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Old 07-07-2006, 04:22 AM   #1
SWriverstone OP
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Sorting out tire pressures...

Okay, I've done piles of homework reading through hundreds of posts. I'm trying to figure out where to set tire pressure on my KLR. So here's a summary of what I've learned (let me know if this is in the ballpark).

Factory suggestion (psi) is 21F/28R. I didn't notice many people riding with that.

The KLR appears to tolerate a range in tire pressures from as low as 5psi...to as high as 36psi. (40? Do I hear 40?)

Riding offroad, you want lower pressures, with "how low" being dictated by the general gnarliness of the terrain (e.g. way low for sand, mud, etc...and less low for hard-packed dirt roads)

HolyCaveman suggests that people generally don't go low enough when offroad (right HolyCaveman?)

Heavier riders (and those with piles o' gear) can generally ride a few lbs. higher pressure than lighter riders (but how much more is "a few?" 2psi more? Or 5psi more?)

---
Now here's the mystery I'd really love to crack: I've heard many people cite a variety of pressures with the front tire higher (in pressure) and the rear tire lower. I've also heard the opposite. Now, regardless of what pressures you choose to run...shouldn't there be some consistency in whether your front or rear tire has the higher pressure? (That just doesn't make sense to me.)

Anyway, I'm gonna go out on a limb and offer some general "averages" that I've worked out based on the dozens of suggestions I've read. (Again, let me know if you think they're way off.)

*Paved roads/highways: front 26-32psi, rear 28-36psi
*Beat-up pavement, some hard dirt: front 16-21psi, rear 18-28psi
*Dirt roads, gravel, rocks, etc: front 12-16psi, rear 14-18psi
*Mud, sand, mush: front 3-8psi, rear 6-10psi (w/rim locks)
---
*Note: any of these pressures can be ridden on any surface---these are just general ideas. Tire pressure will determine---in part---tire wear (but I'm not quite sure how yet!)

So...does this all seem like it's in the ballpark? Is it frustratingly vague--yes! (But I guess that's life on a dual-sport, right?)

Scott

PS - I'm almost afraid to ask...but is anyone willing to recommend a single, "best all-around" set of pressures to run for all-purpose highway/backroads/light-duty dirt roads and fire roads? (Should I just stick to the factory pressures?)

SWriverstone screwed with this post 07-07-2006 at 04:28 AM
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:26 AM   #2
SWriverstone OP
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Just an afterthought to the above post:

Many people say "Just experiment and see what works for you." This is good advice, and I'll be doing that no matter what. But I've spent hours reading through info regarding pressures for road bikes, and many people claim that the tire manufacturers have figured all this stuff out scientifically---that they know exactly where the best possible performance for a tire is (given the specific rubber formulation, tread design, etc.).

I also figure there must be people who have (for example) ridden in the dirt for years and know from ground-level experience what works best.

So this is why I ask. (But I'll still experiment and, ultimately, judge for myself!)

Scott

PS - I weigh 220lbs.
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:36 AM   #3
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Don't know about other people but I just generally ride 16psi front and rear all surfaces - I always ride on knobbies. This seems to work okay for road, is good for dirt, saves me dicking about checking/changing pressures all the time.
If I have a long road run to do (e.g., greater than 200km) I will generally run it up to 18-20.
If I am in the scrub and its real slippery or sandy - and will be all day - I sometimes drop it down to around 14psi.
Any lower than 14 and I get a bit worried about punctures, even though I run heavy duty tubes. I do find with the HD tubes that I have to check the pressures weekly as the tubes seem to go down gradually (somethign about the natural rubber I understand).
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Old 07-07-2006, 04:45 AM   #4
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I found it tough to judge tire pressure on different bikes. Even with the same tires! I have three different bikes and have all had the same tires. The heavier bikes work better with a little more pressure. On my KTM 640, the lowest I go is 15psi. Any lower and you risk pinching the tube or snake eyes. I just had that happen last month.

Also the tires make a big difference. I have run the TKC 80 on my 640 and it likes 20psi just about everywhere. When I run the Dunlop 908rr, I can go to 15psi and and still have less sidewall flex than the TKC. I am currently using the Dunlop 606 front and the 908 rear. I find the 606 a little softer than the 908 front. But it's still much stiffer than the TKC. I run that at 20psi on the road and around 15psi in the dirt. On my last trip to Mexico, I ran 20psi front and 22psi rear. I didn't want to get a pinched flat. It workd too. I hit a rock hard enough that it put a dent in my new front wheel and didn't pinch the tube. Had I gotten a flat, it would have been real bad. The sun was setting and we were on our way to Camp Beluga. As it was we got to camp in the dark. Had I gotten a flat, we would have had 20 miles of sandy roads to ride at night.

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Old 07-07-2006, 06:24 AM   #5
SWriverstone OP
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So it seems like there might be a fine line between pressures so low that pinched flats are more likely...and pressures so high that straight puncture flats are more likely---right? The idea seems to be to find that happy medium...

