When using a bicycle, you must check all parts regularly to ensure that they are all in good condition so that your bike can work properly and keep you safe. Of all components, tires play an essential role in a bike’s operation. The air in tires must be the issue you check the most regularly when riding bicycles.
Pumping up the tires on your bike is a pretty essential skill, but like most other basic skills, you need someone to show you how the first time you do it. This article will show you how to put air in bicycle tires if you do not know.
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Time To Fill The Air In The Bike Tires – The Signs
After a particular time in use, the amount of air in bike tires decreases and needs pumping. If you insist on riding a bike with not enough air pressure in tires, it can shorten the tires’ long span and drive your speed down.
The time gap between two inflating bike tires depends on how often you ride your bike and how much weight your bike usually carries. A pressure gauge can help you to measure the psi in your bike tires and tell you when they need filling with air.
Nonetheless, you can still measure your bike tires’ air pressure without using any tools; just the feeling is enough.
Whenever you get on your bike, if you feel that it sinks obviously, it means that its tires need inflating. Or if you think that there is a rolling resistance when cycling, check your bike tires; it signifies that they are asking for more air put to work properly.
Check your bike tires as regularly as possible. The best way to protect them and ensure your bike works properly is to check the tires every time you get on your bike.
How Much Air Should You Put Into The Bike Tires?
If you have ever looked at your bike tires detailedly, you might find that the recommended pressure is printed right on the side of the tire. But even within the recommendation, there is a pretty decent amount of range, so how do you choose?
The short answer is that more air higher pressure gives you less rolling resistance and makes it easier to carry out your speed. In contrast, lower pressure prioritizes grip and gives you a little more comfortable ride.
The long answer is that there are a few more things to consider. For example, suppose the range printed on your bike tires is 40 to 65 psi. In that case, it means that if you were riding over some smooth terrain, maybe a well-paved road or a non-technical trail, you might choose psi on the higher end of that range to reduce that rolling resistance.
Meanwhile, if it were rainy and you were riding over roots and rocks outside, you might pick psi on the lower end of the range. It is at the expense of rolling resistance, but you get more grip, and the tire itself absorbs bumps as you can go over them. You can always add and subtract as the conditions change.
Moreover, a wider tire requires less pressure. For example, a mountain bike might only need 25 psi in it. In comparison, a road bike with narrower tires needs around 85 to 110 psi. The exact pressure is going to depend on weight as well.
Besides, it would be best if you learned to become a human pressure gauge. You need to know how much pressure is in your tires if you are traveling and do not have a pressure gauge. More likely, if you are out on a ride and you get a flat, you got to pump up your tire with a hand pump that does not have a pressure gauge.
My tip here is every time you fill up your tire, use your fingers to feel what that pressure is like. Do it as a habit when inflating your bike tires, and someday, you can control the air pressure without asking for a gauge.
Types of Bike Valve
Before learning how to inflate bicycle tires, you need to work out what types of valves you have on your wheels. The type of valve you have will affect the type of pump you need.
Bikes are likely to have one of two: Schrader valves and Presta valves. The former is most commonly found on bikes with wide rims and is the same style you will find on most automobiles. Meanwhile, the latter is narrower, which you usually find on high-end bikes and road bikes
The Schrader valve needs a broader opening, whereas the Presta valve needs a narrow one. And you can get an adapter to screw onto the Presta valve that allows you to use the car pump.
Tools Needed for Inflating Bike Tires
The most common and fundamental tool for inflating bike tires is a pump. It would be best if you got your pump; it is very affordable and cost-saving. You can always pump your bike at home whenever you need it, instead of paying for any bike repairer.
Besides using a bike pump, there are other tools for inflating your bike tires, such as a siphon hose with a couple of Schader Barb or an inflator with CO2 canisters. I will show you more specifically how to use them in section 7.
How To Pump Air In Bike Tires
Many people may think that there is nothing worth talking about inflating bike tires because it is a straightforward task. Yes, it is. However, to have your bike tires pumped up appropriately, you still need to learn more about them as well as some tips to make this task even more accessible. All you need to do is to follow the following steps.
Step 1: Remove dust cap and screw valve
Firstly, remove the dust cap if your bike wheels have them. The dust cap is facilitated to keep the air in the tire from escaping through the valve. But in fact, you technically do not need it at all.
