– More torque, increased
use, and heavier weights, mean that we need more stability, more durability, puncture production, and of course, grip, on our E-bike tires. But how on earth do you choose what type of tire to get? This is our fundamentals into tire choice, we're gonna cover everything from width, tire compound, tread pattern, weight, and much, much more. (soft music) Tread comes in an incredibly
diverse range of patterns, from shallow to deep, in simple terms, the deeper the tread, the better that tire cuts into the dirt. Now, if you don't venture very far from smooth double-track,
then a shallow tread pattern is gonna be pretty good for you.
However, if you really
get off into the loam, into that deep dirt, then you do need a more aggressive tread
pattern on your tire. Now, if you look at this wet weather tire, you'll see a far greater
spread of the knobs on the tire and that helps to disperse
the mud far easier. Whereas, a dry weather tire has got quite close a tread pattern to it. Also, worth noting out about tread, is that very often, on dry weather tires, the front part of the knobs will have an angle on
them for rolling ability, whereas the rear edge of the tread is more angular, which
helps with breaking. What I also wanna point out is that a 2.6 to 3 inch tire, even with a shallow tread profile has an incredible amount of grip and braking. And that's because of the
way the tire flattens out and profiles, and digs into that dirt. But the bottom line when
it come to E-bike tires, is that, that rear tire, you have to have some bite there if you wanna take advantage of those climbs.
Right, lets get into the nitty gritty, the detail of E-bike tires,
and the choices you've got. Now, first up, it needs
to be climate specific, and definitely terrain specific. We've got three main broad types, we've got dry weather, wet weather, and an intermediate tire. This then, is a great example
of a dry weather tire, let's have a look a the characteristics.
First up, it's got a
great round profile to it, which means you can lean it
into corners all day long, helped, of course by that good
aggressive side knob to it. What's worth talking
about the tread pattern, you'll see it's quite raised, which mean it's great under braking, and also, it pulls you up those climbs, because of that great edge to it. Weighs in about 900 grams to a kilo, so it's quite a relatively
lightweight tire, never the less, it's quite
hard wearing at the same time. What's it's downfalls? Well, maybe, if you really kinda charge into very hard terrain,
big rocks and roots, you do need that bigger side
wall support on the tire. At which point, you might wanna choose a dry weather, downhill tire. This comes in about 1300 grams, and it's a far softer compound to it, which means it really is full on, downhill competition stuff.
What you really need to bear in mind with a softer compound tire, is that it's gonna suck about 20 to 40 watts more power
on your E-bike battery, so, if you're going for a one hour, full on loop, with loads of downhills, this is a great tire to choose. Whereas, if you're going
for a bigger day out ride, you'd really need to be looking
at the harder compound tire. Wet weather tires, I love these tires, simply because, I seem to use
them for much of the season. What are the characteristics? Well, as you can see, a
really aggro profile to it, really raised tread pattern, and what these do, they really dig into the dirt, all year long. Now what people forget is that you can actually run
a good tire like this, as if it's in dry, dusty conditions, as long as you put maximum
confidence into the tire. They weigh in about 12, 1300 grams, and remember, they're
usually soft compound, so like the dry weather
soft compound tire, it's gonna have quite a
drain on your battery. But guaranteed, wet
conditions, one hour loops, in the wet, this tire will
grab you every day of the week.
Now, the only downside of
a full on wet weather tire, is because of that really
aggro tread pattern, the raised profile of those knobs, is that when you get involved
with rocks and roots, they do become a little bit of a handful. They get hooked up with the edges, and kinda put you off line a touch. At which point, you might wanna consider an intermediate tire,
such as this one here. So, what do I mean by intermediate? Well, if we roll in the dry weather, which we discussed earlier, you'll see that the dry weather tire has quite a round profile to it, whereas the wet weather
is quite square edge, and obviously, like I mentioned, there's a quite a high tread pattern. The intermediate tire, never the less, is kind of in between the two, it's sort of, it's still square edged, yet, it got a lower tread pattern. So, if we discuss this tire in more depth, it's strengths are that you can still ride in wet, muddy conditions because, primarily because the tread
pattern, and also the compound. However if you get into
rocky, rooty conditions, this is a far more easy tire to manage in these situations.