Scott

PS - So is Kawasaki just nuts with their 21F/28R recommendation? (Or is that a "paved road only" recommendation?)
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWriverstone
So it seems like there might be a fine line between pressures so low that pinched flats are more likely...and pressures so high that straight puncture flats are more likely---right? The idea seems to be to find that happy medium...

Scott

PS - So is Kawasaki just nuts with their 21F/28R recommendation? (Or is that a "paved road only" recommendation?)

I think the only negative to high tire pressure is reduced traction. I am usually more concerned with the front pressure than the rear. I can handle the rear loosing traction. But the front washes out and 90% chance you are going down.


Nate
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:54 AM   #7
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keep in mind the quality of the tires will also dictate pressures,, compare a cheap fit almost anything tire to a premium desert suitable for heavy bigbore {$$$$$$$$$} tire & the good tire tire will have stiffer sidewalls, more rubber & probably of a higher quality & higher density, so running 10 psi in a premium tire could be the same as 15 > 20 psi on a cheapy tire, Also street tires are gonna run different psi than Dualsports, & knobbies psi can be all over the place depending on the tire & the terrain
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmnate
I think the only negative to high tire pressure is reduced traction. I am usually more concerned with the front pressure than the rear. I can handle the rear loosing traction. But the front washes out and 90% chance you are going down.


Nate

Depends on the surface, at least to me, especially in mud. I run my trackmasters at 18 f/r. Killer traction. If I'm riding a long street section, I'll go up to about 25/28 f/r. Amazingly less traction in anything loose.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:31 AM   #9
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You are pretty much right in your evaluation. Although I never ever go below 15psi in the front tire. No need to uless you are running 2wd!

Rear for technical stuff 4-8 lbs with rim locks

Rear over 8lbs don't realy need rim locks.

There is traction to be considered also.

You can run a distanza at 3 psi off road without rim locks and you won't spin a tube, because your tire is a poor off road tire, and will spin anyways.

But a 606 or such might hook up enough to spin one at 8 or 9 psi(eventually) so rimlocks would be advised.

For those who are riding technical single track and never went below 12psi, you guy won't believe the traction you are missing out on!!!

That enduro race I ran 8psi, and could tell a differance from the 4psi I have run before.

Ofcouse use logic.

Fool around and try thease things, don't take anyones word on it.

Go for it!
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holycaveman
For those who are riding technical single track and never went below 12psi, you guy won't believe the traction you are missing out on!!!


So, you'd say that running 18psi on my KLR250 with trackmasters is probably a bit conservative, then?


At what range do pinch flats come in to play? I'm more concerned about that than spinning the tire on the rim (esp with my meager power output).


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Old 07-07-2006, 09:22 AM   #11
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I just use my KLR650 for trail riding. With a 606 on the front and a Kenda 270 on the rear, I run tire pressures of 21/28 and it works great.

On the other hand, my XR400R has 756s and rim locks. I generally run no more than 12 pounds front and rear.
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:44 AM   #12
SWriverstone OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado
I just use my KLR650 for trail riding. With a 606 on the front and a Kenda 270 on the rear, I run tire pressures of 21/28 and it works great.

On the other hand, my XR400R has 756s and rim locks. I generally run no more than 12 pounds front and rear.
So Colorado...when you say "trail riding," are you talking dirt roads, fire roads, wide, relatively smooth, hard-packed trails? Or gnarly, rutted, stony, steep stuff?

I'm still trying to figure out a good all-around "set it and forget it" pressure for 70% street riding, plus 30% dirt roads/fire roads. (And it's sounding like the factory recommendation of 21F/28R might be the ticket for that...)

Scott
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Old 07-07-2006, 02:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWriverstone
So Colorado...when you say "trail riding," are you talking dirt roads, fire roads, wide, relatively smooth, hard-packed trails? Or gnarly, rutted, stony, steep stuff?

I'm still trying to figure out a good all-around "set it and forget it" pressure for 70% street riding, plus 30% dirt roads/fire roads. (And it's sounding like the factory recommendation of 21F/28R might be the ticket for that...)

Scott
I'd recommend 21/28, although it may depend on your tires and what kind of terrain you're riding around in. I ran 21/28 last weekend and it worked well for me on dirt/stone/gravel trails in Colorado. This section of a trail (which is actually a steep, fairly sharp turn) got Hannda but my KLR made it through all right.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/attac...1&d=1152128287
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Colorado screwed with this post 07-07-2006 at 05:32 PM
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Old 07-07-2006, 03:10 PM   #14
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There is no reason to expect the front and rear to be the same pressure. The factory doesn't. They are different sizes and different loadings (not just bike weight but the forces applied to them).

Front, the lower limit will often be a high enough pressure to avoid pinch flats, the front being so much smaller in cross section to begin with. I suppose in theory one could have a pinch flat in the rear, but personally I have never heard of it.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:56 AM   #15
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I will try your recommedation with 26F/28 till 36 rear
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