Make Sure You Have the Right PSI Before You Ride

Make Sure You Have the Right PSI Before You Ride

November 24, 2021

Riding a bicycle is a terrific way to get outside and get some exercise. Winter weather in Florida is perfect for a bike ride, as temperatures are more moderate and rain is much less likely to fall. But nothing can ruin a bike ride like a flattened or broken tire. Therefore, it’s key to have the proper pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), in your bike tires.

Maintaining PSI at the right level for your bicycle is critical to a safe and fulfilling ride. Below we’ll cover the basics of proper bicycle tire inflation so you can ride worry-free this winter.

What is PSI?

PSI, or pounds per square inch or pound-force per square inch, is a unit of measurement that records the air pressure inside a given object, like a bicycle tire. You can use a pressure gauge to measure your bike’s PSI.

Are there any guidelines on how much to inflate your bike tires?

Yes—each tire should have a recommended PSI range printed on its side. You should always check that first and ensure your bicycle’s tire pressure is within that range.

What should I do if there’s no recommended range printed on the tire rim?

A good rule of thumb is to inflate your bicycle’s tires until they are firm, but you can still compress them slightly with your hand. You don’t want your tires to be hard as a rock, but you don’t want them to be excessively squishy either.

Will the recommended PSI vary based on the type of bike I’m riding?

Yes, it will, and this is because different bikes are usually outfitted with specific types of tires. Here’s a rough guideline of different PSI for different types of bikes:

  • Road bike tires: 80 to 120 PSI, with 90 PSI recommended
  • Gravel bike tires: 40 to 80 PSI, with 40 PSI recommended
  • Mountain bike tires: 25 to 50 PSI, with 25 PSI recommended
  • Kids’ bike tires: 20 to 40 PSI, with 20 PSI recommended

What are some other factors that can influence the correct PSI for my bicycle’s tires?

Having the proper PSI in your bike tires means accounting for a vast array of different factors in addition to the type of bicycle and tires you’re using. Below are some other things that influence the PSI of your bike’s tires:

  • Rider weight: The more weight you put on your bicycle, the higher the PSI you’ll want for your tires. For example, if someone weighs 200 pounds, they’d want to inflate the tires more than someone who weighs 160 pounds.
  • Tire width: Wider tires have more surface area and can be ridden safely at lower pressures. Thinner tires should have a higher PSI to prevent them from bottoming out.
  • Terrain: If you’re mountain biking you can err on the side of lower pressure, and if you’re road biking you can increase the PSI inside your tires, making sure not to overinflate them.
  • Personal preference: Since it’s your bike, you can play around with different tire pressures, find what feels best for you and go from there.

Call for bicycle service today

Now that you know why maintaining PSI at the right level is so important for bicycles, give us a call at Big Momma’s Bicycles. We offer bicycle sales, rentals, service and repairs, and we’ll even pick up or drop off your bike if it’s within 10 miles of our location.

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