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The top 12 best 26 inch e-bike tires for 2023

In this article I’m going to give you an overview of the best 26 inch e-bike tires.

With the explosion in popularity of e-bikes it was inevitable that tire manufacturers would come up with e-bike specific tires as well. And you could be wondering if this is all nonsense or not.

If you look at what makes an e-bike an e-bike you could argue it isn’t. First off, an e-bike is far heavier than your standard bike, and in general it goes much faster. So being able to handle all that weight mile after mile and stop in time if you need to created e-bike certified tires.

Weight does all sorts of nasty things to a tire. Higher rolling-resistance, more stress, increased wear, lowered suspension travel, bad alignment, etc. E-bike tires basically need to be as strong as possible, and as durable as possible, to handle all the strain they have to deal with.

There are two categories of 26 inch e-bike tires. Tires up to 25kmh and 50kmh, for standard e-bikes and speed pedelecs respectively. You can obviously use both, no matter what e-bike you’re riding. Stronger, more durable tires are simply more expensive.

So now you know a bit more about e-bike tires, let’s see which ones made it on my list of the best 26 inch e-bike tires.

Continental Cross King ProTection

The Continental Cross King ProTection is the newer version of a magnificent, lightweight cross-country racer.

ProTection replaces the RaceSport moniker. It’s a three- and four ply system underneath respectively the tread and sidewall, ensuring maximum puncture protection and shieldwall tearing.

This doesn’t take away from the fact that this tire is still one of the lightest in its category. A true racer.

Continental Cross King ProTection Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Maximum puncture protection in a lightweight cross-country racing tire.
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Race King ProTection

The Continental Race King ProTection is an extremely light tire. In the weight department it means it outshines every comparable tire from every other brand by far. And it’s also the best XC tire in the rolling-resistance department.

I cannot stress enough that with respect to speed and acceleration, a light tire makes all the difference. And tires are also the most cost-effective way to reduce the overall weight of the bike.

Try reducing a couple of hundred grams of any other bike component and be ready to spend in the hundreds of dollars. Not so the case with tires. And on top of that the tire has the advanced ProTection puncture protection, with a composite breaker and a bead to bead sidewall protection polyamide fabric.

All that speed comes at a price, because traction is not this tire’s strength when compared to other mountain bike tires. And it’s the reason this tire performs best in dry conditions.

But when riding in those conditions getting up to speed and keeping it is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It rightly deserves its name.

Continental Race King ProTection Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the lightest mountain bike tire on the market, with excellent puncture protection. Geared towards speed in every way.
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Trail King ProTection Apex

The aptly named Continental Trail King ProTection Apex is the German brand’s allround trail-tackling solution.

It performs exceptionally well in all sorts of conditions, and might only wafer a bit on the steepest of technical downhill sections. That means this tire is a very good and lightweight all mountain solution indeed.

It’s one of the faster tires on this list, well-suited for those among you who don’t shy away from a steep climb. The tread pattern provides high levels of traction and with even the 2.8 width version sitting at just over a kilo, which is about 20 percent lighter than its competitors.

The knobs are rather spaced-out from each other, which means this might not be the grippiest tire in the front. On the flip side, riding in wet conditions is marginally improved because it’ll shed mud better and won’t clog up that easily.

Continental Trail King ProTection Apex Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Very fast allround trail tire, that's extremely puncture resistant.
Reasons to avoid
Not the trail tire with the most grip.

Continental CONTACT Plus

The Continental CONTACT Plus is another great allround commuting tire from the German brand.

It sets itself apart from the other tires in the lineup because of a cut resistant casing, besides the puncture-resistant belt and reinforced sidewalls.

The tire sacrifices a low weight in favor of basically never running a flat, and does so perfectly. It’s flat center tread pattern means it’s a great long-lasting-durable commuter option.

Continental CONTACT Plus Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Extremely puncture-resistant
Reasons to avoid
Heavy

Continental CONTACT Speed

Meant for the road the Continental Contact Speed is a slick tire in the true sense of the word. A minimalistic profile will turn your bike into a city slicker.

In the commuting and touring range from this German brand, it sits in the fastest category and is one of the most affordable options to obtain a fast-rolling tire.