Especially if your bike has a Presta valve before you can either inflate or deflate your tire, you need to unscrew the lock nut.
Step 2: Attach the nozzle of the pump onto the valve
Air will go into the tire through the air hose, so you must attach the nozzle to the valve stably.
If you use a floor pump, pull the pump level up, then put your foot on its base to keep the pump stand unwaveringly. Use both hands to hold the handle and pull it up, then push it down continuously. When the piston moves vertically, the air from the environment will be led to the hose then directly goes through the valve into the tires.
Almost all floor pumps for bicycles are facilitated with a pressure gauge on their leg, displaying the psi in tires. Thanks to that, it is easy for you to control the amount of air put into your bike tires.
However, if the pump you are using does not have a gauge, you can use your thumb, which is admittedly less accurate, but it is still valid. Press hard on the tire and feel. If it delves slightly, neither too soft nor too firm, the air pressure is enough.
With a hand pump, use one hand to keep the pump nozzle stick to the valve; use another hand to pump. However, this pump type can only put a small amount of air into the tire, compared to the floor pump, so you need to put more effort into your hand.
Or you can also use foot pumps for bicycles because they are more affordable than floor pumps and more energy-saving than hand pumps.
Step 3: Remove the nozzle from the valve
Once you are satisfied with the pressure, push the pump lever back, then swiftly and cleanly remove the valve’s pump nozzle. You will feel some air escaping but do not worry because that is a very normal phenomenon.
Step 4: Put the dust cap back
The last step in the bike tire pump process is to put the dust cap back to where it comes from. With Schrader valves, all you need to do is to put the plastic dust cap on the valves. Meanwhile, before returning the dust cap with Presta valves, make sure that you already screwed the lock nut closed.
For more information about how to inflate a bicycle tyre, let’s watch a helpful video on:
Some Other Methods To Put Air In Bicycle Tires
Trick #1: Transfer air between two tires using a siphon hose
Suppose you do not have a pump, no problem. Look for a siphon hose somewhere in your house, and you can have a gas with this thing. Just add a couple of Schader Barb, and it becomes a pressure equalizer. It only costs you five bucks to put these things together. That is as easy as pie.
Whatever you do, make sure at least one side is the clip-on variety; otherwise, you will not be able to hold your hose to the full tire and the flat tire at the same time. Transfer some air from one tire to another in case needed. Or when riding in a group, you can always take donations from multiple tires, so everyone stays reasonably pumped.
For more information about ways to inflate your tire without a pump, let’s watch a helpful video on:
Trick #2: Carbon dioxide cartridges
A more common and commercial solution is carbon dioxide. Thanks to some severe compressibility, you can carry a tire’s worth of air in your pocket. That kit includes an inflator and a CO2 cartridge. They are tiny, so you can always bring them with you just in case.
It is effortless. You just need to screw the cartridge into the inflator then attach it to your bike valve. Then the compressed air in the cartridge will go to the tire. You might need more than one CO2 cartridge until your bike tire is inflated with enough air. This trick is more time-saving than using a pump, but of course, it is more expensive.
For more information about how to use CO2 cartridge, let’s watch a helpful video on:
It is simple to fill air in bike tires at home. All you need to do is follow the guides I give you in this article. It only takes you from 10 to 30 seconds to check the tires and around 5 minutes to inflate them.
Please pay attention to your bike tires regularly to ensure that they have enough air in them. Put some CO2 cartridges in your pocket in case you can neither borrow a pump nor find a bike repairer to have your tires inflated.
How often to put air in bike tires?
It really depends on how often you use your bike and how much weight it carries. If you cycle daily, check your bike tires every time you get on your bike, or at least every week to make sure that the amount of air in them is enough for the proper operation.
How to put air in bicycle tires with an air compressor?
It is effortless. Firstly, have your air compressor plugged in. Then grab the hose with the bike attachment and put it into the bike valve. Press the trigger and hold for some seconds until the pressure gauge tells you to stop.
Can an air compressor work with a Presta valve?
Definitely yes. All you need is to get a Presta valve adapter which can be purchased for about a dollar at your local bike shop.
Step 1, you need to remove the cap and then loosen the valve lock nut all the way counterclockwise. You can now let the air out by depressing the lock nut.
Step 2, install the adapter by carefully threading it clockwise onto the valve stem threads until it is finger tight. Now the adapter effectively converts your Presta valve into a Schrader one.