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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern CT
    Posts
    34

    PSI for road bike tires?

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    So I am having tire floor pump issues.

    I bought a Topeak Joe Blow, but couldn't pump my thin bike tires. I asked a guy at a LBS and he said I needed a pump with a smaller air cylinder.

    So, I bought a Specialized pump at another LBS today. This one has a narrower pump cylinder, and is much easier to pump. However - my tires are now rock hard (as they should be), but the pump says that I am at 60 PSI. The recommended PSI on the tire says 117. I even check with the Joe Blow, and that gauge also says that the tires are at 60 PSI.

    So now I am stumped. I got a pump that worked, and my tires feel right, but the dial says that I am at half the PSI that I should be. Should I keep pumping until I am in that 110-115 range? Will I blow out my tire? Am I neglecting to notice something else?

    Has anyone else had pump/tire issues?
    2011 Specialized Dolce Elite/stock Riva
    2010 Jamis Durango 1 Femme
    2006 Diamondback Wildwood (gift from my mother-in-law, so I must keep it! It is really comfy to ride)
    1996 Raleigh M-20 (got my love for cycling going!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,321
    Yes, keep pumping to around 110, give or take some depending on your weight. It is very difficult to determine road bike tire pressure by feel with your hand. Use the gauge.

    However.....when you pump up the tire, is the needle moving up high and then falling back down? Perhaps you don't have a good seal in the pump and aren't getting an accurate reading. You might also hear air leaking from the valve if this is the case. I doubt that the same thing would happen with both pumps, though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
    Posts
    1,244
    I'm confused... I have a Topeak Joe Blow pump and have never had a problem pumping my road bike tires. I don't understand why you were told that you needed a pump with a smaller cylinder...doesn't make any sense to me. I pump my tires up to 115psi before every ride, and DH pumps his to 120...all using our Joe Blow pump...great pump, BTW. Are you sure that you are turning the little threaded tip on the presta valve all the way to the top of the valve before inserting the pump valve on?
    Last edited by nscrbug; 09-05-2010 at 05:04 PM.
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern CT
    Posts
    34
    nscrbug, yes, I am unscrewing that little threaded part on the presta valve. And the narrow vs wider pump cyclinder was explained to me this way at the LBS: a large cylinder means that you trying to push a higher volume of air into the tube in one pump, which makes it harder. A narrower cylinder means that you are pushing less air in one pump. So, it would take a higher number of pumps, but the actual pumping would be easier. He was telling me that it's some physics principle. it sounded good to me! And, I have to say that my narrower specialized pump IS way easier to pump.

    aicabsolut, at first the needle was going up and then back down, and I resealed the pump and it stopped doing that. And the tube was definitely getting fuller. I was nervous about going any higher than 60, because the tires felt so firm.

    So, you ladies are saying I should trust the dial? it seems really unlikely that BOTH my pumps -bought at different shops- would be broken or inaccurate to the exact same PSI - right?
    2011 Specialized Dolce Elite/stock Riva
    2010 Jamis Durango 1 Femme
    2006 Diamondback Wildwood (gift from my mother-in-law, so I must keep it! It is really comfy to ride)
    1996 Raleigh M-20 (got my love for cycling going!)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    1,628
    I remember calling my brother in law when I was first putting air in my bike's tires and saying to him - should it really feel like if I put more air in these things may explode? And he said yes. So I just kept putting air in until the gauge read correctly. And nothing exploded.

    You are not alone - I laugh now, but initially I kept thinking you need a dang PhD to put air in your tires. Then I realized I have one, so I just soldiered on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,645
    depending on your weight you don't need 115 pounds of pressure. Some tires come with a graph, and if you weigh about 120 pounds they tend to show you need more like 90 pounds, much easier to pump to that level. 60 sounds low unless they are larger (wider) tires.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983

    PSI for road bike tires

    I am VERY confused. We use the Jow Blow pumps in the shop, and have for many years... without any problems. Although we own an air compressor in the shop, we pump everything by hand. So you can imagine how many times the pumps are used. We also have been selling these pumps for many years, and have never heard of any issues.

