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.

track_tire_test

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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2 thoughts on “The Tire Pressure Revolution

  1. I know, according to that post, my tires should be just as fast at 85 psi as they are at the current 110/120 I keep them at… But I still feel like I’m riding through mud. In the end, I like what I like and I’m not changing. And you’ll see monkeys flying out of my butt before I throw 28’s on it. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the end Jim, it does come down to rider ‘feel’ if you like 110 or higher, then that’s what ya run. I do think 85 is a bit low, but again, it is individual preference for sure.

    But I have always run lower pressures anyway, never above 105. Now I use 100 rear 95-96 front. (25mm’s) I did buy a set of 28’s! 😀 I will give them a try in the Spring!

    I think my moto background helps (or not) in my thinking about tire pressures and cornering with regards to traction-friction. I personally don’t like the usual harshness with higher pressures, that has been a consideration for me as well.

    Like

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