Traction is key to enjoyable trail riding. When your tires are spiining or skidding the bike has less contro and less tractionl. Lot's of riders put all kinds of money into motor work, but they could probably get more from their stock bike by airing down for traction. There is a good reason why 4x4 guys air down their rigs and the same performance gains can be had from airing down your dirt bike tires.
Most riders on forest trails have far too much pressure in their tires.due to concerns about pinch flats. Yet riding in the forest is much slower than desert riding allowing much lower pressures which vastly improves traction. Riders often struggle with technical sections and fatigue easily becuase the bike is beating them up. Airing down for traction is a great way to solve these issues.
The Contact Patch-
The tire contact patch increases dramatically at 10psi and less on any rear tire. More contact means more traction and a tire that can flex will mold itself around rocks to give maimum traction. The diffrerence is night and day when compared to tires with more than 10psi. Atctually for stiff walled tires like desert knobbies many riders prefer to air down to 4 psi for traction.
The balance point is to get maximum traction without getting pinch flats. For technical trails and stand up riding a rear tire pressure of 8 psi can be used without pinch flatting. However a sit down rider will impart more weight to the rear tire and may need to air up to 10psi.
Two products to help run lower pressure without pinch flats are the Tube Saddle for $39.95 and Tubeliss kits $99.95 offering simple way to take advantage of the most overlooked performance gain. Pro racers are running 6psi with these without pinch flats and getting massive traction gains.
More Compliant Suspension-
As an added benfit lower rear tire pressure will help absorb impacts giving you get a softer ride so you can ride longer..
Put A Smile On Your Face-
We havd a bunch of riders test their abilities on an obstacle course where instructors could provide specific tips to those who were having a hard time.Then tire pressures were reduced from 15-20 psi to 10 psi rear and 12 psi front. You could see the big smiles as riders rode the course flawlessly the next time around. Riders commented that lower tire pressure were like night and day preventing deflection on the front end and increasing traction on the rear.
Trails Tire For Even More Traction-
Using a Trials Tire like the Pirelli MT43 at 8psi can make an even greater performance gain as well as not making braking bumps or whoops. Softening suspension can also improve tracking and reduce fatigue.
Pirelli MT43 rear Trials Tires for Ultimate Traction
TubeSaddle pinch protection devices
Tubeliss pinch protection devices