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Tire pressure help! Do I need new tires?

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Tire pressure help! Do I need new tires?

Old 06-25-14, 12:14 PM
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Tire pressure help! Do I need new tires?

Hello everyone,

Just a couple days ago I bought my first ever road bike (a Venture LeMans, maybe 1980's?). I've been ridding it around and I've noticed that my tires don't seem to be holding their own very well. I'm on 27 x 1 1/4 tires and the max pressure on the sidewall says 75psi. When they're pumped up to the max, they look like they're too flat when I ride (I'm 160lbs).

Do I need new tires with a higher pressure rating?
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Old 06-25-14, 12:18 PM
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I find the gauges on cheap pumps to be pretty worthless. I have a Bell floor pump with built in gauge, and it doesn't show pressure higher than 40 PSI, when I know I can get more than that in. Good bike shops have inexpensive gauges, if you are using a shraeder valve you can get a good gauge for cars for cheap(make sure it goes up to 100 PSI).
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Old 06-25-14, 01:39 PM
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Old tires are the first thing I change out on a keeper bike. Tires do not get better with age.

+10 Gages are worthless. I use the "good and firm" test. Tires lose pressure over days, but not over minutes or a couple of hours. Note, the inner tubes are what hold the air pressure, not the tires. Old tubes are often OK, but maybe yours aren't.

+1 75 psi road tires are pretty unusual (low).

Last edited by wrk101; 06-25-14 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 06-25-14, 01:51 PM
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that sounds like a fairly low max pressure. how old are those tires? are they dry and cracked at all? you can easily find 90 psi tires. if you do change tires get new tubes while you are at it
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Old 06-25-14, 02:01 PM
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The original tires were on my recent 1987 Miyata acquisition. Tubes held air, tread looked pristine, however the rubber was very hard & dry - not flaking or cracking, but not pliable. So.....I changed them to Panaracer Paselas - $19/ea. at Universal Cycles. They call for 95 psi. Great ride. Can't go wrong.
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Old 06-25-14, 02:45 PM
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75 psi isn't low for 1 1/4" tires, which are pretty wide. In general, the wider the tire, the lower the pressure. 100 psi or more is common for narrow 23 mm tires, but for tires 1 1/4" inch wide (about 32 mm), 70-something is about right.

If you do want to try running tires at higher pressure, you'll want to make sure you've got hooked rims. Hooked rims have a little hook or lip along their edge to retain the bead of the tire and keep it from slipping off the rim under pressure. Older bikes, especially less expensive ones may have straight-sided rims. If you have straight-sided rims, exceeding 75 psi might blow the tire off the rim.
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Old 06-25-14, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
75 psi isn't low for 1 1/4" tires, which are pretty wide. In general, the wider the tire, the lower the pressure. 100 psi or more is common for narrow 23 mm tires, but for tires 1 1/4" inch wide (about 32 mm), 70-something is about right.

If you do want to try running tires at higher pressure, you'll want to make sure you've got hooked rims. Hooked rims have a little hook or lip along their edge to retain the bead of the tire and keep it from slipping off the rim under pressure. Older bikes, especially less expensive ones may have straight-sided rims. If you have straight-sided rims, exceeding 75 psi might blow the tire off the rim.
quality reply!
It is ensuring that the tyre is capable of the appropriate pressure you need.

to understand the pressure requirements of narrow vs wider tyres at various loaded weights look at this article on tyre drop.

Last edited by Big Block; 06-25-14 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 06-25-14, 03:31 PM
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I would get new tires that can handle more pressure. While 75 might be okay, the bike won't handle or feel as quick. Older tires have sidewalls that flex a lot - similar to old automobile tires versus the performance tires of today.

I've got a bike with 32 mm tires and 75 isn't good for riding quick on the road.
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Old 06-25-14, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the reply's everyone! Really didn't expect answers this quick so this is a pleasant surprise.

