From the Forums: What’s The Best Tire Pressure For Fat Biking?

Expert advice on how to find your perfect tire pressure for winter riding

Fat Bike From the Forums How To

What’s the best tire pressure for fat biking? Here’s our guide to help you find your perfect tire pressure. Photo by Jason Sumner

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

Choosing the right tires and tire pressure is the most important decision you will make for your fat bike. Photo by Jason Sumner

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 very small pressure difference can have a huge impact on how fat bike tires perform.

A very small pressure difference can have a huge impact on how fat bike tires perform.

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. 

Price: $19.95

buy now

Want to learn more about finding your perfect tire fat bike tire pressure? Click here to join the conversation in our Fat Bike Forum. 

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  • Mike says:

    I usually ride 0,7bar (10psi) on pavement/gravel, drop it to ~0,5bar (7psi) when going full offroad/mud/snow (if I ever got some in winter). When riding less than that my tires start floating sideways while cornering, so I try not to go below 0,5.

    I’m using 4,8″ JJs on liteskin, so maybe tires with reinforced sides will do better with lower pressures…

  • Zaire G. says:

    I just started using a fat tire bike. And I mostly agree with this site, 15psi for pavement and I usually go 6-8psi on trails. The pressure is crucial to not expending too much energy but maintaining nice grip.

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