As someone who has ridden tens of electric scooters with pneumatic and solid tires, I have noted a couple of differences between them.
These differences vary based on the ride quality, the manufacturing materials used, and the longevity of each tire type.
So, are you looking at whether to buy an electric scooter with pneumatic tires vs solid tires? Let’s get into it.
Electric scooter pneumatic vs solid tires breakdown
Pneumatic electric scooter tires and solid tires are the two common scooter tire types we have today.
Both help to absorb shocks in riding terrains, supporting the load of the e-scooter, transmitting braking forces to riding terrains, and importantly, maintaining the direction of your ride.
While they have similarities, they also harbor an array of differences.
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What are pneumatic scooter tires?
Pneumatic tires refer to a type of tires that have to be filled with air to achieve their structural integrity.
Pneumatic tires are also called air-filled tires and are made of synthetic and natural rubber. For a greater grip and traction, pneumatic scooter tires come with thick sidewalls.
Electric scooter pneumatic tires vary in quality and manufacturing design. There are offroad pneumatic tires and hybrid/street/city electric scooter tires today. Depending on the kind of terrain you intend to ride your scooter, you can choose which best suits your needs.
Severe-duty scooter tires such as offroad tires are more aggressive, long-lasting, and with thick sidewalls to wear longer, stay resistant to cuts, and remain immune to common flats.
Types of electric scooter pneumatic tires
Currently, pneumatic scooter tires are divided into two:
- Tubeless pneumatic scooter tires
- Pneumatic electric scooter tires with tubes.
For the tubeless pneumatic tires, they don’t depend on a tube for airtightness. Just as the name suggests, you will not have to worry about getting an inner tube for your scooter tire. One of the common electric scooters today with pneumatic tubeless tires is the EMOVE Cruiser.
For pneumatic electric scooter tires with tubes, they have an inner tube that acts as the medium for airtightness.
5 main benefits of pneumatic electric scooter tires
Pneumatic scooter tires have a plenitude of benefits, so let’s have a look at the most basic ones:
1. Smooth ride quality
Since pneumatic tires are filled with air, they are properly cushioned against different nuisances.
For example, the air in these tires acts as a shock absorber against the bumps in surfaces such as bumps, potholes, and different other types of obstructions.
Since heavy obstructions often lead to a lower lifespan of scooters, the air in pneumatic tires helps to protect electric scooters from consistent jarring owing to hard riding surfaces. This, in turn, leads to smoother ride quality and overall lengthening of the scooter’s lifespan.
2. The better option for offroading
It’s easy to judge that air-filled tires aren’t a great option to ride off the road. However, provided the road is clear of stuff such as massive thorns or even nails, then pneumatic scooter tires will offer you the best riding experience offroad.
This is typically true owing to the fact that these tires have deeper treads, especially if you opt to go for an electric scooter with offroad air-filled tires.
Since offroad grounds are known to have constant jarring due to irregularities, the air in these types of tires helps to absorb this type of impact.
Pneumatic tires often provide some great suspension on their own and that’s why the bigger percentage of scooters that lack any suspension whatsoever comes with pneumatic tires. These types of scooters also receive a fair bit of accolades just like their suspension-included counterparts.
Under normal and most circumstances, electric scooter pneumatic tires are more durable than their solid counterparts. One of the main reasons that explain this fact is that they are made from sturdy natural and synthetic rubber.
Besides, pneumatic tires often come with a deep tread. If you don’t experience constant flats, you can ride hundreds of miles before your pneumatic tire gets fully worn out and most importantly before it turns completely smooth.
4. Ease of exchanging
When pneumatic tires serve you loyally until traction gets worse, you will end up exchanging them, right?
Well, these tires are the easiest to exchange. It’s even better when your scooter comes with split rims.
What’s even better is that you can remove the tire and take it back easily. For example, there was a time I was experiencing wobbling on my front tire.
To fix the problem, I had to remove the tire and set it up properly. My problem at this point was that the front tire had tilted towards one side and it was the reason for the wobble. I must have hit a pothole or something.
Everyone loves versatility at some point. Air-filled tires for electric scooters provide great versatility in different ways.
A great example is whereby you have to ride on slippery surfaces. At that point, it’s important to reduce the tire pressure so that you can have better traction. If, for instance, 50 psi is your scooter’s sweet spot, then you can perhaps reduce the pressure to 45 psi or even lower to get a better riding experience.
Likewise, you can inflate your scooter tires to the desired tire pressure when riding back to the track and achieve the best ride quality.
Disadvantages of pneumatic electric scooter tires
There are different disadvantages of electric scooter pneumatic tires and it would be best to know them before getting an electric scooter with them.
Here are a few of those:
1. Proneness to punctures
Electric scooter tires, sometimes referred to as electric scooter flats are some of the worst nightmares for each rider.
Picture this: your scooter weighs more than 100lbs, it’s getting darker, and you have encountered a flat. How then are you going to get home which is 5 miles away, 10 or even more, and where you are there are no nearby repair centers?
