Determining Correct Tire Pressure

December 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

tire pressure rock on ledge Determining Correct Tire PressureTire pressure is the single best thing that a biker can do to improve the performance of their bicycle without having to spend any money.  Identifying the proper tire pressure for your bike will enable you to have more control when riding.  A tire with too low of pressure will make it harder to pedal/ride as well as increase your chances of getting a flat.  Tire pressure that is too high can make for a very rough and bumpy ride and will make it hard to navigate and have control over the terrain.

There is no standard for tire pressure as many factors must be taken in consideration when determining the proper tire pressure for a ride.  These factors include; weight and personal preference of the rider and the condition and terrain of the trail.

Most tire manufacturers will indicate a recommended tire pressure somewhere on the wall of the tire.  We suggest starting with the recommended tire pressure and then altering tire pressure based on the factors discussed above.

topeak smarthead digital air tire pressure guage 300x300 Determining Correct Tire PressureStart with the recommended tire pressure and take the bike for a ride to test your tire pressure setting.  A good indication of too high of tire pressure is if you notice that the bike does not grip well on turns or you find that the bike tends to bounce off of obstacles on the trail.  If you notice this happening drop tire pressure in increments of 5 psi in both tires.  Continue to do so until you find a tire pressure that is ideal.

Low tire pressure means more effort is needed and a higher tire pressure requires less effort.  This is called rolling resistance.  A tire with little rolling resistance will roll fast, but depending on conditions it could mean a loss in control and poor traction.

While determining the proper tire pressure it is important to be consistent with the tire pump and gauge used as psi readings may vary from one pump or gauge to another.

Everyone has their own opinion on tire pressure. It is important to keep in mind that proper tire pressure depends on several factors and therefore what one rider might recommend to another doesn’t mean it is the optimal tire pressure for that rider. Test your tires at various pressures and in different riding conditions and trail terrain to help get a feel for what tire pressure to use at various times.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 67 posts on Mountain bike product reviews, bike builds, trail reviews, forum, and tips – MTOBikes.com.

Carl H. Martens is founder of Made to Order Bikes, Inc. Originally from the burbs of Chicago, IL he now resides in the city of Roswell which is located just north of Atlanta. He enjoys riding Big Creek which is just down the road from where he lives.


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