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Fat Tire or Narrow Tire?

Old 12-23-21, 11:43 PM
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Post Fat Tire or Narrow Tire?

Fat tire and narrow tire have their own advantages and disadvantages, how should we choose? Here are some points for your reference.

Fat tire: The tire has large contact area with the ground, large friction force, strong grip on the ground, and stable riding on wet and slippery roads. But at the same time, because of its strong friction and heavy tires, it also consumes more electricity.

Narrow tires: Narrow tires are light in weight, less in friction and smaller in floor space, which saves more electricity than fat tires. However, the tread's contact area is small, and the grip is affected to some extent. When the road condition is bad or the slope and curvature are large, the riding will be unstable.

The above is the most basic difference between fat and narrow tires. If it were you, which one would you choose?
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Old 12-24-21, 03:10 AM
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There are only two kinds of production e-bikes on the market: those that have larger tires than normal (plus size), and those that have tires even larger than that! (FAT tire). That should inform the DIY guy looking to save $$$ and roll his own rig.
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Old 12-24-21, 08:32 AM
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Friction (grip) is directly related to pressure between two surfaces so one can argue that narrow tires have more grip because more pressure is put on the ground through the smaller contact area. If a narrow tire has a contact patch of 1 square inch, a 200 lb rider will exert 100 psi to the road. With a wider tire, perhaps only half or a third of that will be exerted. In real life, though, irregularities in road surface will have a significant effect on how well a tire grips. The bigger factor is the compliance of the tire with the road, and on most surfaces the higher pressure narrow tire will "bounce" more losing contact as it does. Lower pressure wide tires have a shock absorber effect that better modulates contact with rough road surfaces.

Also, wider tires may not use more electricity. They may have a bit more rolling resistance, but again that depends on road surface, but rotational mass may be the bigger issue. Heavier wheels will certainly take more energy to accelerate; however once up to speed, they have more rotational momentum that "stores" more energy than a light wheel. Think flywheel here.

This sort of hypothetical musing is fun, but I think tire width choice should be a compromise seeking the best combination of comfort and rolling resistance. There are some very nice supple wide tires available.
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Old 12-24-21, 12:23 PM
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This isn't complicated.

You want a tire rated for ebikes. Until you get past 42C, you want as big as you can get. I've had a decent Schwalbe belt get ripped in half riding though construction. (I'm a big fan of Schwalbe tires, this wasn't one of their best. If you want my 2 cents... get one of their 3 best, 498, 440 or Supremes)

Between your weight, and the weight of the bike, a skinny tire is going to need a lot of pressure, too much for a comfy ride, and an amount not conducive to longevity.
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Old 12-24-21, 02:41 PM
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I like round tires
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Old 12-24-21, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
I like round tires
But what about a linear tube?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FB0RDHC...roduct_details
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Old 12-24-21, 06:55 PM
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Not true

Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
There are only two kinds of production e-bikes on the market: those that have larger tires than normal (plus size), and those that have tires even larger than that! (FAT tire). That should inform the DIY guy looking to save $$$ and roll his own rig.
There are a number of ebikes with 700 x 28 tires. I have an Orbea that came that way. Cannondale, Specialized and other mainstream bike companies make such bikes.
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Old 12-25-21, 12:40 AM
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Yes, it is.
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Old 12-25-21, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Friction (grip) is directly related to pressure between two surfaces so one can argue that narrow tires have more grip because more pressure is put on the ground through the smaller contact area. If a narrow tire has a contact patch of 1 square inch, a 200 lb rider will exert 100 psi to the road. With a wider tire, perhaps only half or a third of that will be exerted. In real life, though, irregularities in road surface will have a significant effect on how well a tire grips. The bigger factor is the compliance of the tire with the road, and on most surfaces the higher pressure narrow tire will "bounce" more losing contact as it does. Lower pressure wide tires have a shock absorber effect that better modulates contact with rough road surfaces.

Also, wider tires may not use more electricity. They may have a bit more rolling resistance, but again that depends on road surface, but rotational mass may be the bigger issue. Heavier wheels will certainly take more energy to accelerate; however once up to speed, they have more rotational momentum that "stores" more energy than a light wheel. Think flywheel here.

This sort of hypothetical musing is fun, but I think tire width choice should be a compromise seeking the best combination of comfort and rolling resistance. There are some very nice supple wide tires available.
Yes, what you said is right.
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Old 12-25-21, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
This isn't complicated.

