What tire pressures do you run on your gravel bike?

Steve

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I have 38mm Specialized Trigger Pro 2Bliss tires on my Specialized Diverge.

When going more off piste, but not full bore mountain biking, what pressure do you run?

Talking about rocky dirt roads, with sandy stretches.
 

Tom K.

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I'm 200 pounds, and run 40c Bontrager GR2 tires set up tubeless on my Checkpoint.

If it's all pavement, I run 45 front and 50 rear.

For the service you describe, I use 38 front and 43 rear.

@Ron and others can expound at length on tire pressure and rim width. Hopefully they will chime in with more detailed info for you, but keep in mind that different tires need different pressures. My real litmus test is that I start high, and keep airing down (blindly) until my tires quit "pinging" and ricocheting off bump, and instead start giving a muted, slightly damped "thump".

Then I go home and measure those actual pressures.
 
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EricG

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On my 40c gravel tires on 28mm wide rim (tubeless), I am running 36-37psi front & rear on actual gravel rutted roads, not pavement.
 

Popeye Cahn

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With 31mm Vittoria Cross XN Pro mounted tubeless on HED Aredennes I'll run 40/45 to 50/55. It seems to work well for my situation and level of ability under said conditions. I generally don't roll on anything pumped passed 80-85 for pavement, the Badger be damned!
 
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Steve

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Thanks. These are not tubeless, the specs say PSI should be 45-90. I'd been running 75 on road and Rail Trails, so it seems from what you're all saying that I should go down to maybe 45 front and 50 rear for everything?

For Rail Trails and even pavement, what would be the disadvantage of keeping the pressure there?

Are pinch flats an issue?
 

EricG

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Thanks. These are not tubeless, the specs say PSI should be 45-90. I'd been running 75 on road and Rail Trails, so it seems from what you're all saying that I should go down to maybe 45 front and 50 rear for everything?

For Rail Trails and even pavement, what would be the disadvantage of keeping the pressure there?

Are pinch flats an issue?
Going too low with tubes does increase the chance of pinch flats. That’s why many of us are tubeless.

If you happy with the handling on pavement at 75, why not try dropping 10 on gravel and see how you like it? With tubes it’s a fine line, but I’m not sure I’d immediately drop to 45/50. Drop 10, then in 5 psi increments to get the sweet spot you like. Higher psi on pavement rolls so much better and has less squirm.
 

Ron

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Why not got to 50/55 since they are tubed and see what Tom said. I wouldn’t go much lower since you are tubed but there’s no advantage to running them above 60. @Tom K. Nailed it on how to dial them in.

I am using that psi assuming you weigh no more than 180-190
 
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Steve

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I just went 50 50. Should I definitely have the extra 5 in the rear? I weigh 175.
 
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Steve

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I rode yesterday with a random “I’ll just let a little air out” and it was great. When I checked it and went to 50 50 I think it was down near 40. Not that soft, so I think 45 50 may be where I end up for those conditions at least.
 

Popeye Cahn

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Are pinch flats an issue?
For me I found that anything below 60 psi was a problem on rocky trails in this regard. Even dumping sealant into tubes wasn't enough to seal up a snake bite I had on the rocky trails around Lake Hodges and it was at this point I gave up on tubes altogether for all circumstances.
 

Bill Talbot

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I find this question very odd. First off every tire has a recommended range of useful pressure. Let's say we are talking about a 650 x 48. This could be 35-55 psi. OK, then what do you and the gear on the bike weigh? How aggressive is your speed and skill set? Then what are the average or in some cases the most technical surfaces you will encounter like? Now taking all that into account EXPERIMENT with what works best for you! There are just so many variables that anyone else's preferences really don't mean much.
 
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Steve

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Bill, learning what others do adds to the data set to influence ones experimentation.

It’s like saying don’t tread ski reviews, demo.

Of course demoing is best. But reviews are still useful.
 

martyg

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Steve - I would have thought that your shop would have set-up tubeless. With tires of those dimensions, there are huge advantages to tubeless. Payson Mcelveen recommended 2 once of sealant to me in a tire that size. it seems to work well.

