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How To Find the Perfect Tire Pressure Guide for Mountain Bike

tire pressure guide
Written by Cobie Brown
Last Update: August 16, 2023

While riding on your favorite Mountain Bike (MTB), the only thing to contact between the ground and us is the tires. For this reason, it determines the real comfort and how our mountain bike feels rather than those fancy accessories you crave to buy. But the question is, do you know the perfect pressure for your mountain bike tires? Let’s find out!

What Is the Right Tire Pressure Guide for Mountain Biking

Mountain Bike Tire Pressure

For having fun and a long way ride, you need perfect tire pressure. While the recommended range of lowest and highest tire pressure is generally small, determining that ideal number is hard and it has a significant impact on your comfort and how your mountain bike performs.

Tire pressure is mostly a personal choice, and it depends on the trails, tire choice, riding style, your weight and how much pressure you put on your mountain bike handlebars. There is no fixed magical number as the perfect pressure varies according to different scenarios. However, riding on significantly low pressure or high pressure for a long time can be unpleasant and also it will hinder your bike’s performance.

What Is the Right Tire Pressure Guide for Mountain Biking

For typical mountain bike tires, the average pressure should be;

  • 26 Psi (Pounds per square inch) or 1.8 Bar in the front tire and 2.35 Bar in the rear tire for tubeless tires and
  • 29 Psi (Pounds per square inch) or 2.0 Bar in the front tire and 2.40 Bar in the rear tire for tubed tires

If the tire you are using is 2.8 or bigger, then the recommended tire pressure would be-

  • 18 Psi (Pounds per square inch) or 1.2 Bar in both front and rear tires for tubeless tires and
  • 20 Psi (Pounds per square inch) or 2.0 Bar for both front and rear tires for tubed tires

This recommended tire works in most cases. For ultimate comfort and to get the best from your mountain bike you need to use the right pressure for your need.

The Perfect Balance

It is generally assumed that lower pressure mountain bike tires provide lower speed compared to the hard pressure tires. However, this is only true for the smooth surfaces. For unsmooth surfaces like the mountain creek bike park, a hard tire (fully pressured or overpressured) fails to deform around, and instead of moving forwards, it leaves the body or suspension to absorb the impact energy which could be used to run forward.

This will decrease your speed and makes your control more difficult. As the body will absorb the impact force, you will feel uncomfortable using hard tires for unsmooth trails. So, for mountain biking the theory of “Harder is Faster” does not account for.

On the other hand, riding at lower pressure, for example, lower than 20 PSI (1.3 Bar) for the tubed bike, can be harmful to your favorite mountain bike. If you ride on lower pressure, the wheel rims can be damaged because of impact forces. The inner tubes can also be pinch punctured, and the tires may flop sideways. Even if you ride on over soft tires, you will feel more unstable and draggier.

Perfect tire pressure for mountain bikes

However, the benefit of little lower pressured mountain bike tires is that you will feel more comfortable as the tire itself will some of the impact forces from the trial.

Body Weight

If you are comparatively heavy and you find the tires squirm most of the time without heavy pressure, then it’s time to change your tires and buy tougher tires that come with rigid and stiffer construction. For added support, find tires with higher TPI (Tips per Inch Count). However, tougher tires with high TPI are heavier compared to ordinary tires. Do not worry; you will move faster with heavy tough tires compared to the lighter tires that are also full of pressure. You will even feel more comfortable and confident.

Find tires with higher TPI

Pressure for MTB Plus Tires

You might have seen those MTB plus tires in Schwinn mountain bikes or next mountain bikes. The main advantage of using mountain bike plus tires is that you can ride with little low pressure as it took some benefit from the large patch grip. In materials, there are no significant differences between conventional tires and tires. With plus tires, you can start your ride lower pressure for more comfort and grip as these tires suit best in lower pressures. Try 25 PSI or 1.6 Bar in front and back tire in the beginning and increase later if you feel it’s necessary.

Final Words

Whether you are interested in changing the pressure of your mountain bike tires or wanting to use the recommended pressure setting, you know finding the perfect pressure is the cheapest and easiest tune-up. Once you find the ideal pressure according to your weight, biking trails, and tire type, you will realize the influence of tire pressure on your everyday biking experience. You can do some more research for information about bikes and some mountain bikes there to choose from.

Now that you know, the importance of the right pressure on your mountain bike tires, why don’t you take a pressure gauge and a pump with you next time you go for a ride and start experimenting by yourself? You might get surprised to see the difference in your riding experience!

About the author

Cobie Brown

Born and grew up in Colorado, I chose to work in the field of what I liked most, biking. I’ve been working as a full time mechanic in the cycling industry for over 13 years. I started BMXing when I was just a 6-year-old kid and got hooked from the very first day. Then I started riding and not a single day went by since then that I didn’t touch my bike.

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