Just like the brakes, gears, and bicycle frame, the tires are also another component that many newbies fail to consider when purchasing electric bikes. Most only start to recognize the importance of tires when they are getting beaten like an egg after putting their narrow road tires through a gravel path.

So how can you choose the right type of tires?

Simply put, you can’t go wrong with a decent pair of hybrid tires. They are designed to tackle both the open road and gravel paths with ease.

However, a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. So if you want to specialize in speed, comfort, cargo carrying capacity, and off-roading, I suggest you continue with my electric bike tire guide, where I cover subjects such as:

  • Figuring out which eBike tires are the best for you
  • Identifying the fundamental differences between bicycle tires
  • Knowing how to spot eBike tires from regular bicycle tires
  • Understanding the different types of eBike tires
  • Learning how to find your perfect tire pressure

So, with that out of the way, let’s rollout.

Which eBike Tires is the Best for me?

Here’s a quick overview of the different types of electric bikes and the tires that would suit them.

Road eBikes

Road bikes are designed to travel on (uniform) hard surfaces such as paved roads and asphalt — most often around the city and suburban bike lanes. They are light, narrow, and have low rolling resistance, meaning an electric bicycle with road tires can get you more range at faster speeds.

Unfortunately, the tradeoff here is that road tires (with their almost slick tread design) won’t work well in wet conditions; there’s a higher chance you will slip. For road bikes, the best options are the Schwalbe Marathon and Marathon Plus.

For Hybrid eBikes

As you probably guessed (from the name itself), hybrid tires cooperate between asphalt and gravel roads. Hybrid electric bicycles with these tires are great for urban, suburban, and (some) countryside gravel roads where the paths are mostly smooth and uniform. If you’re not concerned about speed, hybrid tires (and bikes) are the best for street use.

Hybrid tires are not as slick as road tires since they have light knobs and deeper treads to help give some traction during gravel roads and uphill mountains, but they are not as wide as mountain bike tires and don’t have a very aggressive tread design. These tires hold up very well against wet roads, with the only downside being a lower top speed.

A couple of decent hybrid tire options include the Maxxis Hookworm and Continental Contact Plus. The former leans more towards street use while the latter is more versatile, with the ability to tackle gravel roads with a better grip.

For eMTBs/Hunting eBikes

For mountain bikes and other off-road situations (such as hunting, camping, etc.), you need off-road capable tires with extensive treads and knobs. Therefore, to climb hills through trail paths, rough gravel, or packed dirt, you need more grip and better traction. This is why mountain bikers need thick tires (which can absorb more vibrations) while also pushing through light mud, sand, or snow.

A couple of examples of off-road capable eMTB tires include the Maxxis High Roller and the Maxxis Aggressor.

For Cargo, Sand, or Snow eBikes

For cargo eBikes, eMTBs traversing through heavy snow or sand, fat tires are essential, not only because they need to handle more weight, but because they need to be stable, have a tighter grip, and minimize vibrations when going through bumps.

With fat tires, riding off-road is a dream. That said, you won’t be able to ride faster, and you will have a severe reduction in the maximum range. Tires such as the Maxxis Minion and Kenda Juggernauts are usually found in most fat tire eBikes.

Man Riding Electric Mountain Bike In Alps

How Do eBike Tires Differ From Each Other?

eBike tires may come in different sizes, materials, liners, etc. But at the end of the day, there are only a handful of specs that truly affect the overall performance. These include:

  • Tread design, knobs, and grooves
  • Tire width
  • Type of air valve
  • Wheel size

Tread Design, Knobs, and Grooves

The treads on an eBike allow the tires to have more traction on the road. When there are large knobs or extensive treads, the tires can easily roll over loose sand or dirt. (Since the “knobbly bits” can latch on to uneven terrain without slipping.)

Unfortunately, too many treads and knobs can impact the weight and rolling resistance, and why road tires prefer to have smooth tread patterns. With a shallow tread, a road tire can reach higher speeds on dry asphalt and concrete.

Grooves are equally as important since they help with water displacement. i.e., allow water to roll through the tire without creating a slippery surface; hence, tires with well-defined grooves don’t slip as often, especially when riding through hard surfaces. On-road tires tend to have low-profile grooves, whereas off-road ones have deeper grooves to slip through mud, snow, or sand.

Tire Width

eBike tires are classified as “fat” or wide whenever the width or internal diameter is greater than 2.5″. Wide tires are more comfortable to ride on because they absorb vibrations better (instead of transferring them to the frame and eventually the rider), and can easily roll over obstacles without getting flat tires.

So despite their high rolling resistance, fat tires (with decent treads and grooves) can handle almost any terrain. You don’t have to change tires when heading into the countryside and vice versa.

The obvious disadvantages are:

  • Lower speed
  • Less range
  • Heavier eBike

Despite this, many commuters and cyclists prefer a narrow tire over a wide one because of the extra speed and increased range.

Type of Air Valves

Another small detail that affects the specs of eBike tires is the type of air valves used. Mainly there are two types of air valves: Presta and Shrader. Presta is the more common type of valve used in most narrow tires with high pressure. These valves prevent air from leaking out while pumping. Despite their high quality, Presta valves are fragile; hence, they are not recommended for an off-road ride.

