To get the most out of your hybrid bike tire pressure, you should have the pressure set to 40 - 70 psi.
There's more to managing your pressure than just pumping air into softer tires and letting it do its magic. However, it's not a hard job and you can master it quickly.
Speaking as somebody who likes to ride a lot, (in fact, I wrote this guide between doing two sportives) I can tell you that having the correct pressure can affect your cycling performance whatever the terrain, so it's best to know your stuff.
Table of Contents
Let's kick things off with the impact of having the wrong air pressure.
In short, it's going to have the biggest impact on your bike's performance if you don't maintain the right tire pressure when it comes to hybrid bikes (or any bike type for that matter).
Bike tire pressure is affected in two ways. Firstly, it's the grip that you get, and secondly, it's the rolling resistance. This will affect the speed you're able to achieve.
The less tire pressure there is, the more surface the tire will come into contact with. This is how it affects grip and rolling resistance.
To get the best type of riding experience, it's usually best to have a bike tire pressure that isn't too high or too low.
Tire pressure is measured in PSI (Pound for Square Inch).
With a low psi, you will find that there is better control of the bike (unless the tire pressure is far too low) and the overall ride may be more comfortable. However, maneuvering might be a little tricky so you might end up wanting more air to increase those softer tires - time to crack out the air pump!
When you increase the tire pressure, you can expect to go more quickly when you're riding. It might not be as comfortable as when you're running lower psi.
When you run tubeless tires, you can afford to lower the pressure and not lose any of the performance benefits of running with more air pressure and a higher psi. This is due to the fact tubeless tires don't have an inner tube so your risk of punctures is minimal, certainly one that the sealant can't cope with anyway.
I run tubeless tires and I have to say, to this day I haven't had to have a ride cut short because my tires require attention.
However, I will confess that I do need to increase the pressure more often than tubed tires. It's a fine balance of pros and cons!
That's a fairly basic guide on bike tire pressure. It can get a lot more complicated but to be honest, that's all you need to know.
Why do we need to check tire pressure?
Every bicycle tire will have a set PSI range. You can usually find this on the side or wall of the tire.
Before you start changing the tyre pressure, make yourself aware of this figure.
Once you've found the appropriate tire pressure, you can use a tire gauge to see the tire pressure.
The idea is to keep switching between the gauge and the air pump until you get to the appropriate tire pressure.
The reason for doing this is so that you won't end up filling the tire with too much air.
There is the option to go for an air pump that has a gauge built-in. There are clear advantages of this in that the process becomes simpler and quicker. The obvious downside is that they come at an extra cost.
As you get more experienced in the cycling world, you will get used to checking the correct tire pressure just simply by eye.
If it's slightly off, you'll know how much to add to your hybrid tires, again just by eye and feel.
However, if you're just getting the hang of things, this method can be tricky. So you will need some practice to get good at it.
To help navigate this I have a few tips that will get you used to how much pressure tires require.
A gauge to monitor the pressure is going to be the ultimate way to give you the most accurate reading. However, if you don't have one around, then you can still get by.
Assuming your tires are 700c as they are on the majority of hybrid bikes, you can give them a squeeze. This will help you to determine whether they need air or not.
If there is any give in the tires, then they likely need higher pressure and you'll have to give them some air.
When you get to a point where your hybrid tires are tight and can't be squeezed, then it's time to stop with the air.
Should your hybrid bicycle have thicker and more mountain bike style tires, it's best to run them with low pressure.
The best way to tell how much air you need in your mountain tires is to sit on your bike and look down at the tires.
Should you find that the tires are protruding outwards, you need to increase the tyre pressure.
However, if they feel hard then they're at maximum pressure and you could probably do with reducing the air pressure a little.
Finding the right air pressure is going to depend on your riding style and what the sweet spot is for you. It's different for everyone.
If you ride on mountain trails, then you probably want to run a low pressure. This provides comfort and increases rolling resistance.
However, when it comes to smooth roads, you want more air pressure to decrease rolling resistance.
How much air you need is something you will learn over time and it does depend on your riding style and bike type.
