There are different mobility scooter tire types, but air and solid tires are the most common. You can choose to have air (pneumatic) or solid tires depending on your preferences or pattern of use. Some brands solely specialize in one of the two types, but you will always have the option of changing to whichever type to suit your needs.
The two types of tires differ significantly, and your choice might often be determined by some factors and features of an individual tire type. Before buying your tires, professionals will always advise you to consider the following:
The kind of terrain is important to consider when selecting tires. Solid tires are ideal for terrains with rough surfaces such as gravel or public areas with broken glass. On the other hand, air tires come in handy on smooth surfaces.
The Weight Of The Scooter And The User
The user's weight will have a substantial impact on the tires, especially their longevity and durability. Weight affects solid tires as well as air tires.
Solid tires are often more expensive than air tires. However, when buying your tires, the cheaper options are not always the best, as the cost of repairing can rise beyond the price of air-type tires.
Air tires offer the smoothest rides due to their natural shock absorption qualities. Solid tires have lower natural shock-absorbing qualities; thus, their rides are bumpier. If you are using a smooth, tarmacked surface, air tires are a perfect choice for that smooth ride. There is less tire friction therefore it will be a guaranteed smooth ride.
Solid tires are best if you love to explore rough terrains for recreational purposes. There is no risk of unforeseen punctures with these, and they offer a better grip on the roughest of rural terrains.
Consequences Of Selecting The Wrong Tires
Using the wrong mobility scooter tire in the wrong place reduces the tire's lifespan. This not only affects the performance of your tires but also that of your mobility scooter. If you are navigating rough terrains with puncture risks such as broken glass or other objects, you should not use air tires.
Mobility Scooter Tires
Pneumatic or Air Tires
This tire is famous because of its simple design. Pneumatic tires come in two varieties, inner and tubeless tires. They are both made of rubber and have an air-filled tube. This type of tire is built like a bicycle or motorbike tire, with the only difference being the size.
This tire absorbs shock well, giving the rider great comfort. It also provides a better ride on off-road and rough environments. However, since it is inflatable, avoid thorns, glass, and nails, which may quickly flatten the tires. If you are riding in these types of environments, you can use thorn-resistant heavy-duty inner tube instead.
Pneumatic Tires With No Tubes
To compensate for the lack of tubes, tubeless pneumatic tires are strong, air-sealed, and reinforced. They are more expensive because of their tear resistance, wear resistance on flat surfaces, and heavy-duty structure.
Pneumatic Tires With Inner Tubes
Pneumatic Tube tires come with a tire and an inner tube that holds air. The air allows the wheel to roll without distorting the tire. As such, it is way safer than tubeless tires. Even better, it is easy to repair in case of punctures since you can fix it with a basic bike tube repair kit. It's also cheaper than tubeless tires.
Foam Filled Scooter Tires
These are incredible pneumatic tires that are grey in color and come filled with foam. Like other pneumatic tires, they require no air and are flat-free and maintenance-free. They come in different sizes so that you can choose what works best for you. These tires are more challenging to install than other tires and you may need professional help.
Pros of Pneumatic Tires
They are filled with air and as a result:
- The air within the tire prevents the tire from deforming due to outside forces
- They are easy to maneuver
- Better control and suspension system
- With the right amount of air, the chair has more grip and control
- Greater mileage and a higher peak speed
- The air pressure provides cushioning durability
- They are less prone to slide on wet terrain due to the pliable rubber with a higher static coefficient of friction
Cons of Pneumatic Tires
- Quality pneumatic tire designs are rare, particularly considering the price. No air seal means they are more prone to punctures. Heat and rough terrain will destroy even the most expensive and high-quality inner tubes.
- Calibration is a drawback since this tire will need to be calibrated often. If you don't specify the air pressure, the tube will deform and lose comfort and control.
- Pneumatic tires are prone to flats and low tire pressure. One of the most common problems is changing or refilling pneumatic tires. Sturdy tires eliminate flats and eliminate tire pressure checks.
- The main issue is safety. Nobody wants to ride a scooter and get hurt if you're going fast and your tires explode. Check the tubes regularly to prevent damage. Change it if necessary.
