Electric Scooter (or bike) Tires Guide
An important component of your motor scooter (or bike) is its tires. As they are the only component in contact with the road, extra care should be given to their selection and maintenance. The transmission from your motor occurs through these tires and the bumps on the road also affect your journey via tires. Tires ensure your smooth journey. They are also responsible for grip and traction. Therefore, extra precautions should be taken while selecting the right kind of tires for your electric scooter (or bike). The wrong size of tire, over-inflation or under-inflation, or excessive tread wear can prove harmful to the rider. In this guide, we will help you choose the right kind of tire for your electric scooter (or bike), proper maintenance guidelines and when to get rid of your old tires.
Choosing the Right Type
For an electric scooter (or bike), there are three types of tires available in the market.
- Pneumatic Tires
Pneumatic tires are air-filled tires. Due to the air, they are more flexible and can adjust to the bumps in the roads, hence the suspension is better. Also, they offer more road grip and traction with little roll resistance due to their flexibility. However, their flexibility is also a nuisance as pneumatic tires are prone to puncture, and you can end up with a flat tire in the middle of your journey.
Pneumatic tires are less favorable in hot climate areas. Even excessive speeding, cornering or braking can cause the pneumatic tires to heat causing a tire blowout.
Another disadvantage to using pneumatic tires is air pressure. Maintaining optimum pressure is vital to the efficiency of the ride. Over or underinflation can be harmful to the tires and scooter (or bike).
Pneumatic tires, hence, need a lot of maintenance and care. As electric scooter (or bike) technicians are not widely available and car mechanics do not repair electric scooter (or bike) tires, having a flat tire can be bothersome.
- Solid Tires
Solid tires are made from hard rubber entirely or filled with foam. Unlike, pneumatic tires, they do not contain hollow tubes filled with air, they are solid. This inflexibility can be an issue in journeys along bumpy roads but with a good suspension that can be minimized. But the advantage of solid tires is no flat tire. These tires are called zero maintenance tires. You can use them without worrying about maintenance, pressure issues or puncture.
- Honeycomb Tires
These tires are manufactured by combining the best of both pneumatic and solid tires. Offering the flexibility of air-filled tires and less maintenance of solid tires. However, these tires are still in the trial period.
Choosing the Right Size
The key aspect of choosing the right tire size is understanding various nomenclature techniques used in the industry to mark different dimensions. Widely used styles are:
- Use of ‘x’: In this style, the first number represents the overall tire diameter while the second number shows the tire In some cases, a third number also follows, separated by ‘x’ too, showing rim diameter or the inner tire diameter.
- Use of dash ‘/’ followed by a hyphen ‘-’: In this style, the first number represents the overall width of the tire, while the second number that follows the dash shows the section height of the tire. The third number shows the rim diameter. Some manufacturers, omit the first dimension and mention only the section height and rim diameter.
25 x 3.25
25 x 3.25 x 12
3.25 / 6.50 – 12
6.50 - 12
Choosing the Right Pressure
The pressure in your scooter (or bike) is as important as the type of tire you are using. The pressure is measured in PSI – pound per square inch and is important for pneumatic tires. For a smooth ride, the pressure should be maintained at an optimum level. If it is below the required level, the tire will be under-inflated, and its center will be sucked in. this reduced radius will cause a lower grip and the ride will be bumpy.
Similarly, if the pressure is above the optimum level, the tire will be overinflated, causing the grip to be lessened. This will decrease the mileage and decrease efficiency. The right amount of tire pressure can be obtained from the manual guide of your scooter (or bike). If not available, a thumb rule is provided below:
Rider Weight (kg)
Front Tire (psi)
Back Tire (psi)
50 – 70
35 - 40
40 – 50
70 – 90
40 - 45
45 - 55
90 - 100
45 - 50
50 - 60
Checking the Treads
Always make sure the treads on your tire are in good condition. Treads are the pattern of grooves on your tires that ensure proper road-gripping. They can be measured as the vertical distance of the groove.
The right type of pattern for your scooter (or bike) depends upon the type of journey you need the scooter (or bike) for. If you drive on a plane road, fewer patterns are beneficial for you as they ensure more speed. However, if you off-road daily, then you need more and thicker patterns to have a better grip.
With time, the treads start wearing out. This can be a safety hazard and can cause slippage. Also, in rainy or snowy conditions, they are vital to ensure traction. Therefore, one must check for the treads on the tires regularly.
One of the key reasons of premature tire wearing are mounting tire in reverse tread direction. Directional tires are designed to run in one direction only. Mounting them in reverse direction will cause them to wear more quickly and produce excessive noise. Tread direction is beneficial in wintry or wet conditions. To mount the tire correctly, one must pay attention to the arrow marks on the tire that point the direction of rotation of the tire. Therefore, the tire should be mounted to align the tire treads with the rotational direction.
Figure 2 Different Tread Conditions - From New (Left) to Worn Out (Right)
A key factory that determines the range of your electric scooter (or bike) is the rolling resistance between your tires and ground. Rolling resistance along with air drag are the opposing forces that make your motor work harder. As the tire moves on the ground, the deformations caused both in tire and ground absorb energy. The elastic deformations release energy but a part of energy is lost due to heat. This hysteresis loss is the rolling resistance and is the reason your scooter (or bike) eventually comes to rest if more energy is not provided by motor.
Rolling resistance depends on several factors, including speed, type of surface, weight of the scooter and type of tire. Since air filled tires are lighter than the solid tires and the contact area is smaller, they offer less rolling resistance and hence are more efficient.
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