Motored Bike Specific Tire Coming.

Discussion in 'Spare Parts, Tools & Product Developement' started by mabman, Apr 16, 2010.


Motored Bike Tire

  1. Should there be a motored bike specific tire?

    51 vote(s)
  2. Shouldn't be a motored bike specific tire.

    2 vote(s)
  1. mabman

    mabman Member

    I am in close contact with a principal of a bicycle component manufacturer. They would like to build a tire for the motored bike community, but because there are so many different tire diameter/sizes to choose from I felt that coming here to see what you all think is needed and why and if we are on the right track.

    To get anything done at this level there will be only one tire to start so the idea is to make the one that will work for the broadest spectrum of the current motored bikes on the road today.

    There are three ways that they build up tires. One is to just use the casing which is comprised of two thin layers that encapsulate the beads. This is the lightest way to build a tire but also the least reliable in the long term. This is the way most of the tires are made that you get cheap at the store and many of you ride on your bikes.

    The second way is to add a protective layer under the casing from edge to edge of the tread applied above, bed it in with another layer of rubber and that will protect the tread area better but still has a single layer sidewall and is somewhat heavier and costs a bit more for the extra materials and labor but is worth it to many for the extra protection that it provides.

    The third way is to run the same protective material from bead to bead bedded as the former in another layer so that you not only get protection from the tread area but also the sidewalls are protected and instead of single thickness they are 3 layers. This type of tire is used by the DH MTB crowd currently in knobby versions galore and is heavier yet and a bit more costly. But once again the protection that it provides is what some people need and so that is why they exist. Here is an example:
    View attachment 25530

    In looking at the above three options it is pretty obvious that the 3rd one is a good starting point for the casing. The tread is a whole different aspect of tire manufacturing and any tread can be put on any casing that meets its sizing criteria. For motored bikes it seems most ride primarily on the street so basically a street type tread will be applied to a downhill casing tire. Should be pretty beefy. But at some point in the near future we will be perhaps facing DOT compliance and is it going to be enough?

    Another way to make a tire stronger is to make it tubeless ready or even UST which is very popular in the bicycle industry now and after 5 or so years of use the tubeless bicycle tire is here to stay. But in order to run tubeless reliably you need a TRS or UST tire. Rims are also a help with the tubeless system but there are what they call "ghetto" ways to make just about any rim work with a tubeless type tire. Here is a good way to see this happen.

    I guess the reason the auto industry went to tubeless years ago was because it worked well and that is also what the bike industry has discovered. It was kind of hit or miss at first but now it is very reliable and had some distinct advantages over running tubes. The first is that the sealant added is latex based and not as nasty as Slime to deal with but does the same thing by closing punctures off before you lose much tire pressure. But Slime won't seal a bead and the latex will so that is another advantage. Because you are eliminating the tube, but not the ability to run one if the need arises, the thicker wall tire will be more supple without the inner tube layer pressing against the casing. Arguably there is a weight savings but that is not as important for mab's in general as durability is. Anyway here is a pic of how the industry is set up for tubeless.
    View attachment 25531

    The last part of the tire puzzle is the tread pattern itself. The tread is applied in a mould under pressure and bonds itself to the casing. This is an example of a tread pattern that has a mould already and is being recommended by the designer as a good all around street tire that will handle some dirt also.
    View attachment 25532

    And here is another from the same company.

    There are similarities between the two that along with that of the currently popular Schwalbe Marathon leads one to believe that pattern works well for street and some dirt use because contact patch is key in those environments.

    Something you will notice about the Schwalbe is that it fits in to the 2nd category of the casing examples above which provides good protection to the tread area but nothing extra in the sidewall area which is the right way to do it for regular bikes. But the extra weight and speed of motored bikes should be better served by the #3 option?

    In regards to size it seems like a 26x2.125 would work the best for this? Not wide enough to interfere with chain line but enough for decent volume for some extra cush. The second tire would be a 2.5 version and that is the one I am waiting for but have to go through the one to achieve the other as odd as that sounds?

    Feel free to provide any input you may have to share about this and the sooner it will happen.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010

  2. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    Well, zero tread (slicks) provide the best highway traction under every condition except (probably) wet snow. Plus, tread can be very noisy with a friction drive setup. IMO, slick/semi-slick (ala Innova Swiftor or Continental Grand Prix) should be one option.

    An inverted tread (See the Continental Town & Country) is a nice trade-off between smoothness on the highway (with it's no-tread center portion) and grip off road. It can be a little 'bumpy' when cornering, though.

    Many MBs use 26 x 2.125, or even a little fatter. We don't care about the weight like the spandex-tights folks do.

    mabman, in support of this quest, I've added a tire size poll in the Tires forum, so you can get some numbers for your contact.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  3. mabman

    mabman Member

    The problem with slicks is in the rain, which it does in some areas of the country btw:sweatdrop:, and that is why they have gone with patterns that will dispel moisture and still have plenty of contact area I think.

