Tire Pressure and Learning to Ride

Does tire pressure affect how easy it is to learn to ride? I inflated my tire to the recommended max initially, but as it got lower/softer, I felt like it was turning slower, and was giving me more surface area, thereby giving me more time to react to the wheel. Anyone have a recommendation?

It absolutely does! I started with my tired pressure around 12 psi on my MUni which has a 2.6" wide tire, and it was very stable and super sluggish to turn, as i got better i upped it to 30 psi and it was like starting all over but once i got back to where i was it was easier to turn and much faster to pedal.

I found that higher presssure allowed me to react to leaning and tipping to one side better, which made my reactions better and perhaps it made me learn to ride slightly quicker. With a lower tyre pressure If I began to lean then it was slightly harder to correct.

You are correct, the lower pressure will allow you extra time to compensate and is probably not a bad thing when you first start out.

If you can actually ride the uni now, you might want to consider upping the pressure to help save on tire damage. As well this will start training the brain for some faster reactions that you’re going to need as you progress.

Higher pressure gives a rounder profile and smaller contact patch, reducing grip, both make turning easier. The higher pressure also makes it so the uni doesn’t absorb the bumps as well, but more resistant to pinch flatting.

For learning, I liked a high pressure, 50 psi. After getting good at all the basics I lowered the pressure to help w/ the bumps, settling at 30 psi on most tires. Sudden changes were hard to handle, so I lowered or raised in 5 psi increments to give me time to adjust.

I vote for firm tires too! Especially on a 20"x1.75, but also for most styles to avoid pinch flats. Pinch flats can be especially frustrating because you know they can be prevented by filling the tire with more air beforehand. I used to aim for max but occasionally the rating is over-rated so I use caution.

The lag of a sluggish tire may help with your pedaling motion but it won’t help turning which is often as important. You are free to experiment with whatever pressure works for you best of course.