2. Solid Rubber Tires
These tires are basically the opposite of air tires. They are made of polyurethane foam and hard rubber. This means that their entire design is rubber, and instead of air, they are filled with more rubber. While manufacturers may claim that their solid tires have good absorbent qualities, this might not be true. These tires are very hard, and there is nothing to absorb impact other than the hard rubber surface.
In terms of shock absorption, the hardness or softness of the rubber used to make the tire is the primary determinant. The softer the rubber, the better the shock absorption qualities.
Manufacturers might claim that their solid tires are explosion-proof and wear-proof, but rubber, like all other materials wear out with time. The more you use your mobility scooter, the more your tires are likely to wear out.
- Urethane Wheelchair And Scooter Tires
These solid urethane tires need no maintenance or air. These are more durable, offer a firmer riding experience but are harder to install than regular tires. Larger urethane tires do not need two-piece wheels, but smaller ones must. Urethane tires are available in several sizes for manual and electric wheelchairs and certain mobility scooters.
Pros Of Solid Tires
- Minimal deformity risk
- It will need minimum upkeep or investment
- Great for uneven terrain and off-road since they are indestructible
Cons Of Solid Tires
- They are heavier than pneumatic tires
- They lack the comfort, mobility, and traction of pneumatic tires due to their rigidity
- They are also not particularly comfortable on wet surfaces as you will struggle
- Insufficient or incorrect tire pressure reduces the tire life. Heavy users exert extra pressure on the tires.
- Always keep in mind that higher pressure and weight will result in faster degeneration of tires. So always emphasize optimal pressure.
Hybrid Or Honeycomb Tires
Hybrid or honeycomb tires are not very popular in mobility scooters but are often used with e-scooters. There may be distinct differences between e-scooters and mobility scooters, but manufacturers are bound to adapt and use this tire type to mobility scooters.
This type of tire combines the features of pneumatic and solid tires. They are made of rubber but have a ribbed construction or internal honeycomb that comes in handy to keep it intact. Moreover, the tire has air pockets in the tire that offers more cushion than typical solid tires. These tires are relatively lighter than solid tires but not as light as air tires.
Hybrid tires cannot be punctured and offer smoother rides than solid tires. They have better maneuverability and bump resistance. They are, however, more expensive since they are a new concept.
Which Is The Appropriate Tire To Buy
Getting a new set of tires for your mobility scooter is not a complicated task. Knowing the thread pattern, size, brand, and model of your scooter before you start makes the task much easier. Consequently, before making a choice, have this in mind:
Looking at the sidewall of an existing wheelchair or scooter tire is the quickest approach to determine what size to buy. You'll be alright most of the time if you match the number. If you're replacing pneumatic tires with foam-filled tires, you'll probably require the present tire's bead width or the rim's inner bead width.
It doesn't matter if the tire size is metric, standard, or both. The values in certain circumstances are related to the tire width for a given rim size. However, if the tire isn't available, you can just have the rim. In addition, you should try contacting the wheelchair or scooter manufacturer to see if they know what size will fit on your rim.
Even if the tire would fit on your rim, it is not advisable to change the exact size that came with your scooter. Manufacturers design the tire size that comes with your scooter specifically for it. Altering it might endanger your safety.
The thread pattern is indicated by a number written on the sidewall of the scooter tire. It may be difficult to spot all the numbers on the sidewall since it usually starts with a letter. Most thread pattern numbers are listed in the product description for the tires, so you can look up your size in one of the categories to see what the numbers could be.Wheel Or Caster Type
If you want to upgrade to a solid or foam-filled tire, it is crucial to differentiate between them. The installation of smaller foam-filled or urethane tires necessitates the use of a two-piece rim.
Brand And Model Of The Scooter You Have
For various chairs, the exact size tire is sometimes available in two or three versions.
We hope that this comprehensive guide on mobility scooter tires have been helpful to you. Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or if you feel we need to add more of these types of articles to our site.
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If you are more interested and looking for other related articles, our staff compiled a great list of mobility scooters with the best turning radius and mobility scooters with the best ground clearance and suspension and have had some great feedback on those articles as well.
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