E-bike tires: facts and myths + extra tips
There are many misconceptions about e-bike tires. Some people think (and write) that an e-bike needs a special inner tube, but that is not the case.
In this article, we separate the facts about electric bike tires and inner tubes from the myths. You will also receive tips on things such as the correct tire pressure and what you should pay attention to when buying e-bike tires.
1. Does an e-bike need special tires?
Not really. But an e-bike is a lot heavier than a regular bicycle, which is mainly caused by the battery, the motor, and a more robust frame. Where a normal city bike weighs on average 45 Ibs – 20 kg, the weight of an electric city bike is around 55 Ibs – 25 kg: 10 Ibs – 5 kg heavier. When purchasing tires, you have to make sure that they can handle the weight of your bike.
Some tire suppliers have made this easy by indicating whether their tires are ‘e-bike ready’. They sometimes add a number to their tires. For example, E-bike Ready 25, for regular e-bikes that are not allowed to go faster than 25 km/h. E-bike Ready 50 applies to speed pedelecs and speed bikes that are not allowed to go faster than 50 km/h. Because this is not an official quality mark, but devised by the manufacturer itself, you see different variants of the associated logos.
The well-known bicycle tire brand Schwalbe says this on their website: “The law does not prescribe special tires for normal pedelecs with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h. However, even with these bicycles the load and the average speed are higher than with normal bicycles. That is why we only label a limited number of tires as E-Bike Ready 25.”
This system works well and is useful for you as a consumer.
There appears to be a lot of choice in tires for e-bikes.
TIP: A tire does not necessarily have to have a designation to be suitable for an e-bike. If you find a regular tire that fits your e-bike and its weight, you can save money.
2. What kind of inner tube should I choose for my e-bike?
There are no special inner tubes for e-bikes. Inner tubes used on regular bicycles are fine for e-bikes. Just like with outer tires, you should take the weight of your e-bike into account and therefore not choose ultra-thin inner tubes.
A great idea is a recent invention by Rubena Gaadi. The so-called Gaadi tire is not a closed round tire, but an elongated one. That is why it is also called the double-ended inner tube.
A simple invention with major consequences: replacing a flat inner tube has suddenly become a piece of cake. You no longer have to remove the wheel from the fork, which is a complicated job, especially with the rear wheel of an e-bike. Especially if your motor is also on the rear wheel.
All you have to do is lift the outer tire from the rim, cut the old inner tube, and put the double-ended inner tube back in its place. Starting at the valve and then inserting the two ends counterclockwise and clockwise into the rim. Put the tire back in the rim, inflate, and you’re done!
3. What should I pay attention to when choosing an (outer) tire?
When choosing a tire for your e-bike, these four factors are important:
- Grip: the better the grip, the more effectively your energy is used. And with a better grip, you also drive faster and safer through the bends.
- Rolling resistance: less resistance means less energy loss, which means a bigger range.
- Stability: with greater stability, you drive more comfortably and with more control.
- Anti-puncture: with better anti-puncture properties, you have a flat tire less often. You can even buy completely impermeable tires, but they are more expensive, heavier, and less flexible. Try to find out where the balance is for you.
4. What is the correct tire pressure?
That depends heavily on the tire itself, to begin with. A racing tire is inflated much harder than a tire for an electric city bike. The minimum and maximum pressure are always stated on the tire.
Within those margins, you have to decide for yourself what is comfortable for you. It also applies that with a harder inflated tire you get more miles – kilometers from your battery, but a tire that is very hard does not contribute to a comfortable ride.
But you should certainly not inflate your tires too low: your tires will wear out faster, your battery will be empty faster and the stability is reduced (especially when cornering).
If you roughly divide the tires into three categories, you can see in this overview which tire pressure is best to keep. Since your electric bicycle is heavier than a regular bicycle, it is better to sit high than low in the range.
|Type / useTire pressureNarrow / electric road bike6-9 bar / 87-130 psiNormal / e-city bikes, e-hybrids4-6 bar / 58-87 psiBalloon / e-transport, eMTB2-3 bar / 29-44 psi|
Tire pressure by electric bike tire type