When you’re learning to ride, the one thing that people often don’t tell you about is the right tyre pressure to run.
I mean – you’re educated on which bike to choose, where to ride and what gear to use. Even tutorials on how to ride more aggressively.
Why does no one talk about adventure bike tyre pressure? It’s interesting because not having the correct tyre pressures on ADV bikes can be devastating.
The best tyre pressures
Tyre pressures are important and in extreme situations, changing tyre pressures on your ADV bike can be vitally important.
The best tyre pressure for adventure motorcycles (ADV Bikes) offroad should almost always be the same pressures as you run on the street. That is – don’t air down your adventure motorcycle as they are HEAVY machines. Strong tyre pressure is needed to support the weight of the motorcycle, your gear and yourself on bumpy terrain.
For each bike, the tyre pressure will be different. Dirt-orientated adventure bikes can handle 14psi while the heavier bikes are closer to 20psi.
The best advice is to hit the trails with your street-set tyre pressure and adjust accordingly to the terrain. If you’re riding on hard-packed terrain then leave it set while sandy conditions can lend themselves to a 3 to 4 psi drop in pressure on the rear tyre to create more traction.
Why ADV riders are different
Motocross riders often mess around with their tyre pressures and it certainly has its benefits on the tracks. Even a 2psi change can add an additional 3 seconds on to a lap time.
However, we’re adventure riders. We’re simply cruising around where performance isn’t as important as safety and longevity of your self and your gear.
ADV bikes are often overloaded by beginners with too much gear while having street-orientated tyres. When they go and then lower their tyre pressures, they are certainly putting themselves and others at risk.
Risks include bending the rim or getting a pinch flat on the trails. As a new rider, the last thing you’ll want to do is change a flat tyre on the trails.
Again – we recommend keeping your tyre pressures the same for most riding conditions unless it’s very technical/rocky terrain. Even so, only make a slight release of the air (2 psi for instance) and then go for a 1-mile test ride. If you’re having trouble with the handling then it’s time to pump up again.
Recommended gear for tyre pressure adjustments
We highly recommend good quality gear that’s unique to motorcyclists. If you use a car tyre pressure gauge on your adventure motorcycle, then the reading won’t be so accurate. Unlike cars, offroad motorcycles are almost always under 20psi. So look for a tyre pressure guard specifically for adventure riders.
As for pumps, find a quality brand that people are leaving solid reviews on. The pump should be small so you can fit it within your luggage while also being big enough to get you pumped up quick enough. Some riders like to use bicycle pumps, and while these work, they do tyre you out given that the capacity of ADV tyres is much bigger.
Lastly, get yourself a good tube repair kit with spoons that are designed for ADV bikes. The smaller sets for MX bikes aren’t adequate as their tyres are smaller and you’re likely to bend or break the spoons. Stick with the big brand names for assurance on the trails.
Your tyre pressure is probably fine
We’ve been pretty clear by now. For dirt bike and MX riders, they will adjust their tyre pressures but they are also riding much lighter and on muddy/sandy trails.
ADV riders are so much different. We’re carrying loads and a tyre running off the rim can be deadly. Leave yourself fully inflated initially and then decrease a little while testing the differences in handling. Again – this depends on the bike you have, the terrain you’re in and the gear that you have.