Updated: Sep 8, 2018
It all started way back when I bought my first MTB, a 26 inch proper downhill bike with wide rims and plus size WTB tyres. The bike was an XTENSION and from the word go I suffered, and could not keep up with anyone on the most simplest of rides. That said I was really unfit.
So I decided to buy a new Silverback Sola 3 and it went better, but still an effort. When I finally discovered my tyres were running at 1.4 bar I was told by a bike shop that the tyre indicators showed I needed to be between 2.5 – 4 bar so I increased the tyre pressure from 1.4 to 3 bar.
What an amazing difference it made, my speed increased and I felt like I was being pushed by the gods of mountain biking.
With my new found speed I set off to my favorite weekend trail and it was dust and rocks flying as I ripped up the track UNTIL I broke my wrist in eight places!
So what is the lesson here, grip is great and speed can bite. After a few months of recovery I’m again ready to go, just with a lot more respect and way more thought about the right tyre pressure for the ride.
An article I recently read with great interest revealed that the “standard” tyre pressure common among mountain bikers is 19 psi 1.5 bar. Mmm, for me it sounds just right.
The benefit for me, a non-racer, is that I feel safer and build more strength using a lower tyre pressure than what is specified by the manufacturers. I think it is probably a matter of what you are used to and where you ride.
With the plus size tyre trend taking off globally and South Africa still trying to catch up it might be a totally different conversation when I eventually make the move and leave behind my 29 inc 2.2 Maxxis tyres for something wider?