Wheels are fundamental for movement. As you pedal, the hub transfers your pedaling force through the spokes to the rim, propelling the bike forward. Tires provide traction, cushioning, and affect the handling of the bicycle. The air in the tires absorbs shocks, while the tread pattern on the tire surface affects grip and performance in different terrains and weather conditions.
Why its necessary to have good wheels and tires
Having good quality wheels and tires on an electric bike (e-bike) is crucial for several reasons:
Safety: E-bikes typically travel faster and are heavier than traditional bicycles due to the added weight of the motor and battery. Good quality tires with proper tread and grip are essential for safe braking and cornering, especially at higher speeds.
Durability and Reliability: High-quality wheels and tires are designed to withstand the additional stress placed on them by the increased weight and power of an e-bike. They are more resistant to wear and tear, punctures, and damage from road debris, ensuring more reliable performance and fewer repairs or replacements.
Comfort: Quality tires can significantly improve ride comfort. They better absorb shocks from uneven terrain, providing a smoother ride, which is especially important on longer journeys or rough surfaces.
Efficiency: Well-made tires with appropriate pressure and tread for your riding conditions can improve battery efficiency. Lower rolling resistance means the motor doesn't have to work as hard, which can extend the range of your e-bike.
Handling and Performance: Good tires provide better traction and handling, which is crucial for an e-bike's performance. Whether climbing hills, navigating turns, or stopping quickly, quality tires ensure better control and responsiveness.
Terrain Adaptability: Depending on your typical riding conditions (such as city streets, mountain trails, wet roads, etc.), having the right kind of tires is important. For instance, slick tires are best for city commuting, while knobby tires are essential for off-road riding.
Reduced Maintenance Costs: Investing in quality wheels and tires may have a higher initial cost, but it can save money in the long run due to reduced maintenance needs and fewer replacements.
In summary, good quality wheels and tires are essential for ensuring the safety, efficiency, and overall performance of your e-bike, especially considering the unique demands placed on these components by the added weight and power of electric bikes.
Cyclists are well aware of the problem of puncturing wheels, and everyone tries to have special means at their disposal, of which there are quite a few today. The first of these are puncture-resistant bicycle tires, which do not resist punctures from the side and are characterized by their heavy weight, which affects the vehicle itself. Special sealants used for tubeless tires can also be considered, as they would simply flow out in other tires. With the help of such a tool, it is possible to cover some distance, so it is usually used as a temporary measure. There are also special gel compounds, liquids, and tapes, the pros and cons of which one should know to choose the most suitable option for oneself.
Types of Tires and Wheels for Bikes
Bicycles come with various types of tires and wheels designed to suit different riding conditions and styles. Here’s an overview of the most common types:
Types of Tires
- Most common type used on bicycles.
- Have a bead that clinches to the rim of the wheel, with an inner tube inside.
- Easy to repair and replace.
- Eliminate the need for an inner tube.
- Can run at lower pressure, reducing the risk of punctures.
- Offer improved ride quality and better traction.
- Often used in road racing and professional cycling.
- The tire is glued to a special rim.
- Lightweight and can run at high pressures.
- Smooth, without any treads; ideal for road bikes.
- Provide great grip on paved surfaces.
Mountain Bike Tires:
- Have large, deep treads for grip in off-road conditions.
- Wider than road tires to provide better stability on uneven terrain.
- Combine features of road and mountain bike tires.
- Suitable for general-purpose riding on mixed surfaces.
- Designed for icy or snowy conditions.
- Have metal studs in the treads for extra grip.
Types of Wheels
- Commonly used on most bicycles.
- Come in various sizes, typically ranging from 26 inches to 29 inches for mountain bikes and 700c for road bikes.
- Have a deeper rim for aerodynamic advantage.
- Commonly used on road and racing bikes.
Carbon Fiber Wheels:
- Lightweight and stiff, offering performance benefits.
- Expensive and mainly used in racing or high-performance bikes.
- Solid or nearly solid wheels, used primarily in time trials and triathlons for aerodynamic efficiency.
Fat Bike Wheels:
- Extremely wide wheels designed for fat bikes.
- Provide better flotation on soft surfaces like snow and sand.
Each type of tire and wheel offers different advantages and trade-offs, such as grip, speed, durability, and weight. The choice depends on the specific needs of the rider and the type of cycling they engage in.
