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What is the ideal pressure for your Electric Scooter tyres?

Posted by Tom Lee on

Many of us overlook basic maintenance when it comes to riding scooters, but it is important not only for safety (both yours and others around you) and also for getting the most out of your scooter in terms of ride comfort, range and performance. Something as simple as getting your tyre pressures right can make all the difference.

Why does it matter?

Tyre pressures affects both the tyres performance and lifespan. They will also affect a scooters range, handling and braking performance. Running the tyre at the correct pressure will lower rolling resistance. If you ride your scooter a few times a week we’d recommend checking your tyre pressures every weekend, it only takes a couple of minutes.

Does it affect me?

This will affect you if you are riding a scooter with pneumatic tyres such as Xiaomi’s M365 and M365 Pro, or the rear tyre on InMotion’s L8F. Wondering if your scooter has pneumatic (air filled) tyres? There will be some ‘give’ in the surface when prodded hard, the other tell tale sign being an inflation valve stem sticking out of the wheel rim.

M365 Tyre valve
L8F tyre valve

What pressure should I run?

Whilst manufacturers will recommend certain tyre pressures, the optimum will depend on the weight of the rider. As a rule of thumb, heavier riders should opt for a higher tyre pressure to compensate. This increase should be fractional, as despite their small contact patch scooter tyres are relatively wide with a reasonable air volume, negating extreme pressures. An added bonus of this is that a tyre’s susceptibility to punctures is lower with higher pressures. Indeed in severe cases, running too low a pressure can result in the tube getting snagged between the tyre bead and the tyre rim resulting in a pinch flat

For the M365's tyres, a post on Xiaomi’s forum claims the company conducted laboratory tests spanning 2 months, stress testing the wheels on a variety of surfaces. The engineers reportedly found at certain pressures with certain loads it would be difficult to pierce the tyres.

Rider Weight (Kg) Front Tyre (PSI) Rear Tyre (PSI)

50-70

35-40

40-50

70-90

40-45

45-55

90-100

45-50

50-60

At a load of more than 100 kg: it is recommended to pump up to 50-55psi front and 60-65psi rear, but careful driving is recommended. The risk of puncture increases with load.

Whilst our own testing would agree with this data, although users should remember that the M365 8.5 x 2in tyres are rated for a maximum of 50PSI (as marked on their sidewalls) and that running the tyre beyond this is at the end users risk.

InMotion recommend inflating the L8F’s rear tyre (which is rated for 80psi) to 22psi, we would suggest running around 35psi or more if you are towards the top of the aforementioned weight scale.

We would also advise users to be aware of ambient temperature, tyre pressures increase with friction during use, thus higher values set on a ‘cold’ tyre subsequently run on a hot day will further increase.

M365 Tyre rating
L8F tyre rating

But won’t it make the ride worse?

There are no hard rules for tyre pressures, it is all situational and we look to educate riders to empower them to make the right choices. Tyres may feel ‘harder’ when inflated at higher pressures, but run within their design window they will absorb bumps of varying sizes better than when under-inflated. However the larger contact patch resulting from a lower pressure can be useful on rough or wet terrain, where it can increase the grip level. In conclusion pressures are both equipment and conditional dependant.

What do I need to check and inflate them?

Due to the idiosyncrasies of scooter design, inflating the tyres is not always straight-forward. Both the Xiaomi M365 and the InMotion L8F include valve extension tubes, should you have lost yours we do have a universal spare availableTyre pressure gauges are available for sale at most service stations or on everyone’s favourite auction site for only a few pounds.

Equipment for inflating scooter tyres

Whilst you can use compressors, look for ones that are compatible with small volume tyres. You may find that service station tyre inflators do not extend to the pressures you wish to fill the tyre up to. Instead we recommend using a good quality bicycle track pump, one compatible with schrader type valves that also has a pressure gauge.

How do I pump my tyres up?

Remove the valve cap by rotating it anti-clockwise (most use the same black plastic caps you will see on car wheels). Take the valve extension hose/adapter that came with your scooter and attach it to the end of the pump. If required, lock the pump lever down to ensure a seal before screwing the adapter onto the naked valve. Whilst screwing it on you may hear a hiss as some air escapes but as you tighten the adaptor down, this will stop. Inflate your tyre to slightly above the target pressure (to mitigate the slight air release when removing the adaptor) before unscrewing from the valve as promptly as possible. Refit the valve cap and the job is complete.

M365 Tyre inflation rear
L8F rear front inflating

I’m still worried about punctures

Rightly so, whilst running the correct tyre pressures can reduce the likelihood of punctures, it won’t prevent them. If you ride through nails, broken glass or sharp rocks regularly you might want to consider swapping the tyres out to solid rubber ones; But be aware this is often at the detriment of both range and ride quality.

Instead we suggest adding a tyre sealant such as Weldtite to the stock tyres. This thick paste is added via the valve and exists in the inflated tyre, ready to pop out and cure, filling any potential puncture holes created by foreign objects. Note that tyre sealants add mass to the tyre and will (only very marginally) affect the range of the scooter.

Adding tyre sealant

Tubes, tyres, slime, spares, pumps and parts

Whether it be a pump, valve extension or tyre sealant, you can pick up the equipment you need from our shop. Don’t forget to check our other articles for more tips, tricks, advice and guides for getting the most out of your electric scooter.

 

 

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