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Brass Nipples!
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Just above where you pinch flat or dent your rims.

Seriously, experiment a little. Optimal pressure varies with your weight, riding style, terrain, tire size, etc. For years I always ran 50 psi front, 55 psi rear in 2.1 inch tires, but I've been going lower lately. Where I ride, there things are hard, sharp edged and fast. If you have soft conditions or tubeless tires, you can go down to the low 30's or maybe even lower.
 

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colorado said:
What is the optimal psi on my tires for single track in Colorado?
Although I can't comment on Colorado, I too have been going with lower psi. I was running 50 psi front and rear and lowered to 40 psi. I feel much more stable on hard pack turns, slip much less climbing hills and have yet to gete opinch flat.
 

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Two wheels are best
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Experiment

Like has already been stated, you'll really need to figure it out yourself. There so many variables involved, it's impossible for anyone to tell what's best, other than perhaps a "starting point", you'll need to experiment to find what's right for you.

One thing I've found when talking about tire pressures over the years is, what you think is 40psi may be 35 or maybe 45psi to me. There is a LOT of variance between tire pressure gauges. For example, I have 4 tire pressure gauges, 2 Zefals, 1 Planet Bike digital and the gauge on my Park PFP-2 floor pump. The Zefal gauges read within 1 pind of each other. The gauge on the Park pump and the Planet Bike digital gauge read with in a pund of each other. Here's where it gets confusing...the Zefals read 6-7 psi HIGHER than the Park/Planet Bike Gauges.

The question is...which gauges do you trust?
 

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I stopped in at an LBS Saturday looking for a guage made for presta valves. They didn't have one, but the store owner told me that most MTBers just "squeeze" to determine their best pressure. Any truth to that?
 

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Two wheels are best
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thebronze said:
What size are they?
I've been finding the larger the tire is the less psi it can handle without issues.
My 2.25 schwalbes are very happy around 35-40 psi. in the tubes.
I've always found the opposite to be true. I've tried running small XC racing type tires (Comp S 2.0 and Fire XC Pro 1.8) and had to run 45+ psi in them keep from pinch flatting.

Most 2.1 or larger tires I've run I've been able to drop the pressures down into the mid 30's with out any problems.
 

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Two wheels are best
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algae said:
I stopped in at an LBS Saturday looking for a guage made for presta valves. They didn't have one, but the store owner told me that most MTBers just "squeeze" to determine their best pressure. Any truth to that?
That's sort of like the "torque wrench in my arm" trick. I'm sure there are people out there that do exactly that. Is that THE way to do it? No. It may get you by but, you'll not get the most out of your tires (traction, rolling resistance, ride quality) that way.
 

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Don't know if it is because I can't read a gauge right, of if I am a wheel killer, but I've found that I have to ride with 55-60 psi in the rear, 40-45 psi in the front. If I go lower than that on the front, I get snakebites (pinch flats). Worse than that is what happens on the rear though. I don't get pinch flats. Instead, I get a pinch flat AND a dented rim. If I remember the trials I rode around Boulder 2 years ago, they tend to be dry, with a soft layer of dust, and lots of rocks. Those rocks are the killers for me, but I didn't get a flat because I kept the pressure high.

colorado said:
What is the optimal psi on my tires for single track in Colorado?
 
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