Well, welcome to the reality of electric scooter air-filled tires. They can get a flat regardless of whether they are brand new or have hit a thousand miles.
The problem with a tire that has started getting a flat is that it will certainly not be as reliable as it was earlier.
We recommend that you acquit yourself with basic scooter maintenance tips such as tire repair. It will help you someday or you may end up saving another rider from agony.
2. More expensive
Yes, pneumatic tires are generally more expensive than their solid counterparts. Unfortunately, you will have to bear the cost someday, especially if you own a pneumatic-tire electric scooter.
Depending on the tire type for your scooter, its quality, and where you buy it, the price can actually be more than $100 for a single tire. What’s sadder is that buying a new air-filled tire doesn’t guarantee resistance to flats against stuff such as steel nails.
Not to scare you, though, air-filled tires will end up saving you more money in the long term. Since the air in them ends up doing a great job towards shock absorption and suspension, the scooter will have a relatively long lifespan.
3. It’s difficult to know the right airtightness
While most manufacturers do a great job of recommending the right pressure for your scooter, it gets difficult to determine the best pressure for your scooter when you decide to deflate your scooter.
Some instances where you will need to deflate your scooter tires include while riding your scooter on ice, on muddy surfaces, and even on grass/sand. Deflating it can provide you with better stability and traction, but the problem with this arrangement is knowing the right psi.
4. Regular maintenance routines
Part of an electric scooter maintenance routine is to ensure that the tires have sufficient pressure.
If the manufacturer recommends the scooter to have a minimum of 50 psi, it’s best to get a gauge and check weekly.
Having a deflated tire doesn’t always mean that you have a flat. Temperature fluctuations, as we will check below, can lead to deflation while riding or even when stored.
5. Temperature fluctuations that cause poor handling
During the summer, hot temperatures lead to the expansion of air in the tires. Conversely, cold temperatures, especially in winter lead to contraction.
The problem with these temperature fluctuations is that the scooter will end up having relatively poor handling on the road.
As such, there is also slight deflation, which in turn, leads to more contact of the treads with the riding surface.
What are electric scooter solid tires?
Solid scooter tires are sometimes referred to as airless tires. From the name, these types of tires are made from special solid components from rubber or silicone. The tear strength is often better than is the case with air-filled tires and as such, they are relatively durable.
When passing through debris-filled surfaces such as over heaps of gargabe, scooters with solid tires tend to maneuver better than those featuring air-filled tires.
Types of electric scooter solid tires
We have three types of solid tire scooters today. These include:
- Fully-solid scooter tires
- Honeycomb solid
Fully-solid scooter tires are the most common solid tire type for electric scooters. Since they are meant from natural/synthetic rubber or silicone, they are the heaviest option and add a lot of weight to the gross weight of a scooter.
For the pricing bit, fully-solid tires are the most affordable of the three options. The ride quality is the worst of the three and they tend to wear out fast owing to the lack of deep treads.
Honeycomb solid tires, sometimes called honeycomb tires are made with an internal honeycomb. On the outside, the honeycomb tires are made of either silicone or solid.
One characteristic of honeycomb solid tires is that they have air pockets. These air pockets are what lead to better shock absorption and lighter weight than fully-solid tires. The all-new EVOLV Terra is one of the scooters with honeycomb scooter tires.
Foam-filled scooter tires aren’t common like fully-solid or honeycomb solid tires. They are ideally better for ride quality as compared to fully-solid tires but often require more maintenance. The common disadvantage of foam-filled tires is that the side wall protection is poorer than say fully-solid tires or even the honeycomb type.
5 main benefits of electric scooter solid tires
1. Flat immunity
Resistance to flats is the leading benefit of scooter solid tires. Since it’s not guaranteed that you will always ride your scooter on smooth tarmacked roads, solid tires will help you do away with such uncertainty.
One of the reasons why you will always hate having your e-scooter developing a flat is that you can be forced to push your scooter for several miles before you address the problem.
2. Generally safer
Electric scooter accidents are on the rise. Since solid tires tend to be sturdy enough against punctures, it also means that there are little to no chances of losing control and getting involved in a crash owing to a burst tire.
This is one of the critical factors that make these tires safer than the air-filled type. Of course, if you end up getting a flat at high speeds, the safety is much more compromised with pneumatic tires.
3. More affordable
Solid tires are generally more affordable than their pneumatic counterparts. The pricing matters big time because you may never know when it’s necessary for you to change your scooter’s tires.
As opposed to coughing up to 100 bucks or even more for a single tire for the air-filled type, solid tires will always be the cheaper option. Fully-solid tires are the cheapest among the three solid tire types, followed by foam-filled, and then the honeycomb solid option.
4. Little to no maintenance
Electric scooter solid tires such as fully-solid and the honeycomb solid types don’t require any maintenance routine. This is especially helpful for riders who tend to be more forgetful as they won’t have to worry about riding below or beyond the recommended tire pressure.
For the foam-filled type, the maintenance only involves ensuring that you fill the tire with foam when it gets used up.
