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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Spacer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    What Shock, Fork & Tire Pressures Air Travel

    Hi All,

    I've travelled couple of times now with my bike and Plan on more travels to come.

    My question so what are optimum pressures for shocks, forks and tires for air travel, if any?

    Will pressure changes associated with air travel negatively affect these components?

    For my last flight I lowered pressure in my shock and forks to better fit in the bag. I haven't noticed any bad effects so far.

    My main concern for this question though is going tubeless.

    Has anyone experienced any sealant leakage after a flight?

    Any and all replies are appreciated.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Pressure on a flight is only a few psi lower than air pressure at sea level. If you drop everything by about 5psi for the flight you shouldn't have any problem.


    Just realized that the above only applies to cabin pressure. If the cargo hold has a lower pressure than the cabin, it might be a few more psi of difference.

    Maybe drop everything by 10psi to be super safe.
    Last edited by zadamxtr; 12-02-2014 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Adding better info

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    It is 4psi between atmospheric pressure at sea level and 8000ft which is roughly the minimum pressure you will see on a plane. Cabin and cargo hold pressure are the same.
    I have flown with bikes many times, I generally leave the tires at 25psi ish which is what I ride them at, shocks and forks I leave as is too. No issues

    One time the airline check in crew made me depressurize the tires and shocks completely the guy believed them to be classed as compressed gases. (I didn't mention the 300psi of nitrogen in the damper in addition to the air chamber, even if it did fail there is no way it has enough stored compression energy to bring an airliner down, so didn't see the point of making hassle for myself)
    On the same airline on the return flight I was advised by check in crew that airline policy is to reduce the pressure to 50% of rated pressure. Other times I have been told that bike tires and shock are not classed as compressed gases containers and they are fine in check in baggage as is. Make of that what you will, but be aware they may ask.

    It's worth taking a bit of sealant and core remover with you or find a bike shop in advance, depressuring the tires completely did screw up the tubless set up and sealant leaked out. I grabbed a cab to a bike shop I knew about and it was sorted in no time.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: vikb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    I'm more worried about airline luggage monkeys damaging my bike than pressure issues. I have not adjust shock/fork or tire pressure when flying. Nothing has happened.
    Safe riding,


  5. #5
    Positively negative
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    I had this conversation with an engineer friend of mine and he explained that you would have to leave earth's atmosphere to have any issues. Considering he has designed bike parts that i have trusted my life to I took his word for it, and have never had an issue.

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