Anti-puncture bicycle tires The easiest way to protect yourself from such problems is with these tires. But there's a catch – the special additives inside add weight, but it is precisely because of them that the tire gets reliable protection. Many companies are engaged in the production of such tires. Racers often prefer Schwalbe tires, but this option is not the only one. Tires have several protective levels:
- No protective layer is present, so the carcass base is made of coarse material without puncture-resistant properties.
- The tire carcass is dense enough, but without puncture protection, used for light wheels of road models.
- Puncture-resistant tires of the third protective level are equipped with a special layer inside and outside.
- At this level, there are nylon fibers in two layers. The wheel's weight does not increase, and it is widely used by athletes.
- The distinctive feature of the fifth level is nylon fibers and an additional high-tech layer that can protect the sidewalls. The tire's weight is small.
- The sixth level is the most reliable because it has a five-millimeter resilient layer. The wheel is considered effective, but it weighs a lot.
From this, it can be concluded that the level of protection increases by adding specific materials. Tires come in different sizes. Some believe that there are no 26-inch puncture-resistant bike tires, but this is a misconception since such wheels are used on mountain bikes.
How to choose right tires and wheels for ebike
Choosing the right tires and wheels for an electric bike (e-bike) is crucial for optimal performance, safety, and enjoyment. Here are key factors to consider:
- Paved Roads/Urban Riding: Choose slick or semi-slick tires for smooth, efficient riding on pavement.
- Off-Road/Trail Riding: Opt for tires with deeper treads and more grip.
- Mixed Terrain: Consider hybrid tires with moderate tread.
- Wider tires offer better stability and comfort, especially on rough terrain.
- Narrower tires are more efficient and provide less rolling resistance on smooth surfaces.
- Look for tires with reinforced sidewalls or puncture-resistant layers, especially important in urban areas with debris.
- Consider tubeless tires for better puncture resistance and the ability to run lower tire pressures, which can provide better traction.
- If you ride in snow or icy conditions, studded tires may be necessary.
- In wet conditions, tires with water-channeling treads are preferable.
- Common sizes include 26", 27.5", and 29" for mountain bikes, and 700c for road bikes. The right size depends on your e-bike type and riding style.
- Larger wheels (29" or 700c) roll over obstacles more easily and are popular for touring and road e-bikes.
- Smaller wheels (26" or 27.5") offer quicker acceleration and maneuverability, suitable for mountain e-bikes.
- Aluminum rims are durable and offer a good balance of weight and price.
- Carbon fiber rims are lighter and stiffer but more expensive, typically used in high-performance e-bikes.
Brake Type Compatibility:
- Ensure the wheels are compatible with your e-bike's brake system (disc brakes or rim brakes).
Motor and Battery Considerations:
- E-bikes are heavier and generate more torque than regular bikes. Choose wheels that can handle the additional weight and stress.
- The hub should be compatible with the e-bike's drive system.
- Some e-bikes have the motor integrated into the hub, which requires a specific type of wheel.
Remember, the right tires and wheels can significantly impact your e-bike's handling, comfort, and efficiency, so it's worth spending time to find the perfect match for your needs.
Average Lifespan of bicycle wheels and tires
The average lifespan of bicycle wheels and tires can vary significantly based on several factors, including the type of bicycle, the quality of the components, usage patterns, and maintenance. Here's a general overview:
Road Bike Tires: Typically last between 1,000 to 3,000 miles. High-performance tires may offer less mileage due to softer compounds used for better grip.
Mountain Bike Tires: Generally last around 1,000 to 3,000 miles as well, but this can be less if frequently ridden on rough, abrasive terrain.
Hybrid/Commuter Bike Tires: These tires can last from 2,000 to 5,000 miles due to their thicker tread and durability designed for varied surfaces.
Factors Affecting Tire Lifespan:
- Riding Conditions: Rough, abrasive surfaces wear tires faster than smooth roads.
- Tire Pressure: Regularly under- or over-inflated tires can wear out faster.
- Rider Weight and Cargo: Heavier loads can lead to quicker tire wear.
- Maintenance: Proper care, including regular checks for debris and cuts, can extend tire life.
Lifespan: High-quality bicycle wheels can last between 15,000 to 20,000 miles or more. However, this depends heavily on the conditions they are used in and how well they are maintained.
