Electric Bike Wheel And Tire-Everything You Need To Know

If you are considering buy a electric bike and want to know more about your potential investment, this post will help you compare the different categories of electric bike tires and choose the best fat tires for you.

 

Continue reading to learn more about these bikes and the unique benefits of electric bike wheels. 

What are the Categories of Electric Bicycle Tires?

By definition, a fat tire electric bike counts as an e-bike with a tire width of four inches or more. Most commonly, they tend to be just four inches, with "super fat tires" being 4.5 to 4.8 inches wide. These can be substantially large compared to conventional tire widths that are usually around 1.95 to 3 inches wide. They can usually be seen with diameters of 20, 24, or 26 inches. 

 

Electric bicycle tires can be divided into further categories, including road tires, cyclocross tires, mountain tires, and BMX tires. 

Road Tires

One of the more common tire variants, road tires are usually about 23 to 25 mm wide. As their name suggests, they are designed for roads. This implies that they require minimal surface area contact for less traction and higher speeds on flat surfaces.

 

Ideally speaking, their lack of friction is also accompanied by less weight, making them exceedingly dangerous to control in slippery or wet conditions. Hence, if you live in a place where it snows or rains a lot, a road tire may not be the best choice for you. 

Mountain Bike Tires

In comparison, I like to consider a mountain bike tire as a road tire's polar opposite. Mountain bikes are ideal for maximizing friction (traction) in rougher terrains.

 

 

Considering the off-road terrains they are designed for, and these tires are meant to grab onto loose surfaces, such as sand, dirt, or grass. To withstand risky or unsafe routes, their bikes' frames are usually much more durable and heavier than their road tire counterparts.

Cyclocross Tires

If you're looking for a good in-between for the two extremities of mountain and road bike tires, cyclocross tires would be a good start.

 

They're usually a bit wider than conventional road tires (about 30 to 33 mm wide), and they contain small studs for grip (similar to those on a mountain bike). Usually, they serve as an ideal alternative for people looking to travel on gravel or muddy trails.

BMX Tires

BMX is an acronym for bicycle motocross, a bicycling sport that involves traversing through constructed obstacles and cross-country courses.

 

Due to the similarities in terrain suitability, you can expect mountain bike tires and BMX tires to be quite alike - the most significant difference being that BMX tires are usually much beefier and broader. 

 

The most common lengths for BMX tires are usually 20 inches.  However, different BMX riding styles may adopt different patterns and widths.For example, a racing BMX may use a slimmer tire with a high PSI, whereas a freestyle BMX would usually adopt a wider BMX tire with a pretty average PSI. 

What are the Sizes of Electric Bicycle Wheel?

As brushed upon earlier, electric bike wheels can be either 20, 24, or 26 inches long. However, generally speaking, these e-bike tires can vary anywhere between 12 to 29 inches. 

16-Inch Electric Bike Wheel

Due to their relatively small size, 16-inch wheels are usually utilized on folding bicycles. With their compact nature, these bikes are meant to be as light and portable as possible; so, it's no surprise why they'd need smaller wheels.

 

However, it's worth noting that this portable size comes at a cost. In particular, the smaller size sacrifices the pleasure of a comfortable ride as these bikes do not work well with technical terrain, and the slightest bumps can easily affect the quality of your ride.

 

Additionally, their small turning radius and wheelbase can result in highly sensitive steering, causing them to need more gear ratios to steer as fast as other bikes.

20-inch Electric Bike Wheel

Just like 16-inch wheels, the 20-inch electric bike wheels would also commonly be found on a folding bike.

 

However, unlike the 16-inch wheels, they can be considered the standard for BMX bikes. This is due to the high degree of versatile movement, allowing BMX riders to be as agile as possible on difficult or uneven ground. 

 

Conversely, though they're slightly more efficient than 16-inch wheels, 20-inch wheels can still be drastically more affected by rocks and similar obstacles than any standard wheel size options. Thus, the more effective 20-inch wheels would usually be accompanied by a substantially larger width.

