Tyres for E-Trikes

I’ve tried only a handful of different tyres in the last couple of years. For a fast e-trike my main focus is traction and braking power, not minimal rolling resistance.

Schwalbe Big Ben
Currently in use are Schwalbe Big Ben 2.15″ on 47mm wide rims. They have a beefier tread than Big Apples and great road grip even in rain. An other point the Big Ben offers over the Big Apple is a ECE-R75 certification (‘E-Bike 50 ready’), throughout Europe a mandatory legal requirement for tyres used on ebikes capable of a top speed up to 50km/h.

No flat in 3.000km at the front and one in >9.000km at the rear (snakebite due to low tyre pressure and hitting a curb). I have yet to find a front tyre that equals the Big Ben in braking power no matter what condition (except ice, of course).
2″ or wider tyres will not fit under ICE front fenders. You either have good braking or stay clean. 😀
Its great traction makes the Big Ben my rear tyre of choice for a trike.
At the front they lasted only about 2.000km till the thread was gone. Frequent hard braking from higher speed takes its toll, but I didn’t mind much to buy a new set every 2 month to get that tremendous braking power on wet roads in Fall and Winter, though. The three 24″ Big Ben’s I ran at the rear of the Sprint had still half their thread left afer about 3,500km.

Schwalbe Land Cruiser
My standard winter tyre on the trike is the Schwalbe Land Cruiser for 24″ and 26″ rear wheels. Equally good traction on dry and wet roads as the Big Ben, but more grip on gravel, dirt and snow. They might not last as long as Marathons but have at least twice the grip. The Land Cruiser isn’t one of Schwalbe’s premium tyres and bears no ‘E-Bike 25 ready’ or ‘E-Bike 50 ready’ mark.

No flats in >5.000km exept a snake bite, when I hit a hidden curb stone buried under 8″ of snow.

Schwalbe Marathon
Marathon Greenguard last long and offer very good flat protection. I had a flat roughly every 3.500-4.500km on the front when the tread started to get thin, none at the rear, but in comparison Marathons feel rather slippery in the wet. Especially true when the middle of the thread is worn off. It got a ECE-R75 certification only for some tyre sizes.

Schwalbe Energizer Plus
Energizer Plus are very similar to Marathon Greenguard, but provide slightly better grip on wet roads. It got ECE-R75 certification for fast ebikes as well. I’ve so far tested them only on my 47mm wide rims at the front. The ride tends to get a bit harsher on these very wide rims, but high-speed corner handling is really great as long as the road is dry.

I had one flat in 1.600km at the front when I ran over a hidden soda can that pinched the side wall of the tube. It didn’t perforate the side wall of the tyre, though.

Addition May 17, 2015:
I use the 20″ Energizer Plus on 27mm wide SUNringle Rhyno Lite rims for more than 900km now. A very comfortable combination at 2.8-3 bar (40-43 psi). Corner handling remains good. On wet roads, grip is nowhere near the Big Ben, though.

Schwalbe Marathon Racer
My Sprint came shod with a set of Marathon Racer in 40-406. I’ve actually not much good to say about them. They are light, grip is good but not exceptional. A tyre set at the front lasted no more than 2.000km. When I changed to Marathon Greenguard after my second set of Racers where worn out, I felt no speed penalty, but suffering more or less frequent flats stopped suddenly. Schwalbe rates the Marathon Racer ‘E-Bike 25 ready’ only.

Schwalbe Durano
I’ve got only very limited experience with the Durano. I bought a set of Duranos in 28-406 for the front to see if I get better traction on wet roads than Marathons or Energizer Plus without having to deal with supple Big Ben’s that don’t fit under the front fenders.
My very short test run in rain went rather well. They looked awfully skinny and small on the Sprint, though. Clownish small for use with fenders too. I’ve put them by the side for now.
Because for their good traction, Durano’s where my tyre of choice when I had to shoe the new, skinny 26″ front wheels. Corner handling with big front wheels is obviously on a whole different (lower) level. In the end the Marathons on my 24″ front wheels just felt way more robust for a trouble-free late night commute.

Schwalbe Marathon Winter
I have a set of Marathon Winter in 40-406 for the front wheels, but only used them for a week or two (360km). Since we had no snow and very little ice last Winter, I’m still curious how they will perform. Traction on dry and wet roads was pretty good. Braking on the wet and icy wooden bridges leading at an angle down to the ferry was very reassuring. The spikes really bite in the wood, stopping the trike in no time. They leave their marks, though… 😀
On my 28mm wide rims they where quite comfortable as well.

All images: Schwalbe

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One Response to Tyres for E-Trikes

  1. Franz hein says:

    Thanks for the detailed report.


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