When you are a beginner cyclist you must know the importance of tire pressure. Yes, tire pressure is important because it can affect your riding experience. Most bike shops would suggest you follow the recommended tire pressure found in the side wall of your tires. However, an experienced rider would say otherwise.
So you would probably ask. What is the ideal tire pressure for mountain bikes? The answers actually vary. That is because each one of us rides differently, on different terrains and using different tires. Another factor is your personal preference which includes what type of terrain you like to ride on. But don’t lose hope I’m here to help you find the perfect tire pressure for you.
Should We Run a Low Tire Pressure for Mountain Bikes?
I remember a few years ago when I asked a friend for advice on what is the ideal tire pressure for my mountain bike. His answer was “pump it up until it becomes firm”. Since I just started mountain biking, I followed his advice, and to tell you the truth, riding the trails using tires with too much pressure is not fun. After several tries and adjustments, I finally settled at a much lower tire pressure.
Running on tires with low pressure allowed for the tire to grip more instead of bouncing around the roots and rocks. I also notice that the traction improved and the ride became comfortable on climbs and descents. Another advantage of lowering the tire pressure is the rolling resistance is also lowered. This happens because low-pressure tires take less energy to deform around an obstacle.
How Do You Find the Right Tire Pressure for Yourself
As I mentioned before, the right tire pressure varies from person to person. In order to find your perfect tire pressure here are some factors that need to be taken into.
What Type of Terrain You Ride On
If you love riding on a muddy trail lowering your tire pressure will result in more grip. You can also apply this if you mainly ride smooth hard-packed flow trials. Raise the tire pressure if you’re on jump sessions or fast rocky tracks to protect your rims and tires.
Your weight affects your suspension set up and it’s the same way with your tire pressure. In order to get the same result, a heavier rider (175+ lbs) will have to run slightly higher pressure while a lighter rider (150 lbs and lower) is fine with running less pressure on their tires.
The Type of Rims and Tires You Use
The type of tires will have a big role in whether you lower your tire pressure or not. Is your tire a tough dual-ply or a lightweight single-ply? A dual-ply tire is usually used for Enduro rides while a single-ply tire is designed for those riders who prioritize saving weight. Another thing to consider is if you’re using a tubeless setup or not. Since there is no more tube to pinch a tubeless setup can run on lower pressure.
What Is Your Riding Style
If you are the type of rider who wants to ride smoothly and more precisely you will get more benefits if you lower your tire pressure. If you like to ride on a flat surface and enjoy and love to run straight in every rock or root you see then you need to run higher pressures to protect your bike component from getting damaged.
What Is The Ideal PSI For Tubeless MTB Tires
Tubeless tires are different from regular tires because they use tubeless valves and sealants to keep the air inside the tire. The advantage of using tubeless tires is that they are resistant to puncture and pinch flats because they no longer have an innertube.
Tubeless tires can run at lower pressures without the risk of punctures. However, you still need to consider the factors I already mentioned to you to determine the ideal tire pressure for you.
Here is an example of a tubeless setup that you might want to try.
For a tubeless setup who wants to do trail riding a good place to start is a tire pressure of 28 PSI in the front and 30 PSI in the rear tire. This setup will work for any kind of trail ride. With a low tire pressure set up like this, you’ll be able to cross smaller bumps like rocks with ease compared to a harder tire. Take note that this tire pressure is just a starting reference. You can always adjust the tire pressure once you find what works best for you.
If you are running with an inner tube set up you need to run higher pressure than a tubeless setup to avoid snakebites punctures.
Tire pressure needs to be balanced. Too much tire pressure will drastically reduce the traction of your tires. Too low and you will increase the risk of damaging your rims from square-edge hits. You will know that the tire pressure is too low when you feel bumps impacting the rims.
Try 28 PSI in the front and 30 PSI in the rear as your starting point then do a test ride. Find at what point any further drop no longer results in increased performance. You can try experimenting with balance between the front and rear tires.
Different tires need different tire pressures set up. You need to check the tire’s tread, sidewall strength, and casing to determine the ideal tire pressure.
Once you learn to tune up your bike’s tire pressure you will notice that you’ll have more control, grip, and improved performance.