Updated on June 2, 2022
In comparison to motorcyclists, mountain bike riders don’t have as much trouble traversing the tough terrain. Tyres that are too full of air might cause an uncomfortably rough ride because they bounce too much. With lower tyre pressure, you receive better shock absorption and higher traction because the tyre is in direct contact with the road. As a general rule, most mountain bikes have a psi range of 30 to 50, which makes this a fair compromise between on- and off-road riding.
Lower pressures are required for hybrid tyres, which are between road and mountain bike tyres. This pressure is often between 50 and 70 psi. The recommended pressure for a child’s bike is between 20 and 40 psi. Keep in mind that these are merely ideas and should not be regarded as gospel truths. The type of bike you ride isn’t the only factor that affects inflation.
What pressure actually does to your tires
There are a number of factors that can impact how your tyre handles road surface and debris hits, including tyre pressure. The contact patch is the area of the tyre that comes into direct touch with the ground. Having a higher air pressure means that the tyre’s surface area is less in touch with the road. Tires become softer and more dispersed when their pressure is reduced.
It is easier for the tyre to roll with a smaller contact patch. Although you’ll be able to move at a faster rate with the same amount of power, In order to roll, you need to have a larger contact patch, which causes the tyre to contract. As a result, rolling friction will rob you of more of your energy, slowing you down.
If your contact patch is larger, static friction between your tyres and the road will be enhanced. Because of the improved grip, you have a better chance of not slipping. The less friction a contact patch can generate, the smaller it is. Thus, your tyres will have an easier time sliding.
Tyre pressure affects your tire’s ability to endure various sorts and amounts of impacts. You’ll bounce and lose traction on the road if your tyres are overinflated. Low-pressure tyres can help smooth out your ride, but they may also cut through your tubes or tyres if you hit something too hard.
Cyclists have found that 15% sag, or how much the tyre moves while it is loaded, is the ideal amount. Stress absorption and rolling resistance are thought to be improved by sag.
Since the graph’s creators were kind enough to summarise their findings, we now have something to go on. “Wheel load” refers to the weight of a single wheel. The text that follows the graph provides a detailed description of how to use it.
Bike Pump Options
Floor pumps are the preferred choice, according to industry experts. Compared to a manual pump, they are substantially more convenient to use and can fill your tyres more quickly. Some include built-in gauges, so you don’t have to switch between the pump and a separate gauge, or just guess. This will save you both time and work in the long run.
Inexperienced bikers are leery of floor pump gauges because to their inaccuracy, which can range from 0 to 10 PSI. Even better news: if the PSI gauge doesn’t consistently match up, you can modify your target PSI.
However, despite the allure of using the air compressor at your neighbourhood Exxon, beware: it may not always be correct and may cause you to overinflate your tyres. Hand pumps can save the day if you’re riding far from home and have a flat tyre. It’s the same as using an air-filled container with a carbon dioxide inflator.
Hand pumps are a need for any serious rider, but they demand more effort and take longer to fill tyres. Due of their portability, your pump will always be accessible. Without a hand pump and a puncture repair kit, embarking on a long-distance bike ride is simply stupid.
This finishes our little introduction on PSI pressure for bicycles, which we hope was useful. What works best for you depends on your own unique riding style. Acceptance is the key. Keeping an eye on your tyre pressure before each ride is essential. With some practise, you’ll be able to do it smoothly. With all of its meanings considered.
What to consider
If you’re still not sure how much pressure your tyres should have, this is it. As a result of increased pressure from either you or your equipment, your tyres will have a larger contact patch, increasing your traction.
Tires should be inflated to the manufacturer’s suggested maximum pressure for an acceptable contact patch. You may be able to get away with using the lower pressure restriction provided by the manufacturer if you and your gear are light.
Consequently, you can keep going faster when your tyres stop. Due to the increased pressure, your rims won’t cut into your tyres or tubes. I’ve ranked the rest of these factors based on how influential they are.
It is more difficult to retain grip on wet roads, gravel, and other difficult-to-keep surfaces if the contact patch is broader. When accelerating, braking, and steering, you’ll have more control thanks to the lower air pressure in your tyres.
Motorcycles are ideally suited for riding on dry, paved roads. As a result, you don’t need as large of a contact patch to obtain the same level of control as you would on more challenging terrain. Increased pressure is a fantastic way to keep your pace up and prevent losing it as fast.
The more aggressive you ride, the more control you’ll need over your bike. As a result, the area of the contact patch must be increased. So, lower the tyre pressures. Instead of being aggressive, work on improving your speed. As a result, there is a smaller area of contact and a higher degree of force.
As temperatures rise, the air expands, and as they fall, it shrinks. This is known as the inverse relationship. While your tyres are still warm, overinflating them to the optimum pressure will result in their rupture. To make matters worse, as your tyres deflate, the energy that you put into them is transformed into heat. Consequently, the pressure in your tyres will rise once you start riding.
To avoid underinflation, don’t fill your tyres up in the afternoon and then head out for a ride in the morning when it’s freezing. Checking your tyre pressure before each ride is a good idea if it has been a while since you inflated your tyres.