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I am shopping for tyres for my normal MTB. As I am mostly riding city, some gravel and light offroad I wanted something with good speed on road and some traction offroad. I found Schwalbe E-bike tyres which should offer just that.

Are there any downsides for riding e-bike tyres on normal bike?

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    Usually they are heavier and have better puncture protection. – Michael Sep 8 '20 at 10:40
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E-bike tires are designed for heavier loads, and faster speeds. Comparing Marathon Plus regular with e-bike version, e-bike has deeper tread, two layer puncture protection, and rubber mixture optimized for higher speed. E-bike one also has max load 6kg higher. For 28 x 1.75 Shwalbe says that regular weights 1100 g and e-bike 1150 g. When I was choosing tires for my bike (about a month ago), e-bike ones felt much heavier, so I am sceptical about this data point.

My conclusion is, you would be paying money and using more mass for some features you would use, like enhanced flat protection, and some you will not, like optimization for heavy mass at high speed.

That said, I am really heavy and I can and want to go relatively fast, so I ended up choosing Energizer Plus Tour, designed for e-bikes, for my regular bike. And I am happy with that choice. Like you, I am mostly riding city, some gravel and light offroad now, and it works all right.

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Yes - I ran 28mm Continental Grand Prix 26" tyres on my recumbent for a while. They were fast, looked sporty and worked well at ~14 Watts

Downside, they punctured relatively easily. When it got to ~2 punctures in a week's commuting (10 hours of riding), I changed to Schwalbe Energizer Plus Greenguard 26" x1.75 47-559 tyres on the same rims. These use 21.5 Watts.

My average speed dropped - I used to cruise at 32 km/h, and now my average is around 27. 5 km/h is 15~18% slower.

On the flip side, I haven't had a single puncture since September 2019 where I was flatting. A puncture takes ~15 minutes to swap out the tube (its an IGH so fiddly) Assume 30 minutes lost a week in flats at the worst, and that's the same as ~16 km distance. However I'm travelling 15% slower, so my 10 hours of commute turns into 11.5 hours total.

answer sometimes faster tyres, plus fixing the odd flat, is faster than sludging through with harder tyres. And my knees hurt more with the heftier tyre.

The tyres are heavier too - easily half as much again. That's not much in terms of my 25 kilo ride, but for a lighter (10 kilo) bike it would be more noticeable.

I absolutely intend to get racier tyres again, but need to wear out the current ones, after 4000 km and 10 months they're still almost new, so wear is generally good and life is long. The previous Contis were dead after 6000 km, so longevity is a factor as well.

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  • I know the schwalbes mentioned here are not specifically rated as ebike tyres, but they have a similar hefty construction, and the design dates from 2015 when ebike specific tyres weren't a thing. – Criggie Sep 8 '20 at 11:22
  • While commuting today I was thinking about this, and will explore swapping back to a 10speed wheel with cassette and derailleur, along with the faster tyres. Will be interesting to see what the average speed change is over time. – Criggie Sep 8 '20 at 23:33
  • You can think about locking you rear wheel every time you brake: this way you will consume out your tyre, not the brake pads ... so after "n" kms, you will have to change the tyre, but the brake pads will be almost new... – EarlGrey Sep 9 '20 at 14:32
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An e-bike tire will be heavier and have higher rolling resistance. Efficiency is less of a concern for e-bikes because an electric motor provides most of the power. When you've only your legs to power the bike, efficiency matters a lot more.

For city riding, you'll probably encounter glass and other sharp debris frequently. Other answers have mentioned e-bike tires have improved puncture resistance. While this is true, there's a way to get even better puncture resistance without the high weight and rolling resistance of a thick casing: tubeless tires.

For your use case, I would recommend a tubeless gravel tire. You'll see of all the tires tested at bicyclerollingresistance.com, the fastest ones are all tubeless. There are race-specific tires which can be even lighter and faster, but you wouldn't want to ride those in a city.

You'll want to check your rim width for compatibility before going to a narrower gravel tire, but I think you'll be surprised at the reduced effort required with a high quality, tubeless gravel tire compared to an entry-level mountain bike tire.

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