    I have alot of miles on Contis like that and yes it is a good tread for dual purpose in all but mud. Unfortunately you might have to wait for Conti to come on board because the company in question already has moulds available and to get a new one done costs big bucks. The popularity of e bikes in the EU will perhaps get them on the bus but those bikes generally run up to a 1.75 (42) x 700c. Not many 26" wheeled motored bikes across the pond I don't believe to attract a company like Continental.

    Also for the most part the old Goodyear balloon 2.125 size is not in use at this time. Most companies go with 2.0/2.1/2.2/2.3 etc. sizing and that means in reality the tire would probably be a 2.2. A 2.0 might be a safer bet but more volume is more better generally.

    Thanks for your input! And also thanks to those that are at least taking the time to push the poll button. The more that do the faster you will have these on your bike.
  4. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    That's not correct. Tread IS useful on auto tires, but on bike tires, it actually reduces traction, because it reduces surface area in contact with the road. Ref Sheldon Brown's site. But, even better, look at what the folks at Michelin say about bike tires and tread...

    Hydroplane speed is dependent on tire pressure alone. A bike tire with 50 psi cannot hydroplane until the bike is moving at over 60 miles per hour. A tire at 32 PSI can hydroplane at 50 MPH though.

    The formula is

    Speed = 10.35 * sqrt(Tire Pressure)​

    where speed is in MPH and tire pressure is in PSI.

    The image below is a cut/paste from page 5 of NASA's Technical Note D-2056 that they published on the subject.

    BTW. I buy 26x2.125 tires all the time. They're still being made. It's the standard in cruiser tire sizes.

    2-1/8" isn't being made (they're the old 'balloon' tires, I believe,) but, 2.125 inch sure is.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  5. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    I'll put my 2 cents in.

    My preferred tyre has three aspects to it's performance: ultra stiff sidewalls that allow a short distance of run-flat ability; high level puncture resistant ability and a very tall profile that gives good shock absorption on hardtail bikes, using low pressure.

    I currently use Maxxis Hookworm (or maybe it's a Ringworm) 26 x 2.125 tyres with thorn proof inner tubes.

    I would really prefer a 26 x 3.5 balloon tyre, allowing very low pressure to be used, giving a comfortable ride.
    Unfortunately, my frame only allows the use of a 26 x 2.125, although there is enough clearance to run a taller profile tyre.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  6. mabman

    mabman Member

    Thanks for the tutorial. However I doubt that this effort will be a true slick because they don't have a mould for one as I indicated. According to the above calcs anyone hydroplaning on a bike is way outside the legal limits and hydroplaning factors much with a less than 75 lb vehicle with decent tire pressure traveling at under 30 mph. If someone is out in that much moisture riding then they should be extra vigilant anyway? I think the bottom line is that most expect to see some tread on a tire and the companies involved play to that rather than try and change their perceptions.

    I know that 2.125 is still sold as the standard cruiser tire. My point was that tires made for the market today are designated differently, although some companies stretch their sizing and there are ones made that have the same characteristics of a 2.125.
  7. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    While I would like to have the option of a slick tire, a semi-slick similiar to the swiftor or the conti grand prix, above, work well, and should have 'enough' tread to appease the public.

    In reality, with bicycle weights and tire pressures, the only time that tread is truly beneficial is when the surface is softer than the tire. Under virtually all other conditions, tread is a detriment.
  8. mabman

    mabman Member

    Traction issues aside I think that what is more important with this tire is to get the ultimate in protection from abrasion and punctures. The weight of motored bikes and the consistent speed that they can travel at really do exceed what a conventional single ply bike tire is engineered for. Just about any tread will hold you to the road with some jurisprudence from the operator but the unknown quantity is all the **** on the side of the road where we are by law supposed to ride. And not just by law but by necessity.

    I can't believe the **** I can run over and do so regularly but it still doesn't make me cringe any less when I do. I hate flats and they are a real bother at speed and none of us need to go there. If you have ever gotten a cut sidewall, and I am not talking about one that is rotten to begin with, that can really ruin your day because there is no fixing it.

    Seeing as how rotating weight is not a real issue then the tires can be somewhat heavy, but not any heavier than they need to be, which means that the tire, although it has more material in it, should be able to be produced more economically perhaps. Then people might buy a couple and put them on their bikes and some carnage may be avoided.
  9. Safe Tires

    I ride my whizzer at higher speeds then most motored bikes, and the one aspect of tire design that I would like to see that would make me feel safer would be to have a tire that has very stiff side walls. In my nightmares I imagine having a blow out , front tire at 45+ miles per hour and the tire side wall is so flexible that it ends up bunched up in the fork locking up,and I go flying. A stiff side wall should be designed to keep the tire on the rim and allow the rider to maintain control. I ride mostly in fair weather so tread design outside of how it looks is less important to me. Well that's my two cents.
    Cheers Brent
  10. mabman

    mabman Member

    Yeah Brent that would be really bad to see your beautiful Whizzer all smashed as a result of that particular nightmare. Not to mention yourself.:grin5:

    I am thinking that the #3 option with the protective liner all the way from bead to bead will maybe be enough but sidewall strength/stiffness is tops on the list for sure. We are doing some research next week in to Moped class tire construction because they are DOT rated and don't look that much beefier than what we are using now. Too bad they are 17". But they are cheap and a set like this is $40 or so and that is a price point I think most could live with?