You want a tire rated for ebikes. Until you get past 42C, you want as big as you can get. I've had a decent Schwalbe belt get ripped in half riding though construction. (I'm a big fan of Schwalbe tires, this wasn't one of their best. If you want my 2 cents... get one of their 3 best, 498, 440 or Supremes)

Between your weight, and the weight of the bike, a skinny tire is going to need a lot of pressure, too much for a comfy ride, and an amount not conducive to longevity.
What you said is absolutely right.
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Old 12-25-21, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
I like round tires
This is a wise decision.
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Old 12-25-21, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kahn View Post
You're right.
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Old 12-25-21, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Pridedog View Post
There are a number of ebikes with 700 x 28 tires. I have an Orbea that came that way. Cannondale, Specialized and other mainstream bike companies make such bikes.
That's a good decision.
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Old 12-25-21, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Pridedog View Post

There are a number of ebikes with 700 x 28 tires. I have an Orbea that came that way. Cannondale, Specialized and other mainstream bike companies make such bikes.
That reminds of arguments, back in the day, of roadies swearing by 23c tires. I just swore at them.

Personally, if you absolutely, positively, have to look like a roadie, and can afford the steep price tag, by all means. But for the rest of us, a normal bike will do just fine. One that can also carry groceries.
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Old 12-25-21, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Pridedog View Post
There are a number of ebikes with 700 x 28 tires. I have an Orbea that came that way. Cannondale, Specialized and other mainstream bike companies make such bikes.
Fair point. Trek is now electrifying all of their full carbon roadracers at $10K pricepoints WTF. But 'generally' speaking an e-assist bike will have rather larger tires than 'normal'. Compare any hybrid like a Giant Quick or Raleigh Redux or Trek FX with their boosted counterparts. The standard hybrid tire sizes of 32mm to 40mm jump to 47mm - 55mm. Non-suspended (rigid) e-bikes NEED big rubber. You will beat the bike and yourself senseless at e-bike speeds with all that extra weight onboard on a 28mm tire!
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Old 12-25-21, 02:45 PM
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I'll always choose the fatter tires (esp on a ebike) for more grip and more comfort.
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Old 12-25-21, 07:32 PM
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I own fat tire bikes, but never ride on beaches or in snow so they're not used much. I prefer narrow tire ebikes A light wheel is easier to accelerate and makes for a better pedalling ebike,
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Old 12-25-21, 07:45 PM
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FME (limited at best), fat tires have too much influence on steering precision, and aren't required in socal since (like DW) I don't ride on the beach and rarely in snow.
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Old 12-26-21, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
That reminds of arguments, back in the day, of roadies swearing by 23c tires. I just swore at them.

Personally, if you absolutely, positively, have to look like a roadie, and can afford the steep price tag, by all means. But for the rest of us, a normal bike will do just fine. One that can also carry groceries.
Compared with ordinary bicycles, electric bicycles are more time-saving and labor-saving. Of course, the travel mode of ordinary bicycles is also possible.
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Old 12-26-21, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Fair point. Trek is now electrifying all of their full carbon roadracers at $10K pricepoints WTF. But 'generally' speaking an e-assist bike will have rather larger tires than 'normal'. Compare any hybrid like a Giant Quick or Raleigh Redux or Trek FX with their boosted counterparts. The standard hybrid tire sizes of 32mm to 40mm jump to 47mm - 55mm. Non-suspended (rigid) e-bikes NEED big rubber. You will beat the bike and yourself senseless at e-bike speeds with all that extra weight onboard on a 28mm tire!
You're right.
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Old 12-26-21, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chandne View Post
I'll always choose the fatter tires (esp on a ebike) for more grip and more comfort.
This is a very wise choice.
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Old 12-26-21, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Doc_Wui View Post
I own fat tire bikes, but never ride on beaches or in snow so they're not used much. I prefer narrow tire ebikes A light wheel is easier to accelerate and makes for a better pedalling ebike,
If you spend more time on flat terrain and commuting to work, narrow-tire electric bikes will be a good choice for you.
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Old 12-26-21, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
FME (limited at best), fat tires have too much influence on steering precision, and aren't required in socal since (like DW) I don't ride on the beach and rarely in snow.
Yes, fat tire electric bikes have relatively good grip and can handle most terrains. The narrow tire electric bikes have relatively higher steering accuracy. If you are only used for leisure or commuting to work, then narrow tire bikes are better Choice.
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Old 12-26-21, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by AOSTIRMOTOR View Post

Compared with ordinary bicycles, electric bicycles are more time-saving and labor-saving. Of course, the travel mode of ordinary bicycles is also possible.
Sorry, I was talking about geometry. Me and the wife both ride ebikes.
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Old 12-26-21, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
Sorry, I was talking about geometry. Me and the wife both ride ebikes.
It is ok, ebikes are a good choice.
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