Maintaining the optimum tire pressure will help improve your comfort and stability while out on the bike.

Whether you are commuting, competing in a time trial, or mountain biking, if you fail to have your tires at the correct PSI, you could be wasting energy or at risk of getting a pinch flat unnecessarily. 

Although it is easy to maintain the correct PSI when you are in the comfort of your own home and using your floor pump, what can you do when you do not have access to a tire gauge? 

How to check bike tire pressure without a gauge?

Irrespective of the type of bike you are riding, your tires will have a PSI range embossed into the side.

There is no accurate way to find out your tire’s PSI without using a pressure gauge. However, all hope is not lost. There are a few checks that you can make to help estimate if your tires have the optimum pressure.

Road bikes

Generally, road bike tires should be between 80 – 120 PSI. The single best way to check if they are inflated enough is to pinch them.

If there is a lot of give, you need to inflate the tire until you can hardly squeeze them. 

Road bike tires (or any bike that you are using on smooth surfaces) need to be highly inflated to reduce rolling resistance and ensure that you are not wasting too much of your precious energy fighting friction with the road. 

Other Reading

Mountain bikes

Mountain bike tires require a lot less PSI due to the need to spread your weight to improve control and comfort on unstable surfaces.

Depending on the size, you will find that most mountain bike tires should be between 20 – 35 PSI. The best test is to sit on your bike and look down at your tires.

If you can see more than 2 millimeters of tire protruding out from beneath the rim, you could do with a little more pressure.

Equally, if there is no give and when you pinch them, they feel rock hard, you need to let some air out. 

When possible, use a pressure gauge

Although these little tips will help make the most of a situation when you get a flat and need to inflate your tire in the middle of nowhere.

As soon as possible, you should use a gauge to ensure that your tires are optimally inflated.