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Electric bikes require special tires

Electric bikes require special tires

Electric bikes usually come with standard bike tires, but they are already more expensive than regular bikes. However, now bike shops recommend that you pay extra for special tires. But do e-bikes need special tires? Should you spend the extra money?

Electric bikes usually don’t require special tires, but you may prefer them. Compared to regular bikes, e-bikes place additional requirements on tires that manufacturers address in their tire designs. For example, special e-bike tires use stronger tires, add extra sidewall inserts, and more.

Since standard bicycle tires are not designed with e-bikes in mind, they may not perform as well or last as long as expected. After exploring the differences in e-bikes, we can explain what those differences mean in tire selection. When you reach the finish, you can choose between standard tires or e-bike tires with confidence.

Should I use special tires on my e-bike?

You should use special tires on your e-bike, as standard tires are not designed for e-bikes. For example, the extra motor and battery weight can put pressure on standard tires, increasing tread wear and making them more prone to punctures.

Therefore, e-bikes need stronger, higher-quality tires to support heavier loads.

Electric bike tires with. regular bicycle tires
Although e-bikes and regular bicycles have a lot in common, there are two notable differences between them: maximum speed and weight capacity. These factors affect how the tires perform on an e-bike compared to the same tires on a conventional bike.

Most electric motors cut off speed assist at 20 mph (32 km/h) (Classes 1 and 2) or 28 mph (45 km/h) (Class 3) depending on the classification of your e-bike , although the rider can reach faster speeds with more pedaling force or go downhill as they please.

Because of these high speeds, e-bikes produce far more torque than standard bikes. This extra torque increases the pressure on the e-bike tires.

Riders often point out that the top speed of an e-bike is exaggerated because many experienced riders can ride as fast as an e-bike. While it may be true, e-bikes take extra weight from the motor, battery, and thicker frame to reach this speed, which affects the overall performance of the tires.

Since they can rely on motor power, e-bike riders often ride faster than regular bikes. Unfortunately, this also increases the wear of the e-bike tire and reduces its puncture protection.

To meet these needs, e-bike tires are designed differently. For example, sidewall housings will be built to handle additional wear. It is usually made from stronger, more expensive materials and has a higher thread count per inch (TPI), so the weave is thicker and more durable. In addition, there are often additional sidewall inserts and a reinforced puncture resistant layer.

When considering tires for e-bikes, we focus on the tread because that’s what we see. However, the components hidden under the tread are just as important.

Hidden parts of tires

The two hidden components of a bicycle tire are the bead and the carcass. No matter how an e-bike tire is designed or what materials are used in its construction, these hidden components play a vital role in its performance and durability.

The part of the tire where the bead meets the rim is called the bead. It forms and maintains the seal between the tire and wheel and helps the tire retain its shape.

The tire has two beads, one on each side, only visible on the unmounted tire. Each bead has a wider profile because the rubber threads inside are made of metal or fiber.

Steel is often used because it is cheaper. Synthetic materials, such as Kevlar, make stronger beads, but that strength comes with a higher price. Steel is harder and heavier, but flexible strands are easier to install and remove. They are also lighter.

The carcass is considered the most critical part of the tire. It is a layered mesh network that sits beneath the tread. Each grid consists of tiny bundles of textile fibers, usually made of nylon. These fiber bundles are woven together and play an important role in determining the strength of the tire.

Thread count measures the threads per inch (TPI) of the carcass. Tires with high TPI counts provide better handling, control and performance. However, higher TPI means more material, and more material means higher cost.

How do I know what tires to buy for my electric bike?

Bicycle wheels come in a variety of sizes, from small 12-inch (30.48 cm) tires to large 29-inch (73.66 cm) diameter tires. Wheel size has a major impact on the performance of an e-bike.

However, the frame of the e-bike determines the size of the tires. For example, you cannot mount 16″ (40.64cm) tires on a frame that fits 26″ (66.04cm) wheels.

