How to Put Air in Bicycle Tires (Updated Nov 2021)

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Wondering how to inflate your bicycle tires in under 10 minutes? Well, keep reading for you’re about to discover an easy step by step approach. Plus, you’ll get to learn the necessary tools needed for the exercise.

Pumping a bicycle tire is a simple DIY task. It requires minimal efforts and it will only take you a few minutes. However, it can be a real headache when you don’t have the right tools.

And more critical, when you’re completely blank and have no idea how to go about it. But you don’t need to fret! This guide is made specifically for you. Sounds fair? Right.

So, let’s get going!

Tools Needed

You’ll need a few tools– a pump, a Presta adaptor, and a pressure gauge. That said, what makes the ideal bike pump? Let’s check that out.

There are two types of pumps that you can choose from. These are; a floor pump and a bike mount pump. Besides, each has its upside and downside. To get the best out of these, your personal preference will play a big role.

  • Floor Pumps

Floor pumps are primarily designed for home use. Compared to other bike pumps, they’re large in size. This makes them a less viable option carrying along with you.

Nevertheless, they’re easy to use and can pump in more air into your bike tire. Using them will save you much time as it only takes a short time to inflate a bike tire.

  • Bike Mount Pumps

On the flipside, bike mount pumps are a handy tool when you’re out during cycling. They’re small in size and super lightweight. However, using them requires much effort as it’ll take you longer to fill bike tires.

There are three types of tire valves– Schrader valves, Presta valves, and woods valves. Also, note that each type of valve requires a specific pump.

Nevertheless, some pumps are smart, multi-purpose, and can serve you well regardless of the type of valve.

  • Presta Adaptor

This is a cap that you can plug onto a Schrader valve to turn it into a Schrader valve. You’ll need it when inflating at a gas station.

  • Pressure Gauge

You’ll need this at a gas station to keep track of the pressure levels when pumping.

You already have your pumping tools ready. Now what? You need to know the maximum and minimum pressure your bike tire can take in. So, let’s have a look at that briefly.


Optimal Bike Tire Pressure

There’s no hard rule as to what pressure level you should aim for. Nonetheless, there’s a range you need to work with. Failing to stick to this can get you a burst tire.

To find the optimal pressure for your bike tire, check on the sidewall of the tire. These values are scribbled along the edges of the tire. And they read maximum and minimum levels that you should adhere to.

It’s time to learn how to pump bicycle tires. This is where the rubber meets the road. So, let’s dive in!

How to Put Air in Bicycle Tires With a Schrader Valve

Schrader valves are the most popular and are found in mountain bikes and less costly bikes. They’re shorter, have threaded stem core, and of wider diameter. To pump air into a Schrader tube, follow these simple steps.

Step 1. Unscrew the Rubber Cap

Gently turn the valve’s cap in a clockwise direction to loosen it up. When it’s finally out, place it in a safe place where you can easily locate it. Remember, you’ll need it again after inflating the bike tire.

Step 2. Check Out the Optimal Pressure Levels

The optimal pressure level is usually range and it’s embedded on your bike’s tire. Precisely, you will find these on the sidewall of the tire.

Also, be careful that you stick to this range as going contrary can cause your bike tire to pop out.

Step 3. Get Ready a Relevant Bike Pump

Finding a relevant pump is the key here because of the Schrader valve. The wrong pump can be a disappointment, so you want to avoid that at all costs. However, you can find a smart and accommodative pump.

If you don’t have your pump, you can still inflate your bike tire at a gas station. But you’ll have to take caution with these pumps as they’re usually high pressure.

To successfully pump the tire, use a pressure gauge while pumping in small bursts.

Step 4. Pump Air Into the Tire

Carefully put the pump into the Schrader tire until it perfectly fits. Also, check that the pump nozzle is in the open position when putting it into the valve. If it has a lever, make sure it’s properly clamped once the pump fits.

Now, begin to pump air into the tire by making upstrokes and down strokes. While doing so, remember to check the psi readings. Unplug the pump once the tire is well inflated.

How to Put Air in Bicycle Tires

*Tips on How to Remove Rusted Bike Chain

How to Put Air in Bicycle Tires With a Presta Valve

Presta valves are common with high-end road bikes. They’re longer and with narrow diameter. Also, they have an entirely threaded surface with an external valve stem and a valve cap.

Heres the procedure for inflating a bike with the Presta valve.

Step 1. Open the Presta valve

First, remove the dust cap by unscrewing it from the valve. Remember to keep it safe once it’s off the valve. Next, on the valve stem, there’s a brass cap that you should gently loosen up.

To confirm that it’s well loosened, press on the valve stem. The sound of air escaping out should be a good signal.

Step 2. Check Out the Optimal Pressure Levels

Check on the sidewalls of the tire for the optimal pressure. It’s a range that you need to stick to. Ensure you don’t go beyond or below the pressure levels.

Step 3. Get Ready a Relevant Bike Pump

You have three options here. You can get the right pump from a gas station, a friend, or buy one. At the gas station, you’ll need to use a Presta adaptor. Plugging it into the valve converts it into a Schrader valve.

Step 4. Pump Air Into the Tire

First, plug the pump onto the valve. To ensure it’s in the open position by aligning the lever (if it has one) parallel with the nozzle.

When it’s properly fitted, put air into the tire while checking that you don’t go beyond the recommended psi values.

*Learn How to tighten Bike Chain

How to Put Air in Bicycle Tires With a Woods Valve

This valve is mainly used in Asia and Europe and works the same way as a Presta valve. It’s shorter and almost the same size as a Schrader valve. If you own a city bike, you must be familiar with the woods valve.

Since it works on the same mechanism as a Presta valve, you can follow the steps as outlined on how to put air in bike tires with a Presta valve.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What Is the Cause of Flat Bike Tires?

Flat bike tires occur when there’s a leakage in the inner tube or from a tubeless bike tire. Here are the causes of flat tires; slow leaks, punctures, pinch cuts, blowouts, and bumping in tubeless tires.

2. How Often Should Pump up My Tires?

This depends on two factors, i.e. tire size and the pressure level that’s required. For Road bike tires, once every week is okay.

For Hybrid bike tires, once every two weeks is necessary. For mountain bike tires, you can do the pumping after 2-3 weeks.

3. How Often Should I Check My Bike Tire Pressure?

Between 4-5 days after pumping should be okay.

Final Thoughts

Putting air into a bike tire should be easy and fun. By following this guide, you’ll learn how to put air in bike tires. The best part is that you can apply the same steps to pump up a tubeless bike tire.