The best e-MTB tires are the crucial connection between your bike and the trail, so having rubber you can trust is absolutely essential. Electric mountain bikes ramp up tire demands significantly too, so which are the best we’ve tested and why?
With a motor, massive battery, and inevitable frame complications even the best e-MTBs are considerably heavier than traditional mountain bikes. That means more impact force to absorb and more mass to support through corners. This makes a well-damped, tough, supportive carcass vital for stopping tires from folding in corners or being punished with punctures. Brake rotors the size of dinner plates need gluing to the trail with sticky rubber and big knobs that won’t rip off when you’re blasting climbs with 250W more power than normal in 'boost' or 'turbo' mode.
The good news is that the best existing downhill MTB tires are designed to handle similar extreme loads and some of our favorite e-MTB tires are gravity racing designs. Increasing numbers of manufacturers are producing specific tires for powered bikes though and we’ve listed the best we’ve tested below. That way you can pick exactly the right tire for your riding, whether you’re replacing existing rubber or upgrading a best budget e-MTB that comes with budget tires too.
Best e-MTB tires
Why trust BikePerfect
1. Best e-MTB tire overall
Schwalbe’s Magic Mary has been the all-round one-tire-does-it-all balance of unholy grip, and reasonable rolling performance with a lifespan of years. The latest changes to the ‘Super’ models make them an even better e-bike option too – although they come with an accompanying weight penalty. The lighter Super Trail weighs in at 1250g for a 2.4in 29er and if you go for the bargain, wire bead Bike Park version you’re looking at a 1600g heft. Much tougher construction means the Super Trail is fine on the front end of most e-bikes – even on rough trails while the Super Gravity and Super DH are bombproof.
The ramped and siped center blocks and angled, buttressed, and siped side knobs give outstanding all-conditions grip whether you’re standing the bike on a 220mm front rotor or scraping your bar ends on a baked corner apex. The tougher carcasses still communicate trail information and damp impacts really well too and they fit easily and stay secure at low pressures. The Soft compound should be more than ample for most situations, which is lucky as there’s no Ultra Soft option in Marys anymore. While the old knob rip issues seem to have been sorted with the new construction, really aggressive skid steer and turbo mode abusers might want to fit the new, bigger knob Big Betty tire to the rear.
For more info, see our Schwalbe Magic Mary review.
2. Best gravity e-MTB tire
The Assegai is a downhill and aggro enduro tire designed by four-time World Champion downhill racer Greg Minaar but it works brilliantly as a super-aggressive e-MTB tire as well. The big, deeply siped knobs use an alternating center pattern for unrelenting grip all the way to the rank of massive buttressed side knobs. This gives astonishing levels of grip across a wide range of surfaces even in MaxxTerra compound and in MaxxGrip it’ll stick to the trail like chewing gum in hair.
Maxxis doesn't do specific e-MTB versions of its tires but the Assegai comes in several reinforced casing options with the EXO+ being the lightest we’d use on an e-bike and only on the front. The DD or DH versions are much heavier with seriously reinforced or double-up sidewalls for puncture proofing and support which means they won't fold in corners however late and hard you turn. Their more damped and impact-absorbing casing means they work great on the back of a big e-bike. The downsides are that the Assegai is only offered in 2.5 and 2.6in widths and all that grip means they roll pretty slow too, so we normally only fit them up front.
3. Best for durability
e*thirteens Grappler tire is another gravity-focused tire that works performs extremely well on a descent-hungry e-MTB. The tread has a predictable block layout, sharing traits with the mighty Maxxis Assegai, and combines this with a soft, slow-rebounding 42a durometer MoPo rubber which from our experience sticks to the trail like Velcro. The ride traits continue with a stout and stable side wall that holds the tire's shape through corners and gives the tires a vibration-reducing damped ride feel.
The Grappler comes in both an Enduro and Downhill casing and we have run both versions with zero punctures or air leaks. If you are looking for all out grip, then the MoPo version is the best option, however, e*thirteen also offers an Endurance (e*spec) version which has a harder 50a to improve rolling speed and tread wear.
Read our full review of the e*thirteen Grappler MoPo tires.
4. Best for versatility
WTB is a really popular original fit on aggro bikes presumably because of an affordable price to manufacturers, but the Tough/High Grip options can be a bit much in terms of weight for most trail bikes. They work great on heavier, harder hauling/anchoring e-bikes though.
The Vigilante is an excellent whatever the weather, front or rear all-rounder in a wide range of widths. The well-spaced knobs dig into loose or sloppy surfaces, but they’re not so tall they wander or stumble on harder surfaces. This makes them a great choice if you mix off-piste riding with trail centers. If you’ve not liked older WTB tires the new Tri-Tech compounds add more stiction and improve damping. They still have occasional ‘moments’ compared to our absolute favorites and the toothier but slower WTB Judge. The ‘Tough’ carcass versions are still stiffer than other brands' reinforced rubber, but they can take an absolute battering and won’t crumple if you run the pressures low to add some compliance.
Check out our full review of the WTB Vigilante 2.5in.
5. Best for braking
WTB isn’t messing around with aggressive rear tire traction when it comes to the Judge. It uses a grid of alternating inline/sideways siped center knobs bordered with a rank of massive buttressed side knobs. It’s got a really square profile compared to most tires too so those knobs dig in really hard even at the shallower lean angles you typically get on the rear wheel.
The ‘Tough’ casing is a beast of a dual-ply build, so even though it only comes in a 2.4in width we’ve slapped it into square edges all day long without a worry. It also means you can drop pressures low to help offset the otherwise stiff and numb feel, but be ready for a fight if you’re fitting it to tighter rims. Even in the harder ‘Fast Rolling’ compound it’s going to suck more energy out of your battery and legs than most tires but wear life is excellent.
