"What pressure are my tires supposed to be at?"
This is a question we get asked a lot here at the shop. It's one of the most overlooked aspects of bicycle maintenance, and one of the easiest to take care of. Proper tire inflation is important for many reasons - your bike rides better at the correct inflation pressure, your tires will last longer, and your chance of getting a flat are significantly reduced.
What is the proper inflation? That will vary based on many factors, but you can easily figure this out with a quick look at your tires. On the sidewall is all the information you will need, and it will look something like these:
Always refer to your tires for correct inflation pressure. In general, you will find three pressure ranges, depending on the type of bike - mountain bikes, comfort bikes, and kids bikes will often be in the 40-65 psi range; hybrid bikes will usually be 70-90 psi; road bikes will be 90-130+ psi. Except in performance situations (i.e. rigorous mountain biking), you always want to run your tires at or near the maximum recommended tire pressure. If your tire gives you a range, inflate to the highest number. If it gives you a single pressure rating, use that.
"How often should I check my tire pressure?"
This is based off a couple different factors. Rubber is porous, like skin - much like sweat leaks out of you, air leaks out of bike tires. Over time, the pressure inside will diminish; depending on your tire size, and what pressure it contains, the air will escape in a matter of weeks, or even days. A skinny tire with a pressure over 100 psi will lose 6-10 psi in just a couple days time! Here is a general rule of thumb for good tire maintenance:
Mountain bikes, Kids bikes, Beach Cruisers, Comfort bikes (20x1.75-2.35, 26x1.75-2.7, etc.) - pressures of 35-65 psi - every 2 weeks (min.)
Hybrid bikes (26x1.0-1.50, 700x32-45+) - pressures of 70-90 psi - once a week (minimum)
Road bikes (650x23, 700x23-28) - pressures of 90-130+ psi - every 2-3 days, or every ride (minimum)
If you can remember to keep your tires inflated properly, you will notice a better ride quality, longer tire life, and hopefully less trouble with flats! If you are unsure about any of this information as it pertains to your own bike, stop by the shop or give us a call, and we can help.
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