Tire Comparison: How to Choose the Best Options for Your Electric Bike

Electric bikes (e bikes) are becoming increasingly popular as we all look to more environmentally friendly methods of getting round. We might not all be ready to switch to an electric car yet but e bikes offer so much more in terms of fun and fitness!

Although e bikes look similar to traditional bikes, there are numerous differences that make the choice of tires extremely important. For one thing, an e bike is far heavier than a conventional bike and the additional weight puts added pressure on tires.

In addition ebikes travel at faster speeds for longer time periods which cause the tires to wear out faster than with most conventional types of bike. This means that choosing the right tires for your ebike and ensuring that the correct tire pressure is maintained is not only crucial for safety and performance , it will save you money.


So how do you choose the best tire options for your ebike?

First you need to identify the type of bike you want and what you will be using it for. E bikes are not all the same and can be loosely fitted into three categories; off road, city or hybrid. Within these categories you have a range of tires to choose from.

Fat tires or skinny tires?

Fat tires are classified as any tire which is at least 4 inches wide. Conventional tires are more in the region of anything between 1.95 to 3 inches wide.

Mountain bikes and off road bikes such as the Hovsco Alpha 26”  are fitted with fat tires and these provide a safe and comfortable ride over all types of off road terrain.

The fat tire is crucial to the design of the bike. Because there is more air between you and the ground , fat tires absorb shocks and vibration far better than thinner tires. In addition a fat tire is better adapted for travelling over a wide range of surfaces including snow or sand.

Fat tires give you a stable ride. The increased width of the tire offers more grip in wet conditions so if you do habitually ride your bike on wet uneven surfaces fat tires can be safer.

Fat tire treads

The type of tread you choose depends on how you wish to use your bike. If you want to ride mainly on grass, dirt, sand or snow you need a knobbly tire because this offers a better surface grip. In general a knobbly tire , often described as a downhill tire or an XC tire is perfect for off roading. A BMX electric bike tire is smoother with a light tread pattern which is ideal for packed dirt but not as good for sand or snow.

City bike and commuter bike tires

Many people need their ebikes for getting around in the urban envionment so the tires need to withstand daily use over unforgiving asphalt and concrete. The Hovsco HovCity is a step thru cruiser for men or women and is specifically designed for this envionment.  It is lightweight enough to be able to carry it up stairs to an appartment or office for example.  

As with conventional racing bikes, the thinner and slicker the tire tread , the faster the speed but this is not such a great option for riding round the urban envionement in all weathers. The advice is to always choose a tire with enough tread to grip the road surface even in wet conditions.

Many commuter bike owners choose a wider tire for added comfort and stabilty such as around 3 inches width. However if speed and performance is your passion , the thinner the tire , the faster your bike will travel.

Hybrid ebikes

Many people opt for an ebike that is designed for general usage. The Hovsco Ranger is a great example. This e bike is ideal for city use but can also cope with the rigours of all terrain riding thanks to the design of the suspension and battery life. It has a range of 60 miles without charging so is perfect for all types of useage.

When it comes to replacing the tires you have a wide choice. If your usual rides include gravel roads or trails,  a fatter tire with plenty of grip is your best option. If you use is confined to tarmac and pavements a sleeker tire with less tread will be better suited to your needs.

Foldable e bikes

The Hovbeta Foldable Electric Fat Tire Bike is a fantastic option for taking your bike with you and packing it away into the trunk. This bike uses 20” Kenda tires which provide an all terrain grip but is also suitable for pavement use. When it comes to replacement tires, your best option is to stick with the same size and brand to ensure optimum performance.

How often should you replace your e bike tires?

In general tires have a lifespan of up to 5000 miles so the frequency you need to replace your tires depends upon your usage. As with changing the tires on your car,  it is easy to see when your ebike tires need changing. Look out for signs of worn tread, cracked rubber or if you keep getting flats. If you notice anyof these it’s probably time for a change.

Some tires come with a tread wear indicator ( TWI) . This is a small dimple on the side of the tire and when it is no longer visible you know you need to change it.

The size you need will be printed on sidewall of your current tire. You can usually fit slightly thinner or fatter tyres to the same frame but it is important to not stray too far outside the design parameters or the new tire will not fit.

How to maintain the correct tire pressure

Tire pressure is very important for the perfomance of the e bike but many people neglect this vital piece of routine maintenance. In general tire pressure should be maintained at around 60 psi but it is important to check with a tire pressure guage because it is pretty much impossible to tell on a touch test alone.

The optimum tire pressure should be noted on your new tire so it is important to keep to the product’s recommendations.

Buying a home pressure guage is a convenient option but you can also use the tire pressure function at your local garage. Maintaining the correct tire pressure is a good way to prolong the life of your tire as well as improve your e bike’s performance.

So which sort of tire should I buy for my ebike?

Whatever your type of ebike, never cut corners when choosing replacement tires. Always choose a good quality reputable brand with high grip that is designed specifically for electric bikes. Your tires have a major effect upon the handling and performance of your bike.  

In addition you need to factor in that a cheap low quality tire will not be as durable as a quality brand. This means it is worth paying a few bucks more for quality as you will not need to change it so frequently.


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