For a visual tip, watch this video:
The amount of air needed in a tire also depends on the type of tire.
Road bike tires that are thinner in design usually call for a higher pressure of around 80 to 100 psi.
On the other hand, mountain tires run at low pressure in comparison. We're talking around 25 to 35 psi.
There are other things that can impact tire pressure. Weather conditions should also be factored in. Let's say the temperature drops 10 degrees outside. You should lower air pressure by around 2%.
You will also need to factor in where you ride. If you're riding on paved roads with 700c hybrid tires, then you're free to go for maximum pressure. Rougher terrain calls for a lower psi as it will help to smooth out the uneven ground.
If you're heading out on mountain trails or your hybrid bicycle tire setup is thicker then again, you should lower the psi to gain a bit of grip.
Finally, the riders' weight also affects the amount of air required in each tire.
The heavier the rider, the lower the tire pressure should be. But again, and I can't stress this enough, doing what feels right for you can give you the best riding experience.
So much about cycling is personal and different setups are for different people. So, just because your friend cycles at 100 psi, doesn't mean you need to.
We've touched on this and to be honest, there is no hard and fast answer as there are so many variables, especially when it comes to hybrid bike tire pressure.
The better approach to this should be looking at what you want from the bike tire pressure.
If the manufacturer recommends your hybrid bike tire pressure to be between 40 and 90 psi then it's a good place to start but that's quite a variable.
So let's break it down further.
If you're a lighter rider and the climate isn't too hot, then go for more air. Aim at around the 90 psi recommendation.
However, if you're a heavier rider, then 40 psi may work best for you.
In an ideal world, you should check your tire pressure before each ride and top up the air pressure as needed.
It takes two seconds to give each tire a squeeze and it's worth it. Failing to do so can leave you with a flat tire when you're out on a long ride or late for work if you're commuting. Neither of which is ideal or will make your day!
I always check my tire pressure before I go out on my bike. It's something you should get used to doing. Over time, you start to learn how much pressure your tires lose and over what duration too.
What you will commonly find on a hybrid bicycle is standard 700c tires. They're the same size as what you'd find on a road bike.
They can be the same as what you find on a road bike, which means they will be thin. Due to the low rolling resistance, you'll be able to achieve a decent speed.
If that isn't sounding appealing, don't worry.
Due to the nature of a hybrid, you can get different types of tires depending on the bike type. If your bike is designed for off-road, then you're going to need to get chunkier tires. These types of tires will also be knobbly to give you a better riding experience.
If you can't decide between hybrid or mountain then check out this article.
A rough guide to follow is that when you increase your tire pressure by 20%, you should see a 10 - 20% increase in your speed.
Pumping air into your bicycle tire will reduce how much it comes into contact with the surface. This reduces the rolling resistance. So if you suddenly find that you're riding style has slowed down then it could be worth checking your tire pressure!
If you want to be the quickest cyclist, then you might want to pump more air into the bicycle tire.
Whilst it will increase your speed, increasing your hybrid bike tire pressure beyond the recommended guide could lead to an accident as it could become difficult to control.
As we know, high bike tire pressure reduces the amount of contact your tires have with the road surface. It has the advantage of increasing your speed. However, at the same time, it also reduces your grip. This is particularly the case on gravel surfaces or anything off-road.
To top it off, there is also a chance that the tire could explode due to the high tire pressure.
Some people say there should be double the recommended air pressure for it to be at risk of exploding. Do you really want to chance it for a few extra seconds, though?
Ensuring that you have the right bike tire pressure is essential for getting the best performance out of your bike.
Sure a tire pressure gauge may be an expensive purchase but what you have to consider is that getting the tire pressure wrong can result in an accident or damage to your bike. This is overall likely to be more expensive than an air pump and a tire pressure gauge. Keep this in mind every time you check the pressure.
Once you get into the habit of checking your bike tire pressure, it's a quick job and a simple one - which is why it's a job that you shouldn't skip.
Overall, checking your tire pressure is going to give you better performance, for less work. Now that sounds like the kind of deal I like, don't you agree?