29er air pressure for trails

What is a good tire pressure for a 29er on light technical trails?

I am planning on riding the Tahoe Rim trail at California Muni weekend on my 29er because it’s mostly hard pack single track with some rocky areas.

I weigh 170 lbs. My rig has a WTB MOtoraptor tire on it with 158mm cranks.


I think it depends on your rim too. I run my KH29 with a Kenda Klaw around 30-35 psi. If I remember, I would run my Yuni 29er with a Nano Raptor around 40-45 psi. And, I only weigh 140 wet.

I ride with 28 psi. I weigh 190. Conversly, Tommy rides with 35 psi. I think he might weigh 170 (including his helmet and camelback).

I like a little cush. Occationally I will fold the tire on the bigger hops/drops. (all of my hop/drops are under a foot, by the way).

I tried the higher psi and it springs me off. One of my more painful crashes was because of this.

10 minutes of experimentation will get you set.

And your weight.
And your riding style (aggressive, non-aggressive).
And the terrain in question.
And your specific tire dimensions.
And your rim dimensions.

The question of tire pressure used to be a lot easier to answer. You were either riding your 20" or 24" unicycle indoors or outdoors. Hard for outdoors and a little softer for the floor.

Now with all the various wheel, tire and rim sizes, as well as types of terrain and riding, there is no simple answer other than this: “Enough to keep your rim off the ground.” This takes experimentation.

I think the 29er is a great size for Tahoe Rim. I used mine last time and it worked out fine. There were a couple of spots I didn’t attempt due to lack of confidence in my wheel’s strength, but otherwise it was great for catching up/keeping up with the group.

I will use my 29er again this time, and now it’s better. I’ve gone from a skinny rim to a much wider KH, which makes me much more confident when things get rocky. I’ll probably attempt all sections of the ride.

I use the tire pinching method, so I’m not sure what pressure I run at any given time. My wider rim allows me to run it a little lower than I could with the narrow rim (with which I had two massive blowouts on separate rides before).

That ride is mostly rolling and relatively smooth, with a few isolated technical spots along the way. This means you’re probably fine with higher pressure than on a really bumpy trail. My advice is always to start high, then let air out as needed. The pump in my car is much easier than the one I ride with on my back!