Electric Bike Tire: Buying Guide for Beginners

An electric bike tire may not look important but why you should consider them when buying?

You need to ask several questions to find the best electric bike tire configuration.

  • First is the tread type and knobs that are suitable for the terrain you’ll mostly be riding on.
  • A second is whether you need wide or narrow tires.
  • The third is deciding whether you want Presta or Schrader valves.

Don’t worry if you can’t answer these questions yet. That is what this guide is here for.


Best eBike Tires

As you know, there are four (4) tire classification to look at: road, hybrid, MTB and fat tire.

Based public reviews, the following options are for now the best tires suitable for e-Cycles.

 

Road electric bike tire

Schwalbe Marathon HS440

 

✅: 5mm puncture resistant extra layer.

X: tread design could struggle on very wet conditions.

Schwalbe Marathon HS440 road electric bike tire

Here’s another lightweight urban tire capable of taking the e-bike market by storm.

This touring e-bike tire model has an inside 5mm puncture resistant layer providing additional protection in any eventuality.

As for its tread, it is not the most impressive but not the worst. Of course, it depends on the surface conditions.

On saying that, it is best to be extra careful on wet conditions as this model is only 2.36″ wide, which is a bit narrow.

 Continental Grand Prix


✅: It can be used in any season based on the manufacturer specs.

X: It worn out sooner than expected.

 Road electric bike tire - Continental Grand Prix

What can we expect from an old brand tire? We think it won’t disappoint.

Based on the materials used, it will have equal performance on hot or cold surfaces.

What I like most is the little treads on the sides which creates very low rolling resistance.

A road tire with better grip compared to what the Bianchi Aria e road bike has, I would say.

Hybrid – City commuter ebike tires

Schwalbe Smart Sam HS476

✅: Good width making it suitable for gravel roads too.X: Tread could make it a but rolling resistant.Schwalbe Smart Sam HS476

The Schwalbe Smart Sam offers many outstanding features.

Foremost among them is its puncture-resistant tube that keeps this tire going for years.

This Schwable hybrid tire takes away the worry of riding on paved and gravel roads any time.

I like that the tread is thick enough to even perform well when going uphill on a soft ground.

To be honest, for the price tag, it is a tire to consider for a long run.

Continental Contact Plus 24″ – 28″


✅: Grip seems to be impressive considering its width.

X: It could be a bit heavy but not so bad.

Continental Contact Plus 24" - 28"

The Continental Contact Plus is actually not a bad tire for hybrid electric bikes.

Easy to install, good grip and tread design will provide good traction in most cases.

Then comes its 5mm SmartGuard layer, which brings down this tire’s rolling resistance and makes it the best bet for commuters.

The only thing I see is that the treads look too small and it may last not for long.

Equally handy is this tire’s ‘anti-aging’ sidewall. Even when subjected to low air pressure for extended periods, the sidewall prevents the formation of unsightly cracks.

And the best thing about this tire? It’s tested and approved for e-bikes up to 31 mph.

 

Electric mountain bike tires

Continental front and rear e-MTB tires series – 26″ to 29″


✅: Continental offers a few options depending on the biking style you need..

X: It could be a bit expensive.

Continental front and rear electric mountain bike tires series
Image courtesy of Continental

A brand that impresses with good quality tires, also offering best electric mountain bike tires.

As seen in public reviews, the offer an incredible traction when most required.

The most interesting thing is the various alternatives offered depending on what you need them for.

Other than the above, we believe having a tire that can hold 54 psi of pressure easy, gives some security when getting hits.

That is also the reason why it wears in pretty well and can hold up excellently to slides on quarters.

Throw into the mix its wide profile, and there aren’t many faults you can find with this tire.

But great quality comes with a cost, as expected. If you have the money, it won’t disappoint.

Maxxis Aggressor front and rear eMTB tire – 27″ to 29″


✅: Good value for what the tire offers.

X: Seems to be only dedicated to trails.

Maxxis Aggressor front and rear eMTB tire

Another brand that offers good quality e-MTB tires is Maxxis.

They offer tires that are suitable for front and rear position and also, dedicated specific rear tires.

This Maxxis tire is equipped with a fast-rolling tread design that lowers its rolling resistance for effortless use on paved roads, dry asphalt, and street use.

You won’t used them on those terrains though!!

Even though the tire was created with two (2) compounds for good performance at speed and corners, it could be questionable how much resistance when rolling.

