Ask the Gear Guy

How to tell if bike tire is full enough?

bikepump-200x148Q. Yesterday my friend told me my bike tires needed air, but I don’t think so. How can you tell if a tire is pumped up enough?
- Deflated Dan, Atlanta, Ga.

A. Proper air pressure in your bicycle tire is really important because it’ll make your ride smoother and faster, and it will prevent pinch flats. But how much air pressure you need depends on the kind of bike, the kind of tire and where you’re riding. Most every bike tire lists its recommended pressure right on the edge of the tire’s sidewall. It’s usually a range, say from 35 to 80 psi (that stands for “pounds per square inch”).

The only way to know how much pressure you have is by using a pressure gauge — squeezing your tire isn’t accurate enough. Most floor pumps have built-in gauges, but you can also find small tire gauges at bike stores.

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