How to Understand Bicycle Tyre Pressures

There is a simple way to understand bike tire pressures, and that is the narrower the tire, the higher the pressure. That is why fat bikes will be running tires with 5 psi, and track bikes will be running tires with 120 psi. There is slightly more to this, especially with the advent of tubeless tires, so if you want to know more about bike tire pressures, then please read on.

What pressure do my tires need?

The max pressure on your tire’s sidewall is precisely that, the maximum pressure, and for the majority of us, that pressure will be too high. That brings us to an issue many people get with their tire pressures.


They over-inflate their tires. It seems to be a part of human nature to err on the side of over-inflation than under-inflation. This should decrease rolling resistance, which it does, but this is countered by your tire not being able to deflect the surface your riding on—making the world more uncomfortable than it has to be.

Remember your tires are not a fit and forget item

Tires will lose pressure over time. You’ll ideally want to be checking your tires are at the pressure you like every week. You may also want to fine-tune your tire pressure to your ride’s conditions. If it’s raining, you might want to drop a few psi to help bring you a little more grip.

Get a digital gauge

Most bike pumps don’t have an accurate gauge. Also, track pumps will be measuring the pressure at the gauge and not the pressure you have in your tires. As your gauge might not be accurate and isn’t measuring the pressure in your tires, you can possibly see why a digital gauge might be of value to you.

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Both tires don’t have to be at the same psi

Most people will always set their tires at the same pressure, and this is a little bit of OCD is something you can do without. You don’t sit with your body weight equally over your front and rear wheels. You generally have your body weight distributed 40% at the front, to 60% at the rear. You’ll then be wanting to have your tire pressures set up in a similarly proportional way.

  • Nov 04, 2020
  • Category: Articles
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