Ebike fat tire pressure. What’s The Ideal Pressure For E-MBT Tires?

What is a Good eBike Tire Pressure? MTB

Owning an e-bike is one thing. Taking care of it is another.

Besides making sure the bike is clean, you need to take care of the tires. Having the correct tire pressure for your e-bike is essential for the best riding experience.

Unfortunately, when it comes to tire pressure and e-bikes, it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. Not only do you need different tire pressures for different e-bikes and tires, but also different riding conditions.

So, what is a good eBike tire pressure?

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to ensure your tires and in top shape at all times.

E-Bike Tire Pressure Factors

E-bike tire pressure can get pretty complicated. pretty quickly. Thankfully, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

In general, the correct tire pressure depends on a couple of factors, including:

The easiest place to start is with the e-bike tires themselves. Although it can be hard to read, all tires have recommended pressure printed on the side.

Now, you don’t necessarily want to go by this metric alone. but it’s a good start.

Even if you keep your tires within the recommended pressure levels, there’s still room for some adjustments.

So, how do you get the tire pressure just right for you?

Well, a good place to start would be to understand the pros of high and low e-bike tire pressure.

High Vs. Low Tire Pressure

In short, the higher the tire pressure, the more rolling resistance you have. and that will make carrying your speed easier. The lower the tire’s pressure, the more grip you’ll have. and a more comfortable ride, in general.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. So, let’s look into this problem a bit deeper.

High E-Bike Tire Pressure

If you’re riding over smooth terrain like pavement, higher tire pressure will be better because it will reduce your rolling resistance and give you more speed.

For instance, some extremely “skinny” wheels can have a recommended tire pressure as high as 120 PSI.

On that note, most riders tend to go with higher tire pressure rather than lower tire pressure.

Keep in mind that the recommended pressure printed on the side of the tire is usually too high, though. On top of that, it doesn’t consider your weight or different types of terrain.

A good thing to know is the heavier you or your cargo get, the more tire pressure you’ll need to get the same performance out of your e-bike.

Low E-BIke Tire Pressure

Lower tire pressure is quite helpful when it’s rainy outside because it provides more grip. at the expense of rolling resistance and speed, that is.

Low-pressure e-bike tires are also excellent at absorbing bumps, making your whole ride much smoother. This pressure setting is also ideal if you have to do a lot of cornering on any off-road terrains.

And what would be the biggest drawback to low tire pressure?

It’s the increased wear and tear on the materials. Sooner or later, the sidewalls of your tires will crack, leading to flats.

No matter which setting you prefer, though, you should never go outside the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure levels.

Increase Tire Pressure

One of the simplest things that we always recommend to people to help mitigate flats is to adjust the tire pressure. A lot of people like to run their tire pressure a little bit lower because it gives a comfortable and cushy ride. Because of the low pressure, the wheels can absorb the impact on uneven terrain, rough and rocky roads, and similar obstacles, and the rider won’t feel the impact as much. However, due to the lower tire pressure, it creates more surface of the wheel to come into contact with the ground and the tires become more susceptible to flats. Therefore, if you always go for a ride and want to minimize encountering flats, we recommend that you inflate the tires to their higher recommended pressure.

For example, our electric cruiser bike which use Schwalbe fat frank tires, has a recommended lower end tire pressure of 30 to 45psi. To make it more flat resistant, we recommend inflating it to a higher pressure of 50 psi or higher. If it is any less than 45 psi, it will give you a plush and comfortable ride, but as previously mentioned, you will get flats more frequently.

Issue with Fat Tires

Fat tire bikes are very popular all over the e-bike market. However, one of the things that is a little unfortunate about the fat tires is that the bigger the tire is, the lower the tire pressure will be. For example, Schwalbe has a maximum tire pressure of 65psi. But compared to skinny 700 road tires, which typically have around 80 to 120psi, fat tires are on the low side of pressure.

