How much to pump tires on a bicycle

Standard pressure

much, pump, tires, bicycle

Here are some tables that will help you navigate in difficult situations, namely:

  • an unknown tire without markings was purchased;
  • no physical access to the bike;
  • the marking is incomprehensible, the numbers are marked in unknown units.

Mountain bike table:

For a road bike, the pressure should be much higher, and typically ranges between 6.5. 9 atmospheres (up to 130 Psi), up to the maximum indicated by the manufacturer.

Weight changes

For heavy riders or heavily loaded bikes, it is very important to add pressure, as a lot of mass will squeeze the wheel of the bike and problems with insufficiently inflated cameras can come out much earlier.

Recommended pressure for weight addition is 1% for every kilogram of rider weight over 50.

Approximate values ​​by type of rubber

Optimizing the inflation rate of a bicycle tire depends on the type of tire used, and in particular mainly on the type of tire. If the bike is shod in slick or semi-slick rubber, then minimizing pressure is permissible only on hot days. As shown by bench tests of slick (low-relief) tires, a decrease in the level by 25.0% to the optimal level nullifies all their advantages.

You can also give recommendations for inflating wheels with different tires.

If the bike is shod with 2.0… 2.3 inches wide tires with cross-country protectors, then the optimal pressure range is 3.0… 4.0 atmospheres (bar). A decrease in this value will require an increase in the expenditure of muscle energy, and exceeding the level of inflation of bicycle tires above the upper limit, when driving off-road, often leads to an explosive destruction of the tire.

Extreme tires (Downhill / Slalom 24 ″ × 2.10 or Kenda K905 20 x 1.95 ″) with a complex tread, are best inflated to the average recommended pressure. This will provide the necessary adhesion to the supporting surface. In the future, its indicator can be adjusted for specific driving conditions.

BMX stunt models should be inflated medium, between high and low, to have sufficient traction, and then subtly varied for each stunt.

For winter riding, it is worth choosing a pressure slightly higher than normal, since at sub-zero temperatures the air in the tire becomes denser and takes up less space.

The pressure in bicycle tires is a very important parameter, it should be understood what restrictions are imposed by tire manufacturers and which riding style of a particular rider can be improved with just a couple of strokes of the pump handle. In any case, how many atmospheres to pump at each moment is a unique decision, and it is made, rather, based on accumulated experience than according to strict rules.

Determining factors

Despite the recommendations of the manufacturers, such a parameter as the pressure in the wheel chamber is a matter of personal preference. Each cyclist adjusts this parameter for himself, for the track on which he is going to ride, for his personal riding style and level of technical training. Therefore, how much should be pumped up, everyone decides for himself. Every experienced rider knows a number of factors and operates with them:

  • The rider approaches the parameters to the maximum if he wants to add speed to the bike while riding and at the same time save his strength.
  • The cyclist approaches the minimum value for better traction.
  • Low inflatedness helps smooth out minor bumps in the road while driving.
  • Over-inflated tires will lead to tube breakdown on the rim.
  • Under-inflated tires will also cause tube damage from snake bites.

How is blood pressure measured?

It is customary to designate pressure in three units of measurement:

  • Psi. pound-force per square inch. pound-force per square inch;
  • BAR. bars, usually equated to measurement in atmospheres;
  • Pa. pascal.

Since many tire manufacturers focus on the American market, the Psi designation is most often found. In English-speaking sources, it is usually simplified to pound, or pound, i.e., when they say that a pressure of 2 pounds, they mean Psi. This unit of measurement is outdated, used only in the USA, but, as they say, it is more alive than all living things.

Bike Tire PSI: How Much Air Should You Put in Your Bike Tire? || REI

Data from a smart pressure sensor on a smartphone screen

Bars are also obsolete units of measurement, but are actively supported in Russia and many other countries, incl. European. This unit of measurement is actively used, as it has something in common with the atmosphere, which is quite convenient for measurements.

Pascal is the only metrically correct unit on the list, but rarely used in bicycle designations.

The ratio between all units is as follows: 1 Bar = 100,000 Pa = 14.504 Psi.

Children’s bicycles

For children, it is better to inflate the tires to the maximum allowed value. This will make it easier to learn to ride a bike, as well-inflated wheels have a smaller contact patch and the driver has to put in less effort.

