Electric Scooter Tires and Road Safety: How Tires Affect Your Scooter's Stability and Handling

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Updated on: 4/23/2024
Published on: 5/11/2023

Hacking top speeds and maxing out on battery hours! That's typically what you'll be checking out first. Before parting with your hard-earned dollars on an electric scooter, what about those few inches of tire rubber? The only thing between your scooter and contact with the pavement, tarmac and often, rough terrain.

An electric scooter's tires are definitely worth taking time to consider. They can make a massive difference between an OK, reliable ride - and a totally smooth, cushioned ride.

Not to mention, it pays to know the tire type on your electric scooter. Did you know your riding style and scooter handling can be affected by the type of tires you're riding? Solid tires compared to air filled tires? Or inner tube tires versus honeycomb tires. Plus, riding on easily worn-out treads is a disaster waiting to happen!

Before you buy or take out a subscription, let's check out e scooter tires.

Key tasks electric scooter tires need to do


First off, your scooter tires do more than aid shock absorption for a smooth, comfortable ride. Electric scooter tires have several, main tasks, such as:

  • Supporting the rider's weight
  • Maintaining direction of travel
  • Absorbing shocks from a riding surface
  • Maintaining tire pressure and shape
  • Transmitting braking forces to a riding surface

Different tire types can give you a very different ride quality by how well they perform their main tasks. It can also impact how long a tire may actually last. You could be hit with a flat only seconds into your ride.

3 types of electric scooter tires

Next, you need to be aware of the 3 main types of tires:

  • Pneumatic tires -also called air filled tires.
  • Solid tires -sometimes known as airless tires.
  • Honeycomb tires -combination of pneumatic and solid tires.

The difference is important to know because each tire type has its own characteristics. Which may, or may not, be suitable for the scooter rides and performance you're looking for. Especially if you're into extreme performance scooters.

Pneumatic Tires (Air-Filled Tires)


Pneumatic tires are air-filled tires - just like tires used on autos and trucks. Which you can easily check out by the valve stem attached for filling the tire with air.

A pneumatic tire is made with a combination of synthetic and natural rubber, and has thick side walls. This makes air filled tires better able to retain its correct tire shape with a firmer surface grip.

It's important to know there are also:

2 types of pneumatic scooter tire

  • Inner tube tires

A tire with an inner tube that's protected by the thick rubber wall of the outer tire. Damage penetrating the outer tire wall, for example, while riding on rough terrain, is less likely to give you a flat unless the inner tube is also ruptured.

  • Tubeless tires

These are tires which don't rely on an air filled inner tube to stay inflated. They're most commonly used on autos. The entire inner edge of the tire is airtight against the wheel hub.

What are the pro's and con's of pneumatic tires?

Key advantages

Air filled tires give you a riding performance perfectly suited to most urban commutes around your neighborhood.

Reduced "rolling resistance"

This is a 'motion resisting' force - also known as rolling friction or rolling drag. It's caused by forward rotation of the tires in contact with the road surface.

Lowered resistance is the result of less shape deformity as the more durable, firmly inflated tire moves and flexes as it maneuvres.

When you're hitting the throttle paddle, air filled tires won't hold you back.

Smooth ride quality

Pneumatic tires tend to have better shock absorption and ride cushioning. Which is always good news when you're riding uneven, cracked paving, or bumps and tears in concrete and tarmac.

You can even do some off-roading too with pneumatic tires. Because air filled tires give some useful suspension of their own.

That’s why pneumatic tires are often fitted to many electric scooters without any ride cushioning suspension at all.

Your twin cushions of air soak up the shocks and judders. Which means you get to enjoy a more comfortable, smoother ride. And you avoid those nastly jolts that can seriously impact the scooter itself.


Deep tire treads

Deep tire treads made with synthetic and natural rubber gives you a better road grip.

They lose 30 per cent less mass than similar tires made of natural rubber, and have only half the tread loss. (Source: Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Polymer Research).

Not only are you less likely to suffer constant flats. You'll definitely be squeezing out more scooter miles for your buck before you start riding on bald tires.

Easy to adjust:

Tire replacement

Suffering a flat with airless tires can be less of a hassle. If your e scooter has wheels made with split rims.

Split rims are simply bolted together, and can be easily separated to quickly change the tire.

Air pressure

Riding conditions change as road surfaces alter. Are you losing traction simply because you're not riding at the recommended tire pressure? Keeping tires at the right pressure is sometimes overlooked.

If you need better traction on a slippery surface you may want to quickly lower your tire pressure to grab that extra grip. And just as easily push the tire pressure back up again for riding a different surface.

You simply adjust the air pressure inside your pneumatic tire to suit your riding surface.


Air inflated tires do have downsides. Some are obvious, others less so.

Higher risk of flats

Pneumatic tires are simply more likely to get a flat. At any time.

It may happen after months and months of solid, daily rides. Or from brand new, in the first few yards of hitting the sidewalk. It happens.

Once a pneumatic tire suffers a flat it may no longer be as reliable, even after the flat has been repaired.

