The best e-mtb tyres

The right rubber for your ride

Tyres are a very important part of e-mtb. This is because there’s no point in having power without grip.

The options are still relatively limited with e-mtb specific rubber but there’s plenty out there for standard mtb that works pretty good too. In the future it’s likely we’ll see tyres with more front as well as rear edge for braking and climbing and there’s no doubt there will be tougher rubber too just like you find in other two wheel sports.

The added weight of the e-mtb plus the speeds involved means there is increased wear and load on the tyre. Standard downhill rubber such as the Vert Star Magic Mary from Schwalbe offers strong side wall support and is a great performer when hitting downhill runs as it doesn’t buckle when loaded into corners or rock sections. It has good bite to the tread pattern too as do many similar downhill tyres from Bontrager, Maxxis, Continental and Specialized. Opt for the larger 2.5 sizing on such rubber if you can.

Big volume ‘plus’ tyres run on low pressure clearly have advantages on certain climbing surfaces but are less than ideal in offering sidewall support when hitting hard and loading into corners, we’ve found many simply don’t have the sidewall strength for this. They do however anchor up well when hitting the brakes and offer good cushioning which reduces fatigue.

The sensation out of the blocks on the ‘plus’ tyres is the feedback you get out of the large volume which certainly aids picking up and placing the bike, which is something that’s certainly a benefit with the heavier weight bikes.

We’ve run the 2.8 and 3.0 Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres plus the 3.0 Specialized Purgatory and as long as you’re not hammering into rock and root with too much force they are a good big ride option.

We’ve also found that in terms of compounds, more poor quality rubber is better than less when it comes to grip in most conditions. In other words 3.0 hard rubber woks way better than 2.35 in a similar compound. But don’t take that as general for tyres such as the Chupacabra on the Trek Powerfly are pretty much good for nothing in wet muddy conditions.

The grip offered by the big tyre, which when coupled with the extra bike weight drives the tyres into the dirt making a super predictable ride. But due to the higher speeds frequently found on emtb there does have to be some bite and tread.

Its early days however but overall we feel the big volume is where e-mtb is heading but it’s quite likely we’ll see 3.0 tyres with stronger sidewalls pretty soon, and also a harder compound rubber from a few brands.

E-mtb specific tyres


With strengthened sidewalls and a different harder compound rubber Maxxis have introduced three e-mtb specific tyres into the range but only for the 27.5” sizing. They have the Ardent and Ikon at 2.25” and 2.2’ and what many will be eagerly anticipating, the High Roller 2 coming in at 27.5×2.4.

Of course many e-mtb’s come with plus size tyres and in this respect Maxxis have some very strong offerings in the new 2.8” sizing which will be ideal for searching out grip and giving out even more cushioning whilst getting a stronger sidewall. The High Roller 2 in 27.5×2.8, Minion DHF also at 27.5×2.8 and the Minion DHR- 27.5 x 2.8 are key tyres from the mountainbike specialists.


Kenda have introduced a KMC casing into their range which will be e-mtb specific rubber. This will improve puncture resistance and offer a stiffer sidewall. The Honey Badger DH Pro and Havoc Plus as the name suggests is a plus size and will be available in 2.8” and 3.0” options.


Harder dual-compound rubber is what Schwalbe bring to the e-mtb game with the new Double Defense compound. Again it’s a case of stronger sidewalls and improved puncture resistance which is crucial whilst pressing on with the heavier weight e-mtb’s.

The Smart Sam looks particularly impressive. But Schwalbe are ahead of the game in many ways no more so than in their plus size range which is so popular on many production emtb’s.

Then take the Nobby Nic. It’s the plus version of one of Schwalbe’s favourites that gets some new rubber which has been named SnakeSkin Apex, which like some other brands adds an additional layer to the sidewalls which lessens the potential for punctures and also allows for lower pressures to be run.

These are just a few tyres in Schwalbe’s impressively relevant tyre collection for e-mtb.


The Purgatory Control 2Bliss ready is a 980g tyre with excellent grip characteristics which we have used at length with the Specialized 6Fattie bike. But more than this we look forward to fitting the Storm and Hillbilly to our emtb test bikes in winter months because even though they can be a touch slow for enduro riding in winter the emtb opens up simply no end of options.


Designed to be run on 50mm rims the Dirt Wizard is an aggressive tyre which they say has to be run on a minimum rim width of 35mm. We love the compound and the tread pattern and have been using the 29” version of the tyre on downhill bikes recently with great success.

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