I love the aggressive side knobs and how sturdy they look. Are they sturdy?

Apparently it could be a little bit unresponsive when taking fast tight corners.

This tire is equipped with a high-volume casing that softens landings by absorbing vibrations.

 

Electric bike fat tire

Mongoose Fat Tire 20″


✅: Knows seem to be big enough to use it on soft ground.

X: Single compound used so knobs will worn out fast.

Fat tire electric bike - Mongoose Fat Tire 20"x4"

This electric bike fat tire has a few good thing to offer but also limitation.

One of the main benefits is the aggressiveness of the knobs. Big enough to provide traction of soft terrains.

Regardless of the above, the material used seems to be not as good as people think, meaning it wears out faster than expected.

For an electric bike, this may be a limitation as the motor will increase the deterioration.

So, if you are thinking riding it on paved surfaces constantly, this could be a no go.


Why do e-Bikes need dedicated tires?

Following are the key differences between electric bike tires and traditional bike tires:

An electric bike tire have to withstand more weight

Unlike your average bicycle that weighs below 20 pounds, popular electric bikes tip the scales between 40 and 70 (or more) pounds.

That is because, in addition to the frame and rims, they have three (3) added parts that conventional bikes lack.

All of them add to their weight.

The first of the three parts is their electric motor (whether mounted inside the bottom bracket or in the rear hub).

 

Read More: Electric Motor Bike Guide: What to Know About It

 

Then comes the battery that powers them. And the last of the three parts are the wires that connect everything to the displays and the handlebar-mounted controls.

We haven’t said anything about the additional features that expensive e-bikes offer, including lights, kickstands, fenders, rear racks and other accessories.

 

Rolling at high speeds

Almost all e-bikes that you see on the market can touch the 15 mph speed mark easy.

In addition, those that come with better battery voltage/hr can power 750watts motors meaning more torque and speed.

That is definitely not the case with road bikes whose average speed hovers around the 15mph mark, even for an experienced cyclist.

Electric bike tire manufacturer specifications

It also forces e-bike manufacturers and shop to make sure that the models they are designing and selling have sturdier frames and wheels that can handle such abuse.

This, as stated above, makes e-bikes heavy and burdens their tires with more weight.

Rear electric bike tire experiences more wear

Whenever we’re sitting on a bicycle, our center of gravity isn’t in the center of the front and back wheel.

This, as you might have guessed on your own, places more weight on the rear tire.

Rear tires also experience greater torque from the motor. This added torque, in turn, exposes them to greater forces of braking and acceleration.

Both of which are notorious for wearing down tires by generating friction between them and the road.

Which is the reason why most e-bike riders prefer fat tires for their models.

Their added width allows fat tires to make short work of added weight, braking and acceleration forces that it has to withstand.

Otherwise, if you go for a narrow tire, it could wear down quicker than expected.


Choosing the Right Electric Bike Tire

So, you have seen a few tire option that could fit your electric bike at the start of this guide.

Before investing in one of those (or other) alternatives, here are some other point to put in your mind.

 

Terrain you want to ride on

  • Snow or sand

If you regularly ride in soft sand or snow, you’ll want to go for the widest tires possible.In this case, they are generally called fat tires.

Snow and sand tires are other names used.

They have big knobbly bits that offer the necessary traction by digging into the loose surface.

Make sure that you check the spacing between your bike’s front and rear dropouts before investing in any fat tire.

Standard spacing is 150mm between the front fork dropouts and 190-197mm between the rear ones.

 

  • Road or street

You have two (2) options when it comes to choosing a road electric bike tire.

Road Tires for ebikes EBA

You can either select narrow ones with no grooves.

They won’t help in water displacement and thus shouldn’t be used on wet surfaces.

Alternatively, you can invest in commuter ones.

These ones have a slick tread that doesn’t need an invitation to roll quickly. And they also have grooves that help in water dissipation and make them a must-have for wet conditions.

 

  • Packed dirt or gravel

Shopping e-bike tires for packed dirt or gravel? Then you must pay attention to the hard surface you’ll be riding on.

If the gravel is similar to the dry tarmac, then your ideal tires won’t be the ones with an aggressive, draggy tread.

Conversely, if your route is littered with sharp rocks, your best bet won’t be something that comes with a razor-thin sidewall.

That is to say, you must survey the surface before shopping for gravel tires.

 

  • Cross country electric bike tire

Experts tell us that there are three things that we should look for in cross-country tires.