Another issue with low tire pressure on fat tires is what is called a pinch flat. Pinch flats only occur when your tire pressure is too low. When going over a hump, if the tire pressure is too low, the tire might flatten as it comes down and the metal rim itself will pinch in between the ground and the wheel tube. Because of the weight of the bike and wheel, the tube will tear like toilet paper. So, the second you hit that bump at too low tire pressure, you’re going to get two lines in your tube and your tires are going to go flat.

We really must stress that you should always make sure that your tires have a high enough pressure. It is always advisable that you check it before going for a ride.

Use Tire Liners

Aside from the tire pressure, there are also some accessories you can get for your ebike to help mitigate flats. One of these is a tire liner. It is a thin piece of extruded plastic material that goes inside the tire and in between the tube. This basically creates an extra layer that a puncture would have to go through before it can penetrate the tube.

There are many styles of tire liners. There are really thin ones, like the Mr. Tuffy Tires Liner, that are inexpensive and widely available in the market. Then, there are also super heavy duty tire liners, like the Tannus Armour, that are big foam inserts which require a fair bit of work to install.

Obviously, the heavy-duty tire liners are much more protective than the thin ones. However, it will potentially give you a little bit of a rougher feel. In our shop, we’ve installed a lot of Tannus liners, and most of the time people usually have the same complaint about them. They don’t get many flats, but the ride becomes very hard and harsh. Since the tire is filled inside with a hard material, it takes away the cushion that a normal air pressure would have afforded you.

Another important aspect about having heavy duty liners is that you should always stay on top of your tire pressure. Liners stay in position by using the pressure of the tube, which presses it against the tire to hold it in place. If the tire pressure drops, the tube wouldn’t be pressing the liner against the tire as firm as it should be. When this happens, the tire liner can shimmy out of place, wrap around the tube, and then it can actually cause flats. The thing you bought to prevent flats can actually start to cause you flats if you’re not being careful with them. So be sure to always check that you have adequate tire pressure.

What factors influence mountain bike tyre pressure?

As we’ve already touched upon, a number of factors influence the ‘right’ tyre pressure for you and your bike. Let’s run through them.

Rider and bike weight

The logical place to start is the combined weight of you and your bike. It stands to reason that a heavier rider is going to need higher pressures than a lighter rider.

Tire Pressure on Electric Bikes

Why? A heavier rider will put more force through the tyres and thus this needs to be balanced with correspondingly higher pressures. The opposite applies to a lighter rider.

Terrain

No one wants to spend time fixing punctures at the side of a trail. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Likewise, where are you going to ride? If you’re riding somewhere super-rocky and rooty, perhaps on fast terrain so you might be hitting those features at speed, you might need to up your pressure a touch.

Higher pressures mean less tyre deformation when you hit a rock, and so less chance of it puncturing – though if pressures are too high, you may increase the risk of tearing your tyre’s carcass on a sharp edge.

Conversely, if you’re riding on smoother terrain, or perhaps at lower speeds (think steep muddy and rooty tech trails), lower pressures will allow the tyre to deform more, enabling it to better mould to the ground’s shape, boosting grip.

As you’ll notice, there’s also some nuance here to appreciate – a track in the dry might be very different when it’s wet, and so your pressures might have to change depending on the trail’s condition.

Riding style

Though less ‘measurable’, a rider’s style might also be taken into account.

If you’re a bit more precise with your riding, weaving smoothly through obstacles, you might get away with a couple of psi less. However, if you’re someone with more of a point-and-shoot style, you might need to pay a little more attention to puncture protection.

How does a tyre’s construction influence tyre pressure?

Now let’s look at the tyres themselves. After all, even the best mountain bike tyres come in a wide range of widths, diameters, compounds and carcass types – all of which can influence the pressure required.

Tyre width

The width of tyres will have an impact on the correct pressure. Here we have (from left to right) a 2.2in XC tyre, a 2.4in trail tyre and a 2.6in enduro tyre. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

First up is the obvious one – the width of the tyre. This also relates to the overall shape and volume of the tyre, which itself is dependent on the internal width of the rim of the mountain bike wheel it is fitted to.

ebike, tire, pressure, ideal, tires

A wider tyre will have a larger volume of air inside it. Likewise, a given tyre, on a wider rim, will inflate wider than the same tyre on a narrower rim.

