What tyre pressures do you use in a Time Trial using Tubular Wheels?

I use tubular tyres (22mm front & 24mm rear) on my Time Trial bike and I usually run them at 120psi.

The TT’s I do are usually on flattish out and back courses on reasonable tarmac.

I’ve heard old-timers (no insult intended) suggest pumping them up to 160psi.

Other sources (may not be TT specific) suggest 90 psi as it lowers rolling resistance.

What are your experiences of using tubulars in TT races and what tyre pressures have you found to be the fastest?



For racing I am running Conti TT podium Tubulars, that are 22mm on FFWD 90mm front and FFWD disc rear. Last year I was running around 140psi. This year (only just started) I am running nearer 125 front and 130 rear. The main reason is the roads can be pretty crappy round here and I as trying to soften the effect. However, I usually race decent D/Cway courses and anything up to 100m, though as you know, they are not perfect all the way along…

For training on my 38mm carbon training wheels I have Front Conti Gastorskin tub 25 running at 125psi (It came with the wheel and has not worn out yet) and rear, 22mm Conti competition Tub which again I run at around 125/130psi.

Are these “The fastest”? I don’t know as so many other things change. I have even clocked my fastest times last year in windy conditions with the 38mm front and the gatorskin. Hardly the most
efficient rolling resistance.

My mates recommend the new Vittorias tubs as lower rolling resistance, but as it is such a faff to change tubs, I have not swapped yet. (I have vittoria Pista G+ on my track bike running around 145 PSI and they are fantastic - but that is on a proper indoor velodrome). Quite different.

I generally look for and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on pressures. On the basis their testing is more systematic than mine. The make and model makes a big difference.

I hope that helps a bit. Which tubs are you running @colinio

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Depends on how much you weigh. For reference I run 25mm Conti Competitions on 404 Firecrest rims and run at 80 psi front, 85 psi rear.

I think it was the Flo podcast that just had a great 2 part interview with Josh Poertner. Episodes 21 and 22. I think you will be very surprised at how low you can run tire pressure. Give them a listen.

Hi Phil,

I run a 22mm Conti TT podium on the front (a PDQ trispoke) and I run a 24mm Conti Competition on the rear (a 85mm Rolf TDF TT rear - I need a disc wheel).

I wonder whether I should play around with the pressures or leave them at 120 psi. I do the odd TT on the A3 where the road is quite good. On other roads it can be a bit hit and miss. Never bad, but not quite as smooth.

Wow, quite a bit lower than I would have thought.

Thanks, I’ll have a listen to them.

I run about 85-90 on my tubulars for crit and road. I have never gone higher. Should I? Weigh about 147 right now.

@iracebikes Are they Tubulars or tubeless (or clincher)? Those pressures sound really low for good old tubular tyres.

I race conti competitions, which are only tubular.

@JHow We weigh about the same (I hover between 150-155). I wouldn’t change your pressure.

Here is the Continental tubular tyre pressure advice for Podium TTs https://www.conti-tyres.co.uk/road-and-track/tubulars/podium-tt It suggests 22mm 160psi, 25mm 115. Quite a difference.

Interestingly the Conti competitions suggest 115psi for both 22mm and 25mm https://www.conti-tyres.co.uk/road-and-track/tubulars/competition

Maybe I am running at too high a pressure…

Note, that chart is based on weight per wheel. I assume something like the 45:55 distribution front:back.

The other caveat is that chart was developed in the 90s based on 15% tire drop. The new trend is for wider rim widths so that chart may change slightly. Essentially you’re performing an optimization problem to figure out where the rolling resistance is lowest. Lower pressure: less rider vibration but more tire deflection. The opposite is true for higher pressures. There is a sweet spot based on your weight, rim, tire, road surface combo.

Hi Phil,

I too just noticed that they suggest 22mm TT Podium’s have 160psi, and for the TT Podium 25mm use 115psi.

That is a huge difference.

I wonder if they have made some kind of typo error?

I currently run the 22mm TT Podium between 115psi and 120psi. The thought of going to 160psi actually freaks me out (160 is recommended by them and 170 is the max).

Anyone - Surely that can’t be right can it?

Drop Conti an email. They are pretty good and have responded to my questions.

(By the way I weigh around 180lb, so take that into account when considering the pressures I am running.)

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I can confirm via an email response, that Continental 22mm Podium TT tubular tyres should have a “recommended” PSI of 115psi not the 160psi they show. They say it is a typo and will correct it.

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CRIPES!!! Thanks @colinio

…Just into garage to adjust pressures for tonight’s TT (In forecast rain/thunderstorm!)

As you mentioned in your PM, yes, they have now changed their website to show 115 psi instead of 160psi.

I hope no one met a problem running at 160 !!