Ongoing maintenance, servicing & repair can be learnt and done at home or taken to the bike mechanics at your trusted local bike shop.

Basic bike care on the other hand should be done by all riders to increase the enjoyment & safety of riding their bike, preserve the bike’s value & utility and prolong the life of individual componentry. In this post we look at the first step of bike care, maintaining tyre pressure.

Bike mechanics assessing and booking in bikes for service & repair see tyres at very low pressure every day. Many modern bike tyres designed for commuter or urban use have strong reinforced sidewalls which can make an underinflated tyre ‘feel’ adequately full. Squeezing a tyre by hand is no longer a sufficient check! Instead:

Pump your tyres & check pressure regularly

  • Buy a floor pump with a pressure gauge if you don’t already own one. Hand pumps are useful for getting out of trouble on the road but unsuitable for regular home use maintaining common tyre pressures above 40 PSI. Compressors at service stations should be avoided as most are designed to suite the much larger volume of air in car, truck & motorbike tyres.
  • Read the pressure rating on the sidewall of your tyre and inflate to a pressure within the rated range. As a starting point, inflate to the mid to high end of the rated pressure range, then adjust pressure within the range according to your preferred ride feel and bike handling.
  • Check tyre pressure weekly and top up until you are familiarly with how quickly your tyre loses pressure. Then you can find an interval (fortnightly, monthly etc) within which you are able to keep the tyre pressure inside their rated range.

When tyre pressures drop below correct levels they get punctures easily and wear out very fast (from insufficient air pressure support of the sidewall). They also handle poorly when cornering and are at increased risk of separating from the rim entirely. A low pressure tyre may not be able to protect your rim from damage when riding over bumps nor sufficiently isolate the rest of the bike’s components from extra wear & tear of road vibration.

Because tyres vary greatly based on size and intended use, talking about tyre pressure can seem quite vague. Here’s a specific example:

Our Riese & Muller Charger Touring (and Charging Touring Mixtie) are fitted with the German brand Schwalbe’s Big Ben Plus 50-622 Black-Reflex tyres. They are an ebike-certified urban tyre with a good balance of puncture protection & service life vs rolling resistance & road grip. Their rated pressure range is 35 to 70 PSI (2.5 – 5 Bar) and can endure a loaded weight (rider, bike & gear) of over 110 kg. A rider who finds they most like how their Charger Touring feels between 50-60 PSI might find that after initially checking and adjusting tyre pressure weekly, their tyre drops only a few PSI per week. From then on they set a reminder in their calendar to pump their tyres monthly raising the pressure from 50 PSI to 60 PSI.