High Volume, Low PSI

I’m returning to my higher volume lower psi days on the rigid 29er. With no upcoming races to train for and just fun riding on the horizon I’ve decided to go with increased comfort and grip at the expense of more weight, more rolling resistance and more noise.

For the last few months, the 29er has been set-up with a Maxxis Ignitors and a front suspension fork. I consider the Ignitor to be a mid-volume sized tire at 2.1 inches wide and a claimed weight of 705 grams which is neither light nor heavy in the 29er tire world. This setup has worked as a great race front tire in So. Cal. conditions with, in my opinion, an ideal blend of volume, low rolling resistance, grip and weight.

But since I’ve gone back to rigid and I’m not racing anytime soon I’ve decided that I’d like to add a little more comfort to the equation. Because of this I slapped on a Panaracer Rampage 29 up front. The Rampage is definitely a high volume tire. At a claimed weight of 800 grams the Rampage is getting a bit portly for my normal type of riding (think XC / light AM) but because I’m going rigid I’m willing to take the weight penalty for the ability to run a lower PSI and gain the comfort of the higher volume.

Panaracer Rampage 2.35″ of rubber = high volume

I was running my Ignitor at about the 35-ish psi for the races and fast training rides prior to the race but for the Rampage I set it at just under 25 psi which feels so much better. I’d like to run it even lower but changing tires on the WTB Laserdisc wheels are a HUGE hassle so I’m careful not to run it too low and be prone to pinch flats.

I was able to get in a quick shake down ride of the Rampage / eXotic carbon 29er fork setup with Moe & RL this morning. We rode a quick 7 miles which had only 1 half mile descent. Once I got on the trail I could instantly tell the new setup would be more comfortable than the Ignitor + eXotic carbon fork setup but I really knew this to be true on that mild descent. The eXotic carbon fork does a great job muting the tiny bumps on the trail. The Rampage does a great job of muting slightly bigger bumps. Combining them together meant more comfort for my hands. I can’t wait to ride some more on it.

Click here for info on the Panaracer Rampage.
Click here for info on the eXotic carbon 29er fork, which has been awesome under my 215 lbs.

11 Replies to “High Volume, Low PSI”

  1. Sounds like you’ve got the tire pressure all figured out so I need some help.

    I’m running 2.3 WTB Exiwolfs on the Bandersnatch with a full rigid setup(steel fork). BUT i still want to have fun on the trails(fast downhills, drops, etc.). What type of pressure would you recommend running to avoid flats? I’m not so much concerned with a more supple ride(rigid…der) as I am about avoiding flats…and I’m pretty harsh on my bikes.

  2. Lance, it’s a game of trial and error. The other benefit with running lower pressure is more grip. Because of that I like to start at about 28 psi and go down from there. Ride around, jump off the curb, take some stairs (down and up), ride around some more. If you don’t feel the rim, you can drop the psi a little. When you feel the rim, stop there and fill up the tire a little.

    Since you’re much lighter than me I think you might be able to go a bit lower than my 25ish and not run the risk of pinch flatting. If you’re really worried about pinch flats though 30 psi was more than enough to keep me from flatting, but the tire isn’t as grippy and trail can get rough.

    RL: no problem today. At around 25, it wasn’t close to hitting the rim, especially on the easy loop we did this morning. I’d like to see how this setup does at Santiago Oaks or Aliso Woods with all the rocks, ruts and off camber riding. I think I’ll still be OK at 25 psi.

  3. The minimum recommended PSI is 35 on my Kenda Nevegals, I had my 29er tires at 38 psi today. So, what you are saying is that I can disregard the minimum recommended PSI stamped on my tires?

  4. Roll? Nah. I would be if the WTB rims were easy to remove & install tires but they aren’t. They’re a beast and I have confidence in the tire staying on.

  5. “With no upcoming races to train for.. ”

    Sucks doesn’t it? I think the Sea Otter Classic sorta stops anybody from holding an April/May event since its so huge. I just got started racing at Southridge this year (did Bonelli XC challenge last year as my first race) and was totally stoked. Anybody have any races they plan on going to June/July-ish?

    I’m thinking of doing the Glendale Grand Prix in June to try a road race (crit) Not sure what to expect…

    Love the blog!

  6. Hey, thanks for the link Lance. I might check out that race in Santa Barbara (los olivios) depending how much school junk I have going on.

    If you’re ever out in simi valley and want to check out some of our trails, i’d be happy to show you around. we got some great riding out here

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