How hard do you inflate your tires?
Many cyclists simply inflate both the front and rear tires to the maximum recommended on the sidewall of the tire. That’s what I did for years. I never considered that too much (or too little) pressure may affect my comfort on the bike, not to mention speed or safety.
It turns out there is an optimum tire pressure given your weight, the bike’s weight, road conditions, and tire width. It turns out that under a full load, the tire performs best when there is a tire drop of ~ 15% as illustrated above. This drop puts more tire on the road improving traction (particularly when cornering and in wet weather), and comfort.
So, how do you determine the optimum tire pressure for your bike. Fortunately, there are several on-line calculators that make it easy. This is the one I use regularly. I have 3 sets of 700c wheels each equipped with different tire widths – 23 mm, 25 mm, and 28 mm – and subsequently optimum tire pressures.
The first thing to understand is that both the front and rear wear must have a 15% tire drop, and yet there is not an equal amount of weight on them. The rear wheel generally carries more weight depending on the type of cycling you do and the bike fit. Generally, road bikes have 60% on the rear wheel and 40% on the front. This is the weight distribution I use.
The above example is the calculation I use for the Garneau carbon bike with 25 mm training tires. Given my weight, I do not inflate anywhere near the maximum allowable – 90 psi in the rear and 72 psi in the front.
And one other thing. Don’t forget to check your tire pressure before every ride. The high pressure and low volume of air in these tires makes them deflate more quickly than that in higher volume, lower pressure car tires. Too little tire pressure not only roll more slowly, but are more susceptible to flats, and possibly rim damage.
Let me know if you notice a difference 😎