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Best e-MTB tires: tough, high traction rubber for powered up riding

Best e-MTB tires
(Image credit: Specialized)

The best e-MTB Tires are the crucial connection between your bike and the trail, so having rubber you can trust is an absolute essential. Electric 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 heavier than traditional mountain bikes. That means more impact force to absorb and more mass to support through corners. This makes a well damped, supportive carcass vital to stop folding, flats or wishing you’d consulted our best MIPS helmets guide before you crashed. 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 existing DH tyres are designed to handle similar extreme loads and some of our favorite e-bike tires are gravity racing designs. More and more 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 came with budget tires too.

Best e-MTB tires

A Schwalbe Magic Mary tire

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
The best e-MTB tire overall

Specifications

Weight: 1330g (Super Gravity 29 x 2.4)
Wheel size: 26, 27.5 and 29
Width (inches): 2.35, 2.4, 2.6
Protection: Super Trail, Super Gravity, Super DH, Bike Park

Reasons to buy

+
 Outstanding all conditions grip
+
 Excellent ride feel
+
 Great grip/wear balance
+
 Loads of tough and even tougher options 

Reasons to avoid

-
Very heavy
-
No Ultra Soft option
-
Hefty price

Schwalbe’s Magic Mary has been the all-round one-tyre-does-it-all balance of unholy grip, 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 comes 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 basically bombproof.

The ramped and siped centre 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 any more. 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.

The Hutchinson Griffus ebike tire

(Image credit: Hutchinson)

Hutchinson Griffus 2.5 E-bike

Superb performance at a great price

Specifications

Weight: 1200g (29 x 2.5)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5 and 29
Width (inches): 2.5in
Protection: Hardskin 2 x 66

Reasons to buy

+
 Fantastically damped yet feedback-rich carcass 
+
 Tough yet relatively light dual-ply
+
 Relatively fast roll
+
 Total trust in loose, rock and rooty conditions 

Reasons to avoid

-
Start to slide around when it gets really sloppy
-
 Just one width 

 

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 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 tyre.

Like several of the 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 fangs here, 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 awesome fast but totally trustworthy choice whether you’re racing or just raving. Hutchinson were 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.

Read our review of the Hutchinson Griffus Racing Lab tires.

Maxxis Assegai e-MTB tire

(Image credit: Maxxis)

Maxxis Assegai

Benchmark gravity tire works brilliantly on e-MTBs too

Specifications

Weight: 1129g (2.6, 29in)
Wheelsize (inches) : 27.5, 29er
Width (inches) : 2.5, 2.6
Protection: EXO+/DD/DH

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing grip 
+
Totally predictable trust 
+
Tough 
+
Lots of compound and protection/weight options   

Reasons to avoid

-
Just two widths 
-
Slow rolling 

The Assegai is a downhill and aggro enduro tire designed by four-time World Champion DH racer Greg Minaar but it works brilliantly  as a super-aggressive  e-MTB tire as well. The big, deeply siped knobs use an alternating 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.

The Assegai comes in several reinforced casing options with the EXO+ being the lightest we’d use on an e-bike and then only on the front. The DD or DH versions are much heavier with seriously reinforced or double-up sidewalls for puncture proofing and support that 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.  

Maxxis Minion DHR II

(Image credit: Maxxis)

Maxxis Minion DHF / DHR II

Best all-rounder with tons of options

Specifications

Weight: 1,190g (2.4, 29in, EXO+ DHR II)
Wheel size (inches) : 27.5, 29er
Width (inches) : 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.8
Protection: EXO, EXO+, TR, DD, DH

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent cornering
+
Great braking/driving (DHR) 
+
Great tracking (DHF) 
+
Fit and forget all-rounders
+
Lots of sizes and options 

Reasons to avoid

-
All-rounders rather than specifically special 

 

The Maxxis Minion team is one of the most popular trail/enduro/DH combinations and our benchmark for totally trustworthy fit and forget versatility. If the Assegai is too grippy and slow, then Minion is probably ideal. You don’t have to stick to the front and rear use suggested either. Double DHF works great for a faster rolling setup on less steep trails where braking and driving grip isn’t so important. Double DHR loses some speed but means you can go hard on the biggest brakes or stick your motor in 'turbo' without any worries about traction. They come in every size imaginable too, including 650B+ and specific Wide Tire versions over 2.5in for broader rims.

