How-To: Find the Best Tire Pressure for Your Mountain Bike
Whether you are an expert mountain biker or just beginning, figuring out the right mountain bike tire pressure can get complicated because it impacts your with every change in psi. So we asked some of our pro cyclist friends for their tips on finding their MTB tire pressure sweet spot. Check out our guide below with professional mountain biker, Stephane Roch and YouTube channel star, Phil Metz from Skills with Phil.
Less Pressure vs. More Pressure
Lower MTB tire pressure improves comfort, control, and traction. The tire molds to the trail, resulting in more traction. Be careful the pressure doesn't get too low because you run the higher risk of flats.
On the other hand, increasing the tire's psi is better for a more efficient ride. It take less energy to pedal a bike with less tire contact on the ground. One of the perks for tires not conforming to the trail. However, you have less control with higher tire pressure.
What's the Right Balance?
The right tire pressure will be different for everyone. Some of the main factors that can affect what tire pressure will work best for you are the brand of tires, your experience mountain biking, and your ride preference. Preference is key.
So how do you start to find your sweet spot? When getting new MTB tires, a general tip is to set the tire pressure according to the brand's recommended factory settings. As you ride more often and gain experience, dial in the tire pressure as needed towards the type or ride you want to experience.
A few more tips on MTB tire pressure:
- It's common to have different tire pressure for the front and rear tires (typically about 2 PSI less in the front tire than the back tire).
- 30 PSI is usually a good starting point.
- If you are riding on more technical terrain, lower the MTB tire pressure about 2 PSI.
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