Factors Affecting Wheel Lifespan:
- Usage: Frequent riding on rough terrain or in adverse weather conditions can shorten wheel life.
- Weight Load: Heavier riders or carrying heavy loads can stress wheels more.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including spoke tension adjustments and truing (straightening), is vital.
- Material and Build Quality: Higher quality materials and construction generally last longer.
Signs of Wear:
- For rims, look for visible signs of wear, like dents or cracks, and check the brake surface for excessive wear (if using rim brakes).
- Hubs require periodic servicing, and worn bearings or races can indicate it’s time for replacement or servicing.
In summary, the lifespan of bicycle wheels and tires depends largely on their use and care. Regular maintenance and riding within the designed capabilities of the bike can greatly extend the life of these components.
How to repair your tires and wheels
Repairing Bicycle Tires
Fixing a Flat Tire:
- Remove the Wheel: First, detach the wheel from your bike. If it’s the rear wheel, you may need to remove the chain from the gears.
- Remove the Tire and Tube: Use tire levers to pry the tire off the rim and take out the inner tube.
- Locate the Puncture: Inflate the tube to find the puncture. Listen and feel for escaping air.
- Patch or Replace: If the tube is punctured, you can either patch it using a tire patch kit or replace it with a new tube.
- Check the Tire: Before putting the tube back, check the inside of the tire for any objects that might cause another puncture.
- Consider using puncture-resistant tires or tire liners.
- Regularly check for and remove debris embedded in the tire’s tread.
Repairing/Truing Bicycle Wheels
- Truing a wheel involves adjusting the tension of the spokes to ensure the wheel is perfectly round and aligned.
- This requires a truing stand and a spoke wrench. Adjust the spokes by tightening or loosening the spoke nipples until the wheel spins without wobbling.
Replacing Broken Spokes:
- Remove the broken spoke and replace it with a new one of the correct length.
- Thread the new spoke through the hub and into the rim, then tighten it.
- After replacing a spoke, the wheel will often need to be trued.
- Hubs may need periodic servicing, including cleaning, lubricating, and adjusting bearings.
- For more complex hub issues, it might be best to take the wheel to a professional bike mechanic.
What accessories can protect your tires from punctures
A great remedy for punctures, which allows for a quick repair of a damaged wheel. This compound is used for tires of all sizes and wheel systems and can also be used to patch car tires.
The composition contains carbon fiber components and polymers, the strength level of which is comparable to steel. Often, this composition is used in the manufacture of bulletproof vests. To distribute the solution properly, it must be poured into a rotating wheel. When a hole needs to be sealed, the compound is squeezed directly into the damaged area. Once fully solidified, it forms something akin to a plug.
There are also some positive qualities. The solution does not affect the balance of the vehicle, resists the effects of a damp environment, and does not corrode. One bottle can repair seven to ten punctures, with a diameter reaching 6 mm.
The compound retains its qualities in any weather, and its use is allowed throughout the year. Another feature is that the solution does not accumulate in the lower area of the wheel during parking, and its operational life increases by a quarter.
An affordable solution designed for protection and repair of tires. The special liquid is suitable for all types of wheels and can be poured both in advance and after a puncture occurs. The effect lasts from four to seven months. If necessary, the old compound can easily be washed off with ordinary water since, after being poured into the wheel, the fluid retains its original state and only seals holes when exposed to air.
The principle of such a liquid's action is mechanical. It does not release toxins because its composition includes special natural thickeners, polymers, and fine fibers. Thanks to the thickener, the liquid turns into a plug in the damaged area. It's worth noting that the compound is not flammable and easily dissolves in water.
During rotation, the sealant forms a protective film inside the tire. For one wheel, it is necessary to use about 120 ml of the liquid.
There are also downsides: the sealant does not protect the sidewalls of the wheel at all. The only exception is when the repair compound is poured into a wheel held at a specific angle until the solution forms a plug. Cuts, cracks, and punctures larger than 3 mm in diameter cannot be sealed by such a liquid.
Bicycle Wheel Gel
This solution has a plethora of advantages. It is water-based, ensuring reliable tire integrity during a puncture. Key features include:
- The composition is distributed evenly throughout the inner surface of the tire.
- The gel remains liquid and automatically seals emerging holes. The repair process is based on air pressure.