 

In particular, Haogi's White Leopard Step-Thru and Antelope Cargo Bike have fat tires, which are the ideal alternatives for getting the most out of your 20-inch electric bike wheel. 

26-inch Electric Bike Wheel

With a long and diverse bicycle industry history, 26-inch wheels can arguably be considered the most widespread wheel size variants today.

 

Due to their larger size, they tend to be broader and chunkier; this enables more air to disperse over obstacles, resulting in more comfortable and smoother rides.

 

Ideally, this also makes them more suitable for diverse terrains - whether it's a smooth and flat path or a technically challenging off-road route, these wheels are designed to withstand it all. 

29-inch Electric Bike Wheel

Among one of the more recently invented bike wheels, 29-inch wheels were released just a few years ago.

 

As you would expect, their larger diameter results in increased rolling resistance and ground contact. Consequentially, this increases traction, making it much easier to maintain stability at higher speeds or rougher terrains. 

 

Similar to the advantages of a 26-inch wheel, 29-inch wheels can immensely increase the comfort and fluidity of your journey. With their extra volume serving as a cushion, they roll over obstacles with ease. Other than that, their extra length can even serve as a higher standover height, making them more accessible to taller riders. 

 

In contrast, a downside to bigger wheels is that they result in heavier bikes. Though they may be comfortable on off-road routes, the lack of speed, maneuverability, and agility is not practical for sports and racing competitions. They also transfer less torque for the same motor power of smaller wheels, causing them to be highly inefficient.

What are the Benefits of Fat Tires?

The most obvious benefit would always be their higher surface area contact. With more traction, the wheels work well in more accessible terrains and environments. Whether it's a rutted trail, paved road, or a sandy beach, you can easily adjust the appropriate speeds to maximize comfort and efficiency. 

 

In general, a crucial contributor to these benefits would always be stability. For instance, it can help you maintain a grip on paved surfaces and avoid the bike from sliding out from under you. Whereas, on unpaved paths, the stability would contribute to keeping your balance through disruptive surface conditions, such as stumps, ruts, or rocky terrains. 

 

Fat tires also have the vital benefit of working efficiently on soft surfaces, such as sandy or snowy grounds.

 

This is known as the bike's flotation, or in other words, the bike's ability to "float," rather than sink, on soft surfaces. The best floatation, as a result, can be achieved with pressures as low as 5 PSI; generally, you just want to have the most sizeable tire footprint as that would distribute the most load over a patch of ground. 

 

In particular, when it comes to snowy tracks, you can adjust the tire pressure of fat tires to use lower-pressure fat electric bike wheels to glide through icy corners that are potentially fatal on an average mountain bike. Likewise, these tires make obstructions to a standard wheel seem insignificant in comparison.

 haoqi-fat-tire-electric-bike

 

With their beefy size, worrying about rocks or roots disturbing your pleasant ride would be a thing of the past. In fact, when descending over chunky obstructions with fat wheels, you can even feel somewhat invincible. The lack of vibrations can also be an especially favorable choice for people with frequent back problems.   

Wear and Maintenance of Electric Bicycle Tires

How long do E-Bike Tires Last?

On average, electric bike wheels can last anything between 1,000 to 3,000 miles. However, this value can vary immensely depending on the tire type, bike model, brand, and terrain conditions. 

 

For example, if you use a road bike's tire, estimated to last 2,500 miles, to ride 25 miles a day, you can expect the wheel to wear out in about 100 days. But if you use the same electric bike wheel on technical terrain, this could actually make it last only half as long. 

 

As a result, it is highly recommended that you choose appropriate tires for the conditions you expect to experience.

How Do You Prevent Tire Wear?

As mentioned upon earlier, the best way to prevent tire wear is to simply use tires for their intended purposes. Ideally, broader and thicker tires can help with rough routes, but they come at the price of speed and maneuverability. 

 

To prevent tire wear, you simply need to avoid obvious risks that could puncture or damage your tires. For instance, unless your tires are specifically designed for rougher paths, you shouldn't use off-road routes. As general advice, you should always just try to avoid obstacles as much as possible. 

