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Best e-MTB tires: grippy rubber to support electric rides

Included in this guide:

Best e-MTB tires
(Image credit: Specialized)

As the contact point between bike and trail, tires are incredibly important on a mountain bike. Tires are also a vital component on e-MTBs for similar reasons, but electric bikes present a unique set of circumstances that the best e-MTB tires must address. 

Even the best e-MTB's are heavier than traditional mountain bikes, thanks to the motor, battery, and resulting frame design. That means that the forces being exerted on the tire's rubber structures are increased. E-MTB tires should have supportive sidewalls to address this, so tires don't fold under force, which can be of particular concern when cornering. 

Overall toughness is also important. E-MTB rides are faster than normal mountain bike rides, so the rider might ride through rock gardens with less precision and risk puncturing the tire. Casings and rubber formulas should be durable and puncture-resistant on e-MTB tires. Higher speeds also require more traction, which is why we see big knobs and enduro or downhill style tread patterns on the best e-MtB tires. 

Thanks to modern tire design, many standard mountain bike tires will work on e-MTBs. Indeed, one of the most popular tires we've seen specced on e-bikes is the Maxxis Minion. On the other hand, companies like Vittoria and Pirelli have developed e-MTB-specific rubber formulas. Continue scrolling to read our full round-up of the best e-MTB tires available right now. 

Best e-MTB tires

Schwalbe MTB Tires: Eddy Current e-MTB tire

(Image credit: Schwalbe)

Schwalbe Eddy Current Front/Rear

e-MTB-specific tires from Schwalbe

Specifications
Weight: 1250g (2.4, 29, Super Gravity)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.4, 2.6, 2.8
Protection: Super Trail, Super Gravity
Reasons to buy
+
Big grippy knobs
+
Dampened ride feel
+
Durable

Schwalbe has created the Eddy Current as an e-MTB-specific tire. The front-specific version features bigger knobs to dig into loose surfaces and provide the most grip possible. The rear version offers better rolling resistance as well as cornering knobs. These tires can hold up to the higher speeds and cornering forces of e-bikes. 

Vittoria e-MTB tire

(Image credit: Vittoria)

Vittoria e-Agarro

Energy saving 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
+
Potentially energy saving
+
Optimized for e-MTB riding

Vittoria offers a number of its mountain bike tires in e-MTB versions. The Aggaro is a fast-rolling trail tire, but there are options for enduro shredders and XC speed demons too. The brand claims that the compound in its e-MTB tires rolls better, and therefore, saves battery life. The tires are also designed to offer more sidewall support and puncture protection, and they feature Vittoria's standard Graphene 2.0 protection formula. 

Pirelli Scorpion e-MTB tyre

(Image credit: Pirelli)

Three different e-MTB-specific tires from Pirelli

Specifications
Weight: 1343g (29er, R)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.6
Protection: HyperWALL
Reasons to buy
+
Inside corner bite
+
Quick to clear sticky mud
+
Commendable climber
Reasons to avoid
-
Not suited to hardpack trails

Pirelli offers three different models of its e-MTB-specific range of Scorpion tires. There's a front tire option, rear tire, and an aggressive all-arounder. In our experience on the Scorpion S model, the tire's design rewards smooth riders although it's best suited to softer conditions rather than hardpack where it can suddenly break free. It's only available in one width, but we look forward to seeing how Pirelli further develops its e-MTB lineup. 

Maxxis

(Image credit: Maxxis)

Maxxis Assegai

Aggressive tire that can support e-MTB forces

Specifications
Weight: 1129g (2.6, 29in)
Wheelsize (inches) : 27.5, 29er
Width (inches) : 2.5, 2.6
Protection: 3CT/EXO+/TR
Reasons to buy
+
Great grip 
+
Lots of compound and protection options 
Reasons to avoid
-
Just two widths 
-
May be too aggro for tamer trail riding 

When you look around at what tires are being specced on the best e-MTBs currently, one brand appears most often, and that's Maxxis. The Assegai is a downhill and aggro enduro tire, however, it's picking up traction as an e-MTB tire as well, thanks to its impressive grip and protection options. The Assegai's supportive sidewalls mean that the tire won't fold in corners under the forces of heavier e-bikes with higher speeds. One downside is that the tire is only offered in 2.5 and 2.6in widths. 

