Everyone knows how to put air in tyres, yet few know their right pressure. Tyre pressure makes a big difference in comfort, speed and efficiency. On 200 miles, 100 miles and 100 kilometers.

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Tubeless

Tyre pressure can make the difference between a great ride and a rough one. Especially on a 200 or 100 miles ride! We set out to Taxandria ULTRA (Belgium) to help riders with better tyre pressure.

Somewhere along the way, we learned to “just put it hard.” But what works for city bikes doesn’t necessarily work for racing bikes, and what goes for racing bikes certainly doesn’t apply to gravel bikes, especially with tubeless setups.

A bit of history

The function of your wheel is to turn your energy into forward motion. The function of your tire is to provide comfort and traction. The wooden and solid wheel were a great invention but often heavy, uncomfortable and could got get stuck in mud or slide on wet roads. In 1888, the inner tube was created: a layer of air in tires to improve both comfort and traction. Occasionally, you’d put air in your tire and roll it until you lost too much air, leading to increased energy costs or loss of traction.

What does Taxandria ULTRA have to do with this?

Since 1888, we’ve been taught to set a tire pressure and then just leave it. But tire pressure is actually an easy-to-adjust variable to adapt to circumstances. Whether it’s the surface (road or gravel), the weather (dry or wet), or your intention for the day (race or relax), tire PRESSURE MATTERS.

As a recreational but challenging gravel event, PlugPlug Taxandria is a super interesting venue to learn how riders adapt their tire pressure to the occasion (rough gravel, dry, all sorts of tires).

Together with riders we calculate a more optimal personal tyre pressure.

Inputs for this calculation include:

  • Tire brand
  • Tire model
  • Tire width
  • Combined weight of rider and bike
  • Surface (ranging from road smooth to gravel rough – for this day, ‘gravel rough’)

At PlugPlug Pajottenland we calculated 50 personal tire pressure settings. Some riders, mostly those with tubeless setups, had it spot on. About 40% were more than 1.0 bar off, and another 40% were more than 2.0 bars off.

At Taxandria ULTRA we hope to help 200 riders with a personal tyre pressure advise.

For those wondering what benefits we mean: if two riders ride the same 200mile Taxandria ULTRA gravel course, the one riding with 2.0 bar will have a challenging but fun day, while the one with 4.5 bars will have a day of suffering, with strained shoulders, possible slides on the loose sections, and significantly less fun. In this example, we’re not even considering the power loss of the 4.5-bar gravel rider.

After riding several of the magnificent routes with participants, some confirmed that they indeed didn’t puncture (as they thought might happen when reducing from 4.0 to 2.0) or that they felt more relaxed (even if they ‘only’ went from 2.5 to 1.7 bars).

As you reflect on your riding experience, it’s worth reconsidering the tire pressure you ride with and whether you adjust it for varying conditions. Many cyclists set their tire pressure once and forget about it, but adaptable tire pressure can significantly enhance your ride. By adjusting your tire pressure based on the surface, weather, and your riding intentions, you can improve comfort, control, and overall enjoyment.

Join us in exploring how adaptable tire pressure can transform your cycling experience and ensure you ride better with GRAVAA.

Thanks to Charles Pasqué for his photography during our previous PlugPlug event.

Tubeless