- When the necessary amount of gel is injected, the tire can withstand up to a hundred damages.
- For a wheel with a width of two centimeters, up to 70 ml of gel is poured, and for a larger size, up to 120 ml is needed.
- The gel formula withstands temperature fluctuations because it contains antifreeze. The gel can be used in any weather conditions.
The kit includes a small bottle with gel, a syringe, a tube through which the solution is poured into the valve, and adapters for other types of inflation. There's also a special cap designed to remove the valve core. While other liquids are only poured into inflated tires, the tire should be completely deflated before pouring the gel.
Technology continues to evolve, and another simple yet effective solution against punctures has been developed. It is a special latex tape, designed to protect bicycle wheels. It is available in various colors, including wider models that also protect the tire's sidewalls.
Installing such tape is straightforward: the latex is simply placed inside the tire.
Such a tape is affordable and is lightweight. When applied correctly, it does not negatively affect the wheel balancing. While the latex proves ineffective against major damages, it excels against sharp objects, holding them off and preventing penetration.
Before installing the tape, the tire is removed from one side, cleaned from the inside, and the tape is cut to the required size and placed inside the entire tube. Afterward, the wheel is slightly inflated. Once the tube is in its place, the wheel is inflated to the maximum level. To ensure the tape is firmly in place, double-sided tape is used.
Where to buy good tires
CST brand tires are offered by Cheng Shin Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd. (Cheng Shin Tire). Employing more than 20,000 people, Cheng Shin Tire is the largest manufacturer of bicycle tires in the world and offers products in many other categories as well.
Distributed in more than 150 countries, the CST brand covers a wide range of market segments. CST products include tires and tubes for bicycles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, autos, trucks, forklifts, agricultural and lawn and garden equipment.
With facilities including three factories in Xiamen, China, CST’s operations boast world-class manufacturing equipment, innovative technology and a strong emphasis on quality, delivery and customer satisfaction. CST adheres to the most stringent international standards. The company has attained certificates and awards including DOT (US Department of Transportation) certification, ISO9001, E-Mark, TS 16949 and the China Well Known Brand Award.
Utilizing a first-rate manufacturing operation and highly efficient logistics, CST sets the standard for excellence in the tire industry. At CST, quality, integrity and service are more than just words: They’re the foundation of the company from top management to the factory floor and beyond.
Kenda Tires (Kenda Rubber Industrial Company) is a manufacturer of pneumatic tires in Taiwan since 1962 with manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, Mainland China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. They make tires for bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, trailers, automobiles, and industrial equipment.
Kenda was the 27th largest tire maker in the world in 2010. In 2011, Kenda decided to sell the 50-percent share that it has in the $200 million joint venture that it started with Cooper Tire & Rubber Company in China in 2003.
Since its founding more than 50 years ago, Maxxis International has been dedicated to making tires riders and drivers can trust for quality and performance.
Trust in Maxxis extends from average consumers to professional drivers and riders, who rely on Maxxis tires to win world and national championships, Olympic medals, and more.
Founded in Taiwan, Maxxis got its start by making bicycle tires, and soon expanded its offerings to include tires for auto, light truck, ATV, motorcycle, trailer, and more. Today, Maxxis distributes its products in more than 180 countries and has operations in Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia, employing more than 30,000 people. Maxxis’ ability to serve customers around the world is rooted in its manufacturing capacity, which includes facilities in Taiwan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. Maxxis opened its first distribution facility in North America in 1985, and today has more than half a million square feet of warehouse space across the U.S., located in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Indianapolis.
Those Maxxis distribution centers house some of the finest tires on the market. Using the latest technology, Maxxis engineers at R&D centers in Asia, Europe, and North America work to ensure that the company’s products are cutting edge. Maxxis also has the largest tire proving ground in China, and solicits feedback and assistance from the company’s impressive line-up of sponsored riders, who report on tires’ performance in the harshest, most demanding conditions.
Puncture protection is a key point in preparing a bicycle for long distances. Our tires are thick and well-reinforced, but even with them, there are situations when you run over large nails. Therefore, we recommend installing special tapes inside the tire and carrying gel with you (in 99% of cases you won't need it, but you'll feel at ease). Come visit us at 654 College street. All accessories are in stock. You'll be able to see the quality of our e-bikes firsthand and book a test drive.