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  1. #1
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    What tires to use on an Electric Bike

    Hi, I’m Gayle, I work for everybicycletire.com. I was asked to make an introduction in a couple of the forums because I have a lot of information that maybe useful to members of this community, so I’m posting some of it here. I’d love to have some input from you as to what tires have worked well for you, and the types of problems you’ve had with tires on your electric bikes. The bikes I'm talking about are actual bicycles with electric motors, if you have a scooter or a moped you need highway rated tires.

    We recommend looking for a tire with puncture protection and a high load rating. Since electric bikes can sustain higher speeds for longer than a rider on a traditional bike could, it’s important to realize that you’re subjecting the tires to more stress than you would on a regular bike. You’ll also tend to put more miles on an electric bike than you would otherwise. Tires that work well for electric bikes tend to be the big, heavy and expensive. Since most bike shops have a limited amount of space these are often the tires they decide not to carry.

    Schwalbe has some tires that work well on electric bikes. For example, the Big Apple comes in a wide range of diameters (203, 254, 305, 355, 406, 507, 559 and 622), and widths from 2.00” to 2.35”. Wider tires have higher load ratings, it has to do with the volume of air in the tire, so I’d recommend getting the widest tire that will fit on your bike. The 26 x 2.00 Fat Frank comes in solid black, cream and brown for a stylish look. It has a load rating of 150k (330 lbs) so don’t let it’s good looks fool you, this is a tough tire. If your ride is typically plagued with flats the Marathon Plus will solve your problems. Like the Big Apple the Marathon Plus comes in a variety of diameters (349, 355, 406, 507, 559, 590 and 622). It’s width ranges from 1.35 to 1.75 (25-45 in 700C sizing). While the Marathon Plus has a slightly lower load rating than the Big Apple and Fat Frank, it makes up for that with a 5mm thick India rubber strip under the casing to protect against flats. You can stick a thumbtack all the way into this tire and it won’t puncture it.

    There are many tires out there that will work besides the ones we carry. Look for the widest tire you can use, with a high load rating and puncture protection. To see examples of high load rating tires please see http://www.everybicycletire.com/Shop...eavy-duty.aspx. To see all our tires go to the “bicycle tires” link. You can sort the results using the drop downs near the top of the page. To see the widest selection of tires hit “reset filters” in between searches.

    I'll be monitoring my posts so I can answer any questions you have.

    Thank you very much,
    Gayle

  2. #2
    adrenaline junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBTire View Post
    For example, the Big Apple comes in .. widths from 2.00” to 2.35”. Wider tires have higher load ratings ... so I’d recommend getting the widest tire that will fit on your bike.
    I think a 2" tire is more than enough for typical ebikes. Even off road, a 2" tire should be sufficient for moderate uses. Riders who need something beefier likely know it already.

    If your ride is typically plagued with flats the Marathon Plus will solve your problems.
    I preferred to stick with tires that were otherwise working well for me and put sealant in the tubes. No more flats.

  3. #3
    Hrumph! El Duderino X's Avatar
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    I use 2" Schwalbe Big Apples on my ebike (Dahon Cadenza w/BionX PL350) and I find them to be more than sufficient for all tasks.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member blippo's Avatar
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    I haven't had any problems with any tires I used. The problems were with the rims and any sharp protrusions between the rim and the tube. I always use that heavy duty rim tape with the Slime Tube. Also had problems when I inflated the tires to the max pressure that is listed on the side of the tire. So I always keep it a couple of pounds below the max listed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member raevyn's Avatar
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    i use regular tubes, and big apples in the dry seasons, and an ice spiker, and mount and ground W in the winter. I have never had a problem
    Swing Dancin', Load Haullin' Mama!

  6. #6
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    I use Big Apples 2.0 and carry my wife and daughter on the same Xtracycle and it works very well. All the claims about it being more comfortable, puncture resistant and offering better cushioning by varying air pressure are true.

  7. #7
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    Different tires on front and rear

    Since electric bikes weigh so much, would it make sense to use a large tire in the rear and a thinner one up front? Motorcycles do this because the wider tire stabilizes the platform and the rear tire doesn't turn as much as the front. Has anybody tried using a 26 x 2.25 on the rear and 26 x 2 or 1.75 on the front for example?
    Thank you
    Gayle

  8. #8
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    Since electric bikes weigh so much, would it make sense to use a large tire in the rear and a thinner one up front? Motorcycles do this because the wider tire stabilizes the platform and the rear tire doesn't turn as much as the front. Has anybody tried using a 26 x 2.25 on the rear and 26 x 2 or 1.75 on the front for example?
    Thank you
    Gayle
    Depends on your goals. Motorcycles are different from e-bikes in that they can push the limits of their rear tire's traction in accelerating, AND they have enough weight placed low down that they can get a lot more use out of the rear tire for braking. (bicycle-style ebikes do their best braking with the front brake, which can shift the weight forward to the point that the rear tire has nearly no weight on it).

    So one of the major reasons I consider wide tires to be useful for e-bikes is the extra cushioning. This is particularly important on any wheel that doesn't have suspension.

    Another reason to go with wide tires is that they're often made with greater thickness of rubber, meaning that very small pieces of glass or wire are not long enough to penetrate them and cause flats.

    Since tires are one of the most frequent problem spots on a bicycle, it makes sense to accept some extra weight in order to get more flat protection and (if you have no suspension) a softer ride.
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  9. #9
    adrenaline junkie
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    What kind of stability are you looking for? I've bombed downhill on my 26x2" tires at over 50 mph (80 kph) and felt totally solid. A wider tire could be used at lower pressure on a hub motor wheel to provide extra shock absorption, but even so I would think 2" is enough for most road ebikes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member safe's Avatar
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    I use the 24" rim size and 3" tire. But I'm realizing the trick is to get wider rims.
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    Last edited by safe; 02-05-09 at 08:34 PM.

  11. #11
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    Better Ebike Tires

    I agree with the wider rims for the wider tires. I wonder why ebike tires aren't more like moped tires or scooter tires because the stresses are similar. As ebikes get more powerful and go longer distances, rolling resistance isn't as big an issue so the tires can be thicker. Has anyone noticed a decrease or increase in distance depending on tire?
    Thank you
    Gayle

  12. #12
    adrenaline junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBTire View Post
    As ebikes get more powerful and go longer distances, rolling resistance isn't as big an issue so the tires can be thicker. Has anyone noticed a decrease or increase in distance depending on tire?
    Thank you
    Gayle
    Rolling resistance is not significantly related to tire size, except that fatter tires are generally run at lower pressures, which will increase RR. To find the required tire width, you need to first determine the desired pressure (for shock absorption) then pick the smallest tire that won't pinch flat at that pressure in the worst conditions you will ride. Suspension allows you to run higher pressure for lower rolling resistance, drag and weight, while a hub motor can use the extra cushioning a fatter, lower pressure tire allows.

    Scooter tires follow the same rules, but have an extra margin of size because scooters riders are more prone to overlook under-filled tires since they don't use human power to turn them.

    I find myself in a position not sure whether I agree or disagree with you. I have no use for a 1" or smaller high pressure tire on an ebike, preferring a tire size I would normally use off road. On the other hand, I don't see much need for super fat (>=2.5") tires. Do you really want to ride a hybrid ebike at the low pressures such tires would suggest?

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    I agree that rolling resistance is not related to tire width but the tread makes a huge difference, as does the flattening effect where the tire touches the ground. A wide tire quite often allows a tire to stay round under heavy loads compared to a skinny tire.

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