recommended road pressure?
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Question recommended road pressure?

    hello all,

    I have a alluminum framed "reparto Course: Bianchi with carbon fiber fork. just bought new Tufo Road Elite tires for it(so far VERY satisfied with them!!) my question is, for training and road riding, what is the optimum pressure? (best balance of roll resistance, cornering performance, ride quality, and durability). all feedback is welcome. have film now in my camera of the new bike I have built up, soon as I get the rest of it done will post them. it is becoming my dream bike I have always I just need to get in better shape for riding it so I can compete(not sure if I want to compete seriosly...but I figure I have so much into my bike should make the most of it...and I am in pretty good shape, so why not.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    " (best balance of roll resistance, cornering performance, ride quality, and durability)"

    "optimum" balence of all these will be somewhere between the high end of what's printed on the side of the tire and the low end that constantly causes you to pinch flat....

    Okay that's flippant and I apologize, but it's also not far from the truth. Too many variables involved to get good - long distance answers.

    Eric Zabel has been quoted as saying anything over 110 psi is a waste. They guys at Roadbike e-newsletter recommend between 90 and 100 psi. I like 110 psi and hate 145 when I tried Vreds that high.

    Experiment a bit - see what the ride feels like at your max tire pressure. Knock it down 5 or 10 psi and try the same ride again... find what feels best for you.

  3. #3
    What does it say on the side of the tire???

    I agree with the above, running Vreds at full pressure will rattle the fillings out of your teeth.

    110 to 120 is best - if your tires take it.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: jgsjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Depends on the person. I run 120 in the front and 150 in the rear.
    2004 Langster Pro
    2004 LeMond Victorie

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: wunlap togo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    It depends on your weight and the road condition. Perfectly smooth roads= a little harder, rough roads= a little softer. If you put your tires too high they will be slower, and more uncomfortable all around. Search for Zinn discussing this recently in the tech articles.

  6. #6
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    how much do you weigh?

    Quote Originally Posted by jgsjr
    Depends on the person. I run 120 in the front and 150 in the rear.
    that seems pretty high no matter how heavy you, wait. that seems really freakin' high.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench
    that seems pretty high no matter how heavy you, wait. that seems really freakin' high.
    the tire is rated for between 90-220 psi. as it is tubular, no worries about pinch flats. plan on experimenting with 120 psi front and rear and see what it feels like. speed readings and cadence on my cyclometer will give me a good idea if there is significant speed loss from too low a pressure. thinking about 110 will probably end up being about right.

    thanks all for the feedback and advice.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    I agree with experimenting

    I have found that in general I like most tires pumped up to about 10 psi BELOW the max rating. If a tire is rated 115 psi, I pump close to 105 give it one last pump and in the rear, and for the front, once I get close to 105 I call it good. We have a lot of chip seal around my area and the slightly reduced pressure makes a difference. It also slightly increases surface area for the tire contact and therefore reduces rolling resistance. I am a fairly light cyclist though, 134 lbs. As was previously suggested, if you are heavier, I would recommend gradually reducing by 5 psi for each ride from the recommended max and see how that works for you. Use one of your normal training loops to experiment with the tire pressure since you will be most familiar with how the bike feels different with the different tire pressures.

  9. #9
    AJS is offline
    Reputation: AJS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    READ THIS from

    "This report filed February 2, 2000

    Written by Josh at Zipp: Here is an excerpt from a PM I sent to somebody a few weeks ago on this identical topic. I hope this helps clarify things somewhat...

    The outer aluminum hoop in our clincher rims weighs only 200 grams, and therefore will get much hotter than a standard aluminum rim. Since the temperature of something is relative to the energy input/mass, a 200 gram rim will get twice as hot as a 400 gram rim for the same energy input. What happens is that if your descending a mountain at 70 degrees and you brake for 2 minutes and your standard aluminum rims heat to 220 degrees (an increase of 150) this same condition with a 200 gram clincher rim will result in a rim temp of roughly 370. Since the carbon is such a good insulator, the rims just have nowhere else to put the heat, so they get hot. This in itself is not the end of the world, except that tubes can melt at these temps, but considering that your tire pressure will rise at a rate of roughly 1psi per 10 degrees, you will see a corresponding tire pressure increase of 30psi.

