Finding the optimal tire pressure for your mountain bike is probably the single best performance boost you can do on your bike – and it’s completely FREE.

The table below makes finding the right psi (or bar) for you incredibly easy – by looking up your rider weight in the table below:

MTB tire pressure chart

Optimal mountain bike tire pressures in psi and bar for specific rider weights in lbs and kg.
Weight in poundsFront Tire psiRear Tire psiWeight in kgFront Tire barRear Tire bar
130 lb19 psi22 psi60 kg1,3 bar1,5 bar
135 lb19 psi22 psi62 kg1,3 bar1,5 bar
140 lb20 psi23 psi64 kg1,4 bar1,6 bar
145 lb21 psi24 psi66 kg1,4 bar1,6 bar
150 lb21 psi24 psi68 kg1,5 bar1,7 bar
155 lb22 psi25 psi70 kg1,5 bar1,7 bar
160 lb23 psi26 psi72 kg1,6 bar1,8 bar
165 lb24 psi27 psi74 kg1,6 bar1,8 bar
170 lb24 psi27 psi76 kg1,7 bar1,9 bar
175 lb25 psi28 psi78 kg1,7 bar1,9 bar
180 lb26 psi29 psi80 kg1,8 bar2,0 bar
185 lb26 psi29 psi82 kg1,8 bar2,0 bar
190 lb27 psi30 psi84 kg1,9 bar2,1 bar
195 lb28 psi31 psi86 kg1,9 bar2,1 bar
200 lb29 psi32 psi88 kg2,0 bar2,2 bar
205 lb29 psi32 psi90 kg2,0 bar2,2 bar
210 lb30 psi33 psi92 kg2,1 bar2,3 bar
215 lb31 psi34 psi94 kg2,1 bar2,3 bar
220 lb31 psi34 psi96 kg2,2 bar2,4 bar
225 lb32 psi35 psi98 kg2,2 bar2,4 bar
230 lb33 psi36 psi100 kg2,3 bar2,5 bar
235 lb34 psi37 psi102 kg2,3 bar2,5 bar
240 lb34 psi37 psi104 kg2,4 bar2,6 bar

Even slight variations in the psi (or bar) have noticeable effects on rolling resistance and handling.

Feel free to try slightly higher or lower psi from your baseline in the table. Rider weight includes all your gear including helmet, protectors, and your backpack.

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

Let’s talk tire pressure gauge:
I use the digital Topeak Smartgauge D2 before every ride.
It works great for Presta and Shrader valves and is just as good as the more expensive D2X version.

Find your optimal tire pressures

When testing out different tire pressures, it’s much better to start high and then let out a few psi at a time.

It’s a balance between roll speed and traction. Depending on what type of riding you to, one is better over the other – but you can’t max out both.

mtb tire pressure graph 1
Lower = more grip but less efficient
Higher = faster rolling but less traction

Even 3 psi can make a noticeable difference. Finding your optimal tire pressure is trial and error. The simple formula used for this chart should be able to give you a good baseline for the right tire pressure for you.

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

front tire psi = rider weight lbs ÷ 7

rear tire psi = front tire psi + 3 psi

This is how the table above works.

20220427 IMG 0995 scaled
I use my digital pressure gauge more …
IMG 0577 edited
… than my less accurate analog one.

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 stiffer DH tire casings.

Higher pressures also help with puncture protection in rocky alpine terrain. For reference, I weigh around 170 lbs fully geared up.

Low tire pressure: risk vs reward

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.

They also allow the tire to absorb more impacts, improve performance and even reduce risk of overuse injuries.

But too low tire pressures are by far the most common reason for flat tires in MTB: pinch flats, punctures and burped tires.

So if you experience a lot of punctures, you may want to put a little more air in your tires or upgrade to stiffer tire casings.

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.

Variations by Trail and Conditions

The faster you go, the higher the pressure.

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 – if you want to do that.

(I leave mine the same at all times as I prefer consistency and predictability over marginal gains.)

Dry & Dusty

In dry conditions, the ground offers so much traction by itself. That allows you to roll faster with higher pressures.

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.

Wet & Muddy

You can run lower tire pressures if it’s wet and you’re going slow because there’s less traction.

For mud, it depends on the mud. If it’s an inch or two of thin mud over a hard surface then ‘cutting through’ with pumped up tires makes sense. 

If it’s just deep mud or water on top of the mud, getting a wider tire profile (by having lower pressures) can help you stay on top with floatation.

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