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Opinion: Whats the best tire width for electric bike?

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  • #31
    I really like my 2" Schwalbe Marathon Deluxe ebike tires; but they are about $65 a pop and Schwalbe tubes suck.
    I've taken to running heavy duty Slime tubes and seem to have buried my frequent blown inner tube problem caused from hitting hard bumps at 30+ mph.
    I've got 1,300 miles on current set and need to replace rear now; but front looks at least half there still.

    I'm going to try some 2.25" Kenda small block eights on my new ebike I'm building.
    I bet they will be quite a bit louder running commute; but when I ran Schwalbe ice spiker pros without the spikes last winter on current setup the noise wasn't crazy while the grip was great.

    Through 6 or 7 thousand miles of ebiking I've learned that bicycle tubes pretty much aren't built for impact at these high speeds and Kevlar or some other puncture guard is well worth the added weight.
    So my advice is get 'thorn resistant' or slime tubes in the heavy guage rubber, and whatever tire you run keep it properly inflated.
    Also learn to pick your butt up off the seat when approaching a hard bump to ease the shock to the tire/tube combo.
    There are tires rated for fast ebikes; but the ratings top out at 50 kmh; so for most of us it's a crap shoot at high speed.

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    • #32
      I like my new Schwalbe Super Moto-X 27.5x2.8 and Surly Extraterrestrial 29x2.5 tires. Because of the narrow rims on the Super Moto's and wide rims on the Extraterrestrials, they both have about the same "balloon" affect. The Super Moto's with snake skin side walls are softer, but the Extraterrestrials have a better all around tread for cement and dirt.

      I think the 2.25"-2.5" is the sweet spot for street/commute and maybe up to 2.8" for off-road; especially if you are riding a hard tail. YMMV

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      • #33
        Did some 40 miles today, mostly aphalt and very little hilly grassy offroad. My hybrid Kenda tires (see my post earlier) did very well. Quiet and smooth on the pavement, noticeably better traction on the grass than my friend's 1.5" wide street tires. Fine for dirt/gravel trails too with dual suspension, but for those I would not mind slightly wider, especially on a rigid bike.

        I really like the idea of an almost slick 1" or so wide center strip flanked by medium sized knobs that only make contact on soft surfaces or leaning in turns. Only drawback, deeply leaned turns on pavement I think have less traction than with street only tires. But normal turns, ehich are like 99% of my turns are fine as the knobs don't engage much.

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        • #34
          My tires are 5.05" wide so I encounter more sharp debris.

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          • #35
            for my 27.5 mtb bbshd setup I'm using onza 2.3 tires tubed and with sealant works best its been 2 years now and it works perfectly, i had some small punctures "staple pin- like" but the sealant works like a charm

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            • #36
              ykick's post #29 pretty much is exactly what I would have written.

              I do just over 30 miles per day, 5-6 days per week. I have an electric fat bike with 80mm rims and a frame that can take up to 4.9" tires. I started out with 4.9" Chaoyang Big Daddies and, new to the fat-electric-bike-on-pavement thing, quickly moved to Vee V8's in 26x4.0, which I set aside looking for something better, then to Eclypse Edge-Fats (also sold by Duro now) that were horrible on pavement and wore out in 2 months.

              Next I moved to Origin8 Supercells - the 30tpi version. Those Supercells are Chaoyang Sandstorms with the Origin8 label on them. Since I put them on in late May they have about 2000 miles on them and the rear tire still has tons of tread left. Wear rate on that tough 30 tpi casing is incredible. But a 3/8" puncture/cut has me trying to save it with Shoegoo and Park tire patches. We'll see. These tires are fantastic for reduced rolling resistance, with the biggest sign of that being if I am approaching a red light I can lay off the throttle half a block away and coast down right up to the light. Downside is its a fairly slick tread and not something I want to find limits on in the wet.

              I moved the Big Daddies to a lower-speed electric cargo bike I built up and they work so well I have decided for this winter, I am going back to them on my commuter. Sure rolling resistance is reduced. But I have AWD and just over 4kw peak power. This ain't no road bike and its REALLY nice to be able to air down to 10 lbs and float along with minimal tire deflection. Arisun sells the Big Daddy 4.9 tire relabeled under their own brand in a 30 tpi and I just bought two at JensonUSA.

              The fact that 4.9 tires make the bike look like a fat bike... and 4.0 tires make it look like a pretend-motorcycle... well I'd be lying if I didn't say that was at least a small factor in my decision. The fat freaking tires have a fun factor to them.

              On my Stumpjumper, which has a mini Cyclone on it, I built up new wheels with Alexrims DM24 hoops. I put on the widest tire I can fit in the frame, which is a CST Cyclops 26x2.4 running at 60 psi (Schwalbe Crazy Bob 26x2.35 for the winter). Fantastic stability compared to the narrower stock Specialized/Sun/Ringle rims holding 2.125 tires. Its the wider rim to grab the tire over uneven terrain that makes the difference

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              • calfee20
                calfee20 commented
                Editing a comment
                This is a great post. I am interested in the Super Cells and now with the information on who makes them I can see they come in two different compounds. I will have to look into this. I was thinking of trying the 120 TPIs.

            • #37
              Originally posted by Rider View Post
              I like my new Schwalbe Super Moto-X 27.5x2.8 and Surly Extraterrestrial 29x2.5 tires. Because of the narrow rims on the Super Moto's and wide rims on the Extraterrestrials, they both have about the same "balloon" affect. The Super Moto's with snake skin side walls are softer, but the Extraterrestrials have a better all around tread for cement and dirt.

              I think the 2.25"-2.5" is the sweet spot for street/commute and maybe up to 2.8" for off-road; especially if you are riding a hard tail. YMMV
              UPDATE: After 2 years with no flats using 27.5 X 2.25 Schwalbe Smart Sam Plus with Green Guard (heavier) tires, I have had 2 flats with the Schwalbe Super Moto-X 27.5 X 2.8 tires WITHOUT Green Guard in a short time. I do run tubes. Love the "feel" of the wide soft Super Moto-X 27.5+ tire, but not sure it is the best choice for ripping around on the street in the debris area next to the curb with regard to flats.

              Note that the Schwalbe Super Moto-X 27.5 X 2.4 IS a Green Guard E-Rated tire and might be much better suited to street use.

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