    Although this sounds like a stupid question, was the employee that you spoke with at your LBS familiar with the Joe Blow pumps? Even if you had a problem with yours, there are repairs kits available to replace any of the working parts.

    At any rate, good luck with your new pump.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    Another person who thinks the advice about Topeak pumps is questionable.... We use ours to get TT tires up to 140 - and even 105lbs of me can do that....

    But anyway - I think you are fine, you're just not used to road bike tires. They *should* be hard - hard enough that your thumb cannot dent them, hard enough so that your entire body weight on the bike just starts to deform them a little. It does depend on your body weight and the psi ratings of your tires and rims just how far or how low you can go - generally you'll see a range printed on the tires. If you are light the lower end of the range, heavy the upper end.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern CT
    Posts
    34
    the advice i was given was not about Topeak pumps in general - and am not speaking to their quality or anything. i am just talking about the specific Joe blow one that i got...(note: there are several different Joe Blows with differenr PSI max ratings - I got the lowest one, with 120 max PSI).

    The advice about the pump cylinders being narrower or wider was good, I think. It helped me, anyway. I guess my question originally was more about the PSI on the dial vs. feel.
    2011 Specialized Dolce Elite/stock Riva
    2010 Jamis Durango 1 Femme
    2006 Diamondback Wildwood (gift from my mother-in-law, so I must keep it! It is really comfy to ride)
    1996 Raleigh M-20 (got my love for cycling going!)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
    Posts
    1,244
    Okay...maybe I just need some clarification here. Are we talking about a Topeak Joe Blow FLOOR PUMP? Or are you referring to a FRAME pump? Perhaps this might be why some of us are confused regarding the cylinder size.
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern CT
    Posts
    34
    Ahhh, Yes, this is a floor pump. Sorry!
    2011 Specialized Dolce Elite/stock Riva
    2010 Jamis Durango 1 Femme
    2006 Diamondback Wildwood (gift from my mother-in-law, so I must keep it! It is really comfy to ride)
    1996 Raleigh M-20 (got my love for cycling going!)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    94
    I have a Joe Blow floor pump and can't get my tires over 80 PSI. I just physically can't get them any higher, even jumping on the thing and using all my weight. I have to get my husband to check them. I weigh around 60kg and keep them at around 100.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Northern CT
    Posts
    34
    Thanks. that's what i was finding. I solved my problem, it seems, by buying a Specialized floor pump with a narrower cylinder. I got my tires up to 115 PSI or so...after the repsonses in this thread. Thanks!
    2011 Specialized Dolce Elite/stock Riva
    2010 Jamis Durango 1 Femme
    2006 Diamondback Wildwood (gift from my mother-in-law, so I must keep it! It is really comfy to ride)
    1996 Raleigh M-20 (got my love for cycling going!)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,144
    I routinely pump my road tires to 120 psi with my Joe Blow. I am a petite person, too and while I can't do it in 3 strokes, like DH, it's fine. We have 2 other floor pumps that while they pump fine, the valve attachment isn't as nice.
    And the pressure meter goes up to like 160 on my pump.
    Pumping tires takes a good deal of upper body strength, which cyclists are notoriously lacking. I've never heard any of this stuff before.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    214
    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    depending on your weight you don't need 115 pounds of pressure. Some tires come with a graph, and if you weigh about 120 pounds they tend to show you need more like 90 pounds, much easier to pump to that level. 60 sounds low unless they are larger (wider) tires.
    Yes! Thank you Biciclista. Follow the graph. Not the max pressure. It's based on rider weight. Over pressure is slow among other bad things. The tire needs to deflect. It's designed that way. Cervelo says most of their MENS race team are at around 95-100 psi.
    A good link here
    http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/What_...ube__1034.html

    and here.
    http://www.michelinbicycletire.com/m...rpressure.view

 

 

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