Tires are frequently overlooked. Perhaps it’s because they are the dirtiest part of the bike, or maybe it’s because of their role as a non-mechanical part of your e-bike. Mechanical or not, they serve a vital role in the performance and safety of any e-biking experience.
With all the exciting things on board an e-bike to monitor and maintain, it’s possible to overlook your tire’s condition. If you’ve ever been stranded on the side of the road because of a flat tire, you’ll be very well aware of how important this bike component is, and how seriously you should take their condition. When you’re looking into ” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>e-bike reviews for which one is best, take a close look at the quality of tires too.
So when should you replace e-bike tires? Should you just ride them till they’re flat or change them often? Let’s take a look at some indicators you can watch for letting you know your tires need changing, and some ways to extend the life of your tires.
What’s Killing Your Tires?
You’ve likely seen enough flat tires to realize your bike’s tires take a beating, and it’s no wonder since they handle the business end of things. Whether it’s trail mud and rock, hot like lava asphalt, or potholes the size of craters, your e-bike’s tires face it all. The reasons for worn out tires will usually fall into one of these three categories.
- Too many miles– This is your best-case scenario because you will have gotten all you could out of your tires. They literally cannot give any more.
- Too few miles– This happens when you let your bike sit too long and tires can dry out from little use. This leads to cracking when inflated properly and breakdown of the tread.
- Catastrophic event– We all know what this entails. More times than not it’s a roofing nail or some sort of sharp debris in the road or sharp rock on the trail.
What To Look For
There are quite a few factors that will affect the lifespan of your e-bikes tire. Though e-bike tires are more robust than standard bike tires, they will still wear out and are impacted by their quality and your riding style. So what should you look for so you know when to replace your e-bike tires?
- Flat Spots– Whether you have off-road or road-only tires, it doesn’t take too much investigation to spot wear down the center line and even some squaring-off toward the side walls. Flat spots increase the likelihood of a puncture.
- Cuts– The side of the road is full of debris, particularly after rain. Even if you don’t get an immediate puncture there will be a consistent build-up of minor nicks and cuts. Regularly check if any hole has punctured through the casing. If so, you must replace the tire.
- Cracks– When you see a diagonal or criss-cross pattern in the tire, it’s time to replace it. Rubber will crack and become brittle as it ages, whether you’ve ridden the bike much or not. Visible cracks will lead to tire failure.
- Bulges– While a tire’s wear is usually spotted on the tread, the sidewalls can also wear and cause significant failures. Thinned-out tires can allow the tube to venture out beyond where it should and can work its way through the casing. If riding in extreme weather, changes to your tires can happen quickly, and bulges can come out of nowhere.
How to Keep Your Tires Rolling
Whether you prefer rugged, challenging terrain or smooth, paved urban roads, ensuring that your tires are ready to roll is critical. Don’t assume your tires won’t wear down because you don’t trail ride. All tires wear down over time.
The first step is to make sure your tires are correctly inflated. Most road tires need about 80-130 psi, and mountain bikes will require approx. 25-35 psi. A hybrid tire will be in the middle at 40-70 psi. It’s vital not to over-inflate the tire. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal performance.
Here are some other ways you can get your money’s worth from your tires.
No tire is impervious to leakage, so before you ride you should always check to see that it’s firm. You can put your weight on the bike, look at the tire when it meets the ground, and see if it bulges any more than usual. Depending on the age of your tubes and tires you could lose very little or a whole lot between rides. The temperature will also come into play, so be aware, especially in the cool weather.
While washing an e-bike has to be done carefully because of the electronics, maintaining clean tires will help you see what’s happening with their wear. You will better see the tread and check it for irregularities with all the mud and road grime removed. When cleaning your tires, use a gentle approach and avoid using pressure washers or even strong hoses. You don’t want to damage your wheel bearings by forcing out the bearing grease.
The Bottom Line
Your tires are an integral part of the performance and fun you have on your electric bike. You don’t want to be 25 miles away from home stranded on the side of a busy road with a tire failure. While there is never a guarantee that you won’t ever have a flat tire, making sure you’re following all precautions necessary and replacing your e-bike tires when needed is a way to prevent most issues.