Tire pressure is a top priority when it comes to biking safely and efficiently by bike. The wrong tire pressure can quickly result in pedaling harder than you need to and eventually a flat tube.
Whether you are commuting for work, leisure, or exercise, bikes are common ways to get around. Safety on the road is always important, so what is the best tire pressure for your bike?
The ideal tire pressure for your bike is dependent on both your tire width and body weight. But there are a few other things to consider that I’ll get into in this article, such as what type of bike you have and where you’re riding.
Here’s a helpful table to find your ideal tire pressure for biking.
|TIRE WIDTH||BODY WEIGHT||IDEAL TIRE PRESSURE|
|23 mm||132 lbs (60 kg)||100 psi|
|23 mm||187 lbs (85 kg)||115 psi|
|23 mm||242 lbs (110 kg)||130 psi|
|23 mm||132 lbs (60 kg)||87 psi|
|25 mm||187 lbs (85 kg)||100 psi|
|25 mm||242 lbs (110 kg)||115 psi|
|28 mm||132 lbs (60 kg)||80 psi|
|28 mm||187 lbs (85 kg)||94 psi|
|28 mm||242 lbs (110 kg)||108 psi|
|32 mm||132 lbs (60 kg)||65 psi|
|32 mm||187 lbs (85 kg)||80 psi|
|32 mm||242 lbs (110 kg)||94 psi|
|37 mm||132 lbs (60 kg)||50 psi|
|37 mm||187 lbs (85 kg)||72 psi|
|37 mm||242 lbs (110 kg)||87 psi|
The ideal tire pressure depends on various factors: the width of your bike’s tires and your body weight. These two main factors are a basis for determining the correct tire pressure for your tires when riding. Keep reading to learn about some other factors and tire pressure suggestions.
Other important factors in determining tire pressure
The above table is ideal for road bike tires, but what if you own a mountain bike or a bike with hybrid tires? Everyday riders use road bikes, but it’s necessary to discuss mountain bike tire pressures for those adventure seekers, which can differ from that of road bikes.
Road and mountain bikes require different tire pressure depending on the types of tire, as well as the factors we’ve talked about so far. Both types of bikes are affected equally by other outside factors.
Mountain bikes (Tubeless vs. Tubes)
The following chart is based on tubeless trail bike tires on 2.4 inch to 2.5 inches with a 30mm internal rim. You will note that tire pressure is lower in tubeless than tires with tubes.
For tubeless tires
|BODY WEIGHT||TIRE PRESSURE|
|132 lbs||18 psi front, 20 psi rear|
|187 lbs||20 psi front, 23 psi rear|
|242 lbs||24 psi front, 27 psi rear|
For tires with tubes
Tire pressure should be maintained higher in tires with tubes to prevent mountain bike tires from being caught between rocks or other trail crevices. Refer to the chart above and add 3-5 psi to the front and rear tires.
Road and trail conditions
Whether you’re on a road bike or mountain bike, the conditions of the surfaces you’re riding on may affect your tire pressure. The calculations we’ve been through above are all for an ideal (dry) riding environment. If the surface you are riding on is wet or has a rougher terrain than usual, you’ll want to adjust your bike’s tire pressure.
Road bike tires will generally need to run 5-10 psi below the above calculations when there is rain or gravel present. Be sure to ride a short distance to test your new psi and adjust if necessary. Pinch the sidewall of your tire on either side; there should be some give.
Mountain bike tires will generally need to be decreased in increments of 3 psi and tested for grip on the unpredictable conditions that trails can present. If you find more than a millimeter of give when you put pressure on the tire, you’ll need more air, and if your tires are rock hard, you’ll need to decrease the psi.
The trails or roads you ride and your riding style
The type of surfaces you ride and how hard or light you ride them will also have tremendous effects on your tire pressure. You will need to pay attention to a difference in road patterns if you bike commute and a different trail terrain if you’re riding for fun.
For instance, if you are riding very smooth city roads or smooth dirt trails, you could get away with slightly lower tire pressure than suggested. On the other hand, if you are riding through rough terrain or jagged city streets, you may want to consider increasing your tire pressure slightly.
On a related note, if you plan on riding lighter, i.e., only on smooth sidewalks without varying into off-road terrain, then you can benefit from the extra comfort of lower tire pressure. If your terrain varies or you tend to veer off the beaten paths, so to speak, then you’ll want to run with higher pressure to protect the structure of your bike’s components.
How and when to check your tire pressure
Checking your tire pressure should be done frequently, even if you are only riding occasionally. For daily riders and bike commuters, check your tire pressure daily, and for adventurers, check tire pressure when attempting to ride a new terrain or trail.
There are two ways to check tire pressure: a tire gauge and a “road test.”
Checking tire pressure with a tire gauge
- Tire gauges can be purchased virtually anywhere bikes or tires are sold.
- To operate a tire gauge:
- Unscrew the valve cap and place the nozzle onto the valve stem, pressing down.
- The gauge’s needle will fluctuate and show your tire’s psi.
- This method will give you the most accurate reading and let you adjust the psi to your exact specifications.
Checking tire pressure with a road test
Though this method will not provide a completely accurate reading, it will get you by until you’re able to purchase a tire gauge. With road bikes, squeeze the walls of the tires. If there is some give, you’ll need to increase, whereas if there is no give at all, you’ll need to decrease your tire’s pressure with a manual pump.
Filling your tires with air
Once you have determined your current tire pressure vs. your recommended tire, you’ll either need to fill or let the air out of your tires. You can use various methods to fill your tires. There are manual pumps and compressors, many of which you can find at any convenience store. Most come equipped with a built-in tire gauge.
- To increase tire pressure: Press the nozzle down onto the valve stem and hold until the gauge reads the recommended psi or the feel is right. You should be able to feel the tire fill and notice a change in psi on the gauge.
- To decrease tire pressure: Repeat the same steps with the compressor off, and the air will leave the tire, causing the psi to decrease.
How the weather affects your tire pressure
Weather is one of the most significant factors in your bike’s tire pressure. Air pressure increases as the temperature gets warmer because air particles expand when heated. Particles contract when temperatures drop. For every fluctuation of 10 degrees Fahrenheit in either direction, you’ll either gain or lose 1 pound of air pressure or one psi.
If you’re planning on biking during a day with extreme temperature fluctuations, it’s a good idea to carry both a tire gauge and manual tire pump with you. Temperature fluctuations can happen as your tires heat up while you’re riding or being transported from a temperature-controlled environment into an outside environment. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any temperature fluctuations.
Be sure to check out my recommended pump on our gear page.
Your bike’s tire pressure is dependent on several factors. Once you determine the recommended psi to keep your tires out, you’ll need to be mindful of the surface you are riding on, your riding patterns, and the weather. Be prepared, know the suggested psi for your situation, and how to adjust tire pressure if needed. When you’re out commuting or just riding for entertainment, always keep an eye on your tire pressure, but more importantly, have fun!