They include lightweight construction, lower rolling resistance and better climbing efficiency.

Cross country rides typically involve terrains as diverse as forest paths and paved roads.

That is why you need tires that roll fast and weigh less, even if they do so at the cost of durability and traction.

 

  • Slippery terrains

Slippery terrains refers to any ground where the domain soil profile contains a mixture of clays and silt. Some fine sand and gravels can be found too.

These type of soils are generally hard when dry and very soft when wet (making them sticky).

So, as you could infer, you should go with a set of tires that can create enough grip even when the soil sticks to the tire’s surface.

Most electric mountain bike tires have a very aggressive tread and knobs, with different distribution and configuration.

On top of that, some brands fit a front tire with some characteristics and the rear one with a complete different design.

A good example of it is what Giant as with the Trance E+ 3 Pro full suspension electric mountain bike.

 

Size of the tire

You have two options when it comes to tire size:

 

  • Wide tires

Any tire that exceeds the factory width equipped on your bicycle is categorized as a wide tire.

In the case of electric bikes, tires whose external diameter is close to or greater than 2.5-inches are mostly marketed as wide tires.

Fat tire electric bike

Here’s why you might need them.

Such tires feel a lot nicer when you hit the bumps in the road, as they absorb the the impact better.

Fat tires are also more resistant to punctures and thus generally last longer than narrow tires.

But they do have an adverse impact on the bike’s battery’s range as their added width allows them to consume more power.

 

  • Narrow tires

Ever wondered why some electric bikes you see have narrow tires?

Such tires allow the bicycle to cover more distance per charge.

They have an extremely low rolling resistance that will enable them to impact the bike’s speed positively.

The downside to narrow tires is that they won’t make your journey too comfortable

Every bone in your body will feel the impact whenever these tires pass over a pothole or a speed breaker.

If this is the case, you should consider upgrading your suspension system or buying one.

 

Read More: Electric Bike Suspension: Full, Single or None?

 

Those of you who regularly go on cross-country rides would thus do well to avoid them.

 

Valves

Two (2) main bicycle valves are mostly used: Schrader and Presta.

Most of the time you won’t be given the freedom to choose between the two.

your bike’s wheels will simply come pre-drilled for one of the two valves.

Anyone replacing tires tube or working out specs for a new electric bike, might link to research about bike valve types, though.

Sometimes it’s the choices that you make about the simplest of bike-related things, that can have a massive impact on your ride on the road.

 

  • Presta Valves

Mostly seen on commuter bike tires, Presta valves are lighter, slimmer, and come with a screwable top section to prevent air exit.

They also have a locking nut that holds them tight against the bicycle’s rim.

Presta Valve for ebike tire EBA

These valves require a smaller hole and thus increase rim strength.

You might need them on your e-Bike tires if you need high pressures.

That’s because their one-way mechanism prevents the loss of pressure when the pump is disconnected.

And those of you who are fond of running deep rims, can also take advantage of their availability in multiple lengths.

On the flip side, these valves are more expensive when compared with Schrader valves.

You’d also do well not to count on them when riding on challenging terrains, as they are quite fragile and might break down on coming into contact with sharp objects.

 

  • Schrader Valves

Mostly seen on high-end mountain bikes, Schrader valves are heavier, more robust, and come with a core that is easy to remove.

While Presta valves have a screwable top section to keep them closed, Schrader ones have a built-in spring mechanism performing the same function.

You can also inflate bike tires using this valves with a pneumatic car pump.

Schrader valve for electric bike EBA

Just make sure that you keep an eye on the pressure reading at all times as inflating via a powered pump can wreck the tire, its inner tube and even the rim, if you aren’t careful.

A downside of this valves is that they can open up on their own when they’re at the top of the tire end, thereby letting the air leak over time.


Electric Bike Tire Guide Wrap Up

Summarizing everything we said above, there are three (3) main factors you need to keep in mind while shopping for e-Bike tires.

They include the tread design (if any), whether you could do with a narrow or wide tire and what type of valves you prefer.

All in all, you may want to buy the best electric bike tires based on your budget too. There are so many option (aside from the ones suggested) that can provide what you are looking for.

What are you looking for?


 

Paul T

Hi all! I'm Paul, founder and driver of Electric Bike Advisor (EBA). Learning from scratch by repairing and putting together my standard bicycle, I thought it was time to know more about the electric world. Enjoy reading my most honest point of view through our reviews, and learning from our guides, which are researched by professionals in the industry.