The most critical factor is where and how you ride. In general, it’s best to choose tires that fit your e-bike frame and riding style. Depending on the model, e-bikes may have fatter or narrower tires. If you plan to ride your bike on rough terrain a lot, fat tires are the way to go. However, thin tires are great for flat roads or paved trails.

Commuter bike tires

Commuter bikes are designed to be ridden on ordinary hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete, but typically have wider tires than conventional bikes designed for commuting.

These wide e-bike tires have lower PSI requirements, helping them grip better. It also makes it easier for them to maneuver if they have to turn to avoid being hit by another car.

Plus, their all-season tread pattern makes them safer on wet roads.

Road tires

Road bike tires are thin. The reduced friction results in a faster ride due to less surface area touching the road. Acceleration also requires less effort because the tires put less pressure on the ground.

Many riders choose road tires for speed and acceleration. However, these tires have an increased risk of slippage, especially on wet roads. If you live where it rains a lot, you may want to avoid road tires.

Electric mountain bike and HOTEBIKE tires

Mountain bike and HOTEBIKE tires are specialized tires with rough treads that provide better traction for rough terrain. HOTEBIKE racing tires are generally thinner than those used for freestyle HOTEBIKE.

Commuters or recreational riders rarely need these special tires because they are not designed for getting from point A to point B or cruising.

Fat or skinny tires

Another decision you might be asked to make is between fat and thin tires. Fat tires have lower pressure and provide more traction and puncture protection. These allow e-bikes to perform well in a variety of terrains and inclement weather.

Typically, wider tires are seen on electric mountain bikes, fat tire bikes, and hybrid electric bikes. However, the thickness of a tire has a direct correlation to its weight, and this added drag ultimately affects the speed of the bike.

Thin tires are lighter than fat tires because they contain less material. Their higher pressure gives them lower rolling resistance and less traction, making them faster than fat tires. However, one advantage of fat tires is that they are more durable than skinny tires. Generally speaking, thinner tires are best for flat roads.

Proper care and maintenance of electric bicycle tires
Good tire maintenance will help any regular or special e-bike tires last longer. The most important thing to do with your e-bike tires is to get them properly inflated. Most cyclists know that tires should not be underinflated. Unfortunately, however, many people overcompensate by overinflating their tires.

Low and high tire pressure
Decreasing tire pressure improves cornering grip by increasing the amount of tire contact with the ground. However, low pressure tires can also flatten on the road. This increases rolling resistance and causes you to pedal harder. Fortunately, you can add pedal assist to an e-bike, so it’s not a big deal.

On the other hand, an over-inflated tire can appear bouncy, especially on hard surfaces, as it bounces off imperfections in the surface. Hard pedaling on an e-bike may counteract a bumpy, uncomfortable ride, but it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s tire PSI (pounds per square inch) recommendation.

Another common mistake is adding the same PSI to both tires. We made this mistake because we assumed our weight distribution was 50-50 front to back. However, cyclists typically put 40% of their body weight in the front and 60% in the back.

How to determine tire pressure

There is no specific formula for correlating weight distribution and tire pressure, but you can use approximate calculations. For example, let’s say you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg). The 40/60 distribution is 60 lbs (27 kg) front and 90 lbs (41 kg) rear.

A one-third reduction in front wheel pressure may be too much, but a 15-20% reduction in front wheel pressure is reasonable.

Tires lose a few PSIs per week. You may not need to check the pressure every time you ride, but take out the gauge and check the tire pressure at least once a week. If you’ve recently rehabilitated an apartment with CO2, you’ll almost certainly need to re-inflate it.

Carbon dioxide is very soluble in butyl rubber and penetrates quickly and directly into the pipe wall. If you use CO² to fix a puncture early in your ride, check the tire again after an hour or two as you will most likely need to increase the pressure.

Bottom line

Electric bikes do not require special tires, although standard tires will wear out faster. The extra and more expensive materials in better quality tires add to the price of an e-bike. However, if your e-bike comes with standard tires, you don’t need to replace them.
However, when it’s time to replace them, consider spending a few extra dollars for better performance and longer-lasting e-bike tires.

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