Talkin’ Tire Pressure, Style & Width with Sam Osborne


In this week’s mountain bike tips & tricks training series we return to Rotorua, New Zealand to get pro tips on tires from two-time XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion Sam Osborne.


The take-away is pretty clear – go low pressure, have three style options so you can adapt to course conditions, and either go with a wide tire with less tread or a narrow one with more tread.


“If I got a dollar for every time I was asked about tire pressure I’d be retiring well before I turned 65,” exclaimed Osborne. “Clearly tire choice is a personal decision but I think the most common mistake people make is running too high psi. My general input for racing is to set it at 20 psi and go up or down a bit based on conditions.”


Osborne runs his tires at 18 psi, and carries three options in his bike bag.


“When I corner, the edge presses in and when I go over roots and rocks it has a little give to help mold over those obstacles,” he explains. “Depending on conditions I’ll choose from one of three go-to options – a fast roller, a safe option, and a heavy mud tire.”


In the video Osborne describes his ‘fast’ tire as having less middle tread but really good edges, “so the rolling resistance is super low, but I’ve got something to lean on.”


His safe option has medium tread in the middle, and his mud tire is narrow with big spacing between knobs to clear the mud.




Stay tuned to XTERRA Connect for more mountain bike gems from the Planet Bike workshop in the weeks to come.


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