As a general rule, a larger-volume tyre can handle lower pressures before it feels imprecise and there’s excessive movement of the tyre on the rim, or before it becomes more susceptible to punctures or burping. Here, the bead of a tubeless tyre pulls away briefly from the rim, expelling air.

Furthermore, running a higher-volume tyre at too high a pressure makes it more likely to feel pingy and skittery.

As a rule of thumb, a higher-volume tyre can be run at slightly lower pressures than a lower-volume tyre setup.

Rim width

Going a bit deeper into this, wider tyres tend to perform better on correspondingly wider rims. A wide tyre on a narrow rim can be more lightbulb-shaped once inflated and prone to rolling side-to-side on a rim, leading to an imprecise feel.

A narrow tyre on a wide rim becomes too square, which changes the feel of the tyre as you lean in a corner, and can lead to the shoulder treads squirming. Cornering lean angles can also be reduced.

So, what do we mean when we talk about ‘narrow’ rims and ‘wide’ rims? And what’s the best match between tyre width and rim width?

  • Though there are variations, a narrower 2.2in tyre will be better mounted to a rim with an internal width of roughly 25mm
  • A 2.4in tyre mounted to a 25mm to 30mm rim is a good starting point
  • At 2.5 to 2.6in wide, we’d be looking for a 28 to 35mm rim
  • Finally, 2.8in tyres are likely best suited to a 35mm rim

Tyre carcass

The EXO casing from Maxxis is an example of a single-ply carcass designed for low weight and fast-rolling speed, with some protection against punctures. David Arthur / Immediate Media

The next key variable with the tyre is its carcass and this comes down to the construction. Quite often, tyre brands will supply the same tyre tread and width with a number of carcasses because different carcasses have pros and cons, depending on the intended use.

A thicker carcass will have more puncture protection and may have a more ‘damped’ feel to it. However, it’ll be heavier and because there’s more material in the sidewall of the tyre it could be less supple – this can change how efficiently it rolls.

As a thicker-carcass tyre is inherently stronger, in a mountain bike application we might be tempted to run a little less pressure. The tyre should add some puncture protection back into your setup and, because the tyre is more robust overall, it should also retain a bit more stability on the rim.

A thinner tyre, on the other hand, might be run at a touch higher pressure to guard against punctures. With the additional suppleness that comes with a thinner carcass, it’ll still deliver the grip and comfort you want.

As always, the carcass you choose will depend on the balance you want between weight, rolling efficiency, puncture protection and grip.

Tyre compound

As well as the tyre carcass type, you will also want to consider the tyre compound. Tyre compound refers to the blend of materials used to make the rubber – some will be softer than others.

A soft-compound tyre will give more grip for a given pressure, as the rubber itself boosts traction. Here you might consider adding a touch more pressure because this will give the tyre more protection and stability, while retaining that grip you want.

Should a rear tyre be pumped up harder than the front?

Finally, let’s look at the job of the front and rear tyres, and what impact that has on pressure.

The front tyre’s role is very much one of grip – both for braking and cornering.

We know that lower pressures increase grip so, as long as you’re not so low as to induce tyre roll, we want to increase grip as much as we can, to boost control.

At the other end of the bike, the rear wheel generally has to put up with more abuse – it’s the one most likely to suffer a puncture. On top of that, the rear tends to be the draggier of the two wheels due to rider weight distribution between the wheels.

While the relationship between pressure and rolling efficiency is complex, on a mountain bike it’s advisable to run the rear tyre pressure a little higher than the front – it usually makes it roll faster and adds puncture protection.

So, at what pressure should you run your tyres?

As you’ll have learnt by now, there’s a lot of detail here, and finding the right pressure for you and your bike is part art, part science.

Everything we’ve covered illustrates why tyre pressure is a continuous process of trial and error, to find the right pressure for your setup, the terrain and conditions.

Now we’re going to delve into a few numbers to help you pick a starting point. However, before we kick things off, we’re going to make two very quick assumptions about your tyre setup.