The Best Electric Bike Tire Brand

When considering an electric bike investment, it's crucial to evaluate the brand and its applications. This is because replacements and repairs are expected for any bike, so you would always want to choose electric bike tire brands that are accessible, affordable, and easy to repair in the open market. 

Schwalbe

Logo-Schwalbe

 

If your primary terrain for bicycling is urban environments, chances are Schwalbe may be your go-to pick. With their 5 mm puncture protection, they use elastic Indian rubber, which is exceedingly exceptional at riding across paved and cemented pathways. 

 

Similarly, with their sidewalls designed to be reflective, they are more visible in urban sprawl, thus, encouraging safety against overwhelming traffic and similar hazards.

Maxxis

Maxxis-Logo

 

The Maxxis tire, known as the Maxxis Minion, consists of dual-compound rubber, which is remarkably compatible with diverse technical terrains, such as snow, dirt, gravel, and sand.

 

This, coupled with its excess width and side studs, makes these electric bike wheels incredible at cornering and similar maneuvers. With premium comfort to top it all off, these wheels are definitively a catch for their affordable price.

 

Whereas, if I compare the Minion with the Maxxis Hookworm, the Hookworm is significantly more compatible with BMX activities. Conversely, if you're looking to utilize these tires for a long-distance commute or off-road journey, they may not be the right pick for you.

 

In general, the Maxxis brand likes producing numerous types of specialized tires. Unlike its off-road counterparts, the Hookworm uses a high-pressure rating of 65 PSI to serve as the perfect alternative for sliding, bouncing, or skidding that we have come to associate with a BMX.

Vittoria

vittoria-logo

 

Compared to the previous examples, the Vittoria brand is definitely more compatible with diverse terrains.

 

For instance, their Corsa series may be considered the ideal alternative for road biking, whereas their XC Trail series would be your go-to choice for off-road trips. They even have an XC Race series, which comes with an exceptionally longer-lasting and robust casing. 

Step By Step Guide to Teach You How to Choose Electric Bike Wheels

Considering everything, it's worth asking whether fat tires are worth it. As discussed earlier, they do have their own downsides and cautionary warnings, so how do you really choose the best electric bike wheels?

 

To answer this question, you should first consider the purpose you keep your bike. Depending on the terrain, e-bikes can be divided into one of the four categories discussed earlier: BMX, Mountain, Cyclocross, or Road. 

 

As a result, you should first choose a wheel depending on the landscape you plan on traversing. Do not use road wheels for off-road purposes (or vice versa) because that can risk you and your bike's well-being. 

 

Once you have determined the purpose, you can finally move on to tire sizes and widths. When doing so, you should remember that fat and large tires can provide substantial traction and cushioning effects, but these come at the cost of speed and maneuverability.

 

Additionally, fat tires can also enhance stability, and they are capable of rolling over soft ground, such as snow, dirt, or leaves with ease. Meanwhile, though thinner wheels may be less adaptive to irregular terrains, they are still a great choice for prioritizing speed and agile movement. 

 

Overall, bikes are never really binary; numerous variants could exist for one type, and the choice you make can immensely affect your overall performance and comfort. Despite all the advantages a fat bike's weight and bigger wheels can bring, its bulkiness can be a deal-breaker for many (especially considering that you'd have to lift up to 70-80 lbs. when using a bike rack!).

Final Thought

Fat electric bike wheels can definitely be worth the investment, especially if you plan on working with diverse off-road terrains, such as mud, snow, dirt paths, or sand. Though they are a lot pricier when compared to other electric bike alternatives, they are the best choice for those who want more from their biking adventures. 

 

Similarly, regardless of how wide your electric bike wheel might be, electric bikes are always undoubtedly in a league of their own. They are best known for the incredible functionality and outdoor fun they bring to your trips. 

 

So, if you're still considering buying a fat tire electric bike, why look any further? Haoqi EBike now offer a limited discount for the season, where you can buy two bikes and save $500 off your purchase.

 

 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published