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Theoretical knowledge

If the wheels are over-inflated, the bike will roll well, but the tire will not absorb at all on uneven surfaces. All difficult sections will be much harder, since the contact patch of the tire with the ground will have a minimum area, and you will be skidded around the bends. Needless to say, when cycling in winter, the situation is exacerbated by the slippery surface. In addition, pumping can cause the wheel to explode. Old Soviet cameras are especially susceptible to this, the material of which is already turning into dust from old age. The tire does not break due to excessive pressure immediately, but for example on a hill, where a pebble falls under the wheel. This situation is dangerous because sometimes literally rips the tire off the wheel.

The air pressure in the tires of a bicycle also affects the permeability of the wheel. Pumped rubber easily picks up all the carnations and glass on the road.

If the tires are flat, then the situation is no better than with inflated wheels. The tire does not sit tightly on the rim, it can slip off the wheel, and when driving onto the curb, a puncture can form (the so-called snake bite). The roll of the bike decreases and more and more force is required to pedal. However, when choosing between an under-inflated tire and an under-inflated tire, it is better to opt for an under-inflated tire. But we must not forget about reasonable limits. If the tire drags like a rag, then you are clearly mistaken with the pressure.

Fatbike tire pressure

The fat bike is designed to ride on loose surfaces, its huge, large-volume tires must flatten over bumps, this is achieved by low pressure.

Fat is the perfect bike for winter, so let’s talk about riding in the snow. For a rider weighing 80kg, the following figures may be acceptable:

10psi Rolled snow, paths
8psi Thick snow
6psi and below Loose snow

Fat rolls much better on loose snow if you pump less than 5psi. But reducing the pressure below this line for tube tires can be a bad decision. the bike starts to obey the steering wheel poorly, swim, the nipple can break or shear due to cranking the tube. Therefore, I recommend switching to tubeless wheels for your fat bike, the bike will roll better and more stable at extremely low pressure.

In addition, do not forget about such a trifle that since you have much less atmosphere in your tires, temperature fluctuations will be reflected in real pressure. For example, at home it was 7psi, we went out to frost of 10 degrees, it became 4.3. Here is a table by which you can calculate the approximate dependence on temperature:

The pressure in the chambers depending on the outside temperature
Indoor temperature, ° C Outside air temperature, ° C
25 10 five -five -10 -fifteen -twenty
740 Atmospheric pressure, mm Hg
psi at room temp. psi outdoors depending on temperature
four 3.0 2.7 2,3 2.0 1.7 1,3 1.0
4.5 3.5 3.1 2.8 2.4 2.1 1.7 1.4
five 3.9 3.6 3.2 2.9 2.5 2.2 1.8
5.5 4.4 4.1 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.6 2.2
6 4.9 4.5 4.1 3.8 3.4 3.0 2.7
6.5 5.4 5.0 4.6 4.2 3.8 3.5 3.1
7 5.8 5.4 5.1 4.7 4.3 3.9 3.5
eight 6.8 6.4 6.0 5.6 5.1 4.7 4.3
nine 7,7 7.3 6.9 6.4 6.0 5.6 5.2
10 8.7 8.2 7.8 7.3 6.9 6.4 6.0

Mountain bike tire pressures

Off-road bikes are a little more complicated. The point is, here you need to strike a balance between grip and coast. The more inflated the tire, the better it rolls (on a flat and hard surface), but due to the rigidity it cannot lick the surface. the grip deteriorates.

High pressure maintains the semi-circular profile of the tire, while maximum grip is possible when the full contact patch is involved. In other words, the more the tire flattens, the better for flotation and handling. On the other hand, if you pump too weakly, the roll will suffer and the same snake bite is possible.

Since basically all chamber mtb rubber has an allowable pressure range of about 2-4 atm, then I would say that the working pressure is between 2.2 and 3 atmospheres for an adult man weighing from 75 to 90 kg. It is impossible to say more precisely. there are a lot of factors, you need to experiment with a specific tire and a specific trail where you ride.

Different tires behave differently at the same pressure, and the behavior also depends on the width of the tire, it is believed that less pressure can be pumped into a wider one. The weight of the cyclist is very important, for obvious reasons.

