Tire pressure for mixed surface rides

I have some long gravel rides planned that are roughly 60-70% gravel. I’m not racing them, but want to be comfortable and finish!! I’ve generally had good luck with the Silca tire pressure calculator but that takes pace and road surface into account.

How would you know what pressure to use if riding on varying surfaces/speeds? On the low side to favor the gravel sections? On the higher side to favor the road? Somewhere in between?

Thanks for any tips!!

@FrankTuna I’d let the nature of the gravel sections dictate tire setup. If it’s hero gravel I’d throw on the Almotion’s, latex tubes, and run at 50psi. If it’s some real loosey chunky stuff I’d throw on some tubeless 40mm’s and run at 38psi. That’s for an 85kg rider.

2 Likes

Usually set them up for whatever the majority of the surface is, and just accept that performance is a bit worse on the rest. However, it also depends on your skills as a rider. If you run your tyres rock hard because you mostly ride on tarmac, and then wash out in a gravel corner because you can’t corner on gravel at those pressures, run them a bit lower.

For long gravel, whole-body comfort might be more important than speed so I would prioritise that over rolling resistance on smooth tarmac, so run them a bit lower.

If it’s not a race, there’s also always the option to take a pump and adjust pressure when needed.

3 Likes

universal, 40c 35-40psi for me.

silca guide, I’ve never seen cat 1, 2, 3 gravel (non-existent). only cat 4 and single track.

I run higher than their recommendation. Aside from thinking it’s too low, I don’t want to ding a rim, which looks like a flat tire already, when riding on streets.

2 Likes

If you are running supple tires, then the lower pressure used for gravel really shouldn’t show you down much on the pavement, so that’s what I would run.

When you are near the right pressure the rolling resistance vs pressure curve should be pretty flat, until you are at too high of a pressure on the bumps, then you lose a lot of power to shaking your body. If your pressure is too low you can see wrinkles in the sidewalls.

1 Like