Maxxis Minion DHR II

(Image credit: Maxxis)

Maxxis Minion DHF / DHR II

Most popular trail/enduro tire

Specifications
Weight: 1,190g (2.4, 29in, DHR II)
Wheel size (inches) : 27.5, 29er
Width (inches) : 2.3, 2.4, 2.6
Protection: 3CT, EXO, EXO+, 3CG, TR, DD, DH
Reasons to buy
+
Excellent cornering
+
Lots of sizes and options 
+
Available everywhere 
Reasons to avoid
-
Lighter casings may not offer enough protection

The Maxxis Minion is one of the most popular trail/enduro tires for both traditional and e-MTBs. If the Assegai is too aggro, then this is the perfect all-arounder. There are two models of the minion, the DHF for use as a front tire and the DHR II for use as a rear tire. Some riders opt for a DHF in the rear too for improved handling or the DHR on the front for steeper tracks. Either way, you can't go wrong with the Minion, and you can find them in nearly any bike shop in multiple casings too. 

WTB Vigilante

(Image credit: WTB)

Grippy all-arounder

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

We've seen other WTB tires specced on e-MTBs but prefer the Vigilante for both its performance and range of widths available. The Vigilante is one of the most popular enduro and trail tires for good reason, and this performance certainly transfers over to electric bikes as well. The knobs and rubber compound dig into loose surfaces and provide excellent grip, making this a great front tire for e-MTB shredders. 

Specialized Butcher

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Newly updated compound for Specialized's classic Butcher tire

Specifications
Weight: 1037g (2.30, 29er)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.3, 2.6
Protection: Grid
Reasons to buy
+
Great grip
+
Dampening rubber
+
Well protected
+
Decent weight
Reasons to avoid
-
Just two widths 
-
Limited availability

Specialized has been at the forefront of e-MTB development, and on the brand's latest Turbo Levo bikes, the Butcher Grid Trail is specced as standard. We've had the chance to get a taste of these freshly updated tires too and so far have been impressed by their grip and damping properties that are on offer from the T9 compound. The harder you slam through rocks and roots the better they get in terms of confidence rewriting control and unerring grip. Butcher T9 is also available in a new, super-tough two-ply Grid Gravity casing who really want to test the slam and stick properties.

Bontrager XR3 Team Issue

(Image credit: Bontrager)

Bontrager XR3 Team Issue TLR

Fast-rolling XC tire

Specifications
Weight: 755g (2.40, 29er)
Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
Width (inches): 2.2, 2.4, 2.8
Protection: Inner Strength
Reasons to buy
+
Fast-rolling 
+
XC speed
Reasons to avoid
-
Weird sizes 

Trek recently launched the E-caliber cross-country e-bike and specced the Bontrager XR3 tires on it. This is an XC tire so the tread and design is a dense low profile knob pattern with slightly more pronounced shoulders, the result is an XC tire that will provide blistering fast speeds with low rolling resistance. This is a good option if your e-MTB adventures are more cross-country where reduced rolling resistance will help extend battery life and increase milage.

Best e-MTB ties: what you need to know

1. Does a tire need to be e-MTB-specific? 

Many of the tires listed here are traditional mountain bike tires that also work with e-MTBs. Some 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. You don't want a thin, flabby tire on your e-MTB. 

2. Tire tread 

Most popular e-MTBs fall into the 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. 

3. Width 

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. E-MTB's usually have a larger rear tire on the rear to enhance climbing traction to make the most of the extra power from the motor.

4. Protection 

Each company has its own rubber compounds and technologies that protect against punctures and flat tires. For the same reasons as already covered, we recommend tires that have some 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. 

Ryan Simonovich has been riding and racing for nearly a decade. He got his start as a cross-country mountain bike racer in California, where he cultivated his love for riding all types of bikes. Ryan eventually gravitated toward enduro and downhill racing but has also been found in the occasional road and cyclo-cross events. Today, he regularly rides the trails of Durango, Colorado, and is aiming to make a career out of chronicling the sport of cycling. 


Rides: Santa Cruz Hightower, Specialized Tarmac SL4