First off, we’re assuming your mountain bike is set up tubeless. This means the inner tube has been removed, the rim sealed with a rim strip or it’s a UST (Universal Standard Tubeless) design, and a tubeless valve and tubeless sealant have been added.

A tubeless setup will give you more protection against punctures and help provide a better ride quality because the friction between an inner tube and the inside of the tyre can inhibit the tyre’s ability to deform to the trail.

Switching to tubeless will avoid pinch flats if you hit a root or rock with a soft tyre. Russell Burton / Immediate Media

You can also run tubeless tyres at slightly lower pressures because you remove the risk of pinch flats, where an inner tube gets pinched against the rim and punctures. If you’re running inner tubes, we’d recommend looking into the advantages of tubeless for mountain biking.

Secondly, we’re not talking about tyre inserts in this guide. Tyre inserts are rings of foam that sit inside a tubeless tyre. They offer a range of potential benefits, including increased tyre stability, puncture protection and tyre security. Generally, they’ll enable you to run lower tyre pressures too.

ebike, tire, pressure, ideal, tires

Should you just pump your tyres up to the pressure recommended on the sidewall?

Tyres usually have a lot of information to digest on the sidewalls. This may include the carcass type, width, compound and maximum and minimum pressures.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t go above or below the stated pressure range, but many riders do run lower pressures without any issues, particularly on a tubeless setup. Obviously, you do so at your own risk.

The perfect tire pressure for your e-bike

The right air pressure for your e-bike

Your bicycle tires are your direct connection to the ground. They give you direct feedback to the terrain and help you corner safely. The right tire pressure on your e-bike makes a significant difference to your overall riding experience and rolling resistance.

How much tire pressure does an e-bike need?

There is no general answer to this question. Factors such as riding style, weight, tire width and weather can change the required tire pressure. Too much pressure reduces the fun factor on every ride because you will clearly feel every little stone under your tires. However, too little pressure can lead to higher tire wear. But don’t worry, the search for the right tire pressure on the E-Bike Fortunately, is not rocket science. We’ll tell you which factors you have to consider:

  • Tire width and usage
  • Combined weight of rider, bike and luggage
  • Terrain
  • Weather and climatic conditions
  • Riding style and comfort

E-bike air pressure and tire width

A quick look at the tire’s sidewall reveals the first clue to the ideal tire pressure. Here you will find the standardised ETRTO tire size and the recommended minimum and maximum tire pressure limits. This information serves as a good starting point ​​in search of the right tire pressure for your e-bike. Make sure that you always stay within the given values. Both too little and too much pressure can damage the tire.

The rule applies here: wider tires need less air pressure. Compared to narrow racing bike tires, hybrid e-bike tires are ridden with less pressure as they are between 37 and 50 millimeters wide. This has a direct increase in comfort. Wide bicycle tires dampen the unevenness of the road.

The right tire pressure on your e-bike

How weight influences your e-bikes tire pressure

The air pressure must always be based on the total weight of the rider, bicycle and luggage. The rider makes up most of the overall weight. As a rule of thumb: the higher the weight, the higher the required tire pressure within the approved values ​​of your tire. Heavy riders generally have to put more pressure on their tires than lighter riders. You also need to consider bike bags, a backpack full of groceries or a child seat when adjusting the air pressure. If the tire pressure is too low for the overall weight, then comfort, puncture resistance and ultimately safety will suffer.

What tire pressure for which surface for an e-bike?

On a smooth asphalt, a tire rolls significantly better with higher pressure. Similarly, on dirt roads and other uneven streets, too much tire pressure prevents bumps being absorbed under the tire. You will clearly notice these bumps in your wrists, back and neck in the long run. So, you should also adjust your tire pressure depending on the route. Which surfaces will you expect on your ride? Less asphalt also means a little less air pressure for more comfort.

How does weather affect tire pressure?

The tire should give good grip even when wet. Reduce the air pressure on moist ground for more grip. But not too much! Too low and you’ll quickly notice it in your front wheel. The result is spongy steering behaviour and an inability to stop when cornering. Temperature also has an impact on the tire pressure. High temperatures automatically increase the pressure in the tire. Check the air pressure to be on the safe side before long hot descents.

