Cannondale Quick SL-1 (2012 model year); Bianchi touring bike (1985 - Sold); Raleigh Super Course (1975 model year - given to a friend's son)
Tire pressure – advice please
First summer riding my Cannondale Quick SL-1 – I have now ridden about 1200km and loving it. As a retiree with time on my hands I am making this rather long post in an attempt to improve my knowledge.
The bike came equipped with 32mm Continental Sport Contact tires rated at 85 max PSI. When I started riding I was surprised how rough/uneven some of the surfaces were (despite using exclusively paved roads / bike paths) and almost started second guessing my decision not to get front suspension forks! Over time it seemed to me the ride comfort improved … but then I checked my tire pressures and found them to be much lower than rated 85lbs recommended by LBS. Pumped them back up and oh-no the imperfect surface was again occassionally very apparent especially at the front.
Internet search located research article (http://www.bikequarterly.com/images/TireDrop.pdf) – in summary suggested that tire pressures should reflect (i) tire size and (ii) how overall weight is distributed between front and rear. Using the bathroom scales (don’t tell the wife) my overall weight was about 220lbs distributed about 40% (88lbs) front and 60% (132lbs) rear. Based on my interpretation of the chart in the article, recommended pressures are about 85PSI rear & 50PSI front.
I have lowered my front pressure to 65PSI (higher than the research article based on my concern about such a dramatic reduction) and use 85PSI rear. The comfort level has improved dramatically, and I notice no loss of performance. No punctures yet (touch wood) – and while I carry spare inner tube/tire levers/pump I really am not wanting to encourage them.
Bearing in mind my 32mm tire, overall weight 220lbs split 40%/60% front rear:
~ Any comments on my choice of tire pressures?
~ Would anyone suggest I go lower than 65PSI front?
I'm roughly the same size, and also ride on 700x32 tires. I ride an aluminum frame Fuji Absolute, but I went with an Absolute 2.1 with a steel fork. I found the steel fork had much better dampening properties than the aluminum forks. I was on a budget and didn't look at bikes with carbon forks. I typically go with 80# pressure front a rear. I usually check the pressure by hand before every ride, but use the pump and guage every other ride to top them off. I find that on the second day, the pressure will be around 70-75#, and while it may be a bit smoother, I can tell the difference in rolling resistance. It's a tradeoff I'm willing to make. Good gloves and Ergon GP2 grips along with the steel fork help smooth the vibration transmitted to my hands.