Check out the article below on determining tire pressure. On an XC bike, my efficiency from full, recommended tire pressure to my most efficient is a 40% increase. That is huge. Free speed. Much of the information is from Wolf Vorm Walde. He is Specialized's tire / tube guy. Before that he was head of R&D at Continental. You won't find a better source of the truth. In the article Wolf also outlined how factory teams determine tire pressure for optimum efficiency.

For days when you are gassed, but still want to improve your riding, this is a great activity. You might pick up a few points, or 10 or more percentage points in efficiencies. Picture that - 10% faster, with the same amount of effort - all on a rest day.

Enjoy.

https://gearjunkie.com/mountain-bike-tire-pressure-psi
 

Josh Matta

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I find this question very odd. First off every tire has a recommended range of useful pressure. Let's say we are talking about a 650 x 48. This could be 35-55 psi. OK, then what do you and the gear on the bike weigh? How aggressive is your speed and skill set? Then what are the average or in some cases the most technical surfaces you will encounter like? Now taking all that into account EXPERIMENT with what works best for you! There are just so many variables that anyone else's preferences really don't mean much.

the thing is there is literally way to measure this stuff and some people have actually done so. Fast rolling will always be faster rolling for a given rim width, tire, and rider weight. The only way the rider comes into is if they are rolling the tire of the rim of having rim strikes. A gravel bike not a big issue except in rough terrain, on a cross bike can be an issue, and on MTB even on XC mtb people are using VERY low pressure with tire insert that prevent them from bottoming out.

The 150lb winner of the BC bike race, ran 17 psi front and rear in his bike with Pepe Tire inserts. said he could roll though all the roots faster.
 

Bill Talbot

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the thing is there is literally way to measure this stuff and some people have actually done so. Fast rolling will always be faster rolling for a given rim width, tire, and rider weight. The only way the rider comes into is if they are rolling the tire of the rim of having rim strikes. A gravel bike not a big issue except in rough terrain, on a cross bike can be an issue, and on MTB even on XC mtb people are using VERY low pressure with tire insert that prevent them from bottoming out.

The 150lb winner of the BC bike race, ran 17 psi front and rear in his bike with Pepe Tire inserts. said he could roll though all the roots faster.

You always go to speed as the holy grail. I don't run tubeless or any inserts or sealant. I run tubes. I don't look for the lowest possible pressure even if I was in sand. I just go for a nice ride. I'd rather have 5 or even 10 psi more in there and not even think about a snake bite flat. I don't like the feel of tires underinflated either. Saying a 150 pound rider should use the same pressure as a 200 pounder is ridiculous.
 

Josh Matta

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I literally said rider weight is one of the things that matters.

Tube are lame. No reason to run them. Heavier, Roll slow easier to flat. Honestly not even relevant to this conversation.

but yes on tubeless what everyone in 2019 is running, if you weigh 200 lb are running a 25mm inner width on 40c clement you fastest rolling air pressure is going to be the fastest rolling pressure for the next person who weighs the same. Speed isnt the only thing comfort, lower pressures on anything on more comfortable if your not rolling the tire over. Lower is relative, but I run about 20-25 psi on my MTBs. and 40 ish on my gravel bike.

I Honestly dont know where my gravel bike should be, I tend to run 40psi on clement explorer 40c on 25mm inner width rims. its feel right and doesnt roll slow than 60 on the road but rolls MUCH faster on gravel I weigh 200lb. The number id have to run on tubes would be 20-25 psi high and quite frankly after you feel how fast and supple it rolls at 40 psi on gravel its the last thing I would want to do. On a MTB I can feel 2 psi difference especially on the rear of my hardtail. Again though I only run that tubeless because I am not good enough to ride tubes on the terrain I ride.
 
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Tricia

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We went tubeless on our bikes when we got them last year. Jasmine got a bike around the same time and also went tubeless at our recommendation.
Overall, I can't tell the difference but then I'm a gloriously happy mediocre bike rider so there is that.
 

Josh Matta

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What pressure, tires, tire width, and rim width do you run?
 
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