Maybe you just purchased a new fat bike or maybe you’re are transitioning back into winter riding after a long summer on hardpacked singletrack. Either way, fine-tuning your tire pressure is critical to having fun on snow-packed trails. Riders in our Fat Bike Forum are sharing their advice on figuring out the proper tire pressure for winter fat bike adventures.
Tire pressure guide for fat biking
Mike Curiak, the legendary ultra-endurance racer and multi-time winner of Alaska’s grueling Iditarace, knows a thing or two about the nuances of fat biking. (He can also build you a sweet set of mountain bike wheels.)
Curiak offers this advice as a guide to find your fat bike tire pressure. Note that this guide can help you get started with a usable baseline tire pressure. Your body weight, tire width, riding style, and local riding conditions will all factor in.
10psi and up = pavement pressure
6-8psi = *very* hardpacked snow
4-5psi = softer or less consistently packed snow
2-3psi = deeper snow, when more flotation is needed
0-2psi = light, dry snow, and very little traffic
The importance of accuracy
A standard floor pump, even a high-volume pump specifically designed for mountain bikes, won’t be good enough to provide an accurate reading at such low tire pressures. A 1 psi difference in 4 and 5-inch tires will have a massive influence on how your fat bike handles—too high and you won’t be getting all the traction to you need, too low and the tire will squirm, wallow, and require you to expend excessive energy.
We recommend investing in a 1-15psi tire gauge to accurately measure fat bike tire pressures.
This Accugage Air Pressure Tire Gauge is a favorite with fat bikers on Mtbr. It’s also very affordable.