Beginner cyclists tend to overlook the bike tire pressure and this, in turn, leads to a compromise on the comfort and performance of the bike.
Not maintaining the optimal PSI in the bike tires leads to fast wear and tear. It also causes multiple cases of punctures.
The cyclist starts to suspect the quality of the tires without understanding that it is because of the incorrect pressure on the tires that are contributing to the discomfort. It is thus important that the right tire pressure is maintained which is also dependent on the weight of the rider.
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Why should you maintain optimal tire pressure?
Tire pressure affects the performance of your bike.
- Grip – The tires area of contact with the surface and the grip that is provided are related. This means that if the tire has the optimal pressure and it allows the width of the entire tire to have a contact with the surface that it is rolling on then this offers a steady grip. If the tire is overinflated then this will cause it to roll on the central strip only and this will again not offer it a good grip.
- Rolling resistance – Rolling resistance is the friction that happens between the surface and the tire. When there is more friction it leads to more rolling resistance. In both cases when the type is under or over inflated will provide extra contact with the surface.This increases rolling resistance and, in turn, affects the energy level and the overall performance. One finds himself pedaling with a lot of discomforts still no significant speed is achieved. It is important that to get the best grip and rolling resistance the correct pressure of the bike tire is maintained. The correct PSI is dependent on the kind of bicycle that you ride, the tire type, and your weight.
Inner tube and tubeless tires
The type of tire that the cycle has should be considered when checking the optimal tire pressure to be maintained. The tires that come with inner tubes are prone to pinch flat punctures when they are under-inflated. This happens when the impact is large on the tire and it causes the bead of the tire to pinch the inner tube, which causes a puncture. Tubeless tires do not have a pinch flat puncture because there do not have a tube.
PSI for Bike Tires of different types
The bicycle type and the tire pressure that is ideal for it goes together. This is because the intended use of the bike and the surface that it is ridden effect the tire pressure that has to be maintained.
Mountain Bike PSI
Mountain Bike tires should be kept at 36 PSI for the inner tube front tires and 38 PSI for the rear tire for the average rider (around 150 lbs). It is 26 PSI on the front and 28 PSI on the rear for the tubeless tires. For every 5kg (11 lbs) over 70 kgs (154 lbs) of the rider, you need to add 1 PSI.
The tires of the mountain bikes need less pressure than the road tires. This is so that a better grip is offered and the rolling resistance is less. The increase in the volume of mountain bike tire means that the tires are not prone to pinch flats even if they have low pressure.
Road Bike PSI
The road bike tires need to run at high pressure to reduce the chances of a pinch flat puncture and rolling resistance. For a rider of 70 kgs, the inner tube tires should be 90 PSI in the front and 93 PSI on the rear side. The pressure should be 80 PSI in the front and 83 PSI in the rear for the tubeless tires. For every 5 kgs of the additional weight of the rider you need to add 2 PSI and for every 5kgs of weight less than 70 kgs of the rider you need to subtract 2 PSI.
PSI Tire pressure for the gravel or the cyclocross bikes
The cyclocross bike tires will need a lower pressure as compared to the road bikes but a higher pressure as compared to the mountain bikes. This is so that it has an ideal rolling resistance and grip. The cyclocross bikes ride on a mixed surface where it needs a balance between extra grip and less rolling resistance. For someone who weighs 70 kgs, the bike tire pressure should be 48 PSI on the front and 50 PSI on the back for an inner tube tire. It should be 36 PSI on the front and 38 PSI on the back for the tubeless tire. For every 5 kgs extra over 70 kgs weight 1 PSI needs to be added.
PSI Tire pressure for the city bikes
The city or the hybrid tires are similar to the cyclocross bikes and this means that its pressure requirements are also the same. For a rider of 70 kgs, the inner tube tires would need 50 PSI on the front and 55 PSI on the rear tire. The tubeless tires need 38 PSI on the front and 40 PSI on the rear. For every 5 kgs over 70 kgs, you need to add 1 PSI.
The front tire will need less pressure than the rear tire. This is because the pressure of the tire is proportional to the ability of it to carry a load. The rider will sit towards the rear side, which means that the rear tire needs extra pressure. It is important that the pressure range is maintained and the tire is not overinflated. The best way to achieve this is to use a pump for the bicycle that comes with a gauge.
To maintain the correct tire pressure of your bike you should pump it up regularly. Check the tire pressure at regular intervals as air tends to seep out form all types of tires.
When it comes to the pressure of your bike tires, you cannot set it and then forget it. You need to find your own sweet spot.
It is important that you do not overinflate the tires and adjust the pressure according to the volume of the tire. Play with the pressure of the tires to understand the correct PSI for each tire of your bike.
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Starting on a starter tricycle at the age of 2, Danny has rarely been off a bike ever since. He spends most weekends riding through the woods near his house or taking longer bike trips on the road.