Is it important to properly inflate your bicycle tires ? The answer is obviously yes! Indeed, a well-inflated tire is preferable to a tire that is too or underinflated. Improper pressure not only increases the risk of a puncture but also affects rider comfort and the performance of the bike. This is why it is essential for the cyclist to perfect his knowledge on the subject. Here are a few things to help you find the ideal pressure for your bike tires.
Why determine the ideal pressure for your bicycle tires?
Probably out of ignorance, a large part of cyclists ride with under-inflated or over-inflated tires. However, tire inflation has a significant influence on the level of comfort and the level of performance. How do you ask yourself? With a lightly inflated tire first, you will drive less quickly because the friction phenomenon is greater. This implies that you will need more effort when pedaling to move forward. On the other hand, you will gain in comfort.
Conversely, a tire inflated to high pressure will give you better performance. This is due to the fact that there is less contact with the road. On the other hand, it offers less comfort and accelerates tire wear. You have to find the perfect compromise between comfort and efficiency .
Moreover, by going to extremes, beyond a certain threshold, the risks of punctures are increased. Tire pressure is therefore a safety issue that requires minimal attention.
Finding the right pressure on the sidewall of the tire
To determine the correct pressure for your bicycle tires, there are several parameters to take into account such as the weight of the rider, the model of the tire, the inner tube, etc.
Read the information on your bicycle tires
The important thing to do first is to look at the sidewall of the tire. Most of the time you see two values written in BARS or PSI (or Pound per square inch). The first corresponds to the minimum pressure or low pressure, while the second represents the maximum pressure or high pressure. This information is given for guidance by the manufacturer but does not constitute ideal values.
It is more of a range determined by the manufacturer to optimize the use and life of the tire. It will then be necessary to find within this range, the pressure adapted according to your weight and the practice among others.
Note that the closer you get to the maximum pressure indicated, the harder your tires will be. You will then feel the imperfections of the road much more but will have a better performance. The closer you get to the minimum pressure given, the more you will have a feeling of comfort and grip. You also notice that mountain bikes often have a lower recommended tire pressure than road bikes. It is therefore important that you take into account the terrain on which you are practicing to inflate your tires.
Learn how to calculate the ideal pressure based on your weight
Another parameter to take into account to inflate your tire: your weight. The 10% rule can guide you. We often talk about calculating the pressure by taking 10% of the weight of the cyclist (and luggage if they are important). If you weigh 75 kg you can count around 7.5 bars. Be careful, however, this indication is only used to get an idea, for the lighter and heavier among you, you must not leave the low and high pressures indicated on the side.
Finally, take into account your position on your bike. A rear city bike tire supports 2/3 of the load. It will therefore take a little more pressure than your front tire.
Watch out for the valves!
Note that there are several types of valves, two of which are particularly widespread: the Presta and the Schrader. The first is big and thin, while the second is small and big.
It is therefore important to choose the right bicycle pump. It must be compatible with your valve and above all be able to reach high pressures. Important if the valve is of the Presta type: do not forget to unscrew the valve before pumping (you will quickly realize this anyway).
Finally, it is good to know that even new or unused, a bicycle tire gradually loses pressure over time. This is quite normal as long as the loss of inflation is slight. However, you must remember to check your tire pressure regularly, at least once a month and ideally before each ride. To check the pressure of your tires, you can very simply use a pressure gauge.
Different models of pressure gauges and pumps that are already equipped are offered here: Pumps and pressure gauges for bikes . And make sure you choose a pump capable of delivering the correct pressure for your tires because some models, generally used as a backup, have a capacity of less than 7 bars.