Road Riding: What’s the Optimal Tire Pressure?
A substantial body of research has emerged over the last ten years disproving earlier industry standards on optimal tire pressure. Pumping your tires up to 120 PSI (pounds per square inch) was thought to be the magic number by some, while others insisted 90 PSI was sufficient. Today we have a much more complex understanding of PSI as it relates to faster riding, better bike handling, and not flatting. We all love free speed and optimizing your tire pressure can give you just that!
When an over-inflated tire rolls over the cracked or rough asphalt, it will actually lose contact with the road for a millisecond. The impact of coming back into contact with the road slows the forward momentum of the bike. In other words, at every rotation, there is a mini pause. To understand this better, watch competitive alpine skiers descending the hill. You’ll notice they maintain continuous contact with the hill to achieve maximum speed and edge control. Getting air in skiing is detrimental to performance. The same is true on the bike!
Below is a “rule of thumb” tire pressure guide for 700c road bike tires. Try them out. If you happen to be an exceptionally lightweight rider, adjust the targets to be slightly lower. Heavier riders can add a touch more PSI. Use an air pressure gauge to check your PSI before every ride for maximum enjoyment.
Standard 700c Road Tires
700 x 23c tire size = 100psi
700 x 25c tire size = 90psi
700 x 28c tire size = 80psi
700 x 32c tire size = 70psi
Tubeless 700c Road Tires ( with sealant in the tire )
700 x 25c tire size = 85psi
700 x 28c tire size = 75pri
700 x 32c tire size = 65psi
Coming next: We'll give you air pressure guides for both Hybrids and Mountain Bikes. Stay tuned!