Different ridestyle means different tire pressure

Ultimately, the search for the right air pressure is also a question of your personal riding style. In addition to tire choice and overall weight, your personal comfort levels also help inform tire pressure. During your riders, you will quickly notice which air pressure feels good and fits your riding style. It is important to feel safe.

Perfect tire pressure on the e-bike

Table of Contents

So what exactly is a fat tire electric bike? Simply put, it’s any ebike with tires that are 4 inches in width. Most fat tire ebikes have 4” tires, but some have 4.5” and even 4.8” widths, which are also referred to as super fat tires. By contrast, conventional bike tire widths from 1.95”, 2.0”, 2.1”, 2.3”, to 3.0”.

Not your typical fat tire electric bike

The most common diameters of bike tires are 20”, 24” and 26”, but the common variable for fat tires is their 4” or greater width.

Unlike conventional tires, fat tires can be ridden at varying pressures, measured in pounds-per-square-inch (psi). Most fat tires can be inflated from 5psi to 30psi, allowing you to adjust the tire pressure to suit surface conditions. On a paved road, a tight 30psi tire will work best, but if you are on soft surfaces such as wet sand or snow, lowering the psi will increase surface area contact and provide more float.

Fat tire ebikes come in several styles, including ones with step-thru frames, folding frames, and perhaps the most common, fat tire electric mountain bikes. Once again, the common variable is tire width.

The larger rims and wider tires typically add about 4 pounds to the bicycle’s weight. This can be reduced with rim cutouts, which reduces the mass of the rim. Four pounds may not seem like a lot, but that is on top of the added weight of the motor, battery and controller.

So fat tire ebikes are generally heavier than other ebikes, and definitely heavier than conventional bikes. This will not be an issue so much when riding, but it can be a problem if you need to lift your bike onto a rack or carry it up and down stairs.

What Are The Benefits Of Fat Tires?

Fat tires have a bigger footprint than conventional tires. There is more surface area contact, and this is true whether you are riding on a paved road, a gravelly and rutted trail, or through a snowy field or sandy beach.

The greater amount of surface area contact has several benefits, including more stability and great traction. You can think of it like shoes on your feet. Which shoe gives you better stability and traction, a hiking boot or a high heel?

From a technical perspective, the friction between your tire and the road is known as rolling resistance. The greater the friction, the slower you will go. Poor road conditions, lower quality tires and tubes, rider weight, and speed, all contribute to adding friction and thus slow you down.

Stability is important on both paved and unpaved surfaces. On paved surfaces, stability in turns can prevent the bike from losing its grip and sliding out from under you. On unpaved surfaces, stability will help you maintain your balance as you encounter changes in surface conditions, like ruts, stumps and rocky lines. Having greater traction is also a benefit, since it will prevent slide-outs and transfer more of the motor power directly through the drivetrain to the riding surface.

Another benefit of fat tires is their ability to work effectively on soft surfaces, including snowy and sandy conditions. This is sometimes referred to as floatation, or the ability of the tire to float over rather than cut through the soft material. This is best achieved when you deflate the tire pressure down to as low as 5psi. The bigger footprint of a fat bike tire distributes the load over a wider patch of ground, allowing you to ride over terrain that would be impossible on a regular bike, like loose sand and snow.

Over a snow-packed single track, riders can glide through icy corners that may have sent them hurtling to the ground on a standard mountain bike. The squishier tires can also make for a much more comfortable ride on the trail. On sandy beaches, fat tires will ride over the surface more than cutting into it.

But other factors also play a part, including the weight of the rider and how much motor power they have on their bike. Snow drifts and thick dry sand will still require some muscling through, even with the help of a powerful motor. You’re definitely going to get in a workout.

Rocks and roots that would rattle your brains on a regular bike are now barely felt under the cushion of your big tires. Everything seems muted, which can be a negative for some people as you have less feedback. You feel somewhat invincible descending over chunky stuff. People with back problems can find fat bikes much more comfortable because of this.

