If your bike feels slow, sluggish, and hard to move while riding, chances are your tires may need some air. But how do you know how much is needed? You can find the recommended psi on the sidewall of most, if not all, bike tires. There you can see the minimum and maximum pressure the tire will allow.
Where Do I Start?
It’s a simple and essential task, but if you’ve never been shown how, you may want to watch this video where GCN goes in-depth on how to inflate your tire; from identifying the valve type to attaching the bike pump.
How to Determine the best psi for You
Simply put; The lower your body weight and the lighter the bike, the less psi is needed. For heavier folks and heavy bikes (such as cargo bikes and most electric bikes), you’ll need to inflate your tires closer to the maximum psi. The reason is that the more weight the tires carry, the more they will settle under that pressure.
Keep in mind, underinflation can cause damage to the rim, and overinflation can increase the chances of your tube/tire popping like a balloon.
To figure out what psi is best for you, you can adjust your tire pressure within the recommended psi (found on the tire’s sidewall) and ride short distances until you find what feels the most comfortable. We also highly recommend referring to the tube/tire manufacturers’ guide whenever possible.
How to check your psi
The most convenient way to check your psi is to purchase a bike pump with a tire gauge. As soon as the valve stem is inserted into the gauge, it will show how much air is currently in your tube/tire. If you need to add more air, all you need to do is pump it up. You can also release some air by tapping on the valve itself, or most gauges have an air release trigger.
Example of a tire gauge
Alternatively, many bicycle pumps have a psi tire gauge installed so you can observe the gauge while pumping up the tire.