What You Need To Know About Tire Pressure For Mountain Bike

Gauging the tire pressure for your ride is more than just checking if your tires feel hard.

The right PSI for mountain bike tires can make all the difference between a comfortable and safe ride and one that is not.

There are several factors to consider include:

  • Tire Type
  • Terrain and Conditions
  • Rider’s Weight
  • Tire Size

Think about the consequences of not paying attention to this critical detail. If they’re underinflated, you’ll have less maneuverability and increase your risk of a pinch flat.

And while over-inflated may make it easier to ride on pavement, it gives you less control on the trail.

What Should You Know About Tire Pressure for Mountain Bike?

The first thing to understand is that it varies. What works for you isn’t necessarily the best for someone else. Even the recommended ranges you see on your tires aren’t always the optimal choices.

The reason is because of the factors that we listed above which add to the mix.

Tire Pressure Mountain Bike

When Should You Add More Air?

You should use a tire pressure gauge to check your mountain bike tire inflation if you notice any performance issues.

Often, it’s an easy fix. Also, consider your riding style and how you prefer to traverse the landscape. If you bike fast, higher pressure is a good thing.

Your weight affects it too. If you’re on the heavier side, opt for an increase in PSI to protect your rims. It’s a relative relationship between these two factors.

Type of Terrain

The mountain bike tire pressure for road differs from that in rugged terrain.

You need to find that sweet spot between rolling efficiency and control. Higher pressure is a smart way to protect your tires if it’s rocky and uneven.

If it’s slick, you may find that lowering it gives you better cornering and traction. Balance the figure with your comfort level. You might find it helpful to start with a baseline and add air or deflate them to match the conditions.

Rolling Efficiency

Like anything else, there are tradeoffs when you start messing with the PSI of your tires. For example, a higher figure in rough terrain can help you cover the ground quickly as long as you don’t lose contact with it and sacrifice control.

Tire on mountain

Likewise, the other extreme may help you get around when on wet trails, but it also adds to the amount of effort you have to exert. The right answer depends on the individual and their preferences. It all boils down to testing it for yourself with the idea that it will vary.

We recommend doing a trial run to learn what works best for you. Then, you’ll have a baseline figure from which to work. Make adjustments, depending on the conditions.

Just like you switch gears to make it easier to bike, adjust your tire pressure to make your pedaling more efficient. It’s not rocket science. Taking the time to experiment will pay off with better performance.

This post was last updated on October 15th, 2018 at 07:44 am

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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