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What is the Best Tire Size for An Electric Bike?

An electric bike (e-bike) is a great way to get around town, exercise, take a leisurely ride, and even go to work. It allows you to decide on how you want to power the bicycle, either with pedals or with the electric motor. You can switch between these two modes easily. When deciding on an e-bike tire size, there are many tire sizes and factors to take into consideration.

E-Bike Wheel Sizes

E-bike tire sizes can range from 16-inch to 29-inch. The most popular sizes dwell between these two numbers, which as 20-inch, 24-inch, and 26-inch. A great rule of thumb to remember about tire sizes is that the smaller the wheel is, the lighter the tire will be and the steering will be more sensitive. However the tire will be more difficult to use over bumpier terrain. Let's see a brief breakdown of each tire.

16-Inch Tires

The 16-inch tire is lightweight and has a smaller turning radius. It's commonly found on foldable bikes, such as an Ancheer foldable bike. This maneuverability makes it perfect if you are riding around pedestrians and cars.

However, the smaller wheel has less traction and makes it more difficult to ride uphill, over bumpy terrain, and along rough roads. They will require more pedaling if you want to go faster under your own feet power. They can be more easily affected by rocks along the road, requiring the biker to pay closer attention and have great reflexes to compensate for the obstacles. These tires are ideal for e-bikes in cities where you may have to carry the bike around for part of the trip.

20-Inch Tires

The 20-inch bike tires are common for many e-bike brands that are also foldable, including the Rad Power Radrunner Plus. Much like the 16-inch tires, they have excellent maneuverability in city environments, yet you lose stability over bumpy terrain and rough trails. You also have to pedal more to go faster. If you plan to use the electric motor to power the e-bike, a 20-inch well makes a great option if you are looking for a bicycle that is lightweight and foldable.

24-Inch Tires

The 24-inch e-bike wheel size are the most common tires for most brands that cater to kids and teens, or adults who have an average height of 5". Yet there are also some 24-inch tires for e-bikes made for adults from 5" to 6.2," such as the SixThreeZero EVRYjourney.

This tire can handle more of a roughness to the road or an even trail to provide a smoother experience. The larger tires provide a more comfortable ride when compared to the smaller tires. It also doesn't require a ton of peddling to tackle small hills. When you are looking for an e-bike tire that works for both city and suburban areas where you want a traditional bike for most of the trip and will use the electric motor when you grow tired, 24-inch wheels are the perfect solution.

26-Inch Tires

Another common tire size is the 26-inch bike wheel that can also be found on the EVRYjourney by SixThreeZero. These larger wheels allow for fast pedaling and a very smooth ride over all types of terrain.

These e-bike tire sizes are commonly found on both on-terrain and off-terrain, as they are perfect for mountain riding, rough roads, rocky trails, and even cruising on the beach. The tires grip the road surface well for some maneuverability without the instability of lighter e-bikes. Keep in mind that with the higher tires, mounting can become more difficult for people who have smaller statures.

29-Inch Tires

The 29-inch e-bike tire size has a wide diameter and higher standover height. One brand of this bike would be the Canyon. You may also find brands that have mixed tires, where the front tire may be 29 inches while the back tire will be smaller, such as 27.5 inches.

Due to the size and width, these tires provide more surface traction as well as less friction. They can handle most obstacles on the road. Yet keep in mind that because of the big tires, there will be less maneuverability for turning. A big advantage to this bike is that it doesn't require a lot of energy to maintain a constant speed. It is ideal for taller riders, as smaller people may find it difficult to mount/dismount the e-bike.

Things to Take into Consideration

When debating on the right size for your e-bike tire, you have to consider how you will ride it, how often you plan to peddle the e-bike vs using the electric motor. Your height and weight, and the terrain. These factors come into play on how the tires will respond when you are out riding, the maneuverability of the e-bike, and how comfortable it will be to ride on it. Here is a brief breakdown of these factors and wheel sizes.

  • Terrain: Small to medium-sized wheels, from 16 inches to 20 inches, which have smoother treads are ideal for hard pavement and even tracks. Larger wheel sizes with grooved and aggressive treads are better for rough terrains, hills, and bumpy surfaces. Consider smaller wheels for the city and larger wheels for mountains, beaches, and rocky trails.
  • Weight: E-bikes that are foldable and lightweight benefit more from smaller tires. As you go up in tire size, there will be more weight on the e-bike.
  • Height: Smaller tires allow for people with smaller statures to use, dismount, and maneuver the bike. For taller people, an e-bike with 24-inch, 26-inch or 29-inch tires can feel more comfortable.
  • Traction: Smaller e-bike tires have less traction than larger wheels.
  • Maneuverability: Small tires from 16-inch to 20-inch have more maneuverability and a tighter turning radius than 20-inch to 29-inch wheels. However, you lose stability due to less tire touching the ground.
  • Fat vs Thin Tires: E-bike tires can come in thickness as big as four inches to thinner 2.125 inches. Check out thick wheels for better balance and stability and thinner wheels for more maneuverability. Thick wheels are great for off-terrain riding as well as on-road trips. Thin wheels are better for smooth roads.

Once you find the right tire for your e-bike, you can have a safe and fun ride that is also comfortable. Grab your e-bike as well as your friends and family and go hit the trails.


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