5. Temperature fluctuations don’t cause any adverse effects
Unlike air-filled tires that can face expansion or contraction of air inside the tire and thus lead to poor handling, temperature fluctuations have no impact on solid tires.
Since these tires lack airtightness, there is nothing to worry about having poor handling owing to fluctuations in either cold or hot temperatures.
Is it summer? Is it winter? It doesn’t matter what season it is to enjoy riding an electric scooter with solid tires.
4 Scooter Solid Tire Disadvantages
1. Not long-lasting
It’s easy to claim that solid tires are more durable due to the materials used in manufacturing. However, as you could have seen in our table above, we have said that pneumatic tires are long-lasting and solid tires aren’t.
The basic concept that describes this is that the hard natural or synthetic rubber/silicone used in manufacturing solid tires has higher rolling friction. This, in turn, leads to wearing down faster.
If your pneumatic tire stays free from flats, believe it or not, you will end up needing to replace a soli tire earlier than the pneumatic type.
The other problem is that the lack of durability also affects some other scooter parts. Since these tires generally lead to knobby ride quality, some other parts such as the suspension are also affected.
2. No versatility
There are very few solid-tire scooters that come with split rims today. What this means is that you may need to be experienced to replace a solid tire.
Not even replacing it but should you decide to work on the tire, it can be a hassle for some scooters for sure. For instance, if you hit a pothole and your tire ends up tilting towards one side, you may end up having to struggle with wobbling before you address the mishap.
Another thing is that some e-scooters don’t offer the versatility to change their solid tires. A good example is the Ninebot ES2.
Also, if you would like to ride on wet surfaces, you can not ensure that the ride is smoother by deflating the tires.
Solid tires, especially the fully-solid type are heavier than the air-filled ones. This becomes a problem for commuter riders who may also be forced to carry their scooters for say climbing stairs or even keeping the scooter in a car’s trunk.
Typically, solid tires add to the overall weight of how much a scooter weighs, which may make portability a problem. While pneumatic tires also do, they are lighter than their solid counterparts.
4. Poor ride quality
Most electric scooters with solid tires have a poorer ride quality than those with the air-filled type.
The reason for this is that these kinds of tires don’t flex easily, which renders shock absorption a problem. This is the main reason why most offroad electric scooters don’t feature the solid tire option.
The situation even gets worse when you decide to ride a solid-tire electric scooter in winter. These tires tend to be more slippery and can easily make the rider fall on wet surfaces and any others that lack the much-needed friction.
Electric Scooter Pneumatic vs Solid Tires FAQs
We are coming close to the end of this comparison and hopefully, you have started getting a better overview of the differences between electric scooter solid tires and electric scooter pneumatic tires.
Before deciding on what tire type you want to feature in your beloved scooter, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions below:
1. Are pneumatic electric scooter tires good?
Yes, pneumatic scooter tires are good. They offer a great ride quality, contribute to a long lifespan of a scooter, and can easily be changed. Regardless of the type of terrain you ride your scooter, pneumatic tires will be a great option provided there are no objects that can lead to a puncture.
2. Are solid electric scooter tires good?
Yes, solid electric scooter tires are good. While riding, there is no worry about suffering a flat tire, maintenance costs, or even the fear of getting involved in an accident owing to an unanticipated bursting of a tire. If your scooter has suspension at the rear and front, riding is more fun.
3. Pneumatic vs solid electric scooter tires: which are better?
While both solid and pneumatic scooter tires have their advantages and disadvantages, the main pros of the pneumatic tire type make them better than solid tires. Pneumatic tires provide a better ride quality, which is what matters the most for electric scooter owners. The poor ride quality of solid scooter tires is what makes them a poor choice.
4. What are the best solid-tire electric scooters?
The current best solid-tire electric scooters include EVOLV Terra, EVOLV Stride, Vsettt 8+, and the Unagi Model One. We have actually done an entire post tailored explicitly for this topic.
5. What are the best pneumatic-tire electric scooters?
Brands such as Rion, Dualtron, Kaabo, Nami, Vsett, and YUME make some of the best timeless pneumatic-tire electric scooters. You can check our category on the best scooters for different worlds to get a greater overview of what works best for you.
Some electric scooters feature both worlds
In case you didn’t know, some electric scooter manufacturers sell scooters that feature both pneumatic and solid tires. This is a great idea since it helps towards spreading out the risk that can be caused by flats or even rough rides.
Some of the scooters that have a front pneumatic and rear solid tires include:
Final Thoughts on Electric Scooter Solid vs Pneumatic Tires
Both solid and pneumatic electric scooter tires have their advantages and disadvantages based on their use case.
If you soberly decide on what tire option to go for without basing your thoughts on hearsay, you will be in for a happy electric scooter riding hobby.
If you own a pneumatic-tire electric scooter, you may even purchase some fitting solid tires as a way to spread out the risk of flats and possibly getting an accident in the event a tire burst happens. The vice-versa also applies.