It also has excellent puncture protection with Continental’s more than adequate SafetySystem breaker technology. Chances of flats are minimized.

Continental CONTACT Speed Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Affordable slick tire , with excellent puncture protection
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental CONTACT Travel

The Continental CONTACT Travel is the most durable, most puncture-resistant touring tire in Continental’s lineup.

A composite breaker underneath the center tread made from kevlar-reinforced nylon is combined with a bead-to-bead polyamide fabric to reinforce the sidewalls as well.

Meant for pavement, hardpack and gravel, commuting, touring, bikepacking, and anything your bike could basically take you apart from technical trail riding.

This protection comes at the price of both weight and speed, but you shouldn’t buy this tire if you’re looking for a tire which excels in those aspects. If you’re looking for a 4-season, long-lasting tire, which is highly versatile, look no further.

Continental CONTACT Travel Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Great 4-season tire. Highly versatile, from commuting to gravel, bikepacking and touring. Maximum durability, with maximum protection.
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental RIDE Tour

The Continental RIDE Tour is a fantastic allround tire meant for urban commuting. It’s a 4-season option for those people who want to ride their bike year round, and be assured of riding with the most effective puncture-protection for an commuting tire.

As an allrounder it shows characteristics of durability and puncture-proofness. With both reinforced sidewalls and a puncture-resistant belt underneath the center tread. The belt differs from the more road-bike oriented, and lighter breaker, offering extremely effective protection against everything you might encounter on the road.

An unbroken center tread means it’s reasonably fast in a straight line, and it offers a tread pattern to support riding in the rain.

With all that added material and rubber, you should pick this tire for its long-lasting lifespan.

Continental RIDE Tour Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Ultra-durable, great allround, 4-season option for urban riding and commuting. The best puncture-protection from Continental for a wider commuting tire.
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis High Roller II

The Maxxis High Roller II is a solid option, both front and back, in loose and dry condition riding.

If you don’t have that much climbing to do, you might opt for a dual High Roller setup. But for any non-competitive riders. However, the DHR II plus High Roller front and back respectively, is a more forgiving, allround setup.

But as far as downhill goes, the High Roller’s spaced out knobs proved a perfect amount of bite in loose condtions.

Maxxis High Roller II Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Solid trail and enduro tire, preferably up front.
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis Minion DHF

When you’re looking for a mountain bike tire it’s almost impossible not to have heard of the Maxxis Minion DHF. The reason being it’s like the ultimate fit-and-forget mountain bike tire on the market. That means that the tire is just about perfect for any local trail riding, to enduro and downhill races.

The tread pattern shows that this tire prefers to sit on your front wheel. You can opt to put another fan favorite, the Maxxis Minion DHR II, at the back. That tire has horizontally aligned knobbies for increased braking power.

On its own, or paired with the Minion DHR II, the Maxxis Minion DHF is such a no-brainer that it’s hard to not recommend it to anyone for allround trail-riding and downhill.

Maxxis Minion DHF Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Superb allrounder with loads of sizing / compound combinations possible. Combines with Maxxis Minion DHR II for an excellent allround trail setup.
Reasons to avoid
None

Maxxis Minion DHR II

The “DH” in DHF and DHR stands for “downhill”. The “F” and “R” for “front” and “rear” respectively. The “downhill” in the name is a bit misleading, because the horizontal tread pattern of the DHR not only aids breaking but also gives more traction when going uphill. Both tires have the same side knobs to maximise grip while cornering.

Be sure to buy the “super tacky” compound casing which will aid your grip. As a 26″ tire this means you’ll run a 2.35 DHF front tire and a slightly wider 2.4″ DHR rear tire to add a bit more cushioning for a tire that’ll needs to bear the brunt of your weight and impacts.

Maxxis intended these two tires to be used together as their go-to allround solution for trail riding. And these tires are in some many lists that it’s probably the best allround no-worries solution money can buy.

Choose the dual compound for lower rolling resistance and longer life or the super tacky compound for more grip.

Together witth the Minion DHF, the Maxxis Minion DHR II is a fantastic and confidence inspring tire that will take your downhill rides to the next level.