Tire pressure maintenance checks and different ground surfaces

An air filled tire needs to be at the right pressure when riding on different ground surfaces. From hard, dry urban paving and concrete to wet, soft muddy grass or more rougher terrain.

This means making regular tire pressure maintenance checks with an electric pump. And deflating your tires when needed for both performance and riding comfort.

Discovering you already have a deflated tire doesn’t always mean that you have a flat. It can get confusing. So you need to also check tire pressure values recommended by the manufacturer.

Reducing the pressure will help to give you better traction, stability, and road grip. But you do need to find the right tire pressure each time. Or risk a flat or other tire damage.

Air temperature changes affect road handling

Riding your electric scooter in the summer months is different than in winter.

  • Hotter temperatures during the summer causes the air inside tires to expand.
  • Colder temperatures in winter leads to the air inside tires to contract.

It's a problem that can be made worse by extreme temperature changes. You may notice how an air temperature change can affect the road handling of your electric scooter.

Solid Tires (Airless)


A solid tire is basically made from from layers of solid rubber or silicone pressed around the wheel hub of an electric scooter. The good news is solid tires can also be fitted to wheel rims made for pneumatic tires.

Solid tires are more durable for handling rougher terrains, and you can maneuvre your scooter better on tricky corners and turns.

2 types of solid scooter tire

  • Fully-solid scooter tires

  • Foam-filled scooter tires

Fully-solid scooter tires

A fully-solid tire is the most common type fitted to an electric scooter, and the least expensive.

They're also the heaviest. It means an added weight to your scooter, which could see a higher rolling friction and less maneuverability.

Foam-filled scooter tires

These are basically airless tires filled with a rubber or solid polyurethane foam.

It's the foam-filling material rather than air pressure that gives the tire its durable, robust structure and strength.

What are the pro's and con's of solid tires?

Key advantages

No flat tires

The main benefit of solid tire types is they will never deflate if the tread or exterior walls receive a puncture.

It's important to check if solid tires are made from different materials, such as hard plastics for increased rolling resistance. Because they can be worn down fairly easily, and need to be changed more regularly.

Less cost

Clearly, if your tires never get a flat then you're definitely saving your dollars on having to replace a flat tire. Which can more likely happen with air filled tires.

Less maintenance

You've no need to check your tire pressure. However, if your solid tires are foam-filled you will need to keep a check to see if the foam needs refilling.

Air temperature changes no affect on road handling

Solid tires are not affected by expansion or contraction caused by air temperature changes during the summer or winter months. Their road handling should remain the same.


Heavier weight

A fully-solid tire is always going to be heavier than a pneumatic, air filled tire. This makes the total weight of your electric scooter heavier. Which could reduce its portability and cause a problem for the daily commute when carrying between rides or climbing several stairs.

Less comfortable ride quality

Heavier, solid tires have less flexible handling and shock absorption. Reduced traction also makes riding difficult on wet winter surfaces and in more rougher terrain. Most offroad electric scooters tend not to be fitted with solid tires.

Less durable

Solid tires are made with a combination of hard, synthetic rubber and silicone. The higher rolling resistance and friction leads to a reduced working life as the material wears away at a faster rate.

Hard to replace

Solid tires are generally difficult to replace. The entire wheel, including the motor, will have to be replaced together on some electric scooters. It's also nearly impossible to convert a solid tire scooter into a pneumatic tire scooter.

Honeycomb tires


Honeycomb tires - combining pneumatic with solid tires - are also known as airpocket tires. "Smart-design" honeycomb tires are featured on the Unagi Model One - both the front and rear tires.

Honeycomb tires are constructed with a system of ribbed air pockets or honeycombs around the edge of the entire wheel.

The air pockets in honeycomb tires are designed for:

  • Greater structural integrity
  • Increased air cushion
  • Reduced scooter weight

Pro's and Con's of Honeycomb Tires


Better suspension

Air-pocket tires generally offer slightly better suspension than solid tires. And often seen where a scooter, such as the Unagi Model One is built for fast maneuvres on the urban commute.

Extended travel distance

A lower rolling resistance is achieved by reducing the battery energy required to move the tire. This can help to extend the travel distance of an electric scooter.

Better energy efficiency

Extending the distance you can travel on a single charge also means increased energy efficiency.

Longer lifespan

Honeycomb tires have less tire distortion, for example, during tight cornering and other hard maneuvres. By retaining more of its shape a honeycomb tire suffers less wear and extends its lifespan. It also means saving your dollars on frequent replacements.


Performance limit in rough terrain

Honeycomb tires tend to be fitted to an e scooter designed for the pavement and tarmac of the daily, urban commute. They may not perform as well in rough terrain or in extreme conditions.


The sophisticated construction of the honeycomb tire may mean a higher replacement cost compared to a standard pneumatic tire.


Pneumatic tires together with solid tires

Most electric scooters are fitted with either a pair of air-filled tires, solid tires or honeycomb tires. Most scooters will tend to be fitted with tubeless pneumatic tires. Premium price and performance scooters will all definitely have air filled tires. Or honeycomb tires.

But it's also possible for certain types of electric scooter to come with both air-filled and solid tires.