Meanwhile, Shrader valves are sturdier and meant for high-quality mountain bikes. They deliver a durable valve that’s less likely to break when riding through jagged terrain. Unfortunately, Shrader valves tend to leak out air.

Wheel Size

Wheel/Tire size (outer diameter of the wheel) is a very important specification that you need to consider when purchasing a wheel/rim. The size of the wheels affects the overall maneuverability, comfort, and speed. Most electric bikes have wheel sizes ranging from 16″ (in most folding bikes) up to 29″ (such as hunting/mountain eBikes.)

Bigger wheels (with more air volume) roll over easily through harsh terrain, but they are heavier and take more effort to accelerate. Meanwhile, smaller wheels are very easy to handle and put more torque into the ground, making it easier to handle tight corners at high speeds.

How Do eBike Tires differ from Standard Bicycle Tires?

Although we talked about the fundamental differences between each bicycle tire, we cannot use regular bicycle tires on E-Bikes due to several reasons. These include extra weight capacity, higher top speed, and additional wear and tear.

Weight Capacity

Thanks to the electric motor, battery pack, additional wire harness, controls, and display, an electric bike is way heavier than a regular bike. Even with an E-bike kit, you’re going to be adding at least an extra 30lbs. Therefore, an eBike is going to weigh somewhere around 50-70lbs. (A traditional bicycle would weigh around 17-30lbs.)

So to keep up with this weight capacity and the promised maximum rider weight capacity of 300lbs on most eBikes (see also ebikes for heavy riders), the tires need to be stronger than regular ones.


Also, electric bikes have a completely different riding style than regular bicycles. Since eBikes can reach speeds of 20-28mph (whereas traditional bicycles can only do 15mph), they need to be sturdier and more durable, especially when there’s a powerful motor and a heavy rider.


Because of the above two factors, eBike tears wear out faster than regular tires. So to make sure the tires last around 2,000 miles or so (the average distance for regular road bikes), they need to be designed from long-lasting materials.

Also, because of the electrical components, eBikes put more stress on the rear wheel (whenever it generates high torque); hence, it is going to wear out sooner than the front.

What are the Different types of E-Bike Tires?

There are tons of different tires designed for eBikes, and they don’t always fall into strict categories. That said, there are a handful of niches that we can use to define tires from each other.

Road Tires

As we discussed previously, a road tire is designed to ride on flat surfaces such as asphalt or concrete. They have much lower rolling resistance and allow the rider to accelerate faster than with other tires. Road tires have very low-profile treads, grooves and are narrower than 2.5″.

Cyclocross Tires

Cyclocross tires are designed to be more off-road capable while also being lightweight and offering less rolling resistance. They are slightly wider than road tires and have more aggressive knobs — with no separate grooves. Cyclocross tires can breeze through mud or gravel at higher speeds, but as they are built for racing, they wear down very quickly.

Commuter Tires

Commuter tires are very similar to road tires, but they have deeper grooves for water dissipation. Commuter tires can’t reach faster speeds, but they won’t slip when riding through wet and slippery hard surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, or other well-paved roads. Also, these tires are much wider than road tires and feel more comfortable to ride on.

Mountain Bike Tires

Mountain bike tires are much wider than commuter or cyclocross tires and built out of much sturdier materials. (Even including small amounts of natural rubber.) They have very aggressive treads and can traverse through sand, snow, or mud with ease. Unfortunately, they are very heavy and reduce your eBikes maximum range.

BMX Tires

BMX tires are another type designed for racing. These tires are also wider than road tires, with deep grooves and tread patterns. Although it doesn’t go too crazy with the knobbly bits, these tires have enough traction to hold on to hard surfaces at high tire pressures.

Which is the Best Tire Pressure?

After you’ve bought your first tire and an inner tube, you might be wondering: how much air should I pump into it? Well, to be honest, there’s no ideal tire pressure value that would fit all eBikes and terrain; you need to mess around with your eBike to figure it out.

That said, you shouldn’t keep the tires at a lower pressure so that rims touch the ground when you’re going over obstacles, and you shouldn’t keep the tire pressure higher than its upper limit, which could cause a blowout.

You can find the maximum tire pressure within the spec sheet or printed on the sidewall.

How to Find your Ideal Tire Pressure

Depending on where you are riding, the tire pressure value on the spec sheet might not always be the most comfortable. This limit is meant to be more of a reference point where you can start the journey of finding the right tire pressure that fits you and the terrain you will be riding on.

Here’s how to find your ideal tire pressure

  • Get a portable bicycle pump and a tire pressure gauge
  • Inflate your tires to the maximum limit
  • Ride around for a couple of minutes and try to get a feel for it
  • After that, let some air out (approximately 5psi) and ride again
  • Keep doing this until you feel more comfortable and have enough traction to drive safely on your desired terrain.

Most often, you will want to have lower pressure when riding off-road, as the tires will roll over obstacles more easily and absorb vibrations a lot better.


As you can see, electric bike tires are an integral aspect of purchasing and maintaining an eBike. You need to know what makes each tire different and be able to pick out which tires go best with each eBike and each terrain.

Luckily, if you made it through to the end, you’ll already understand the intricacies of eBike tires. Hopefully, you will have a chance to improve the speed, comfort, and durability of your eBike tires with the knowledge from this guide.

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