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Mountain Bike Blog



MTB tyre pressure matters - who would have thought?


I've had a number of "holy shit I've really progressed" moments in the past year and half riding, but this weekend I noticed a major step forward in understanding bike set-up, specifically suspension and tyre pressure.

"... the expensive technology on my bike is now being used for more than avoiding a sore arse!"

A quick recap. While I have been on and off a mountain bike since about 2008 I didn't get serious until the Summer of 2010/11. I got my first real bike in June last year and I've progressed rapidly since then.

With all the riding I did over XMAS at OMV, Manly Dam, Terrey Hills, Ourimbah, Jindabyne, Bungarra, Thredbo and Thredbo River my fitness improved dramatically but also my general riding skills progressed beyond expectations. For example I started XMAS unable to climb the final section of Ourimbah's Browns but when I returned 2 months later I got through only putting my foot down once.

Another example was finding out how bad I was at cornering on the Kosciuszko Flow Trail at Thredbo but after a few days practicing on the banked turns at the Lake Crackenback Resort Flow track and Bungarra Alpine Resorts Copperhead Flow Trail I returned to Thredbo and rode with far greater fluidity and confidence.

I'm very pleased with my improvements across the board including my ability to feel the ride and tune the bike accordingly, however on Sunday while riding the St Ives Horse track I was at a loss.

The day before I had ridden the rough descending fire trails of Chiltern and Duck Holes in total control, but with the same suspension settings on a comparatively smooth track the bike was bouncing around uncontrollably.

Unsure why, I softened the suspension and continued on. The next morning I had a moment of clarity.

I hadn't checked my tyre pressures for many weeks however after blowing a tube on the final climb at Duck Holes I pumped the rear up to about 40psi.

"FORTY PSI" I hear you say with disbelief. Yes 40psi.

I've always ridden higher PSI than most MTBers recommend. I figure that while I'm learning I'll hit a lot of things on the trail, plus I'm a big guy so damaging the rims is highly likely too, however what I hadn't accounted for is I'm now riding at a new level. Increased speed, greater power and generally more aggression throughout the ride means that an over inflated tyre and firm suspension settings will ping me around the trail like a Superball.

Yesterday I dropped the tyre pressure, reset my suspension to where I like it (firm) and I was back in business.

I'm really excited that my riding has got to a point where suspension setup and tyre pressures are having a notable difference on the trail. I'm equally excited that the expensive technology on my bike is now being used for more than avoiding a sore arse!

Feeling tyre pressure changes - It's been another great revelation!


Trail Centres and Trails featured in this blog



This website is brought to you by MTB weekend warrior Aaron Markie.
There are plenty of great websites out there with a wealth of information about Mountain Bike Trails,
however in my experience its hard to get a good mix of info, maps, photos and videos of trails I've never ridden.
The idea of this website is to tie those 4 elements together and give you a more detailed look at the MTB Trails I ride.
If you have anything to add then let me know.