Tire Pressure Guide

Michael from Pittsburgh, PA wrote me (coincidentally I’m also Michael from Pittsburgh—soon to be Michael from Madison), to ask about tire pressure. Normally, I don’t feel all that comfortable giving people such specific advice since equipment and terrain can vary widely. But this guy lives just around the corner from me, and I can only assume he’s writing about riding on the same trails as I.
But rather than tell him exactly what pressure to run, I came up with a quick guide to setting the pressure on your tires.

I’ve never used this guide myself, nor have I asked anyone to try it out. But I thought it might be an amusing way to think about your tire pressure.

Starting at 40psi, use the following tables to add or subtract total pressure.


100-120lbs. -10psi

121-140lbs. -8psi

141-160lbs. -6psi

161-180lbs. -4psi

181-200lbs. -2psi

200 + 0

STEP #2: Style

Fluid and Smooth. Your wheels rarely leave the ground. You take turns with grace. -5psi

Aggressive and Hard. You huck everything in sight. You aren’t afraid to beat your bike. +5psi

STEP #3: Intention

Go Fast: +2psi

Have Fun: -2psi

Better Descending: -2psi

Corner Hard: +2psi

Step #4: Equipment

Tire seats snugly on the rim: -1psi

You’re carrying a tube and pump: -2psi

No tube and pump: +10psi

TALLY IT UP: using the above equation, my 160lb. self (rider + gear), (-6psi), that rides aggressive and smooth, and stays closer to the ground than the air (-1psi), wants to go fast, have fun, and descend better (-2psi), whose tires it snugly and is carrying a pump (-3psi), I should run at 30psi.

I typically run around 28psi. And I’d advise against running anything less than that.

What pressure did my equation give you?

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