Generally, almost half of budget-priced scooters will have solid tires, and more than one in seven could also be fitted withboth solid and pneumatic tires.

When there is a mix of both tires, you should find the front tire will be air-filled while the rear tire is solid.

This is because:

  • Rear tires - bear more of a rider’s weight, and are more prone to getting a flat.

The aim of mixed tires is to reduce your chances of getting a flat, and having a smoother ride at the same time. Best of both riding worlds.

Mixing tires - what you should also know

Some manufactures generally recommended NOT to have different tires at the front and back of an electric scooter.

This is because fitting different tires can negatively affect suspension/ ride quality, overall handling and performance, and riding safety.

Tire sizes and different tread patterns

Small wheels? Larger wheels? After checking out tire type, it's important to find out which size and different tread patterns will be best for the rides you want to take every day.

Urban commute scooters

Most e scooters manufactured for the daily, urban commute are fitted with smooth tread tires for pavement and road surface.

Performance scooters

Many heavy duty electric scooters are built for riding performance, and usually come with off-road tires.

Most premium and extreme performance scooters are fitted with optional off-road tires. As you might expect, off-road tires are made with much deeper and heavier carved-out tread pattern for aggressive grip and traction in rough terrain.

Each size and tread on an individual scooter tire will give you a different feel for safety, grip, and riding comfort.

Safety and grip

Tire size is all-important. You need to have enough tire contact all the time with the riding surface.

Riding terrain

Different size tires and treads are made for different riding surfaces and terrains.

Typical examples...

  • Off road tires have a larger diameter and are air-filled.
  • Wide tires with a deep tread perform poorly on smooth surfaces, such as pavements.

Riding comfort

Your riding comfort - particularly over longer distances - will be affected by your tire's tread pattern, as well as size, sturdiness, and air pressure.

Big Tires

Big tires give you big advantages:

  • Better safety and traction
  • Smoother rides
  • Handles higher speeds more comfortably

The bigger the tire size the less you will feel any nasty jolts. A bigger tire easily rolls over surface cracks, dips and potholes. Even if your tire does get caught you're less likely to lose your balance on the deck.

Small Tires

Solid tires tend to have a smaller width than air-filled tires. The smaller the tire the higher the risk of getting suddenly trapped by a curb stone or pothole. You could even be thrown from your deck.

Different Treads

A tire's tread is key to an electric scooter riders riding performance, safety and comfort.

Deep Tread

A deep tread is designed to give:

  • Stronger grip
  • Resistance to flats

A deeper, thicker tread will feature on tires intended more for off-road use. Straightaway, you will notice a difference in easier handling over rougher terrain.

Deep, thicker tread tires will also feel heavier to ride. Compared to tires with a lighter weight tread pattern.

Lighter Tread

A lighter, less thicker tread means:

  • Less rolling resistance
  • Further travel range on a single battery charge
  • Lighter, smoother ride

Tires with a lighter tread are recommended if your electric scooter is to be mostly used for the daily commute on pavement and tarmac.

Electric Scooter Tire Maintenance Tips


Preventing a flat tire

Coating the inside surface of a pneumatic tire can help prevent flats and extend their working life. Tire sealant - also known as tire 'slime' - comes in the form of a liquid which you pour through the valve stem.

Escaping air forces the sealant to cover the puncture site where protection builds up. A flexible plug is instantly formed to securely seal the puncture shut.

Pumping up an electric scooter tire

Your tire may look like it has a flat - but it may simply be low pressure. It's always recommended to check tire pressures at least once a fortnight. Especially, if you ride your scooter every day.

An electric pump with a gauge - or even a regular bicycle pump - is all you need to check your tire pressure. Particularly, if you see your tire looks slightly lower to the ground.

Larger riders should always maintain a higher tire pressure. Slightly over inflated tires will help to keep your speed and overall scooter performance at the riding level you want at all times.

Working life of an e scooter tire

How long your tires will last is never an exact science. Much depends on:

  • How frequently you ride your scooter
  • Your riding style - such as how fiercely you brake, takes corners or clear curbs.
  • Your typical riding surfaces - whether urban pavement or rougher terrain.

It's essential you must replace your tires when you see the tread is worn down.

The working life of your tires can be from a few hundred miles to several thousand miles. However, it's generally recommended you should replace your tires around every 3,200-4,800 kilometers (2,000–3,000 miles).

The right e scooter tires for you


Deciding whether you choose an electric scooter with pneumatic tires, solid tires or honeycomb tires generally comes down to the riding performance you want to have.

Choose ...

Air filled tires for:

  • Smoothest ride
  • Adjusting air pressure to changing circumstances
  • Greater traction

Solid tires for:

  • No flats ever
  • Sturdier, less smoother rides
  • Less cost and maintenance

Honeycomb tires for:

  • Mix of air filled and solid tire performance
  • Smooth suspension
  • Less distortion
  • Longer lifespan

Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley

Daniel tests all the latest e-scooters and currently enjoys the Unagi Voyager as a daily driver for it's light weight, good range, and stylish look.

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