There are plenty of forum threads around about the best tyre pressure for dirt bikes and avoiding punctures and flat tyres. You will always get guys loudly saying things like 10psi air pressure front and rear is the correct pressure but the truth is way more complicated than that. These vids provide an introduction on how to ride dirt bikes with our 70 free training vids. Many of these riding tips come from Graham Jarvis, Chris Birch and other top extreme enduro riders to form the concept of cross training – a blend of trials and enduro techniques.
Let’s say 12psi tyre pressure is a good default position for dirt riding. These enduro training vids cover many dirt riding skills and dirt bike techniques for improved off road riding. Cross training applies trials to enduro techniques. But if you don’t ride those bits fast you could maybe stay on 12psi tyre pressure. Also you are just using the thin stock tubes, not heavy duty ones so they are prone to pinch punctures and flat tyres.
There are default air pressures that assume an average rider on an average dirt bike with average tyres etc. In trials riding, this is usually 4psi in the rear and 5psi in the front to get that huge footprint from the tyre and lots of extra traction and still minimise flat tyres and punctures. What do all the world’s best extreme enduro riders have in common? Almost without exception they are former trials champions who applied who have applied trials techniques to their dirt riding skills to tackle some of the world’s toughest events.
At first glance, trials riding doesn’t appear to have much in common with dirt riding as much of the action happens at walking speed or even slower – but the balance, precise, traction and clutch skills help with enduro riding, especially for extreme enduro. However motocross racing can complicate things because air pressure can increase up to 6psi as a rear tyre warms up.
Enduro racers who still use tubes often run a high pressure as they are slamming into obstacles so hard they want to avoid punctures and rim damage, while top extreme enduro riders use soft mousses. enduro. The growing interest in extreme enduro has seen a resurgence in trials riding riding internationally, and many dirt riders are now joining trials clubs to improve their overall skills for basic dirt riding or hard enduro events and endurocross… and they want to avoid flat tyres and punctures.
So you can see there are no easy answer to what is the best tyre pressure and minimising punctures. Some say the rim clean method is the best one. The top extreme enduro riders like Jarvis are so smooth and controlled that often you don’t realise how difficult the terrain is until you see them flying past the less experienced riders. This refers to how the tyre’s sidewall rolls over the edge of the rim at lower air pressures.
So cross training applies trials techniques to enduro riding for improved dirt bike skills. Start decreasing your air pressure and experimenting. Losing traction is a cardinal sin in trials riding and riders go to extreme lengths to ensure their tyres don’t slip. Wheelspin and slides look great but in many cases for enduro riding but it simply means you are losing full control of your dirt bike. You should notice that traction improves rapidly. Eventually your bike won’t handle corners well, as at pressure your tyres will start to roll in hard cornering, and you may get a wallowing feeling at speed. The top extreme enduro riders will only lose traction deliberately in a small number of cases. Maintaining traction is a critical skill in cross training if you want to improve how your ride your dirt bike. A clear indication of pressure is the hard hit you will feel when the rim hits rocks and tree roots, which can cause punctures, rim damage and broken spokes.
If you are a traction junkie, then using mousses or the TUbliss setup is a no brainer. Body positioning and weighting are fundamental skills in trials, and watching top trials riders is like poetry in motion. They do have their drawbacks of course, see this video for a full comparison of mousses, Tubliss and tubes.
If you are into cross training then TUbliss or mousses work a treat, I particularly like the TUbliss as I can have ridiculously low air pressures for our slow technical rides and get fantastic grip, then up the pressures for a faster more flowing ride. So cross training applies trials techniques to enduro riding for improved dirt bike skills. Both of these mean that you can get a much larger footprint for traction, with far less chances of rim damage or punctures.
As Graham Jarvis says “Going fast is the easy bit, it’s going slowly that will help you develop control.” If you choose to stay with tubes, here are some ways to minimise punctures.