Take a pump with a pressure gauge with you and try to find the lower pressure limit at which the tire still does not break. Then try how the bike rolls at that pressure. Add air if needed. You need to find a middle ground for both soil and asphalt.

Why it’s important to inflate your tires with the correct pressure

Let’s start with the very basics, here’s a bike going down the road:

  • The more inflated the tires, the better it rolls, the less fatigue
  • The heavier the cyclist, the more you need to pump
  • The more the tires are inflated, the more it shakes on bumps
  • If the pressure is weak, then moving over the curb, you can punch the chamber on the edges of the rim (snake bite)
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And now the logical question is how to find out within what framework you need to pump, how many atmospheres to pump specifically? The pressure in bicycle tires is measured in atmospheres (BAR) or PSI, and most often, the permissible range is written on the sidewall of the tire in PSI (one atmosphere is equal to 14.7 psi). Here is the average table for the average cyclist riding no extreme, on asphalt and dirt roads.

This information is enough for you to ride comfortably enough, while the tires will not suffer from over-pumping or under-inflation. Well, for those who care about details, we go deeper.

How To Inflate A Bicycle Tyre

Road bike tire pressure

With bikes for asphalt roads, everything is simple. the more pressure, the better the roll. Look on the sidewall of the tire, there must be written a valid value, in psi, or in bar (atmosphere). If the maximum value, for example, 8 Bar, then score 7.5 and enjoy the speed.

I highly recommend getting a good floor pump with a pressure gauge (I bought it here), because pumping up a road tire with a portable pump is still a torment, even if it is capable of delivering high pressure.

I will add that the air is etched through the rubber itself, and in about a couple of weeks the pressure drops by 1-2 atmospheres. You can’t feel it with your fingers, so a floor pump with a pressure gauge is just the right thing to do.

If you inflate a road tire below average, you can catch a tube breakdown called a snakebite. This happens when the wheel hits a hard object and the tire hits the rim. The result is two small holes that look like a snake bite.

Air pressure for different types of tires

If you have a half slick, the low pressure negates its benefits. The meaning of the semi-slick is that, thanks to the semicircular profile, the tire rolls on a hard surface with a smooth part of the tread. And only after hitting soft ground, the side part of the tread comes into play.

And if the tire is poorly inflated, then it will be flattened, and your half-slick will paddle with its lugs even on the asphalt. Therefore, in this type of tire we pump close to the maximum pressure.

Standard 2.1-2.3 inch cross country tires require a working pressure of 3-4 bar. Such rubber has not very pronounced lugs, it is the most versatile tire for those who ride in forests.

Tires for more extreme riding are 2.3 “wide and wider, and traction is very important here. The pressure is calculated experimentally so that the tire does not break through on drops and hard descents.

How much pressure should be in bicycle tires

It would seem that it could be simpler. pumped up, crumpled with fingers, drove off. But no, there are some subtleties here. Tire pressure is the most important factor in rolling, floatation and bike handling.

I am not deliberately touching tubeless tires yet, because they are installed on more expensive bikes, and this is a topic for a separate article.

How much to pump in tires in winter

If you ride a bike in cold weather, then it must be borne in mind that in the cold, the pressure drops a little, so at home pump it about 20% above normal so that everything on the street comes into balance.

Here I described how to choose the right bike tires for different riding styles, I advise you to look.

I would not want readers to imagine a picture of a cyclist with a pump, which only does what sets different pressure under different conditions.

In fact, finding a middle ground is quite simple, you just need to devote half an hour. I advise you to pay attention to this issue, if you are a beginner, then most likely you have not even thought about it.

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Yes, the right pressure is very important. As recently as yesterday before leaving, I did not check it, I went. As I said, I have a MAXXIS Larsen TT, and it has very soft sidewalls. I feel that the rear wheel is driving at cornering speed. Drove on the road to a tire service to check the pressure. I usually ride at 3.5-4 atm, but here it is only 2.5 atm. That immediately unpleasant sensations that the wheel will break off or the tire will break.

An expensive pump with a monometer for MTB in our time is superfluous. At any, or almost any, gas station, you can pump the required pressure. And for minor repairs, a mini-pump from the same tea house is enough, fill 3 and get to the gas station.

