Correct tire pressure is incredibly important on a mountain bike ride. But, what is the correct tire pressure? In other words: to what bar should you inflate the tires of a mountain bike? The answer to this question depends on many different factors. There is no hard and fast rule for calculating or determining the correct tire pressure.
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Why the correct mountain bike tire pressure is important
Hard-inflated mountain bike tires can ensure that you can ride fast, but have less grip on the surface. MTB tires with a low tire pressure give you more grip, but tires that are too soft can cause you to have less control over your mountain bike. In addition, your tire can go flat faster due to a bump puncture (snakebite).
How many bar depends on various factors
But, how much bar should you put in your mountain bike tires? The answer to this question depends on many different factors. For example, your body weight is an important factor. Let’s list all the factors that influence the correct tire pressure for your mountain bike.
- Body weight: the heavier you are, the harder you have to inflate your mountain bike tires.
- MTB route: if there is a hard ground, hard tires are recommended. A soft bottom with many obstacles? Then a lower tire pressure is better.
- Weather conditions: in humid weather, the ground is smoother. Less tire pressure gives you more grip.
- Tire and rim width: The wider the tire and rim, the lower the tire pressure can be.
- Front tire or rear tire: a rear tire needs to be inflated harder than a front tire, because it is loaded more.
- Driving style: do you want to drive fast? Then a high tire pressure is recommended.
- Tire type: do you have lightweight mountain bike tires? Then you have to inflate them harder than heavy, stiff tires. Tubeless tires can have lower tire pressures.
Determine MTB tire pressure
There is only one solution to determine the correct tire pressure: testing! You will have to find out for yourself which tire pressure suits you best. And yes: every time you get back on your mountain bike, there is a good chance that you will have to adjust your tire pressure. After all, the weather is never the same and every route can be different in terms of subsurface.
It is smart to inflate the tires before you get on your mountain bike. Inflate the tires to approximately 2.5 bar. Have a slightly higher tire pressure in the rear tire than the front tire. Get on your bike and experience how it rides.
Decrease the tire pressure in small steps and repeat this process until you have determined the correct tire pressure for your mountain bike at that moment. You do need a good mountain bike bicycle pump with a pressure gauge for this. Also check out my Joe Blow Sport 3 review for a good choice. You often also discover a minimum and maximum permitted tire pressure on the tires themselves.
Note: do you feel that the rim is hit by obstacles? Then your tires are too soft. You will then have to pump them up again.
Calculate MTB tire pressure
I already mentioned in the introduction that there is no guideline or specific rule for determining the correct tire pressure. However, there is a tool that you can use to calculate the tire pressure in your case. Schwalbe has developed a tool for personal tire pressure advice: Pressure Prof.
With this tool you have to specify your weight, the width of the tire and the condition of the surface. Ultimately, the correct MTB tire pressure is calculated.
MTB Tire Pressure Frequently Asked Questions
The best tire pressure depends on many different factors. Your body weight plays a major role, as does the surface you ride on. The correct tire pressure usually fluctuates around 1.9 bar, with the rear tire having a slightly higher tire pressure than the front tire.
The tire pressure has a strong influence on the comfort, stability and damping of your mountain bike. Tires that are too hard or too soft can greatly affect your mountain bike experience. Especially in terms of comfort.
First of all, it is important to have a bicycle pump with a pressure gauge. Otherwise you simply do not know how much bar your tire pressure is. In addition, you will have to get on your bike and experience the job pressure on the terrain where you go mountain biking. Pump them up nice and hard and lower the tire pressure in small steps until you have reached the correct tire pressure.
Recently there is a handy tool from Schwalbe. This calculation therefore takes into account all kinds of factors that influence the tire pressure. The tool is called Pressure Prof and can be used free of charge via the Schwalbe website.