The tires don't look like they're in terrible shape but they do look a little worn; new tires wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm assuming that I should change the tubes as well? On that note, does anyone know if these tires are worth the price? (They'll cost me $50, with shipping) Amazon.com : CST C740 Tire - 27 x 1-1/4, Blue/Blue : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

I'm going to be doing a black and blue theme on the bike and these tires are exactly what I'm looking for. Appreciate the help!
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Old 06-25-14, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Old tires are the first thing I change out on a keeper bike. Tires do not get better with age.

+10 Gages are worthless. I use the "good and firm" test. Tires lose pressure over days, but not over minutes or a couple of hours. Note, the inner tubes are what hold the air pressure, not the tires. Old tubes are often OK, but maybe yours aren't.

+1 75 psi road tires are pretty unusual (low).
What exactly is the "good and firm" test? I was afraid of pumping them up too high, so I was constantly checking the pressure.

Last edited by pguru; 06-25-14 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Wanted to quote the post I replied too.
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Old 06-25-14, 07:47 PM
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The tire from Amazon is still a pretty wide tire for a road bike. And so will also be a relatively low pressure tire. Some people prefer a thinner tire with higher pressure for a variety of reasons. But if you're doing more urban commuting, the wider, lower pressure tire may give a more comfortable ride. I don't know that brand of tire, so I can't comment on them, but that's a relatively inexpensive tire.

The rear tire tends to look underinflated when you're riding. Tires do flex under load, but I think it's also a bit of optical illusion.

A tire should be quite firm when fully inflated. But the thumb test is one I use only to see if I need to top off the tires (which I do about once a week). I wouldn't trust it to determine max pressure.
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Old 06-26-14, 10:23 AM
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The 27" tire everyone recommends here is the Panaracer Pasela. It's rides well, has a vintage look, and is inexpensive. I would recommend them by a wide margin over the CST tires you have linked to. CST does not have a good reputation.

Amazon.com : Panaracer Pasela Tire with Wire Bead, 27 x 1-1/4mm, Gumwall : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

If you want more narrow ones, you could get these:

Amazon.com : Panaracer Pasela Tire with Wire Bead, 27 x 1mm, Gumwall : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

But for most riding, I would go with the wider tires.

It's also my experience that when new people decide to get solid color tires, they usually regret it after the tires start looking dirty. Not to mention that many solid color tires are low quality.
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Old 06-26-14, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
75 psi isn't low for 1 1/4" tires, which are pretty wide. In general, the wider the tire, the lower the pressure. 100 psi or more is common for narrow 23 mm tires, but for tires 1 1/4" inch wide (about 32 mm), 70-something is about right.

If you do want to try running tires at higher pressure, you'll want to make sure you've got hooked rims. Hooked rims have a little hook or lip along their edge to retain the bead of the tire and keep it from slipping off the rim under pressure. Older bikes, especially less expensive ones may have straight-sided rims. If you have straight-sided rims, exceeding 75 psi might blow the tire off the rim.
+1. As tire size increases pressure decreases. At 160 pounds the OP doesn't need a lot of pressure. Continental's in 27" would be a nice upgrade.
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Old 06-26-14, 10:11 PM
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i too count on changing both tubes and tires on a bike that's new to me. being stranded just isn't worth it.
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Old 06-26-14, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
The 27" tire everyone recommends here is the Panaracer Pasela. It's rides well, has a vintage look, and is inexpensive. I would recommend them by a wide margin over the CST tires you have linked to. CST does not have a good reputation.

Amazon.com : Panaracer Pasela Tire with Wire Bead, 27 x 1-1/4mm, Gumwall : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

If you want more narrow ones, you could get these:

Amazon.com : Panaracer Pasela Tire with Wire Bead, 27 x 1mm, Gumwall : Bike Tires : Sports & Outdoors

But for most riding, I would go with the wider tires.

