bikes often ride at higher speeds, they require greater puncture protection to reduce the risk of suffering a severe blowout. However, the added puncture protection means that you often wind up with a heavier and thicker tire. Tires typically used for traditional bicycles are not enough to be safely used on an electric bike.
What Should I Know about Electric bike tire PSI?
There are many different things to know about eBike wheels and tires, and we want to mainly focus on wheel sizes in this post. However, PSI is such an important factor and is interconnected with eBike wheels that we include it as a supplement to our main post. We also plan on publishing a more extended discussion of tire PSI, along with blog posts dedicated to other matters revolving around eBike wheels and tires.
The tire on your wheel rim is inflated with air, and depending on the design, it will have a different air pressure recommendation. Air pressure in a tire is measured by pounds per square inch, often shortened to PSI.
Other PSI leads to different tire performance, with many eBike tires often having a 15 to 35 PSI range you set your tire pressure to. While you won’t repeatedly need to change your tire pressure, remembering to do so before you ride will lead to optimal cycling performance.
Your bike tire will have the recommended PSI range printed on the tire sidewall. If the PSI range is faded, or if you’re curious about how PSI affects your cycling performance, here is a small chart detailing the typical tire size and PSI combination you’ll find, along with their intended purposes:
Small Tires: 5 to 35 PSI, typically meant for cruiser and mountain eBikes.
Medium/Average Tires: 25 to 55 PSI, typically meant for hybrid or all-around style eBikes.
Large Tires: 45 to 75 PSI, typically meant for the city commuter and racing eBikes.
Stick with the Stock Wheel, or Try Your Own!
If you want safe, consistent, and reliable performance from your new eBike, then using the stock wheel size for your eBike is going to provide optimal performance in most cases. If you’re building your own eBike or want to experiment and see how wheels impact the overall performance, then experimenting with different wheel sizes can provide a new way to enjoy your electric bike.
Larger wheels will provide ability and traction. Shorter wheels will improve your overall acceleration and maneuverability. The more you learn about wheels, and the more you try different wheel sizes, the more experienced and knowledgeable you’ll be when it comes to becoming an eBike expert!
Electric bike tire: a personal choice
Choosing a tire is all about what you need most for your ebike. You’ll need to look at your own ebike needs and ask yourself a number of questions.
Are you looking to pick up speed and increase your range?
Do you want to tear it up on the dirt?
Are you looking for an economical tire, or are you willing to spend a couple extra bucks for higher quality tires that will last longer and better protect against flat tires?
The answers to these questions will lead you to the right tire for you. In the end though, the best tire is the one that gets you out on the road!
If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.