All about tires and tubes

Over the life of your Xtracycle, your tires and wheels will require some upkeep and maintenance. In this article, we cover some information that might be helpful when it comes to maintaining or replacing any worn down wheel parts, including your ideal tire PSI and how to purchase a replacement tire, inner tube or spoke.

Please note: Over the life of a bike, the tire may have been replace due to wear and tear. Especially if you are looking at an older Xtracycle model, please check the tire to see if it is the original or if it has been replaced. The chart below lists what tires originally came on each bike model.

Tire Information for Xtracycle Bikes

Current bikes
eSwoop (Shimano) Schwalbe Super Moto-X HS 439, 26" x 2.4" (front tire)
Schwalbe Super Moto-X HS 439, 20" x 2.4" (rear tire)
30-60 psi
30-65 psi
eStoker (Shimano) Schwalbe Crazy Bob 24 x 2.35" (front and back tires) 30-65 psi
RFA Utility (Shimano) Schwalbe Crazy Bob 24 x 2.35" (front and back tires) 30-65 psi
Swoop (non-electric) Schwalbe Big Ben 26” x 2.15” (front tire)
Schwalbe Big Ben 20” x 2.15” (rear tire)
30-55 psi
(for both)
Retired models
RFA Sport and Utility (Bosch) Maxxis Hookworm 24” x 2.5” (front and back tires) Max 65 psi
Classic Schwalbe Big Ben 26” x 2.15” (front tire)
Schwalbe Big Ben 20” x 2.15” (rear tire)
30-55 psi
(for both)
eSwoop/eClassic (Bosch) Schwalbe Big Ben 26” x 2.15” (front tire)
Schwalbe Big Ben 20” x 2.15” (rear tire)
30-55 psi
(for both)
Stoker/eStoker Schwalbe Crazy Bob 24” x 2.35” (front and back tires) 30-65 psi
EdgeRunner 8/9/10e Schwalbe Big Apple Plus 26" x 2.15 (front tire)
Schwalbe Big Apple Plus 20" x 2.15 (rear tire)
30-55 psi
(for both)
EdgeRunner 24/27D Schwalbe Big Apple 26" x 2.35 (front)
Schwalbe Big Apple 20" x 2.15 (rear)
30-55 psi
(for both)
EdgeRunner 30D Schwalbe Big Apple Plus 26" x 2.35 (front)
Schwalbe Big Apple Plus 20" x 2.15 (rear)
30-55 psi
(for both)
EdgeRunner 11i Schwalbe Big Apple Plus 26" x 2.15 (front)
Schwalbe Big Apple Plus 20" x 2.15 (rear)
30-55 psi
(for both)

Ideal PSI for your bike tires

If your Xtracycle does not have the original tire it was built with, you can easily find the recommended PSI (or pound-force per square inch) range for your tire on the tire wall. Simple look along the tire for a printed or raised number. It will likely show a range - i.e. 30 - 55 - followed by "PSI".

You might be asking, "Why the wide range?" This is because different tire PSIs work best under different conditions. To find the ideal PSI for your bike, a number of factors must be taken into consideration. In general, when riding with heavy weights over smoothly paved surfaces, a higher PSI (which will cause your tire to feel more firm and hard to squish) will allow you to ride faster and fish-tail less (the sensation where it feels like the back end of the bike is slipping and sliding from side to side). This is because the tire will have less contact with the ground, thus less friction, allowing it to roll faster. If riding on poorly maintained roads or off-road, a lower PSI (which will cause your tire to feel softer and squishier) will give your tire more contact with the ground, allowing your tires to absorb more shocks and vibrations, making the riding experience more comfortable for both rider and passenger. Spokster has a great article here about the other factors to consider when it comes to bike tire pressure.

