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Posted by Gregory Maassen on December 28, 2021 - Latest revision February 4, 2022  Reading time: minutes remaining

Review: You Should Not Have to Worry About Flat Tires. Why We Don’t Carry a Tire Repair Set

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Have you ever wondered why so many cyclists bring tire repair sets along the ride? We thought about it, especially as we e-bike cross country for thousands of miles.

We don’t mind bringing along a repair kit, but why should we? When you drive cross country with a car, you do not bring an extra tube, glue and patches. There is no reason long-distance riders or other e-bikers should worry about flat tires.

Repairing a Flat Tire is Not Easy

E-bikes are becoming more sophisticated, and changing a tire is no longer an effortless process. With hub motors and belt drives, changing the rear tire on the road is impracticable, if not impossible. Without the right tools and experience, even changing the front tire of an e-bike can be a painfully frustrating process.

Not to mention how one puts an e-bike upside down with all the instruments on the handlebar (see the video above). 

We have tried to replace e-bikes’ tires on the road, and it took two strong e-bikers to get them off. Getting them on again is not easy either, as e-bike tires tend to be stiffer, wider and heavier, more challenging to manage.

In other words, e-bikers need to avoid flats at all costs, even if this means you may need to invest a little more in tires and liners.

We don’t mind bringing along a repair kit, but why should we? When you drive cross country with a car, you do not bring an extra tube, glue and patches. There is no reason long-distance riders or other e-bikers should worry about flat tires.

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Puncture Protection is Key

It is essential to buy a tire with a high puncture-resistance rating to avoid flats. A quality tire is your first line of defense against flats.

At E-bike Lovers, we look for tires with a proven reputation and spend the extra $20 per tire for added protection. We recommend that you check the tires that came with your new e-bike. You may need to replace them if the tires are not puncture-resistant.

Unfortunately, many tires are not puncture-resistant that come with a new e-bike. Especially fat tires and tires with knobs tend to be non-puncture-resistant. They look impressively strong, but they rarely offer much protection.

Schwalbe Tires Provide Excellent Puncture Protection

At E-bike Lovers, we recommend Schwalbe tires. We never spoke with the manufacturer, and our opinion is independent of any commercial interest. Schwalbe tires are more expensive but worth the extra costs. We solely use Schwalbe tires (Schwalbe Marathon E-Plus and Schwalbe Cargo) for our tour and cross-country e-bike rides. They are designed for e-bikes and last for thousands of miles, and they provide the highest puncture resistance a tire can provide.

But punctures happen despite the modern technology built into puncture-resistant tires. We have had Schwalbe tires get flats on rides, and hence, we always add an extra layer of protection with tire liners.

Tire Liners Provide Additional Protection

Although a quality tire is your first line of defense, we take an extra step to avoid flats with a protective tire liner. A tire liner is an added layer of puncture-resistant material against flats that is placed inside the tire. We recommend Tannus Tire Liners as they provide both rim and tube protection. 

Rim Protection

An added benefit of the Tannus Tire Liners is the rim protection. In the unlikely scenario that you run a flat, you can continue to ride if you really need to and get home or to a shop. The opportunity to ride on a flat tire is essential for e-bikers who commute and tour long distances. Pushing an e-bike is no fun, even if it has walk assist.

Tire Sealant and Inflator as a Back-Up Plan

While puncture-resistant tires and liners provide more protection, flats may happen. Although e-biking home on the extra layer of the liner is practical with a flat tire, it is not desirable. We always carry a canister of sealant with gas to inflate the tire and patch holes. We recommend the GUP canister (see our review here).

A canister of tire sealant and CO2 Kwiki Inflator & Sealant (GUP Kwiki) by GUP Industries

Review: Fixing a Flat Tire Has Never Been Easier: Meet Gup Industries’ Kwiki Inflator & Sealant (GÜP Kwiki)

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Extra Weight and Rolling Resistance of Puncture-Resistant Tires and Liners

The extra weight of puncture-resistant Schwalbe tires and liners may concern analog bikers. They propel the bike solely with human power, and the extra weight may affect their biking performance. It is a concern that keeps regular cyclists from using puncture-resistant tires and liners.

For e-bikers, the extra weight is less important, and the impact of puncture-resistant tires and liners on rolling resistance and e-bike range is minimal. We do not worry about the extra weight at E-bike Lovers, and perhaps you should not worry about this either.

Tire Pressure is Key

Another import aspect of keeping tires inflated is to keep them inflated correctly. The closer you inflate the tire to the maximum pressure permitted by the tire, the greater the protection. 

Conclusion: A Strong Puncture-Resistant Combination

The combination of puncture-resistant Schwalbe tires and liners significantly reduces the likelihood of flats. It is more expensive than regular tires but worth the extra money. Fewer flats mean fewer trips to the shop. You feel more confident biking longer distances with the added protection.

The extra weight of puncture-resistant tires and liners has minimal impact on the range of e-bikes. And changing the tire of an e-bike on the road is impractical and should probably be avoided at all costs.

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