Bike tyre pressure guide

A lot of riders overlook tyre pressure. As long as your tyres are inflated, what does it matter?

However, inflating your tyres to the correct pressure can boost comfort, grip, performance, reduce the risk of punctures, and is ultimately safer. So, a little air can make a huge difference!

In this guide, we’ll look at the optimum tyre pressure for every type of bike, riding style and setup.

Why does tyre pressure matter?

We’ve touched on it slightly, but let’s take a closer look at why tyre pressure matters. As you’ll see, there are lots of factors, and finding the right pressure is often a matter of balancing these out.

  • Rolling resistance – when tyres roll along a surface, they create friction. The wider the tyre, the more friction that’s created which slows you down. Of course, this friction also helps a tyre...
  • Grip – getting the right tyre pressure is a balance between finding the right grip and speed. As we’ll discuss, this will vary according to the type of riding.
  • Punctures – if you use inner tubes and the pressure is too low, you risk pinch flats. This happens when your wheel hits a sharp object, and the tube is pinched against the rim. It’s more likely to occur at lower pressures.
  • Comfort – on the other hand, running a lower pressure boosts comfort. A higher pressure creates a more rigid ride.
  • Safety – ultimately, using the correct pressure ensures your tyres perform at their optimum level which is safer than using the wrong pressure.

How to check tyre pressure

Tyre pressure is measured in psi (pounds per square inch).

To measure the tyre pressure in your tyre you’ll need a tyre pressure gauge, or a pump fitted with a pressure gauge. When connected to the valve on your bike’s tyre, you’ll see what pressure the tyre is currently inflated to.

Tyre pressure by bike type

General information

The below guide provides general guidance on tyre pressure per bike type. However, it’s impossible to provide one optimum tyre pressure as there are various things that affect this, and you’ll need to factor these in.

  • Rider Weight – the heavier you are, the higher you should run your tyre pressures. However, don’t exceed the maximum levels recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Tyre volume - larger tyres can run at lower pressures, whereas smaller, thinner tyres (like those on road bikes) must be inflated to higher pressures. For guidance, follow the manufacturer's recommended limits.
  • Terrain – where you ride will have a massive impact on tyre pressure, especially for off-road riding. If you’re rolling on hard-packed tracks and trails, you can run lower pressures. Rocky trails and mountain paths require higher pressure. To a lower degree, surface can even influence road bike tyre pressure (there are a lot of rough country lanes!).
  • Tube or tubeless – one of the biggest factors! Tubeless set-ups can be run at a lower pressure as there’s no risk of pinch flats. Pinch flats happen when a wheel hits a hard or sharp object, and the tube is pinched against the rim. It’s more likely to happen when running lower pressures, which is why inner tube set-ups usually require a higher pressure.
  • Riding Style – one for mountain bikers. The harder you ride, the higher pressure you should go for. This will help protect your bike and its components. If you ride with a lighter touch or are more technical, then you can go a little lower.
  • Front v rear – many mountain bikers run higher pressures in the rear and slightly lower in the front. Running a lower pressure at the front improves traction and grip resulting in a more agile ride.
  • Manufacturer’s recommended limits – manufacturer’s display the recommended pressure range on a tyre’s sidewall. This information will include the minimum tyre pressure, maximum pressure, and the safe operating range.

Mountain bike tyre pressure

By now, you’ve probably realised there isn’t an exact science to picking the correct pressure. It’s a case of trial and error, and you’ll need to factor in the above variables and test pressures before finding out what works best.

As a base, we’d suggest using the below pressures as a starting point:

  • Tubeless set-up: Start at 25psi and adjust accordingly. Lighter riders may opt for lower around 20psi, while 30psi is a good starting pressure for heavier riders and e-bikes.
  • Tubed set-up: Start at 30psi. If you’re a lighter rider, you may choose lower around 25psi but there’s a greater risk of punctures. Heavier riders and those using thin tyres (less than 2.2”) may want to go higher, anywhere up to 40psi.

Test these pressures and think about how the ride felt. Did you struggle for grip? Did the ride feel too harsh? If so, you need to decrease the pressure. If you hit the rims while going over jumps and bumps or the ride felt sluggish, increase the pressure.

Adjust the pressure and ride again. Compare how the ride felt this time and follow this process until you’re comfortable with how your tyres are inflated.

Road bike tyre pressure

Choosing the right pressure for a road bike is a little easier but no less important. You may not be pushing your limits on a trail, but you still want to maximise performance and comfort.

The best starting point is to check the tyre manufacturer’s recommended limits. Take this number then apply the factors outlined above.

So, if you’re a slightly heavier rider, run a higher pressure within the range. More about comfort than performance and speed? Choose a lower pressure.

Remember, tubeless tyres can be run at lower pressures than tubed tyres. So, if you’re finding you can’t go to a low enough pressure with your tubed set-up, consider switching. We have a guide to converting to a tubeless set-up here.

Shop tubeless tyres

Hybrid/commuter tyre pressure

Hybrid wheels come in various sizes. Some bikes use 700c road wheels while others use 26” and 27.5” wheels commonly found on mountain bikes.

So, the pressure used will vary. Use the recommended range provided by the manufacturer as a guide. If you have 26” or 27.5” wheels, start off at the higher end of the range. After all, a hybrid bike needs to be quicker than a mountain bike and is less concerned with grip (you hopefully won’t be hitting any trails!).

For 700c road wheels, opt for a pressure at the lower end of the range. This will boost comfort at the sacrifice of speed, but you won’t be racing along like on a road bike.

Remember, pressure can easily be changed so note down the ride feel and adapt the pressure if needed.


Finding the right tyre pressure can be tricky, but with the help of this guide you should have no problems. On top of the pressure, your tyres also have a big impact on performance. If you need a new pair or want to upgrade, check out our wide range of tyres from top brands including Schwalbe over at

You can find more guidance in our bike tyre buyer’s guide.


Why do some riders choose to run lower pressures in their mountain bike tyres?

In the past, tyres were pumped up as hard as they could be. Today’s riders are much more aware of the impact of tyre pressure on performance and handling, with many preferring to run lower-pressure set-ups.

Running lower pressures can improve grip, with more of the tyre’s surface area meeting the ground. As well as making the ride smoother, lower pressure can improve traction, which makes climbing and descending more comfortable.

Why should I check my tyre pressures?

It’s inevitable that tubes and tubeless set-ups leak air over time. As a result, you should check your tyre pressures regularly. Some riders do it before every ride, others every week, some less regularly.

Tyre pressure can have a massive impact on handling, pace and performance, so we recommend checking before every ride to ensure your bike is safe to ride.

What are tubeless tyres?

Most bikes come fitted with clincher tyres. These tyres have a bead that grips to the rim to keep them in place, and they require an inner tube.

Tubeless tyres work differently, gripping the inside of the rim to create an airtight seal. This removes the need for an inner tube and allows the rider to insert a puncture-resistant sealant which seals punctures (usually up to 6mm).

Shop tubeless tyres