The good thing your PSI is it can be easily changed depending on your comfort level and your ride conditions. If you know your route will be all smooth roads, you can start off with the max PSI and if you end up feeling every little vibration and pebble, you can easily pull over and deflate the tires a little. If you have your pump handy, you can also do the opposite and inflate the tires more. For example, say your ride starts off on bumpy dirt roads where you need a lower PSI at first, but leads you to the main road where you may want a higher PSI to ride at a clippier pace: just pull out the bike pump and bump that PSI up.

Replacing your Xtracycle Tires

Many bike tires can last well over a thousand miles, depending on your riding conditions. For this reason, it can be hard to nail down hard and fast rules for mileage but there are signs you can look for that are great indicators that it is time for some new tires. The signs to look for are:

- The tread is visibly worn down
- The center line of the tire that comes into contact with the road is flat
- The tire rubber is cracking or is brittle
- Noticeable holes or gashes in the tire that go through the casing
- Rubber is completely worn down through to the casing
- You noticed the tire seems less grippy under wet conditions

To find what replacement tires size is needed, you can refer to the chart above or check your tire's side wall. The tire size is usually written on the side wall in this format: wheel diameter x tire width. So for the Maxxis Hookworm, that looks like: 24 X 2.5. To purchase a replacement tire, you have a few options: visit your local bike shop to see if they have something comparable available or if they can order the exact tire model you'd like. You can also visit the website of the bike tire manufacturer to see if you can order the tire directly.

For assistance with removing and replacing a tire, please see Park Tools helpful guide here. This is also something your local bike shop can help with if you are not comfortable changing the tire yourself.

Replacing a tire inner tube

Generally speaking, a quality inner tube can last years and many only need replacement when they encounter a flat or the bike has been sitting for long periods of time unridden in a non-temperature controlled shed. It's always a good idea to have a spare tube at home and on your bike in case you have to replace it on the spot.

Bike inner tubes are made to fit one wheel diameter (i.e. 20", 24" or 26") but most tubes can fit a range of tire widths. It's best to use a tube with a max range larger than your tire width since this can cause fewer flats. For example, if the tire size is 2.5" wide and you have the option between a 1.5"-2.5" range tube or 2.2"-2.8" tube, the latter will likely cause fewer flats. When buying a tube, look at the tire size and then find a tube with a width range that meets your needs. Please note that all Xtracycle wheels use Schrader valve (not Presta valve) inner tubes.

Xtracycle bikes use Schrader valves like this: NOT Presta valves, like this.

To find the right size inner tube for your Xtracycle, refer to the tire chart at the top of this article for the width of your bike tire or look on your bike's tire sidewall for the tire size.

Tips for fixing a flat or changing out your tire

When changing your bike's tube or tire, it is important to keep the bike upright. When turned upside down, this can introduce bubbles into the hydraulic break line and can cause the brakes to not work properly. To keep the bike upright during a tube or tire swap, we recommend placing objects like boards under the deployed kickstand. You just want to make sure the bike is level and raised enough to remove the tire. A 4" x 4" post should do the trick.

Replacing broken spokes

Broken spokes can happen and when they do, it's important to get them replaced as quickly as possible. Riding with a broken spoke can lead to other bigger issues that will be harder to fix and address, like throwing your tire out of true (meaning, the tire wobbles when spinning and doesn't spin evenly). While you are riding, if a spoke breaks, just secure it to the spoke next to it so it doesn't cause more damage and have it fixed soon; if two break, it's okay to ride home, but start heading home; if three break - you're walking.

If you have the needed tools, replacing the spoke can be fairly easy - GCN has a helpful video here. If you don't have the tools needed (like a spoke key), this is something your local bike shop can help with. If you want to replace the spoke yourself or ask a local bike shop for help, this spoke information might be helpful:

RFA Sport / Utility 14/15 gauge stainless with PB15 14L brass nipples
Swoop (non-e)
14/15/14 gauge stainless steel with FG2.3 brass nipples
EdgeRunner 8/9/10e
EdgeRunner 24/27D
EdgeRunner 30D
EdgeRunner 11i
14/15/14 gauge stainless steel with 14 gauge brass nipples