I do not agree that the floor pump is superfluous. It is not always possible to get to the gas station or it is not so close to check the pressure and pump up the wheel. And you don’t have to buy an expensive pump. Accidentally in Decathlon I got on a sale and bought an excellent floor pump there for 500r. With a long hose, high, not very thick working chamber, which makes it easy to pump high pressures, aluminum body and footrest, which are rare in cheap options

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I like more pressure. I swing 4 atm before, 4.2 back. Kenda rubber 8 small blocks 2.3 ″ (:)), I weigh 87-89kg, I drive both on the ground and on asphalt. Rows normally on mud, but sand is death. Immediately I burrow (well, it is understandable :)) So I shake so that the rubber does not play on turns, but it is bouncing and rolls on pebbles, but very precise control. At high speed (50-70 km / h) it is very noticeable. Then, and at a lower speed, I began to notice this effect. Well, he began to pump in the area of ​​maximum pressure. By the way, with intensive pedaling, the pumped rubber does not start to swing.

This is where you accelerated to 70 km? Not a rope behind the car? Or when he was dropping off the balcony?

maybe he has a gravel bike. Ie shoser with spike. that can roll 50-70. ON MTB, yes, behind a truck only or from a hill, or on a cigarette standing next to a bike

A floor pump is a thing! I recently bought myself, with a large working chamber, a pressure gauge. Because There are several bicycles in the family, and on mine there are also several sets of rubber, which I change depending on the type of coating, it saves time and effort perfectly, plus on different bikes there are also different types of nipples, but here there are two separate heads. do not twist anything it is necessary, conveniently, in general By pressure, I concluded that I pump the toothed rubber of Richie to 3.5 and it is nice, soft and tenacious, though not very fast, and I pump Marathon Supreme slicks up to 5 atm, on asphalt it’s a fairy tale, although recently I I have already begun to poke into the ground in them because the slicks are high 622 × 50 But with my wife’s bike it is more and more difficult, it is much lighter than and here I do not know whether the rubber is to blame or the fork, she complains that she was driving like on sand, even on asphalt, the descent of the rubber saves a little, but only a little.

Abysmal, with MAXXIS, these are known problems. in the sense of soft sidewalls and insufficient pressure. I have more experience with MAXXIS Overdrive, now here is Gipsy, but the story is the same. As tires they are good. tenacious, do not slip even on wet and dirty asphalt, even though they are slicks. But they cut through the sides when under-pumping and overloading. To prevent them from being driven like that, it is advisable to select a width suitable for the rim, and not set, say, 2 inches per 18 mm rim landing width. Even the stock Specialized is guilty of this. That is why I prefer Schwalbe CX Comp or Road Runner from semi-slick tires. because these are mass tires, they are produced in a wide variety of widths, and it is not difficult to choose the width for the rim (remove drift). Of course, no one canceled the correct pumping

Sergey K, I didn’t want to write about this directly in the article, but I also had problems with Maksis. Exactly what you say. Therefore, I cannot recommend them to readers.

Sergey, so if he drives, on the asphalt, is it on the contrary, underpumping? Or what is meant by drives?

chiba, will be. simislik, but manufacturers do not always indicate this explicitly. So it’s better to look with your eyes.

Abysmal, I also cannot imagine life without a floor house pump.

It is unlikely that it is under-pumping, because pumped up to 4 and gradually lowered to 2, as the descent it drives less, but the roll-off falls. Based on her description, it’s like riding on ice. I really sin more and more on the fork, the bike has already been 3 or 4 years old, and before this season it was used very little, now something happened to the fork. it just bounces back if you squeeze it, in general, if you press the handlebar and release that front wheel will jump, and if you lift the wheel into the air and throw it, then the lead will jump, the fork there is a simple SR XCT, i.e. a fork-simulator, but on mine, too, an extremely simple RS XC28, everything is completely different (it does not jump). I’m thinking, maybe this elastomer has broken (it happens at all or not, I don’t know) or stretched out so it just dangles inside.

if you press the steering wheel and release, then the front wheel will jump, and if you lift the wheel into the air and throw it, then the led will jump, the fork there is a simple SR XCT. the damper cartridge in the right leg has died. Nitrogen left from the chamber or glass oil, or both. This is only to replace the entire plug. There are no spare parts for this, and the cartridge is non-separable and maintenance-free