Maxxis Minion DHR II Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
One of the best rear tires available, combines with Maxxis Minion DHF for an excellent allround trail setup
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Marathon HS420

I’ve run multiple Schwalbe Marathon’s on various bikes in various sizes and I can’t remember ever running a flat.

To me, this original Schwalbe Marathon set the standard for a package of puncture-protection and durability. And it spawned an entire category of spin-offs for various other cycling disciplines.

I believe it’s one of the best-selling commuting tires because they do what they’re meant for, keep you riding. And they do so consistently.

Schwalbe Marathon HS420 Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
The go-to touring and commuting tire, mile-cruncher.
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

The Schwalbe Marathon is the ultimate allrounder in the tire department and one of the best-selling tires in the market. So the German brand decided to make a MTB-specific version of this tire: the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB.

Although it looks like a knobby tire, if you look close enough you can see that center tread will let you run smoothly across pavement. And just like the standard Marathon is meant for commuting and touring, the same goes for this one.

It’s a heavy tire when compared to some of the XC racers. But the biggest plus for hauling all that extra weight is that in terms of puncture protection, this tire has no equal. The reason is pretty simple. Schwalbe stuffed a 5mm strip underneath the center tread, made from highly puncture resistant rubber. And as simple as that sounds, it’s extremely effective in preventing punctures.

So for those of you who want the risk of flats nearing zero, this is the tire for you.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Mile cruncher, unparalleled puncture protection
Reasons to avoid
Heavy, meant for commuting, touring, and bikepacking.

Specifications 26 inch e-bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Buy at Amazon
Continental CONTACT Plus
26×1.75
42-559
1040
Black
Black
 
SafetyPlus Breaker
wired
Continental CONTACT Speed
26×2.00
50-559
665
Black
Black/reflex
 
SafetySystem Breaker
wired
Continental CONTACT Speed
26×1.60
42-559
665
Black
Black/reflex
 
SafetySystem Breaker
wired
Continental CONTACT Travel
26×2.00
50-599
760
Black
Black
 
SafetySystem breaker / DuraSkin
wired
Continental CONTACT Travel
26×1.75
47-599
670
Black
Black
 
SafetySystem breaker / DuraSkin
wired
Continental CONTACT Travel
26×1.75
47-599
670
Black
Black reflex
 
SafetySystem breaker / DuraSkin
wired
Continental Cross King ProTection
26×2.20
55-559
565
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
tlr
Continental Cross King ProTection
26×2.30
58-559
675
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection
tlr
Continental Race King ProTection
26×2.20
55×559
535
Black
Black
BlackChili
 
tlr
Continental RIDE Tour
26×1.75
47 – 559
780
Black
Black
 
EXTRA PunctureBelt
wired
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
26×2.20
55-559
735
Black
Black
BlackChili
 
tlr
Continental Trail King ProTection Apex
26×2.40
60-559
875
Black
Black
BlackChili
 
tlr
Maxxis High Roller II
26×2.30
58-559
835
Black
Black
Dual
 
tlr
Maxxis High Roller II
26×2.30
58-559
846
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
 
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.50WT
63-559
905
Black
Black
Dual
 
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.50WT
55-559
860
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
foldable
Maxxis Minion DHF
26×2.30
58-559
840
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.30
58-559
780
Black
Black
Dual
 
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.40WT
61-559
865
Black
Black
Dual
 
tlr
Maxxis Minion DHR II
26×2.40WT
61-559
865
Black
Black
3C MaxxTerra
 
tlr
Schwalbe Marathon HS420
26×1.50
40-559
730
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired
Schwalbe Marathon HS420
26×1.75
47-559
875
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired
Schwalbe Marathon HS420
26×2.00
50-559
970
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
26×2.10
54-559
1150
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
26×2.25
57-559
1260
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
26×2.10
54-559
1150
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
26×2.25
57-559
1260
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
wired

Bicycle tire puncture resistance

EXO, GreenGuard, AGC, AEC, ATC, do you ever get confused with all the jargon related to puncture protection. I know I did? That’s why I’ve written a separate article about puncture resistance technologies. That way, you’ll be able to better understand what’s out there and if it’s worth your money.

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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