Weight wise, again it's about 1300 grams, and like I mentioned earlier, because of the soft compound, it'll have a bigger drain on your battery, about 20 to 40 watts more
than a hard compound tire. Tire width, now mountain bike tires range from about two
inches, such as this one, up to about 2.5, 2.6, at which point, they go into plus-sized
category, 2.6 to three inches. Now, obviously, the wider tire is gonna give you more breaking ability and better traction under climbing. Now, I believe that a 2.6 inch tire is a really good option for an E-bike, for many respects, first up, that width is gonna give you
traction on those climbs. But more importantly, the volume is gonna mean it's a
very comfortable ride, particularly in beaten up
ground, big rocks, big roots. For example, if you were to
take a worn-out 2.3 inch tire, and then fit a 2.6 inch
tire on a trail center, with loads of square edged rocks, the difference in speed
and comfort is incredible.
Tire compound os a huge
subject for E-bikes, primarily because of the drain that the soft compound
has on your battery. Now, if we look at non E-bikes, the categorization tends to be harder compounds for cross-country riders, soft compound for downhill riders, whereas the enduro rider is always looking at that compromise between
rolling ability and grip. Now, I think the same
rules apply to an E-bike as they do an enduro rider. You want low rolling resistance, which means you're gonna have
less drain on your battery, but the same time, you want
a reasonable amount of grip. But, I think the main thing is, don't go for too soft a compound, because you wanna get a bit
of wear out of the tire, you don't want that tire
to wear out too quickly.
So as you can see, the
difference in diameter between each of these
tires is quite significant. The Hillbilly DH 27 by 2.5 comes
at 710 millimeter diameter. The Purgatory 2.8, that's on a
two seven five wheel as well, comes in at 720, then we move up to the Ground Control three inch
tire, at 737 millimeters, and then, moving wheel size to 29.2.4 Bontrager SE4, at 747
millimeter outside diameter. Now, if you swapped the Hillbilly, at 710, to the SE4, at 747, that's
a 37 millimeter change in the bottom bracket, and
that's a huge, huge number, so you really don't wanna be going under about 340 millimeters on
your bottom bracket height, so definitely check the
height of your tires.
Now, if you're suffering
a lot of pinch-flats, or flats in general, tubeless is certainly one option to choose, in
fact, it's the only option. If you look at World Cup downhill riders, who go through a lot of
impacts, big collisions, about ninety percent of them
choose the tubeless route. So, its simply so reliable. So, how do you do it? Well, quite simply, we kind of choose a tubeless tire, and fit it to your rim. Alternatively, get a
tubeless conversion kit, and don't forget to get some sealant, and boom, you're in business. Now, plus sized tires, we're talking about 2.6 to three inch, have been a bit of an enigma
over the last few years, and a lot of people say
you should be running like, super low pressures
between 12 and 15 psi.
Now, whilst that's okay
for super light riders, around 50 kilo's, if you're heavier, they really will have a
negative impact on the ride, and that's because the
bigger tires generally have thinner side walls, so what tends to happen is you load
them hard into corners, and they tend to collapse and
get a little bit out of shape, so if you're riding a 2.6
to 2.8 and three inch tire, you should really be on about 20 psi, not on those low 10 to 15 psi range.
However, if you're on a
heavy duty downhill tire, with a heavy casing, soft compound, my recommendation is between about 26 front, and about 28 on the rear. And finally, it's worth talking about the philosophy of wheel and tire size. Now, Canyon created a
bit of a stir recently, when they launched their
Spectral:ON E-bike, by designing it to use a
29 inch wheel up front, and a 27.5 on the rear. Now this kinda goes in line with a lot of motorcycle technology over the past hundred years, where they run a 21 up front, and a 19 or an 18 at the rear.
Does it work? Yes, it does so long as it matched with good rim geometry and tire dimensions that go with that bike. And in Canyon's sense,
they got it bang on, they got a 30 mil rim up
front, 35 mil rim at the rear, and what this does, that enables the rear to really dig in, to get
that traction on the climbs, yet, the 29 inch wheel up front allowed for good roll-over
through the rocks.
Now, other companies have taken a different approach
to the dual wheel size, simply by fitting different height tires, a big, tall tire up front, and then a shallower tire on the rear, critically, with a thin tread pattern. Now, whilst this might change the geometry of the
bike, and enable the bike to turn quicker in the corners, critically, that thin
tread pattern on the rear fails to take advantage of the climbing potential of E-bikes. So, tires, a huge amount to choose from, I think the bottom line is, learn to fine tune your tire choice, what suits you, your riding style, and the climate and riding
conditions that you ride in. One last thing is, maybe invest in a good tire pressure gauge to get those pressures bang on.
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