I’ve received so many requests from my dudes about the best BMX tire pressure, so here’s a little guide to help you choose the right one for you.
Before we continue, I’m still the “human pressure gauge” type of a person – you know, doing the thumb-check.
I never really bothered about what PSI I ride for as long as it’s hard as a rock.
I never liked half-inflated tires because it just FEELS weird. To me.
But a friend recently asked me what PSI I ride, so I checked. It was just slightly lower than 100 PSI.
And then he tells me he rides 35 PSI – I was like, “How’s that even possible?”
This post covers:
- Low-Pressure Tire: 35-65 PSI Max
- High-Pressure Tire: 100 PSI Max
- BMX Inner Tubes And Pressure
- What PSI should I use?
- FAQs About BMX Tire Pressure
- 3 Best BMX Pumps
There’s no right or wrong way of approaching the BMX bike tire pressure.
The only way you do it is by defying what feels right for you – that’s it!
Don’t worry; I’ll share more with you below.
If you need new rubber, check out my collection of the best BMX tires.
What’s The Best BMX PSI?
First, you need to know that there are two types of BMX tires: low-pressure and high-pressure.
If you’re unsure what’s the minimum and maximum pressure of the tires you ride, check on the tire’s wall, like in the examples below.
Low-Pressure Tire: 35-65 PSI Max
I’m sharing the tire type by pressure with you because you might blow out a low-PSI one easily if you pump it too hard. So that you don’t wonder what went wrong.
Remember, a lower PSI tire is generally lighter and has a single-ply casing.
In other words, it doesn’t need to be as strong since it’ll need to hold much less pressure.
If you want to ride a lower-pressure tire, I recommend you go with a fat one. Yes, that’s a 2.4″ or a 2.5″ tire.
Because it automatically allows you to run low PSI while still offering the necessary stability. Plus, your landings will be much softer.
Fun fact: Nathan Williams rides his tires at around 30-40 PSI (happy wrists).
A low-PSI tire will be slower and isn’t too comfortable at turns and carves, especially if you go fast. Also, it’s more prone to punctures and flats than a high-PSI one.
High-Pressure Tire: 100 PSI Max
But in general, I’d advise you to go with a high-PSI tire unless you already know the pressure you like the most.
If you like switching things up because you enjoy to ride different terrain, this is the type of tire you’d opt for.
Note: It doesn’t mean you can’t ride a high-pressure tire with low PSI – yes, you can!
Some riders like to run a harder tire in the front and a softer one in the back, and the others vice versa – which you can try, too.
Just like some dudes like to ride a fatter tire in the front and a thinner one in the back (but there’s no “vice versa” situation here).
I like to have tire width and tire pressure the same, front and back.
You may also be interested in reading my article on BMX tire width.
BMX Inner Tubes And Pressure
It doesn’t matter which BMX inner tube you pick – it’ll handle low and high PSI.
However, if you decide to ride low pressure, I’d recommend picking a slightly thicker (and heavier) tube so you don’t get flat too quickly.
I wouldn’t go with a Tubolito. But I still saw a few street dudes ride it and have no complaints.
Also, since I mentioned tubes, I also feel like I need to talk about the two types of valves.
Even though the Schrader is the most common (and the only one I would use), the less common (but it still exists) is the Presta version. Racers and some park dudes prefer the latter.
In short, Shrader is the FAT one that cars use and Presta is the THIN one that MTB and road bikes normally use.
I actually had a Presta one once, and it held for a long time – but I REALLY don’t like the look.
Conclusion: What PSI Should I Use?
First, you need to know that some air will escape from your tire/tube even if you don’t have a puncture or a leak.
That could be due to temperature differences, humidity, your body weight, doing a lot of drops and pressure. Yup, a high-PSI tire will leak more air than a low-PSI one.
That’s why CHECKING your tire pressure often is essential.
Some do it before every session, some weekly, but try not to go beyond two weeks. I usually check it before every session.
“Okay, dude, can you finally talk about what PSI I should go with?”
I recommend higher pressure for all other riding styles except for the street.
Here are more general recommendations for BMX tire PSI:
- BMX tire pressure for street: 35-110 PSI
- BMX tire pressure for park: 80-110 PSI
- BMX tire pressure for trails: 80-110 PSI
- BMX tire pressure for flatland: 80-110 PSI
Play with different PSI yourself to find the one that fits you best.
FAQs About BMX Tire Pressure
Is higher PSI always better?
Higher PSI is great if you go fast, ride bowls and don’t do too many wrist-hurting stunts. However, if you prefer softer landings and you might have wrist pain then high PSI will be painful.
Is lower PSI always better?
Lower PSI is great for modern street riding that doesn’t require too much speed. Running low PSI is also a lot more body-friendly because it softens landings.
How to Lower PSI in Tires?
Twist off the valve cap and press on the little metal pin with your finger, a pencil, a screwdriver or a thin stick (even a small, sharp rock will do) to lower tire pressure.
How to convert between BAR and PSI?
Math time! To convert BAR to PSI, simply multiply your BAR value by 14.5038. This means 3 BAR would be 43.5 PSI, 4 BAR 58 PSI and 5 BAR 72.5 PSI.
How to measure tire pressure?
Remove the valve cap and firmly press the tire gauge against the open valve. Read the air pressure on the gauge. Most modern BMX pumps have a built-in (analog or digital) gauge.
3 Best BMX Pumps
1. The Shadow Conspiracy Street Pump
Never again miss a session because of a flat tire with The Shadow Conspiracy’s Street Pump. If you don’t like the weakness of a portable hand pump, this foot pump will do the trick.
The pump is compatible with Schrader and Presta valves and handles up to 160 PSI. It also has a built-in analog gauge, so you can pump your tires to the pressure you like.
I really like that it has an Aluminum body with a plastic base to ensure it’s lightweight (13.3 oz) and strong, so you can easily carry it around.
2. Topeak Joe Blow Max HP Floor Pump
Topeak’s high-pressure (160 PSI) floor pump is a great alternative that might not be as portable as Shadow’s is, but you’ll pump your tires even easier.
It’s 100% compatible with Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves and has a handy 180-degree swivel hose.
Personally, I prefer a floor pump the most because it’s the most convenient.
But I recommend Shadow’s Street Pump for riding around a lot, especially if you’re doing distances. (May no situation ruin your session!)
3. SKS Air-X-Press 8.0 Floor Pump
The SKS Air-X-Press is a slightly cheaper floor pump with all the practical features of the Topeak, but it’s max pressure is 115 PSI, which is perfectly fine for BMX bikes.