Q: When I see pressures recommended in magazines they always seem lower than those written on the sides of the tyres.
Greg Sickle, Manchester
A: You're right, as we do often treat minimum pressures as maximums and then work downwards. It might be because we tend to ride in slower, muddier conditions than most countries or because tyre manufacturers err on the side of caution in case you run them too soft and roll them off the rim. As long as you stay sensible, a lower pressure tyre moulds better to the ground for grip, and in rough terrain they can actually roll faster as they can squish out of the way rather than having to bump over stuff. Too soft though and they will split tubes against the rim, wallow sideways and possibly roll off through corners as well as feeling super slow on smoother surfaces, so don't drop much below 30psi unless you're a real smoothie.
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