There are specific, nuanced differences between e-bikes and traditional bikes. E-bikes are quite capable of running at very high speeds and having special tires may help them perform with greater efficiency. In cities where it is densely populated, e-bikers apply great pressure on their tires when braking and accelerating, which directly impacts its tires.
E-bikes need special tires because of their increased capacity to perform compared to a traditional bike because e-bikes have to withstand greater force when braking or during acceleration. The increased torque from the high speed adds extra weight to the tires.
In this article, we will look at the various reasons why e-bikes may need special tires, the various factors influencing these tires’ choice, and the special certifications for e-bike tires that you need to consider when you make a purchase. Keep on reading as we dive into each of these factors and explore them in further detail.
High-Speed Bicycle Tires (for Speed Pedelecs)
E-bikes can routinely travel at high speeds that can go up to 15 to 30 mph (almost 24.1 to 48.2 km/hr). The tires take the beating for such high speed. When they turn the rear wheel of their e-bike, it exerts an increased torque.
To withstand the increased force, equip e-bikes with more robust and resilient tires. Heavier tires correspond to the heavy frame of the electric bikes. E-bikes range between 50 to 80 pounds (22.6 to 36.2 kgs), and so they will need an equally heavy-duty tire to support this heavy frame.
E-bikes in the U.S run on approximately 500 watts for a speed of 20 mph (32 km/h), which is almost double the power consumption than Europe, where a maximum of 250 watts and a speed of 15.5 mph (25 km/h) is allowed. Due to the higher-power and speed, the force exerted on the tire is also quite high. Ordinary tires may not be able to withstand this force or wear out more frequently, and so, special tires are needed.
Increased Weight on Tire
Because e-bikes tend to be heavier and bulky than ordinary bikes, the bike’s tires will have to bear the brunt of the weight above them. The added weight of the frame and battery, coupled with their higher than average speed of operation, cumulatively makes the tires and the inner tube more vulnerable to wear and tear.
Impact on Tire Due to Increased Weight
There are many things that a bike tire may endure due to increased weight. The tires of the bike bear most of the damages. Here is a list of things to look out for.
Lowered Suspension Travel
Added weight reduces the suspension travel in e-bikes. You can describe suspension travel as the upward and downward movements built into the e-bike. Increased weight decreases this suspension, and so there is increased severity whenever the bike hits a bump. Lack of suspension travel causes the rider to feel each bump on the road, and it also increases the probability of wear and tear of the tires.
Increased Weight Equals Increased Stress
When the weight increases, the force with which the e-bike brakes and accelerates also increases. Increased force further accentuates the heat and stress, which is detrimental to the e-bike’s tires. It is not just the tires, but this will impact the braking distance if the tires cannot withstand the force for a continuous period.
In extreme cases, increased weight reduces the brakes’ responsiveness, and it may see that the bike has steered out of control. There may also be a lack of steering effectiveness due to this causing you to feel that you may have lost control of the bike or notice delayed responsiveness from the steering wheel.
Loss of Wheel Alignment
Increased weight may also lead to loss of wheel alignment. All wheels on any e-bike or any other vehicle have a correct angle in which it must fit to perform effectively. Increased weight may cause this wheel angle to be out of place leading to delayed responsiveness when you ride the e-bike.
There is also the problem of additional resistance that the tires will face due to the increased weight. The sidewalls and the treads in a tire tend to become deformed under excess weight. Deformed tires, in turn, increase the rolling resistance. The rolling resistance of a tire is directly proportional to the weight above it. Increased rolling resistance makes the e-bike unable to perform at its usual speed.
Look for Puncture Protection
When it is time to purchase tires for your e-bikes, you should go for those tires that offer puncture protection. The obvious benefit of this type of tire is increased protection from puctures, reducing the number of times you may need to replace a flat while out for a ride.
E-bikes are constantly being made with higher torque limits to deliver better performance and more speed. Certain e-bike manufacturers claim that the increase in torque will be minimal on the wheels and tires of the e-bike because of the advanced software they use to ensure a minimal impact of a higher torque limit.
However, not all e-bike manufacturers have the same software, so it is wise to focus instead on the tires to take the stress that an increased torque may cause. In this video, the hosts, Calvin and Truman, explain the different tire sizes and how to read the numbers on your rubber tire:
Special Certifications for E-Bike Tires to Consider
Many companies use traditional tires even for e-bikes, even though it may not be the most efficient practice. As there are no specific regulations in North America that distinguish between the tires used on e-bikes and those used on traditional bikes.
However, it is always better to go for certified tires for e-bikes as they are required to comply with certain endurance limits, which is what you are looking for in your e-bike tires. The certificates are like a guarantee that assures you the confidence you need to operate the e-bike at its optimum speed.
In simple terms, the certification ensures that the bike tires can sustain high speed and sudden impacts caused due to brakes and acceleration for a sustained period. In Europe, for instance, the ECE-75R standards are being followed by manufacturers before they can sell the tires to the end customer.
The ECE-75Rs is a regulation passed by the Economic Commission for Europe. It lays down a set of standards related to tires for speed bikes. These regulations ensure that tires can endure high speed and stress.
The ECE-75R compliant tires are considered fit for installing into the e-bikes. However, this compliance requirement is not made mandatory for e-bikes that weigh less than 330 pounds (150 kilograms) or have a tire whose width is less than 67 millimeters (2.6 inches).
The following list are some of the manufacturers that follow the ECE 75R standard for their e-bike tires:
- Schwalbe Energizer,
- Kenda EMC Havok,
- Continental Top Contact 2,
- Honey Badger DH Energizer Pro, and
- Nevegal X