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Old 09-02-09, 12:25 PM   #1
mczolton
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How hard should my tires be?

This might seem like a silly question to seasoned cyclists, but I am a relative neophyte when it comes to the subject of properly inflating a bicycle tube.

I checked the recommendation on my bicycle tire and noted that it said to inflate to 60 - 85 psi. When attempting to inflate the tire using a no-name bicycle pump that I purchased from Target for $12.00, I can't get much more than 65 psi before it becomes difficult to push down on the pump.

I would chalk this up to a cheap pump, but my tires feel quite stiff. I've measured the pressure with one of those Schrader valve gauges that you would use for your automobile and it reads close to 65. The gauge goes up to 100 psi.

Considering that the gauge reads 65 psi, the tire feels stiff, and the pump is difficult to operate, should I continue to inflate the tire if I can manage the pump? Or, should I just purchase a better pump with a built-in gauge and be done with it?

Thank you for the advice.
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Old 09-02-09, 12:32 PM   #2
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Buy a real pump. If it has a hard time getting to 65psi it can't be much of one to begin with.
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Old 09-02-09, 12:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice. Should I worry that the tire feels quite stiff even 20 psi under the recommended limit?
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Old 09-02-09, 01:29 PM   #4
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It will probably be fine at that pressure, unless you are a Clydesdale. It will just pedal harder.
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Old 09-02-09, 01:39 PM   #5
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65 psi will be fine for most riders and it will give you a little softer ride. Sometime when you can use a compressor, pump them up to 85 and try riding. It will be stiffer, harsher and faster. Only you can decide which one you prefer. Even with a good floor pump, it will be difficult, but not impossible, to hand pump it over 75 psi. bk
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Old 09-02-09, 01:43 PM   #6
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As long as you stay within the range specified on the tire sidewall; you'll be fine. It is not necessary to inflate to the high limit. That said, I usually inflate to the high limit because then I don't have to inflate as often and there is less rolling resistance. The disadvantage is a slightly stiffer ride. If you inflate to the low limit, you run the risk of pinch flats as the tire bleeds down, although, at the lower pressure, the ride is somewhat more cushioned. It is not easy to estimate actual tire pressure with a pinch test. You'll probably want to check your tires weekly with a gauge and consider buying a pump that can get you to 85 psi more easily.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:22 PM   #7
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How much do you weigh, and what kind of riding do you do? Tire manufacturers test their tires up to twice the max, so it's safe to go 20% above the max. I ride narrow tires, and I typically put 120 psi in the rear and between 90 and 110 psi in the front. I've never had a blowout from overinflation. I recommend using the maximum pressure that isn't uncomfortable.

A good pump will inflate to 120 psi and beyond with very little effort.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
How much do you weigh, and what kind of riding do you do? Tire manufacturers test their tires up to twice the max, so it's safe to go 20% above the max. I ride narrow tires, and I typically put 120 psi in the rear and between 90 and 110 psi in the front. I've never had a blowout from overinflation. I recommend using the maximum pressure that isn't uncomfortable.

A good pump will inflate to 120 psi and beyond with very little effort.
I weigh approximately 135 lbs. (61 kg.). I use my bicycle on trails, some packed gravel, and road (for commuting purposes). The tires are 700 x 45c (hybrid style) rated 50 - 85 psi (I said 60 - 85 psi earlier, but I was mistaken).

I appreciate the replies. It seemed like I was putting a lot of effort into inflating the tire. It is good to know I am not in any danger of damaging it.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:51 PM   #9
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3/4 the way down this page there is a table that shows the pressure to support the weight of you+bike. For your weight and the size tires 55 psi would be plenty. http://sheldonbrown.com/tires.html
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Old 09-02-09, 03:02 PM   #10
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Thanks! That is valuable information. I appreciate it.
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