    Assuming your tire pressures are at 125, everything is fine almost regardless of the tire you are using, but if you were at say 160 and then had this same situation, your pressure could elevate to 190 which could be a terminal situation causing the tire to blow off of the rim.

    We have seen temperatures intermittently hit 350-400 degrees in mountain testing in the Alps, so the case described here can actually happen. Since there is a pretty wide band of tolerance for tire fit, we can only guarantee that your tires will remain properly seated at their recommended pressures, and must recommend a pressure of our own. We make our rims at the large end of the diameter tolerance for ISO classification, meaning it is harder to get tires onto the rims and therefore harder for them to blow off, but airpressure is such a powerful and explosive force, that when combined with heat we must be very, very safe, not to mention that as tires age and stretch, their pressure capability is reduced, so there are numerous factors which must be accounted for here. Every rim manufacturer has a recommended pressure in this range in their literature, some just advertise it more than others, Mavic for example has a nifty sliding scale relative to tire width allowing for 135psi MAX for a 19mm down 115 psi MAX for a 25mm tire, and we have advised similarly, and for all the same reasons.

    The other issue to consider is that most every tire on the market runs at optimal rolling resistance between 105 and 125psi depending on load and road surface condition. We have seen data from numerous manufacturers and had enlightening talks with others to learn that nylon cased tires like Michelin or Continental tend to run optimally around 105-115 and cotton or bias cased tires like Vittoria or Vredestein tend to run optimally at 115-125 maybe as high as 130 for Vredestein, but all of them actually will increase in rr at higher pressures due to the tread rubber beginning to fail in shear as it locally deforms to meet the contour of the road imperfections when the casing is too rigid. Think of it in terms of heat input, as the overinflated tire struggles to conform to all the tiny surface imperfections to make the necessary contact patch, a lot of heat is generated. Not only is there higher rr, but faster tire wear as well at higher pressures, not to mention the tires decreasing ability to stay mounted on the rim as pressure increases. In an ideal world tire manufacturers would list a recommended pressure and not just a MAX pressure (the max pressure is simply a predetermined percentage of the bursting pressure of a given tire as set out by industry standards and has nothing to do with the pressure you should actually run) but they are between the rock and hard place as consumers continually push for higher and higher pressures feeling that ‘if some is good, more is better'. Of course none of this even mentions comfort, which we believe to be of increasing importance as more and more data has shown fatigue to be caused by vibration. It may be that by increasing tire pressure by 20-25 psi, you feel faster as your tires are transfering more of the high frequency vibration to your body (you're feeling a higher frequency 'faster' vibrations' so it really does 'feel' faster) but are actually expending more energy to do it, while simultaneously wearing out the tires faster and inducing fatigue.

    Looking to pro road teams, most of them are running 100-110 psi in tubulars and 105-120 psi in clinchers, and this has been a bit of a knock against the clinchers from the pros, that they prefer the lower pressures for improved handling, grip and feel, but need additional air to prevent pinch flats. Especially of issue are rainy races, where they may even lower pressure to 95 psi or so for better grip and control in the corners. The only real exception here would be track racing, especially on wood, where the surface is so smooth that very high tire pressures can yield excellent RR results, but still generally reduce grip slightly, but even this is specific as a board track may runn well at 220psi, but a concrete track favors 150-160psi, and some track surfaces are no better than most roads... For an analogous example, look to Inline Skate racing, where they carefully select the durometer (firmness) of their wheels to the surface they are racing on, this is nearly as critical as ski wax in ski racing as it can win or lose races for you. It is so critical as too hard a wheel will get you dropped like a hot rock on most road surfaces, whereas that same wheel is the only way to be competitive indoors on wood.

    So you see, it depends on:

    ~ the make of tires you use
    ~ width
    ~ surface and riding conditions
    ~ overall rider/cycle weight

    I use Vredestein Fortezza 25c, weigh aroung 205 lbs., and ride on average to somewhat rougher pavement. I've found in this situation the optimal is about 122-25 psi R/116-19 psi F.
    Last edited by AJS; 03-03-2005 at 06:48 PM.

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