It's also my experience that when new people decide to get solid color tires, they usually regret it after the tires start looking dirty. Not to mention that many solid color tires are low quality.
This may not seem like a the best idea, but I am quite set on getting coloured tires (although I am debating the colour at this point). Would you happen to have any suggestion for a brand that makes good/average quality coloured tires? (Either white or blue)
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Old 06-26-14, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
75 psi isn't low for 1 1/4" tires, which are pretty wide. In general, the wider the tire, the lower the pressure. 100 psi or more is common for narrow 23 mm tires, but for tires 1 1/4" inch wide (about 32 mm), 70-something is about right.

If you do want to try running tires at higher pressure, you'll want to make sure you've got hooked rims. Hooked rims have a little hook or lip along their edge to retain the bead of the tire and keep it from slipping off the rim under pressure. Older bikes, especially less expensive ones may have straight-sided rims. If you have straight-sided rims, exceeding 75 psi might blow the tire off the rim.
It do indeed have straight-sided rims. Let's say the new tires I get have a max PSI of 90, would it be safe to go up to (or near) that amount or should I go a lot lower?
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Old 06-27-14, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pguru View Post
This may not seem like a the best idea, but I am quite set on getting coloured tires (although I am debating the colour at this point). Would you happen to have any suggestion for a brand that makes good/average quality coloured tires? (Either white or blue)

Hmm, not really. Sorry. I know Panaracer makes a white tread Pasela, but only in 700c sizes.
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Old 06-27-14, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gramphighgate View Post
i too count on changing both tubes and tires on a bike that's new to me. being stranded just isn't worth it.
was a lesson I had to learn. I picked up an old bike and all looked fine (even tho the tires were dry and cracked) but after a few adjustments to brakes and shift cables I did a test commute. about 3/4 way there (10 miles) I started to hear popping sounds. it was the side walls splitting and bulging. I turned around and actually made it home, but it could have been a long walk
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Old 06-27-14, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by pguru View Post
It do indeed have straight-sided rims. Let's say the new tires I get have a max PSI of 90, would it be safe to go up to (or near) that amount or should I go a lot lower?
I personally haven't tried to find the pressure limit for tires on straight-sided rims, but there are a number of posts on the subject in these forums. Looking through those posts, it seems the consensus is that 70-80 is generally safe. More than a few reports of blowouts at 90 psi and higher. The particular tire model may affect the odds of it blowing off the rim.
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Old 06-27-14, 11:48 AM
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75 psi is plenty for a 1-1/4" wide tire. And you can go over the rated maximum. The tires are tested at double the maximum, though I wouldn't recommend trying that. If you want to put in 80 or 85, you should be fine.
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Old 06-27-14, 05:59 PM
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I'm not understanding the need for much more than 60psi in a pair of typical 1-1/4" tires on typical 22-24mm-wide 27" rims.

I use 60psi and do considerable off-roading over continuous rock pile using cheap Chang-Shin (CST) 27x1-1/4" tires. My tires don't suffer from pinch flats (bottoming out over sharp edges or rocks), and the ride is nice and smooth, with extended tread-wear service intervals as an added bonus from using the lower pressure.

I can understand how a firmer tire imparts a "lively" ride feel, but does next to nothing for increasing speed outside of an actual road race where closely-matched athletes exert the entirety of their energy stores.
A softer tire also improves traction, especially over any unseen gravel or pavement surface irregularity.

To the O.P., how wide are your rims? I say go with the Cheng/CST tires and enjoy riding on them. CST makes tires for many, many of the top brands.

I am currently running a pair of 27x1-1/4" CST C-740 Road tires with Nashbar branding on them. They measure 28.5mm wide on 25mm-wide rims (19mm inside width), and I am pleased with their ride quality. They feel grippy and reasonably lively at 65psi for a 330-gram tire. I haven't used these particular tires off road, and would use tires with thicker sidewall rubber for that.

I agree that Panaracer makes quality tires at many different price points.

Last edited by dddd; 06-27-14 at 06:11 PM.
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