What is a folding bike tyre?

What is a folding bike tyre?

Thinking of purchasing a foldable bike tyre?

Here’s everything you need to know about these smart alternatives to traditional rigid tyres, along with answers to some of the questions our customers frequently ask us about these products. 


What’s the difference between folding tyres and normal tyres?

To enable them to be folded down, the beads in folding bike tyres are constructed from more flexible fibres. (If you’re not familiar with this terminology, the bead is the cord that forms the inner part of the tyre and helps to secure it to the rim.)

 

Many foldable tyre manufacturers use Kevlar. Used extensively within the automotive and aerospace industries, this innovative material offers incredible strength and durability yet enables the product to be packed away into a compact bundle that’s easy to carry. 


Standard tyres, on the other hand, are usually made from steel wire, which is entirely stiff and cannot be reduced down as easily. These tyres will often warp or break when they’re folded, so they need to be carried in their usual form wherever possible – and this simply isn’t always convenient for riders with minimal storage. 


Who will benefit from using folding tyres?

Folding bike tyres are a must-have for any rider who wants to be able to travel further with more flexibility. They are particularly useful for cyclists who often embark on longer tours and want to invest in a lighter and more portable option that won’t be difficult to carry or add too much weight to their setup. 


Whether you’re a keen hobbyist or a seasoned long-distance rider, you should always carry a folding tyre in case your existing tyre pops during your journey. It will give you extra peace of mind that, if the worst should happen, you’ll be able to get yourself up and running again in a matter of minutes.


Can you purchase folding tyres for any type of e-bike?

Yes! It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to kit out a mountain bike, a hybrid bike, a bike with a step-through frame or an entirely foldable unit (more on these later!) – folding tyres can be fitted to virtually any kind of electric bike.   


Can folding tyres help you cycle faster?

Performance cyclists often invest in folding tyres for their lightweight properties. Because these products weigh less than tyres with rigid beads, they will produce a lower rolling resistance. This means that more of your energy (and the energy of the motor) is transformed into motion rather than into heat or sound – and this can translate into faster speeds. 


Can folding tyres deliver a smoother riding experience?

Foldable tyres have a higher thread count per inch, otherwise known as a higher TPI. This means that they have finer weaves that make them more supple. Tyres with a greater TPI help contribute to a smoother journey – something that’s important if you’re planning to cover particularly tricky terrain or if you want to remain comfortable for as long as possible on longer trips.  


Is it easy to fit folding tyres to your e-bike? 

To fit a folding tyre, you’ll need to follow the same process as when installing a rigid bike tyre. You may even find that folding tyres are a little easier to mount to the rim, thanks to the improved flexibility of the Kevlar bead. 


Don’t be alarmed if your folding tyre feels a little loose when you first unpack it. It will quickly regain its shape and rigidity. 


Does it matter how many times these tyres are folded away?

No. Thanks to their Kevlar beading, your folding bike tyres should retain their strength and appearance regardless of how many times you use them. In stark contrast, it’s easy to damage rigid beaded tyres, as they’re just not designed to withstand the same kind of pressure or be bent out of shape to the same extent.

 

There’s no ‘wrong’ way to collapse them down, either. Usually, folding them in half and then half again works best. We recommend using a cable tie or an elastic band to hold your tyre in place when you’re transporting it from A to B. This will help you save as much space as possible in your luggage.  


Are folding tyres more expensive than standard tyres?

Because they are built using enhanced technology – and they offer clear advantages over standard tyres in many circumstances – folding bike tyres are considered to be a premium product. You should expect to pay between £5 and £30 more per tyre, depending on the manufacturer. However, most of our customers would agree that the advantages of folding bike tyres usually outweigh the extra cost! 


Are there any disadvantages to using collapsible tyres?

The slightly hire purchase price may be something you need to consider. The treads of folding tyres also tend to be manufactured using softer rubber compounds. Softer rubber can provide better traction, but it will wear out much faster than a harder type of material. With this in mind, you may need to replace folding tyres more regularly than those with rigid beads. 


Can you use both tyre types interchangeably?

Yes. Their construction may be different, but their size remains the same – which means you can swap your tyres over between (or even during) journeys, depending on what feels and functions best. 


How do you select the right folding tyre for your e-bike?

To find the best fit for your e-bike, you’ll need to know two measurements: the wheel size and the tyre width.


To find your wheel size, check to see what wheels your electric bike has been fitted with. All the information you need should be in your bike’s specification manual. Alternatively, if you purchased your bike from The Eco Bike Co, check the bike’s product description online, or feel free to contact us directly for help. 


When it comes to selecting the width of your tyre, this largely comes down to personal preference and the kinds of journeys you want to embark on. Wider tyres often provide more grip; they are a great option if you want added versatility and greater comfort on uneven road surfaces. 


Thinner tyres, on the other hand, are best for racing bikes. They will weigh less and improve your aerodynamics, resulting in a faster, nimbler ride. 


You’ve learned all about folding tyres – but have you considered investing in a folding e-bike?


For maximum portability, take a look at our collapsible models.

We supply an excellent range of high-performance folding electric bikes that are suitable for much more than your daily commute. 


With plenty of pioneering models available from some of the best brands in the UK – including Ampere, E-Go, Neomouv, Wisper, and more – you’ll be sure to find your ideal foldable solution with us. 


In the same way that folding bike tyres are a much more portable and convenient option for regular riders, there are tonnes of benefits to purchasing bikes with a wholly foldable construction. Lightweight yet robust, our folding e-bikes can be packed up quickly for easy storage and transportation. 


They’re a fantastic choice for customers who need to be able to carry their bike on and off buses and trains or weekend adventurers who want to be able to take their e-bike further afield without carrying too much luggage.   

July 06, 2022 — Jarred Pitout