It can make your line choice sloppier then before though. Sometimes I will see that I am headed towards a choppy or nasty line that I wouldn’t normally take, but with the fatty plow right through. Having said this, tire pressure on a fatbike is absolutely critical, more so than any other bike. One or two psi over your ideal pressure and your ride will feel harsh and bouncy, too little and you will run into more rolling resistance than necessary and risk damaging your rims.

The low pressure tires enable it to grab on to the terrain better. I use about 7 psi on my fat bike when riding regular trails and the tires just conform to every irregularity on the terrain, making climbing traction seem almost unlimited. Cornering traction can also be vastly superior vs. other tire sizes but the big tire can also work against you here, it will depend on the type of soil and terrain.

Wow factor is also a big plus if you are into that. No other bike will draw as much attention as a fat tire ebike, especially from non-cyclists.

Disadvantages of Fat Tire Electric Bikes

Fat tire electric bikes do have their disadvantages, and you should be aware of these before getting one.

First, fat tire bikes are heavier than their conventional counterparts, especially when they are used as heavy-duty mountain bikes. They can weigh anywhere from 60-80 lbs, compared to regular ebikes which typically weigh 45-60 lbs.

The greater weight is due to the greater mass of the larger tire and rim, and in the case of mountain bikes, the heavier gauge frame and components. The extra weight may be noticeable if you are riding up hills without a boost from the motor, but less so on flat paved roads. The heavier bike will also be harder to lift onto a bike rack, or to carry up and down stairs.

ebike, tire, pressure, ideal, tires

Second, the unique combination of the relatively heavier frames, decreased tire pressure and rolling resistance can result in fat tire bikes feeling slower and more sluggish compared to other models. Of course, with a motor on board, this isn’t really a problem, but it can be noticeable if you are only using the standard gears to propel the bike, especially on uneven surfaces or hills.

Another potential downside to fat tire bikes is the flip-side of one of their advantages: floatation. While the ability to float over soft surfaces is great, in certain muddy situations you could find yourself with less grip or bite than with a narrower tire.

Fat bike tires can be tricky to ride on some gravelly surfaces, especially if the tire is not well manufactured with good tread and sidewalls. With the larger surface area contact, there is the potential to become destabilized if you hit some gravel, where the small rocks can act like ball bearings and decrease friction.

Finally, since fat ebikes are not as popular around the world as typical bikes, riding a fattie will always cause a flurry of excitement and attention with onlookers wanting to check out your awesome ride. While this may sound like a remarkable thing, it can, however, attract the wrong crowd, which may put you at greater risk of theft.

Most Popular Fat Tire Ebikes Formats

Fat tire electric bikes fall into several common bike formats, including mountain, step-thru and folding.

Fat tire electric mountain bikes have the typical characteristics of conventional mountain bikes, including an aggressive, forward-leaning body posture, straight handlebars, heavy-duty frames, and front shocks. Some fat tire ebikes have full-suspension frames and hydraulic disc brakes.

MTB Tire Pressure Guidelines Explained | Fat Bikes, Hardtails, Gravel | Ultimate Tire Pressure Guide

Fat tire ebikes with a step-thru frame are less common, but there are a few that are very popular with customers. The E-Fat-Step is our bestseller in this category. It features a curved frame that allows for easy mounting and dismounting. The E-Fat-Step also sports 20” x 4” tires and is a folder, so it’s more portable than other ebikes in this category.

Finally, there are a wide range of fat tire folding ebikes on the market today. This is one of the most popular categories, with new models being introduced on a regular basis. Fat tire foldable ebikes typically have 20” x 4” tires, and feature a central hinge and clamp folding mechanism. Some also have a fold tiller, which reduces the overall folded dimensions and makes the bike more portable.

In this category, the Big Dog Extreme by GreenBike is our most popular model. It features a powerful 750W rear hub motor, an easy access long-range battery, magnesium alloy rims, hydraulic disc brakes, and essential accessories such as fenders and a rear rack.

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