MTB Tire Pressure : A Better Reference Guide

MTB Tire Pressure

MTB Tire Pressure

Some new beginner of MTB or mountain bike, they had no idea what they should inflate their tires to. When you search the internet, you will find different answers from different sources.

This post is a simple guide to setting the correct tire pressure on your MTB or mountain bike.

When riding a mountain bike, what separate us and the ground is the two tires. The tires would influence more on how we ride the MTB compare to other expensive accessory.

What tire pressures do you run in your MTB tires? When was the last time you check the pressure?

When trying to answer the question, you might reach down and give the tire a squeeze, and would wonder that this is the right tire pressure for your MTB bike. But if you want to get the best out of your MTB bike, before you start a ride, you must start with the tire pressures. When you get those right and you are off to a great and safe start.

You already know about the recommended pressures in our car tires right because they have instruction for that. But what about the one for our MTB bikes?

Actually there is no actual and the perfect MTB tire pressure. Even MTB racers run different pressures, many of them run 27 Psi front and 30 Psi rear. Other well known riders run lower pressures at 23 Psi front and 29 Psi rear and also 22 Psi front and 25 Psi rear.

This tell us that there is a showing of the diversity in style and tire pressures. There is no magic number here.

The best tire pressure for MTB bikes depend on weight, riding style, tire choice and the trails we ride. But if you’re running very low or high pressures you are probably not getting the best from your MTB bike.

For most cases according to MTB riders and experienced MTB riders here is the recommendation :

  • 26 Psi front and 26 Psi rear, for 2.35 – 2.4 inch tubeless tire
  • 29 Psi front and 26 Psi rear, for 2.35 – 2.4 inch tubed tire
  • 18 Psi front and 18 Psi rear, for 2.8 – 3.0 inch tubeless tire
  • 20 Psi front and 20 Psi rear, for 2.8 – 3.0 inch tubeless tire

MTB Tire Pressure

Even though they are recommended number, you might still find the optimum setup that works for you, without seeing those numbers above.

The good balance tire pressure

A better balance between stability and grip, would be the perfect pressure you have to find.

The Pressure Is Too High: Higher MTB tire pressures will help support the sidewall of the tire. This will provide an increased stability and an increased protection for the rim. If you go farther and too far, traction will be reduced as the ride will feel harsh and the contact patch shrinks.

The Pressure Is Too Low: Low pressures MTB tire will increase grip from the larger contact patch. It will also improve cornering traction. An increase risk of rim damage will occur when the tire pressure is too low. Softer air pressure reduces the natural spring of the tire which can unstable ride at high speed.

Stability would be reduce when in hard turns and can feel vague. To find the optimum MTB tire pressure it is essential to find a balance that will give traction and stability while giving good cornering.

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Not all tire pressure gauges are created equal and you can see on the internet some variation with different gauges. The best thing to do is always use the same gauge for your own tires. Invest in a good gauge and look after it. Most pro riders have their own gauge that they guard fiercely.

How to find your optimum MTB tire pressure

When it is time to go on a trail, you must own a a pump and gauge before going. Take a short distance trail. Take about 1,5 minutes ride with some nice flat corners, berms, compression and roots, representative of the terrain you ride. While riding, you have to concentrate to feel while you ride.

First try a higher pressure in your MTB tires (35 Psi on tubeless tire), so you can see how a very high pressure tire feels like on the trail you go. Try also the 40 Psi when you are heavier than 75 kg.

After doing this, now head back to the start and drop the tire pressure 3 Psi front and back and repeat the trail for about the same amount of time. You again have to observe ho well the traction and how the tires feel, as well how much grip you are finding.

Repeat this process again for one to five times by dropping the pressure each time, observe carefully until you know what is going on. When you feel any bump on the rim, this means you are going too low and do not go any lower again.

At the end, you have to find to the point where any further pressure drops no longer result in an increase in performance. The end is when you feel good grip but also stability from the tires.

Try to distribute around 40% to the front and 60% weight to the rear tire. Try 3 Psi less in the front and see how that affects grip and traction. Try to go on a trail a little short distance and get a feel for how it changes the ride.

Drawbacks and Benefits of Changed Tire Pressure

Changing the MTB tire pressure one psi up or down and this will change in traction or grip or stability. Changes in tire pressure make a difference, 2 psi difference is a 20% change in the tire pressure.

Benefits of Higher Tire Pressure:

  • You can ride with higher speed
  • You can protect the rim and tire from impact on solid object or rocks
  • Good and perfect for heavier riders who need more cushion

Benefits of Lower Tire Pressure:

  • You can ride with better traction
  • Good and perfect for lighter riders
  • Great on loose terrains like mud, loose rock or soft clay

What factor that will affect tire pressure:

  • The weight of the riders
  • The type of tire
  • Terrain
  • How rider want to protect the tire

If you use the cheaper tire pressure gauge that can be used on car tires, it is not gonna be a good reading on tire pressure. When you read tire pressures in cars go much higher than on a MTB bike, so the gauge shows a more coarse scale.

There is this Rhino USA Heavy Duty Tire Pressure Gauge on Amazon.com. The price is affordable and it is meant for MTB bike tires so it clearly shows your psi up or down to the half pound.

When you wanna pump your MTB tire, one tire pump just may work. Choosing the best mountain bike pump is essential so you can always add more air to your MTB tires with ease. Easy when pumping before a ride or during a ride.

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While pumping you should check your MTB tire pressure before each ride and matches the trail or weather conditions.

One floor pump is the best tool for MTB bike to use to accomplish this. If on one ride you get a flat tire, you do not carry the MTB bike all the way home, you just have to have a mini pump with you to repair.

To figure out what to look for in a MTB bike pump can be tricky, but there is Vibrelli Performance Bike Floor Pump which is recommended by many website reviews. And it is very popular on Amazon.

There is also option to use compressor tire pump. The type of compressor that can go up to 150 Psi. There are many to choose from.

But this Slime goes plenty high enough for a MTB bike tire. It can actually inflate to 105 psi.
You can get it on Amazon.com.

Different tire pressure setting for the front and rear tire pressure. Some riders have their own setting of Psi levels for the rear and front tires.

How to prevent tire punctures

When you know how to avoid tire puncture you will save money, help you avoid MTB bike damage, personal injury, and will prolong your MTB tire life. These are 5 tips to avoid tire punctures.

#1. Avoid Driving Where Punctures Are Likely to Happen

You must avoid riding on industrial construction sites, road repairs and areas with downed trees and power lines. Sharp objects, nails, glass, wire and other objects lie in wait to perforate your tires in these locations.

#2. Inspect Your Tires Weekly or Monthly

Weekly or monthly inspections of your MTB tires will help you find sidewall spots or weak tread or tiny damage that are vulnerable to punctures.

#3. Use Tire Sealant

You can thicken the surface of tire by applying tire sealant the inside of your MTB new tires when you buy them. Applying tire sealant by spraying on through the valve and distributed fully around the inside by rotating the tire to thicken the surface. You may use the Orange Seal for a good tire sealant on Amazon.

#4. Line Your New Tires with Puncture-Resistant Strips

You just buy one puncture resistant strips and apply these strips to the inside tread belt of the tires. Attached them firmly with adhesive. This is one solution to increase the durability of the tires dramatically. You may buy one here on Amazon.

One other option beside these strips is by buying a puncture-proof MTB bike tube, when you use a tubed tire. You can get them on Amazon.

By investing you money, your time and effort to avoid tire puncture, it will repay you with safer MTB bike riding.