    The only problem is that the mold for those tires has paid for itself many times over by now and with any new breed of tire like switching from that 17" size to 26" tends to be higher due to development costs. But hopefully not much.


  11. Good Looking

    I think both of the tires your showing are great looking designs. Both would work with the friction drives also. Good luck with this project. I would pay $40.00 each for somthing with some thick rubber on it!
  12. DougC

    DougC Guest

    What I would wonder is what exactly do you think this tire is going to do that lots of other tires won't? The three features you mentioned--puncture resistance, tubeless ability and tread patterns, are already available in a wide variety of existing tires.

    I ask this not to be disrespectful, but just to make a point.... there's a few companies out there that already make "e-bike tires", and in every instance that I've seen, all they are is a medium-width, semi-slick tire with a special (non-functional) tread pattern, and a "e-bike" logo stuck on the side.

    (Note that I am trying to make tires myself, but there's room for more than a few tire companies and I don't want to give away too much of what I'm thinking of... :grin5: )

    I will say that the size should be 26" x 2.125", no doubt about that. Lots of people who do use 26" bikes say that they want wider tires, but the fact is a lot of engine kit chains already rub the sides of a 2.125" tire.

    As far as tread goes--a slick tread gives the best traction on clean or wet pavement, but the worst traction in rocks/sand/mud and snow. There is no tread that will do well in both.
  13. mabman

    mabman Member

    I have moved on to needing a DOT approved tire.

    You are right. There are lots of tires out there that will work and do. But unfortunately not many are paying attention to the need for good rubber and get the cheapest stuff they can. Caveat Empor.

    Best of luck with your venture.
  14. skrufryder

    skrufryder Member

    well i like to run a skinny slick in the front using the CST traveler in the front 26x1.5 and maybe a 26x 1.5-2.125 slick in the rear s right now is the same cst traveler, am waiting 4 a schwalbe marathon 40x559 and a big apple 50x559 both are slicks with some tred... i run 50x407 big apples on my little schwinn i ride it in the rain all the time and it stops amaizingly well when wet...have noticed the almost bee buzz sound I get flyin down the hill......I have ridin the MB in the rain with the slicks that are on it now, but they slide all over the place when braking so I'm switching to a more "treded slick"
    as far a durability the scwalbe tires seem to last for-ev-er..
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  15. reb1

    reb1 Member

    I use the Schwalbe Marathon on my Tandem. I am considering the Marathon plus after I motorize it. I have tried several other brands and they fail before the tread wears out. The 26"X 2" model is rated at 140kilograms. This means that at 70psi each tire will support 308 lbs of weight. The Marathon is the most popular tire in Europe. I have the 1.5" version of the Marathon on my single. They are rated at 100Kilograns. This means that at 100psi each tire will support 220 lbs of weight. Because MB can travel at higher sustained speeds I would not consider the narrower tires as an option. I would put the widest that my setup would allow. This offers a bit more control in turns. It is also more stable on poorly maintained roads. A few years ago during the Tour De France spectators watched in horror as a member of the American team ran into a pylon designed to keep cars from leaving the highway He was racing down hill and had reached a speed near 55mph. He was killed instantly when he struck it. The Tour De France organizers made a ruling that the racers could not use tires below a certain width after this. They still allow narrower tires during the time trial portion of the race.
  16. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I also find the 2.125 width the best commonly available for street riding. I'd like to point something out, though:

    2.125" = 2 1/8", exactly.
  17. DougC

    DougC Guest

    On a ruler yes, but not when you're talking bicycle tires.

    From -

  18. strotter

    strotter Member

    "Beach cruiser" size. 2.125, 2.25 or 2.5
    Just make it beefy, thick and durable. I will buy the first 4. I'd pay up to $50 each for something like that.
  19. Bob Mac

    Bob Mac Member

    I 've seen talk here about a tubless tires. On a pedalbike this would lead to a lot of changes down the road. First of all the rim would have to be redesigned to accomodate spokes that didn't leak. Not to mention a new rim design to seal the bead, which would then lead to redesigning the brakes to go along with these new rims. By the time you get done redesigning all this the price of a bicycle will be thru the roof and out of reach for most people that ride bikes. I would stick to a new tire, made for a specific purpose, the motored bike. Lets not reinvent the wheel here
  20. reb1

    reb1 Member