Tyre pressure without a gauge

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Moonchester, 26 May 2008.

  1. Moonchester

    Moonchester New Member

    I don't have a gauge with which to measure the pressure of my tyres. Pumping them up, I give it the old squeeze on the sides and push on the tread and when it feels nice and firm, finish off with a couple more pumps. Do any of you have any tips for getting the right pressure? With road tyres on a mountain bike and riding on roads and cycle tracks, I want them firm but should that be so there's almost no give at all?
  2. Blue

    Blue Legendary Member

    Too firm and you may get a harsh ride. Too soft and you may drain energy away from forward propulsion and become more prone to punctures. If I were in your position I would pump until firm with the tiniest amount of give.

    A pressure gauge is a useful thing!
  3. yello

    yello Legendary Member

    I kid you not but I knew someone that timed it! That is, he pumped for 30 seconds (or whatever it was) and that was his way of knowing he had the right pressure! No points for spotting the flaw in his thinking!

    Me, if I am sans gauge then I use the pump and squeeze test like blue.
  4. OP

    Moonchester New Member

    Cheers, that's useful. I've just seen another post about gauges. I'll get one.
  5. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    For normal riding they don't need to be spot on. It's useful to have a gauge - an accurate one, because lots aren't - just so that you know what the correct pressure feels like. After that you can get it close enough without a gauge.

    For me, it is just a tad short of rock solid, pressing on the riding area with my thumb i.e. not the sidewalls.
  6. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    Having road tyres on a MTB I would say getting them just about as hard as you can with a hand pump is about right. There should be very little indentation when pressing with the thumb on the tread, unless of course you're some super strong muscle man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Chris James

    Chris James Über Member

    The main problem is actually getting the tyres hard enough - at least for road tyres.

    I have a track pump without a gauge, a mini pump, and a separate gauge. I never bother checking the pressure but rely upon the resistance of the pump to give me feed back. As it just starts to become harder work then for my track pump it is 100 - 110psi. My pump is supposedly rated to 150 psi but I don't think this is achievable in practice.

    With my mini mump I just pump until the tyre feels very hard and I have not more energy or time left.
  8. girofan

    girofan New Member

    If the inner tube explodes you can assume there is too much pressure!
    If the rim contacts the road too little!!
    Seriously though, if there is just a little give in the tyre when pressed hard with a thumb, it's about 100psi which will be OK in most situations, even when the road has a light shower of rain covering it.
  9. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    I always used to think if I pumped it 'pretty much as hard as I could' with a hand pump, I must be in the right ball park. Then I got a track pump, and discovered that the hand pump had actually only been getting me to about 80psi. Maybe I'm a wimp. Either way, the track pump has made a *vast* difference. 120 back, 100 front: much faster; fewer visits from you-know-who.
  10. Alves

    Alves New Member

    Don't just get a gauge, get a track pump with one. It'll make your cycling safer and more enjoyable and is a minimum requirement once you have a few tools and cycle regularily.
    It's probably worth paying to get a decent one that will last all your life and you can get spares for. Get a brand like Specialized, Topeak, Park or SKS etc, pay up to £30 and it'll last for years and give you a good blow job as well, more than you can say about most relationships....I'll get my coat.:blush:
  11. Technique which works for me is to sit on the bike and look at where the tyres touch the ground. I aim to have a barely noticeable bulge when they take my full weight. This suits me for fast touring. For fast road riding, I'd go a bit harder, softer for a bit more comfort.

    I feel this method is measuring something more relevant than pressing with your thumbs, which I fear is very subjective. THinking of the tyre as suspension, you expect suspension to give a little when you apply its working load.

    I've never seen this technique described anywhere, but it's worked for me on 3 different bikes (hybrid, tourer, tandem), all with Schwalbe Marathons.
  12. ian_oli

    ian_oli Über Member

    Vote 2 for track pump - best workshop tool there is.

    My test for a road tire when I dont have a gauge is do a thumb/finger flick and get a nice sounding "thrum" noise and the pressure is good enough.
  13. dodgy

    dodgy Guru

    +1 for track pump. One of the most useful accessories for any cyclist.

  14. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    I find with a mini pump it is difficult to get over 40psi which isn't nearly hard enough for road tyres, so when out on the road I always carry a CO2 inflator to top up. With a track pump 120psi is easy.
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