The ‘High Grip’ is a proper hyper-grip smash-and-grab choice that will claw up almost anything and brake hard enough to hurt your eyeballs but still wears relatively well. Pair it with the fang tread WTB Verdict for a max control combo with excellent durability that makes them even better value.
To read more, check out our full WTB Judge review.
6. Best e-MTB-specific tire
Hutchinson’s regular Griffus Racing Lab is one of the only tires we’ve ever given a five-star score to. It’s not only an awesome all-rounder with a fabulous feel, but it’s got a bargain price tag too. The e-bike version is more expensive but includes totally new tech to create a fully supported, corner-carving e-enduro race tire.
Like several other DH and 'tough' casing designs listed here, the Hardskin carcass uses twin layers of 66TPI woven material for a super-robust result. The Griffus is noticeably lighter than most though and it feels supple like an e-bike tire rather than stiff like a DH version. The tread is based on the more aggressive 2.5in ‘front’ version of the conventional tire but with even more bite on the edge thanks to a specific e-bike mix of the Race Riposte triple-compound. The result is a tire that won’t bite as well as the deep-fanged conventional tire but excels in loose, rocky, intermediate, and dry conditions.
It rolls and accelerates better than the big block tires, so unless you’re surfing slop it’s an awesomely fast but totally trustworthy choice whether you’re racing or just raving. Hutchinson was one of the first brands to properly nail tubeless setup and security, so fit and low-pressure performance is excellent. It only comes in one width though.
7. Best in soft trail conditions
Pirelli's first go at an e-MTB tires rolled quickly and had a great tread pattern in loose conditions although it had a nasty habit of suddenly braking traction on fast hardpack trails. Pirelli took on this criticism and relaunched the Scorpion with a new softer SmartGrip Gravity compound and a new tougher HyperWall e-bike-specific carcass.
The Scorpion e-MTB S is Pirelli's most aggressive tire and is designed using know-how from motocross and feedback from former downhill World champions. The result is a tire that digs into inside lines when conditions are soft. The new SmartGRIP Gravity compound improves stiction to harder surfaces and different weather conditions. The HyperWall has also been improved, with Pirelli using a thick rubber insert which is said to increase sidewall stability by 10 percent.
8. Best for e-MTB enduro racing
Michelin recently relaunched its E-Wild tires with a renewed focus on e-enduro racing, consulting Sam Hill, and riders from the Nukeproof-SRAM Factory Racing Team and the Lapierre Overvolt Team to develop a fast race tire.
While we're yet to test Michelin’s e-bike-specific E-Wild tires, we were impressed by the conventional Wild AM2 tires we tested too and they share the same DH34-derived tread pattern as the E-Wild Front. At the rear Michelin's E-Wild rear has a different optimised pattern for climbing and braking traction.
The Michelin Magi-X compound is designed specifically for e-MTB's with Michelin touting that the compound will offer high grip levels whilst also decreasing energy consumption by improving rolling speeds.
9. Best fast e-MTB trail tire
Vittoria offers a number of its mountain bike tires in specific e-MTB versions complete with green ‘lightning flash’ logo. The Aggaro is their fast-rolling trail tire with ramped tread and progressively bigger and more aggressively siped side knobs.
Vittoria’s signature Graphene 2.0 quad compound, micro-particle infused rubber rolls easily and wears very well, increasing range every ride and extending the life of the tires too. At under a kilo, it spins up to speed quickly too but if you want robust protection for rougher riding, choose the dual-ply Vittoria Mazza or Martello e-enduro tires.
How to choose the best e-MTB tires
Does a tire need to be e-MTB-specific?
Some of the tires listed here are traditional mountain bike tires that also work with e-MTBs. Lots of companies have also developed e-MTB-specific rubber formulas. Both options work, and the distinction may come up to personal preference, except for one important point. Tires for e-MTB use need to have sturdy sidewalls, electric bikes are heavier and therefore exert more force on the tire. If in doubt, go for an e-MTB-specific version.
Do e-MTB tires have specific tire treads?
Most popular e-MTBs fall into trail or enduro riding categories. This is why we recommend tires that have big knobs to dig into the trail surface and ensure plenty of traction at high speeds. Some tires are rear-specific, which means they will have big knobs for cornering combined with a fast-rolling design. However, there are more fast-rolling, XC-style tires for XC e-MTB riding.
Which tire width is best?
You won't find many tires under 2.2in, and some tires get as wide as 2.8in. Tire and wheel design have been getting wider and wider. We know that wider tires lead to more stability and grip, so we recommend buying a tire that's in the range of 2.3 to 2.6in.
Should I choose an e-MTB tire with extra protection?
Each company has its own rubber compounds and technologies that protect against punctures and flat tires. Due the higher forces involved, we recommend tires that have added protection. The more durable, the better, especially since weight is not as much of a concern as traditional mountain bikes, thanks to e-MTB motors.
Meet the testers
Guy's been testing and writing about mountain bikes since the early nineties and has likely ridden every tire tread design that has existed.
Graham has almost 20 years of riding experience, and has been involved in MTB riding and racing for many years.
Jim Bland is a MTB product tester and World Cup Downhill mechanic. Always on the hunt for the perfect setup, Jim will be found comprehensively testing kit with exacting levels of detail.
Paul has been testing mountain bikes and products for the best part of 30 years, he’s passed comment on thousands of components and bikes, from the very first 29ers and dropper posts to the latest e-MTBs and electronic drivetrains.