Pinch flats happen on bicycle tires when the inner tube pressure is too low and the tire and rim “pinch” the tube. They are fairly easy to avoid and prevent by regularly checking your tire pressure, this is especially true for road bikes.
- for road bicycles check your pressure every few days or before you go out riding
- aim for between 115 to 125psi or 110psi if you weigh under 150lbs
- put higher pressure in your rear tube since more weight is put onto the rear wheel
- higher pressure means less grip but going too low (below 100psi) will increase your chances of getting a pinch flat significantly
Just below is an image of a road bike tire sidewall showing the recommended pressure for maximum performance and to avoid pinch flat tires.
- for mountain bikes check your pressure once a week or before you go out riding
- aim for between 40psi to 60psi, lower pressure is good for mud and sand, higher will make you roll faster and should be used for hard surfaces such as pavement
- if you feel your rim coming into contact with the ground through your tire, you need to inflate the tube more or you risk getting a pinch flat
Below is an image of a mountain bicycle tire side wall showing the recommended pressure rating 40-60psi for best performance and to prevent a flat tire from pinch flats.