Before we get to “how to put air in bike tires,” you need to see which type of tire valve you are dealing with and the tools for inflating your tires. There are different ways to put air in your bike tires. Today’s post will explore different ways of how to pump up bike tires one by one, so keep reading.
What Type of Bicycle Valve Do You Have?
There are three different types of bicycle valves: Schrader, Presta, and Wood valves. Schrader and Presta are the most common types. Schrader valves are just like those used on cars, and you will find them on cheap bikes.
The high-end ones come with Presta valves which are specific to bikes. Schrader is wider and has a similar circumference from top to bottom. On the other hand, Presta is about half the Schrader’s width and is threaded to the bottom.
There is a third type of valve, known as Woods or Dunlop valve, and you will find it mostly in Asian countries and the Netherlands. It looks like a fatter version of a Presta valve.
Tools You Will Need for Pumping Bicycle Tires
Let’s discuss how to put air in bike tires further, shall we?
It’s not just about having a pump to inflate your bike tire. Sometimes you only need to fill that much air for the maintenance. Some pumps also come with an adaptor that you can use for different valves.
Pump: A pump is a tool used to inflate your tires. Without it, you cannot inflate your tire because this is the source of air.
Pressure gauge: A pressure gauge is needed if you are looking to fill to make the tire perfectly inflated for maintenance purposes. Also, if you are pumping air for the first time, you need to gauge with you.
Adaptor: An adaptor will allow you to pump air into the Presta valve using a Schrader inflator. This is a must-have if you have more than one bike or tires with different valves.
How to Put Air in Bike Tires with a Presta Valve?
Pumping bike tires with Prest valves is not that difficult. However, the Presta valve is a more bike-specific valve, and in the following text, we will show you how to pump up a Presta bike tire or how to put air in bicycle tires with a Presta valve.
The first step in the process of how to pump a bike tire with a Presta valve is to take off the dust cap. This high-end road bike valve is narrower and longer, and there is an external valve stem with a cap.
This cap is to prevent dust and debris from damaging the valve. Remove the cap and loosen that small brass cap that is there right on the valve. Just raise it a bit because it is not going to come off. When you press this brass cap, air will escape in a short burst. If that happens, then you have loosened it enough.
Now you must figure out the PSI that is recommended for your tires. The number is given on the side of your tires, and this is the minimum amount of air you should inflate.
Get your pump that has a narrow head and start inflating the tire. You can put the pump head right on the valve nozzle and make sure you have loosened it enough.
Keep an eye on the PSI, and when you are done, flip that lever back and screw close the brass cap. After that, replace the dust cap to finish. If you notice that the head and the nozzle don’t fit, you will need an adaptor for your Presta valve. And that’s how to put air in road bike tires nice and easy.
How to Put Air in Bike Tires with a Schrader Valve?
Pumping bicycle tires with Schrader valves is pretty simple. Schrader valves are much more conventional, and you can find them on low-end bikes. Here we will show you how to put air in the Schrader valve.
The first step in putting air in mountain bike tires is to check the stem of the valve. The core surrounds the stem of this valve, and you will need a pen cap or a thumbnail to press on the valve. You will find the valve inside the core as soon as you uncap it from the top.
You will have to find out if he needs PSI for your tires. These numbers will be given on one side of your tires. Make sure you keep the PSI close to the higher number because this is the recommended PSI.
After that, you need to take your pump and start inflating your tires. Just place the pump head right on the valve nozzle and press. You will notice that air begins to fill in the tire.
The fourth and final step in how to inflate the Schrader valve is inflating. Again, it is pretty much a similar process in both the valves. And you won’t need an adapter here either.
How to Put Air in Bike Tires with a Wood/Dunlop Valve?
Now we will show you how to put air in fat bike tires or put air in fixed bike tires.
This type of valve is more commonly found in Asian and European markets, but it employs a similar technique for inflating Presta valves. You can refer to the Presta valve inflation section for this. The only difference here is that this valve has a bigger diameter. This is how to pump road bike tires with a wood valve.
How to Put Air in Bike Tires at the Gas Station?
How to put air in hybrid bike tires or any other bike at the gas station is a good question because some riders like to go for it. As far as answering the question, yes, you can use the pumps at the gas station to inflate your bike tires, but you need to be cautious.
These pumps don’t have any gauges on them, and you don’t know how much you are filling with each press. In addition, there is a risk of a tire burst, so the better option is to go for an overfilled tire and get it inflated somewhere else.
How Much Air to Put in Bike Tires?
You don’t have to do much research to know how much air to put in bike tires. All bike tires have a PSI range mentioned on their slides. The low PSI has the number that needs to be there in our tires, and your PSI should not fall under that. The higher PSI is the maximum amount of air you can take, and you should keep the PSI around this number.
How to Put Air in Bike Tires Without a Pump?
Let’s further discuss how to put air in bike tires. You can either use a CO2 cartridge to inflate your tire or do it manually without a pump. First, clean your valve and tire and blow some air into it. Next, put some pressure on the valve with your tongue. This will take a little while, so be patient and check if the tire is adhering to the rim.
You can also use a CO2 cartridge and attach it to the nozzle of the tire valve. Inflate the tire step by step and keep an eye on the PSI. There is a mechanism on the cartridge to stop the flow of air. If there isn’t any, you have to either carry more cartridges or make your one cartridge count.
3 Top Tips When Pumping Bicycle Tires
Here’s how to inflate bike tires by following these useful tips.
- Attention: You have to make sure that you pay attention when working on the valve, not damage it with the pump head or replace the valve or the entire tire.
- Caps: Make sure to finish the inflation process in the end by pacing the cap back to the valve, as it will prevent any leakages.
- Checking: There shouldn’t be any leaks. You can check that by throwing water or using your spit on it.
How Often Do You Put Air in Bike Tires?
It would help if you pumped at least once or twice a week. It is good practice to pump your bike before you ride if you don’t ride that much. Road bike tires tend to lose their normal bike pressure after 4 to 5 days of no use. So, it’s better to either inflate once a week or before each ride.
Most Common Problems with Valves When Pumping Bicycle Tires
One of the most common problems with valves when pumping bicycle tires are bent valves which can cause some issues to fit the pump head on the valve. Moreover, road bikes might have their rims deeper than their valves. This results in difficulty in placing the pump on the valve. Leakage in valves is another issue, and it requires replacement.
Can I use a car tire pump for the bike tire?
You can use a car tire pump, but you will have to be extremely careful because the pressure is a bit too much for a bike tire and a popping risk. So, it’s certainly not part of our’ how to fill bike tires’ manual.
Can I pump bike tires at a gas station?
Again, you can do that, but there is a risk of tire popping involved. So, if you have done it multiple times before, still be very careful.
How much to inflate hybrid bike tires?
The tire pressures that you need to maintain are mentioned on the side of the tires. The upper limit is where you need to keep the pressure.
Where can I put air in my bike tires?
You can buy a pump from your local bike shop, or you can go to your local gas station as well. But going for a bike pump is a better choice than a gas station option for emergencies.
How to put air in bike tires is not a big deal if you know what type of valve you have and how to use a pump if you already own one. Tire pressures are available on the sidewalls of your bike tires. For more guidance on tire pressure, read our full guide on how to set the correct tire pressure on your hybrid bike.