Road tires get filled with air due to the high speeds at which the vehicles will travel. Tire's designs also allow them to flex which will generate heat and the more rubber that's present, the hotter the surface of the rubber can get.
Air in the tires on your bike behaves similarly. The air gets contained in a part of the casing called the carcass which gets built of piles of high-strength fibers such as aramid, polyester, or steel.
Your wheels wheel gets covered in a band of resistant-wear rubber which makes the actual contact with the road. The inner layer of the tire consists of low-gas-permeability butyl rubber.
The flexible nature of the tire allows the tread to flatten when it hits the pavement. This footprint creates the force that will be balanced and the drive the bike enabling it to maintain balance and stability.
Different riding conditions will require your bike to operate at different tire pressures to provide the best possible ride. Different tires will also use different tire pressures for the bike to perform optimally.
Tire pressure will also depend on the size and weight of your bike as well as the type of tires that your bike uses. All of these variables will fit into finding the tire pressure that works best for your bicycle.
Listening To The Bike’s Manual’s A Wise Place To Start
The appropriate tire pressures for a bike vary as different bikes will have different pressure requirements. You should always consult the bike's owner’s manual for more information on the exact tire pressures that will work best for your specific bike.
The owner's manual makes a reliable resource because the information in it comes directly from the engineers who built your bike. The will know best what tire pressures can help you ensure that you have the safest and smoothest ride possible.
Check Your Air Pressures Regularly
Most owner's manuals will recommend checking your tire pressure regularly to ensure that your tires fall within the recommended tire pressure guidelines outlined in the manual.
If you happen to be more of a weekend rider, then it's recommended that you check your tire pressure before you head off for your rides each weekend. Same goes if you only ride a few times per month. Checking your tire pressure ensures that you have a safe level of air pressure in your tires and that your bike stays safe to ride as possible.
You also want to note that the recommendations might have different "ideal" pressure levels for each the front and back tires of your bike based on the build your bike has.
If you ride your bike daily or use it for a regular basis, we recommended that you schedule time weekly to check your tire pressures. Making sure your pressures fall within recommended guidelines will keep you safe on the road as possible.
So, What’s The Normal PSI For A Bike?
Most road bikes will fall into the recommended eighteen to twenty-four PSI range depending on the style and ride of the bike. Severely under or overinflating your tires can lead to the additional likelihood of your bike experiencing tire failure during a ride.
Many user manuals will share additional information such as tire pressure if you carry more than one rider on your bike or carry a heavy load. Weight will often affect how much pressure your tires need to transport the weight that the bike will have to hold. Usually, it will mean upping the PSI one or two points if a significant load that will get transported using the bike.
Also, pay attention to weight limit recommendations for the bike you ride. If your load comes too close to or exceeds the limit of weight set in the manufacturer guide, do the safe thing and find other transportation for that load. Overloading a bike can cause devastating accidents that can result in severe injuries, even if the pressure in the bike's wheels got increased.
PSIs For Off-Roading Or Racing:
If you plan to ride your bike competitively in races such as BMX or use the bike off-road, your tire pressures will vary significantly from what we recommend for standard transportation uses.
The best way to approach getting the proper PSI for these activities includes talking to someone knowledgeable in the field. Every field will have different standards as to what PSI will work best and keep you safe while participating in various activities.
How To Continue Checking Your Bike Tire Pressure
Once you look through the owner's manual and have an idea of what tire pressure your tires should hold, then you will need to learn how to check the pressure in your tires consistently. Ensuring your tire pressure stays within a recommended range helps improve your safety on the road.
The following include some guidelines to help you check your tire pressure regularly, which in turn, plays a huge role in your safety while riding your bike:
Get A Reliable Pressure Gauge
Get yourself a tire gauge that can read the pressure of your bike tires accurately. Some people will prefer a digital display while others like the analog, yet others prefer both. No matter what type of display you get, you need a gauge that provides an accurate reading.
This reading will help you know how much or how little air needs to go into your tires. Again, properly inflated tires help keep you safe, so this wouldn't the time to shop cheap.
Get Yourself A Quality Air Pump
When your bike tires get low on air, a reliable air pump will help you get them back in riding shape. Select a quality pump (not necessarily "cheap" one) that allows you to see what your current tire pressure sits at, and allows you to inflate it only to the level recommended in your owner's manual.
Check Your Tire Treads:
Once you know that the pressure in your tires stays in the proper range, you also want to check the tire treads. The pressure in your tires can stay perfect but will do little to save you on wet, snowy, or icy roads if your tires don't have the tread to help your bike grip the surface beneath, you won't stay as safe as you otherwise could.
When checking your tires, keep in mind that your tires cannot legally have a tread that gets shallower than 2/32 of an inch in most states. If your tire treads show up shallower than that, it's time to replace your treads to keep your bike within safe riding parameters.
Remember that driving your bike recklessly wears on your breaks faster than safe driving. Hard braking and skidding to stops at every sign or traffic light will wreak havoc on your tires, and you will end up replacing them a lot more often than you care to consider replacing them.
Check For Cracking And Dry Rot:
If you notice that your tire pressures continually change by a dramatic amount, you might check for either cracks or dry rot in your tire. If the air pressure in the tires drops rapidly, then you might have either crack in your tires or dry rot in them that require the entire tire to get replaced.
In these cases, it becomes essential to replace the tires quickly so that you can ride safely. Cracked or rotted tires won't hold air pressure correctly, and your risk of accidents like blowing out tires becomes much higher at this time.
Check Tires For Debris/Foreign Objects
When checking your tire's air pressure, it's also worth checking to see if there could be a foreign object in your tire. Riding down more main roads means that anything can get stuck in tires. Even a small leak can have a significant effect on the pressure in your tires and make your ride much less safe.
Bikes can have objects like nails or glass that cut the tires just a car's tires. If you notice that or any other debris such as rocks stuck in your tires, remove the debris and ensure that the tire did not get penetrated. If the tire got cut, it might need a patch kit or replacement to ensure that you ride safely in the future.
Appropriate Tire Pressure Will Help You Stay Safe On The Road
While riding any bike means that you take some risk of collision or injury, ensuring that your bike's tires remain properly inflated for the activity that you participate in will help keep you safe as possible.
A good gauge will tell you the air pressure of your tires and a quality pump will allow you to put air in them until they reach the inflation level necessary to keep you safe.
Refer to the owner's manual for further information about your specific bike and the PSI that will work best for the bike you want to ride.