Road Bike Tire PSI Setup Guide

Rider Question: What is the correct road bike tire pressure to run?


Fine tuning your road bike tire pressure is essential. Our focus will be on road bike slicks.

Before each ride, always check your tire pressure before setting out on your cycling journey.

Air pressure is important to your bicycle’s performance, hence we suggest purchasing a high quality bicycle tire air pressure gauge. Here are some recommendations to check out that are good deals. Click the photos for more details:
Like any piece of road biking equipment, air gauges don’t last forever, and can loose calibration over time.

The most logical place to start is to first check the recommended amount of air pressure located on the sidewall of the tire.

Road bikers should understand that running higher tire air pressure will create less rolling resistance. This fact allows the cyclist to ride faster, if the road condition itself will permit maximum psi.

For example, if your are riding on a slick, pristine track, maximum air pressure is the way to go. But if your riding on roads that contain bumps, cracks, pot holes, and other damage, the jarring incurred from running at your maximum psi, might be too uncomfortable. This discomfort can actually slow you down.

By continuing to bleed 2-3 psi as needed until you settle on a tire pressure that is more forgiving, but still offers superior traction. Chances are your overall times will be faster than riding without the massive jarring experience every few feet with the tire psi too high.

Heavier riders generally run more air than lighter riders. This may only be a few psi, but always avoid running the tire pressure too low, as you can quickly get flats, and incur expensive rim damage.

Most riders eventually get caught out in the rain, which may include mud, sand and oil. Obviously these conditions are extremely slippery. When running slicks, it is best to go with higher pressure. Use caution because the higher tire pressure will slip easier when it does hit the slick areas, but will hook up faster and provide better control when traction improves.

It is not uncommon to experience slides in wet conditions. There is an art to controlling the bike when it slides, and the first rule is never panic. Always remain calm. Keep in mind if you use your brakes, pulse them lightly, unless the danger approaching requires harder braking. If this is the case, you will have no choice but too brake harder. The bike must be pointed straight when applying the front brakes. If the wheel is turned and you apply the front brake, you will most likely crash, unless you are extremely experienced in controlling slides. This experience often comes from riding / racing motorcycles and mountain bikes, although road bikers with a lot of experience in wet conditions will also posses these skills.

Remember when applying the back brakes hard the bike may start to slide quickly turning you sideways. To counter this effect release the back brake. Countersteering may be necessary. Again, controlling slides is an art and mastering it requires practice. Unfortanately practice often leads to crashing, until you figure it out, so be careful.

If you need to set up your Mountain Bike tire pressure, click here.

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