The Tire Pressure Revolution

“Of all our research on tires, the most revolutionary finding is this: Tire pressure has almost no effect on a tire’s speed.” –  “This finding has revolutionized our understanding of tires. In the past, we all thought that higher tire pressures made tires roll faster.”

Thanks to Jan Heine, Editor of Bicycle Quarterly for this excellent and informative article

Off The Beaten Path

reiter_road_to_index

Of all our research on tires, the most revolutionary finding is this: Tire pressure has almost no effect on a tire’s speed. We did not believe it at first, either, so we’ve tested it numerous times. It’s been confirmed numerous times, with different methodologies.

The real revolution is not how you use your pump… What has totally changed our riding are the wide, supple tires, which only work because of this new insight.

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First, let’s look at the data. Here is one experiment: We ran three different 25 mm tires (a supple clincher, a supple tubular and a harsher-riding clincher) at pressures from 4.5 and 9 bar (65 and 130 psi). These tests were done on very smooth asphalt (above), a surface where high pressures should offer the greatest advantages.

tire_pressure

There is no relationship between tire pressure and performance in the tested range. (Lower and higher pressures are unsafe to…

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