MTB Tire Pressure Chart: Easy Formula (PSI per Body Weight)

Setting the correct tire pressures on a mountain bike is the easiest way to prevent flat tires and also a free method to improve the overall performance of the bike. It’s a metric that needs to be measured regularly as it’s crucial to the overall riding characteristics of a mountain bike.

When going over rough terrain downhill or saving energy uphill even slight variations in the psi (or bar) have noticeable effects.

To take full advantage of what your bike and tires have to offer, finding your optimal tire pressure is probably the single most impactful performance boost you can do on your bike that’s absolutely free.

I even wrote an entire article explaining why the correct MTB tire pressures are so important (including actionable tips).

An accurate pressure gauge is critical to reliable, consistent tire pressures every time. I personally use the Topeak Smartgauge D2 before every ride. It works great for Presta and Shrader valves and is just as good as the newer, more expensive D2X version.

Calculate your optimal tire pressures

With so many possible combinations of tire sizes, suspension travel, rim width, riding styles and rider weights where do you even start? Glad you asked.

There is an extremely simple, yet effective formula for both the front and rear tires using only your weight as a rider including all your gear. Here it is:

front tire psi = rider weight lbs ÷ 7

rear tire psi = front tire psi + 3 psi

Tip: Bookmark this page on your phone for quick and easy look-ups out on the trail.

Rider Weight
in pounds
Front Tire
in psi
Rear Tire
in psi
 Rider Weight
in kilograms 
 Front Tire
in bar 
 Rear Tire
in bar 
130 lb19 psi22 psi   60 kg 1,3 bar1,5 bar
135 lb19 psi22 psi   62 kg1,3 bar1,5 bar
140 lb20 psi23 psi   64 kg1,4 bar1,6 bar
145 lb21 psi24 psi   67 kg1,4 bar1,6 bar
150 lb21 psi24 psi   69 kg1,5 bar1,7 bar
155 lb22 psi25 psi   71 kg1,5 bar1,7 bar
160 lb23 psi26 psi   74 kg1,6 bar1,8 bar
165 lb24 psi27 psi   76 kg1,6 bar1,8 bar
170 lb24 psi27 psi   78 kg1,7 bar1,9 bar
175 lb25 psi28 psi   81 kg1,7 bar1,9 bar
180 lb26 psi29 psi   83 kg1,8 bar2,0 bar
185 lb26 psi29 psi   85 kg1,8 bar2,0 bar
190 lb27 psi30 psi   87 kg1,9 bar2,1 bar
195 lb28 psi31 psi   90 kg1,9 bar2,1 bar
200 lb29 psi32 psi   92 kg2,0 bar2,2 bar
205 lb29 psi32 psi   94 kg2,0 bar2,2 bar
210 lb30 psi33 psi   97 kg2,1 bar2,3 bar
215 lb31 psi34 psi   99 kg2,1 bar2,3 bar
220 lb31 psi34 psi 101 kg2,2 bar2,4 bar
225 lb32 psi35 psi 104 kg2,2 bar2,4 bar
230 lb33 psi36 psi 106 kg2,3 bar2,5 bar
235 lb34 psi37 psi 108 kg2,3 bar2,5 bar
240 lb34 psi37 psi 110 kg2,4 bar2,6 bar
Table: Optimal mountain bike tire pressures in psi and bar for specific rider weights in lbs and kg.

Even 3 psi can make a noticeable difference. Finding your optimal tire pressure is trial and error. This simple formula should be able to give you a good baseline for the right tire pressure for you. Rider weight includes all your gear including helmet, other protectors, or your backpack.

When testing your optimal pressures, there’s also my tire pressure calculator (using the same formulas) for quick reference. Whichever is more useful to you.

Your ideal pressures are not set in stone

I would love to tell you the pressure next to your weight is the correct one for you all time every time. But there’s simply no one single “correct” pressure for you. However, there’s certainly an ideal pressure window. And using the formula and chart above you are probably within that window to start experimenting.

When testing out different tire pressures, it’s much better to start high and then let out a few psi at a time. This can be done unscientifically by simply using your fingers, but a more accurate and traceable method is to use a gauge to let out the air.

Schwalbe tire pressure gauge
I use my digital pressure gauge more often …
IMG 0577 edited
… than the less accurate analoge one.

To find your personal sweet spot it really helps to ride the same section of trail again and again. I know back-to-back runs are not the most exciting thing ever, but doing that will give you the best types of comparisons and an invaluable understanding of how your bike feels under what conditions and at which pace.

For me personally, I found 23 psi front and 27 psi rear a good benchmark on the enduro bike with tubeless tires. I don’t need it to roll fast but grip to loose trails. And on my downhill rig I run 24 psi front and 28 psi rear with tubes and DH tire casings. It helps with puncture protection in rocky alpine terrain. For reference, I weigh around 170 lbs fully geared up.

If you’re wondering, here’s how to accurately measure tire pressures on a bike. And no, it’s not using your fingers.

High-volume tires VS low-volume tires

Let’s talk about high-volume tires versus low-volume tires and why is it they require completely different air pressures. Similar to basketballs and handballs. A high volume wide tire (like plus size or fat bike tires) is a basketball and a low-volume tire ball is a handball.

mtb tire sizes next to each other: standards enduro, plus size and fat tires
Mountain bike tires come in many shapes and sizes.

The big tire provides you with more protection as there’s more distance between it and the rim. That’s the reason why it can get away with running less tire pressure while still being able to perform.

The lower pressure is also going to allow it to conform to the ground better. This is why wider tires can be found on bikes that need all the traction they can get, like Enduro and Downhill.

Low tire pressure – risk vs reward

Low tire pressures are by far the most common reason for flat tires in MTB. It’s the cause of pinch flats, punctures and burped tires. A tire can absorb so much of the initial impacts before it reaches the rest of the bike, but with less pressure, it can do so less.

In MTB you want lower pressures to allow the tire to conform to the ground and really dig in to generate traction where the terrain offers little. But running it too low for your weight and riding style has two issues:

  • The sidewalls get pushed out, making them prone for sidewall slashes.
  • Less force is needed for the rim to touch the tire casing and pinch the tube.
  • And the tire bead sits looser on the rim so it can be pulled off my aggressive cornering.
low tire pressure, sidewalls puched out
Low tire pressure pushes the sidewalls out and brings the rim closer to the ground.
maxxis tire pinch flat
With enough force and low enough pressure, the tire and tube are pinched between rim and ground.
burped tire leaking tubeless sealant
Burped tire leaking tubeless sealant.

Tire inserts are a big hype these days to prevent flat tires and rim damage. They slide right into this topic of rim protection. Putting foam into your tires is a proven way to improve reliability and help you when the tire bottoms out.

One of the main benefits is that you can run lower pressures (more traction) but still prevent damage to your wheels. Tire inserts require so little pressure that you can even ride home on a flat tire if you had to.

Tire pressure for mud riding

On that note, I should also mention that the same trail in different conditions well requires different pressures to get the most out of your tires. Like I said before you’re going to run lower tire pressures if it’s wet and you’re going slow because there’s less traction.

If you’re going to lot faster, you’re hitting roots and rocks harder and you’re gonna need more tire pressure for protection and support.

For mud, it depends on the mud. If it’s an inch or two of thin mud over a hard surface then ‘cutting through’ makes sense. If it’s just deep mud or water on top of the mud, getting a wider tire profile can help you stay on top with floatation.

Cutting through thick mud with a narrow tire (high pressure) means you’re pedaling sinking into a dough.

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