The EXO+ versions are reinforced just enough to be OK on a front wheel if you’re light, smooth or don’t go regularly picking fights with big rocks. DD is the optimum choice for full throttle trail/enduo use or just suck up the weight of the Dual Ply DH if you want a superb bike park or double black pairing. 

For more info on the full range, check out our Maxxis MTB tires overview.

WTB Judge review

(Image credit: Jim Bland)
Best ultra rowdy, high value rear tire

Specifications

Weight: 1381g (Tough High Grip 29x2.4)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5 and 29
Width (inches): 2.4in
Protection: Tough

Reasons to buy

+
Top class cornering hold
+
High levels of cut when braking and climbing
+
Great longevity 

Reasons to avoid

-
Rolls slow
-
Stiff, numb feel
-
Not easy to seat 

WTB aren’t messing around with aggressive rear tire traction when it comes to the Judge. It uses a grid of alternating inline/sideways siped centre 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 it’s 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. 

WTB Vigilante

(Image credit: WTB)
Super-grippy all-rounder

Specifications

Weight: 900g (2.3, 29er)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.3, 2.5, 2.6
Protection : Slashguard

Reasons to buy

+
Grippy 
+
Brilliantly controlled feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher rolling resistance
-
Installation isn’t quite as smooth as simple as some

WTB are 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’s 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.

Eddy Current e-MTB tire

(Image credit: Schwalbe)

Schwalbe Eddy Current Front/Rear

A seriously monster moto-style tire

Specifications

Weight: 1250g (2.4, 29, Super Gravity)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.4, 2.6, 2.8
Protection: Super Gravity

Reasons to buy

+
Massive Moto-X style knobs
+
Dampened ride feel
+
Bombproof

Reasons to avoid

-
Numb feel
-
Very heavy

As the name suggests Eddy Current is Schwalbe’s e-MTB-specific tire though they look like they’ve come straight off a motocross bike. The front-specific version features wide spaced knobs to dig into loose surfaces and provide the most cornering and braking grip possible.

The rear version offers better rolling resistance, but still bites deep in turns and both of them are super reinforced to handle the heaviest  bikes and most aggressive riding from Alpine off-piste to double-black bike park runs.

Michelin E-Wild tires

(Image credit: Michelin)

Michelin E-Wild

DH/enduro derived e-bike speed boosters

Specifications

Weight: Weight: 1060g (Claimed 29x2.6 front)1310g (Claimed 29x2.6 rear)
Wheel size (inches): Wheel size (inches): 27.5 and 29
Width (inches): 2.6 and 2.8
Protection: Gravity Shield

Reasons to buy

+
Proven tread pattern for all-round grip 
+
Faster roll for battery saving
+
Still sticky in turns
+
Lighter front tire
+
Extra reinforced rear tire

Reasons to avoid

-
Harder center compounds might be slipperier
-
Rear version is heavy 

While we're yet to test Michelin’s e-bike specific E-Wild tires, we’ve heard very good things about them from experienced riders. We were impressed by the conventional Wild AM2 tires we tested too and they share the same DH34 derived tread pattern and 3 x 60 TPI ‘Gravity Shield’ construction as the E-Wild Front.

The center-line ‘Tri Shield’ compound is harder to make them faster rolling though, while the shoulders are softer to keep the higher cornering load of a heavier bike reliably hooked up. The rear tire uses a harder center compound than the front so your watts get you even further and there’s a mystery ‘Battery Save’ layer under the tread that presumably stiffens and speeds things up further.

The 3 x 33 Tpi carcass gets extra pinch flat protection where the tire meets the rim too but that unsurprisingly makes it a lot heavier. Judging from the conventional tires Michelin’s weights tend to be a on the lighter side too so the rear could be a proper porker. You can get the 2.6in width in both 27.5 and 29in sizes, and there’s a 2.8in option in 27.5in. Again our ‘muscle bike’ tires sized up small though so we’ll fully update this review as soon as we’ve had some test time on the samples we’ve got on back order.  

Vittoria e-MTB tire

(Image credit: Vittoria)

Vittoria e-Agarro

Best fast e-MTB trail tire

Specifications

Weight: 940g (2.35, 29er)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.35, 2.6
Protection : Graphene 2.0

Reasons to buy

+
Fast rolling
+
Long lasting
+
Light weight

Reasons to avoid

-
 No extra reinforcement
-
 Slippery when wet

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.  

Best e-MTB tires: what you need to know

Best e-MTB tires: everything you need to know

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, with the exception of 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. 

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg

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