Maximize Your Mountain Bike Tire Pressure
It’s not uncommon for mountain bikers to adjust tire pressure mid-ride for better traction. They also often run slightly less pressure in the front versus the back tire as there is less weight up front. But, why and what is the ideal tire pressure? Well, to begin with, it helps to understand a little about the industry. One of the greatest advancements in off-road bicycle riding has been the Tubless Tire revolution that started about 15 years ago. By having a specially designed tubless ready wheel and tubless ready tire, you could simply add a latex-based liquid into the tire that would basically seal the puncture when you got a flat.
If not having to worry about flats wasn't enough, the performance enhancements of tubless tires is a huge advantage as it requires less air in the tire. Whereas riders with inner tubes have to use a higher air pressure to avoid pinch flats, riders using the tubless system can use much less and therefore gain the advantage of better control through enhanced grip. This simple invention made mountain biking faster, safer, and a lot more enjoyable.
But, you don’t have to be riding tubless to want optimal performance gains on the bike. Dialling in your tire pressure is free speed no matter what bike you’re on or what level of rider you are. Below are the recommended tire pressures for different size mountain tires. You can find the size printed on the side of your tire and then match it to the appropriate pressure below.
Mountain Bike Tires (Tubless System)
26 x 4.0 to 5.0 = 5 - 8 psi.
27.5 x 3.8 - 4.0 = 7 - 10 psi.
27.5 x 2.2 to 2.8 = 23 - 30 psi.
29 x 2.0 to 2.6 = 20 - 30 psi.
29 x 3.0 = 10 - 15 psi.
Mountain Bike Tires (with Inner Tubes)
26" = 40 - 50 psi.
27.5" = 40 - 50 psi.
29" = 35 - 45 psi.
Use an air pressure gauge to check your psi before every ride for a faster, safer, more enjoyable ride!