Whether you cycle to work everyday or you are a mountain bike enthusiast, your bike tyre pressure is important.
The right pressure enhances safety, reduces the chances of a flat tyre and ensures superior riding comfort and quality.
What is the Ideal Pressure for Bike Tyres?
This is not a straight forward question to answer. The ideal pressure for the bike tyres would vary significantly based on a number of factors such as the kind of bike (mountain bike, road bike etc), the terrain the bike is going to traverse, the body weight of the biker and his/her personal comfort levels.
All bike tyre manufacturer’s mention the maximum tyre pressure on the tyre wall itself and you could start from this point for your bike. But remember to make the adjustments to determine the pressure levels that are most suitable for you.
Reasons Why Checking the Your Bike Tyre Pressure is Important
Pressure is Directly Related to the Riding Comfort
Under inflated tyres make cycling very hard, because low pressure increases the rolling resistance. Over inflated tyres, on the other hand, are very hard and therefore cannot conform to the bumps on the road. As a result, such tyres are unable to absorb the shock and transmit these shocks to the rider. Riding on over inflated tyres can thus be quite a bumpy experience.
Note that the right tyre inflation to ensure maximum riding comfort would depend on the riding surface. On a smooth pavement, a pressure of say, 100psi may be ideal, but on a rough road you would feel better with a slightly lower pressure. This is because the reduced pressure makes the tyre more flexible to easily conform to the obstacles on the road.
And on mountain bikes that traverse really rough terrains, significantly lower tyre pressure (between 30-50psi) is recommended.
Tyre Pressure is Directly Related to Chances of Flat Tyre
Soft (under inflated) tyres are more likely to get punctured as compared to tyres maintained at the right pressure. Under inflated tyres have poor resistance to sharp objects and other debris on the road surface. And these objects can cause a flat tyre.
Tyre Pressure is Directly Related to the Bike Control
Over inflated bike tyres have reduced contact area with the riding surface. As a result, the traction is reduced and the grip is compromised. This results in poor control over the bike and this can be quite dangerous.
Similarly under inflated tyres tend to drag and cornering ability at high speeds is compromised. The right pressure is necessary to maintain speed and desired grip.
Mountain bikes that often encounter step climbs, loose stones and other such conditions need a lower tyre pressure so that grip is maximized. In comparison, for road bikes, the recommended pressure is higher.
Thus the bike tyre pressure is an important parameter of your overall biking experience and the performance of your bike. Make it a habit to check the tyre pressure before every long journey or on a periodic basis if you use your bike everyday.