As the only connection between you and the ground below, tires have a significant effect on your bike’s rolling, cornering, impact absorption characteristics, and of course traction. But what’s equally important to choosing the right tire for your needs is dialing in the right air pressure for them, especially on off-road terrain. Schwalbe has decided to make life easier for their MTB customers by creating the Pressure Prof, an online calculator that helps trail or DH riders figure out what pressures they should be running.
The Pressure Prof takes nine different factors into account when calculating its suggestions for ideal pressures. Riders enter measurable data like their weight, tire width, rim width, tire system (tubed, tubeless or Procore) and which of Schwalbe’s tire casings they’re riding. However, the Pressure Prof also takes into account your riding style, ability level, type of terrain, and trail conditions too.
The Pressure Prof is very easy to use; simply visit Schwalbe’s website and fill in the required fields with either the requested info or by choosing options from drop-down menus. It takes less than a minute to complete the fields, and you’re instantly given suggestions for front and rear pressures.
The only quirky thing for North Americans is that Schwalbe is a European brand, so you’ll have to convert your weight from pounds to kilos, your tire width from inches to mm’s, and your tire pressure suggestions from Bar to psi. Thankfully this is quite simple to do, especially since you’re already online.
By keeping it specific to Schwalbe’s own tires, the Pressure Prof can do clever things like compensate for what type of sidewall casing you ride or whether you’re running their Procore inserts. On the other hand, despite the system being based around Schwalbe products only (the website does state “we cannot perform calculations for tires from other manufacturers”) I found the numbers it suggested for me were in line with what I would consider typical. The Pressure Prof would probably provide anyone with a good starting point so long as you choose a sidewall casing option that’s similar to whatever tires you are running. Here’s one example I punched in;
At my actual weight of 66kg, riding a pair of 2.5” tires with enduro-strength sidewalls on 30mm rims, I set the rider level to Intermediate, riding style to Enduro, trail conditions as mixed, terrain as Rocky, and chose the tubeless system option. Those factors produced Schwalbe’s suggestion of 1.3Bar/19psi up front and 1.5bar/22psi in the rear. I’m not currently running Schwalbe tires, but this is very close to my preferred pressures.
I played around with the various factors and all the suggestions I got seemed logical. If I added wider tires, the pressures dropped a bit. If I said I ran tubes, the pressures went up slightly versus tubeless. In short, I never fooled the algorithm!
I’d say the Pressure Prof is certainly a valid system for helping you find tire pressures that will work well for your specific needs – The only question that remains is whether you find its exact suggestions perfectly ideal, or if it simply puts you in the ballpark… and that’s something each rider will determine for themselves. Try out the Pressure Prof yourself by clicking here.