Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Igor Karni
Do you have an electric bike? That’s good. Having the right electric bike tires for your use is even better. In this guide, we help you find the right tire for your e-bike. Well, tires for its wheels.
While it’s perfectly possible to mount classic tires on an electric bike – and be careful, we didn’t say speed bikes or speed pedelecs! – it is strongly advised to equip yourself with specific tire models designed for electric bikes.
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Resistance, durability, comfort, and safety: tires for e-bikes and electric bikes have a series of significant advantages. Now, how to choose them? What are the characteristics to take into account?
Why choose tires adapted to electric bikes?
Let’s start with five good reasons to mount specific tires on your e-bike:
The weight factor. An electric bike is heavier than a muscle bike because of its motorization and electronic system. Over time, this weight accelerates tire wear.
The ride. It is easy to pick up speed on an e-bike, so braking makes the tires more stressed. Then, braking distances are longer because the bike’s weight wears out the rubber more.
The type of motorization. On some electric bikes equipped with a motor on the front or rear wheel, the assistance is sometimes linear and is sometimes done in steps.
Usage. Even when it remains within everyone’s reach, with some knowledge of bike mechanics and fitting, changing the tires on an e-bike is difficult because of the machine’s weight. Mounting specific tires, and therefore more resistant over time, saves you a few sessions of muscle building and back pain.
Battery life. The rubber of the electric bike tires is designed to make you consume less power (less rolling resistance).
The tires specific to electric bikes are more robust because of their reinforced carcass. As a result, they offer better resistance to wear and tear and, therefore, last longer over time. But, of course, unless you have a hobby of doing burns with your bike, that’s none of our business.
Secondly, these tires have a deeper tread pattern for better grip and a tread pattern tailored for greater riding comfort.
And for all these reasons, it’s safe to say that e-bike-specific tires improve your safety on the road!
How to choose tires for an electric bike?
Here are the criteria to take into account when selecting future shoes for your electric bike:
The riding habits and the type of e-bike
Do you only ride in the city with your e-bike? Are you looking for tires for your electrically-assisted mountain bike or electric road bike? Do you ride on paved roads or trails? Or do you ride a speed bike? All these details make a difference!
There are three ways to understand the dimensions of a bicycle tire:
|Type||ETRTO standard||unit in mm||unit in inches|
|Format||XX-XXX||XXX x XX (A/B/C)||XX x X.XX|
To make your life easier, look at the size of your tires on their sidewalls. Then you can buy new tires based on this information.
Also, note that this is where you will find the inflation pressure information. With properly inflated tires, you reduce the risk of flat tires and gain comfort and range. And you make the tires last longer.
The question is about the rubber and carcass’s thickness and quality. The TPI (threads per inch) value provides information on the tire’s carcass or structure. It corresponds to the number of threads used per inch. It can also be written as EPI on some product specs.
The TPI value informs you about the rigidity level of the model, as well as its resistance. The higher it is, the denser the tire is, and therefore the more rigid and resistant it is. For example, one of Schwalbe’s bestsellers, the indestructible Marathon E-Plus tire for e-bikes, has a TPI of 67.
The tread, the outer part of the tire in contact with the ground, is where it all happens.
The more pronounced the lugs, the greater the rolling resistance. That means you have to make an extra effort to move forward, and the battery is under more strain and discharges more quickly.
That is why there are different tire profiles: smooth (or slick), semi-slick, or with pronounced lugs. The latter are more adapted to the practice of the mountain e-bike or the gravel (according to the ground!). I prefer a tire with a slick or semi-slick tread pattern for road and city use that offers better performance.
We also remind you that the type of rubber also influences the performance of a tire.
A special mention for e-bikes
Several reference brands have made things easier by creating particular e-bike tire ranges. Of course, the labels could be more explicit, but they do their job well to help you distinguish a classic tire from an electric bike tire.
Please note that electric bicycle tires and speed bike speeds exceeding 25km/h must be ECE-R75 approved. Other information to remember: on the tires for speed bikes, there is mention of the numbers 50 and 25 for the electric bike.
We remind you that, unlike throttle electric bicycles, classic e-bikes are those where you have to pedal to activate the electric assistance.
List of brands that offer special tires for electric bikes
|Tire brand||Special mention “designed for e-bikes”|
|Schwalbe||E-Bike Ready 25 or E-Bike Ready 50 (are available with Energizer and Marathon lines)|
|Continental||ECO25 or ECO50|
|Michelin||E-Bike or E-Bike Ready|
|Hutchinson||eBIKE, Race Ripost eBIKE, eBIKE-50, e-BIKE COMPATIBLE, eBIKE Power+|
A puncture-resistant model
The major manufacturers offer reinforced tires for e-bikes. They have developed their technologies, each with its name: HD Protection for Michelin, SilkShield or EXO protection for Maxxis, SafetyPlus for Continental, and DualGuard for Schwalbe, to name a few.
Several brands, such as Continental and Schwalbe, have assigned tire protection levels (1 to 7).
Another tip? To reduce the risk of a puncture, combine tires with puncture-resistant tubes. They are reinforced or have a preventive liquid that seals the hole.
With reflective strips
That is an interesting option to gain visibility on the road without making too much effort. These are located on the sidewalls of the tires for intersections where you will be noticed. This option is generally standard and can be found in major equipment manufacturers. But check it out first!
How do you know if you need to change the tires on your electric bike?
Inspect the condition of your e-bike’s tires regularly. That will allow you to remove small objects embedded in the rubber, which may soon puncture the inner tube.
If they have many minor nicks or cracks, or if their previously studded surface is smooth or almost smooth, it is high time to change them. With overly worn tires, you lose grip on the road. Not cool for your safety! Some models have wear indicators that tell you when to replace them.
Change the tires of your e-bike about once or twice a year for very frequent or daily use in the city. Tires are put to a severe test in winter and with the weather worsening. And that’s without counting the numerous debris that litters the bike paths…
It is essential to know that micro debris and residues rise to the surface when it rains. That is because the rain that runs off brings back on the road the small flints, and the water also tends to stick them on the tire.
So now you know why we usually get hurt more when it rains and that it’s not always the fault of bad luck. Well, a little bit, anyway.