Super low tire pressure for sand?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Super low tire pressure for sand?

    After moving to California high desert, I nearly gave up off-road riding all-together because everything here is sand, sand and more sand. After trying a 12-hour race in Phoenix lately, I'm back on the old mtb and trying to get through the sand again. The other day I rolled out without putting air in the tires and just decided to go with it and be careful over rocks. I was able to climb up stuff I've been unable to do before and rolled all over the huge hill across the street from my house. I was having fun again.
    A few days later I went to check out how much air I was running and started at 15 psi and kept going down. Either my pump is not accurate that low, or I was running like 5 psi or less. It's a bit squirrelly in corners, but otherwise let's me ride stuff that would normally just have me washing out or spinning out.
    Anyone else ever tried this? My tires are not super-wide, like 2.1s or so and I've been thinking of trying a really wide tire this way to see if it will help even more.

    Chad

  2. #2
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    Here in Southern Ontario its pretty sandy. I've found that a nice wide set of tires and pressures in the mid-20s works well. If you've got a nice high volume 2.2 or 2.3" tire 25-30psi is all you need. I'm 260lbs riding sand on 2.2" tires 24psi front 29psi rear.

  3. #3
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    Fatbike.
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  4. #4
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    I haven't hopped on the fat bike bandwagon (yet), but ya man, try a bigger tire and a little more pressure. With my tire width preference being 2.2-2.4 I often run 15-20 PSI. At 5 PSI I would have be rolling tires off the bead in corners. A big factor you didn't mention: Are you running tubeless? If not, I would give it a shot as well.

  5. #5
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    Fatbike. Once you go fully fat, you will understand. Ride anywhere. Over pretty much anything.
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  6. #6
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    Another vote for FAT

  7. #7
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    as im sure you know gotta watch out you don't want to ruin your rims, especially since you must be tubeless

  8. #8
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    Running low pressures to float over soft stuff can be done with tubes as well. The only thing tubes hate about low pressures is the possibility of snake bite.

    Of course tubeless has so many advantages that you'll want to do it anyways.

    I regularly run pressures as low as 15-20 psi in my 29er with 2.35 tires. I weigh around 70 kg (156 lbs). The amount of float compared to regular bikes is already quite impressive, and even compared to the same bike at higher pressures I notice a reduction in rolling resistance, because the tire doesn't sink in as much.

    If you're having fun as it is, don't worry about getting another bike. You found a solution that works for you - great!

  9. #9
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    Actually, I'm just running them with tubes. I'm now about four rides in and the low pressure has been great. I can ride stuff that I've never attempted before. As spring and summer progress, I may think about a wider, high-volume tire because I measured my "2.3" and my "1.9" and they both measure right at 2 inches wide.
    I don't jump and I don't go downhill like a madman, but the trade-off is worth it for the extra territory I can actually ride vs. pushing or giving up.

  10. #10
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    I wonder if the sand eliminates some of the risk of pinch flats. If i try to run below 15psi with tubes sometimes I get them, but then again it is rocky and rooty where i ride

  11. #11
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    I ride in the sand in the Yucca Valley, CA area fairly often on 2.1X29" tires set at 30PSI. I just leave the pressure the same for everything. Lower pressure may help on deep sand but it may bog you down on everything else. Maybe just avoid the prolonged sandy rides, chances are there's some less sandy riding near you that you just haven't discovered yet. A friend of mine recently dented his rim by allowing his pressure to get too low. Be careful!
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  12. #12
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    Since, I'm riding from home most of the time in 29 Palms, everything is sand.

    I did recently find out that some folks have been working on some trails in JT, but it is just easier to leave from my house.

    Chad

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwalton View Post
    Since, I'm riding from home most of the time in 29 Palms, everything is sand.

    I did recently find out that some folks have been working on some trails in JT, but it is just easier to leave from my house.

    Chad
    have you ridden the trail off Onaga near the park entrance in JT? Been into JT Bike shop?
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  14. #14
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    Yep, that is the place they sent me from the JT shop. It was a fun change from all the grinding through the sand I do here.

  15. #15
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    I'll be up in YV this weekend and I may hit that trail. Did the guys at the JT shop tell you that we are getting closer to having some of the trails inside the park opened up to mountain biking?
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  16. #16
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    If youíre encountering mostly sand and a little bit of solid dirt, you might very well warrant a fat bike. If you canít afford one, high volume normal tires will have to do.

    As a resident of the southern part of the Mojave Desert, Iíve learned to change my technique for sand. Out here, itís mostly jagged and loose rocks over dirt, so canít run too low a pressure. However, there are plenty of sand washes at the bottom of gullies.

    I run ordinary 2.1 or 2.2 tires with tubes at around 25 psi (I weigh 135), and have learned of a pleasant way to get through deep sand. It just involves getting into a super low gear, sitting down, and spinning your way through with even strokes. As for steering, donít do anything too fast or drastic. Iíve found that trying to muscle through the sand will throw you off kilter.

  17. #17
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    Idea!

    Hi All, First Post!

    I'm about to pull the trigger on a frame and start building a fatbike on this downhill frame, the Bionicon Ironwood
    Super low tire pressure for sand?-ironwood.jpg

    It has a two piece rear swing arm so I'm planning on widening it with some new parts and using a custom Risse racing rear shock and trixxxy fork.

    Link to build thread: https://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/fu...l#post10177698
    Last edited by Kos F; 02-20-2013 at 12:17 AM.

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