Cyclists are expected to learn some minor repair and maintenance skills. The most important skill you should know is how to inflate a bike tire. Having a flat tire is a normal scenario among bikers, and learning the skill saves you from visiting a mechanic constantly.
So, how can you inflate a bicycle tire without seeking professional help? Here are the essential tips about inflating a flat bike tire successfully. It includes inspecting your tire valve, preparing the right bike pump, and determining the recommended tire pressure.
To know more, read on and learn from this short guide.
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Why Inflate Bike Tires Regularly
Before you head out for a ride, checking your bicycle tires is a must. It is a good practice among bikers, especially for long-distance biking. You can avoid having a flat tire on the way to your destination.
So, why do you need to inflate your tires regularly? Check out the following reasons:
1. Enhances traction
Traction ensures that you have a smooth and hassle-free ride. It makes your tires versatile and can be used either for smooth or rough terrains. Aside from the tire pressure, you should also check the tread patterns you see on the bike tire. If it is heavily used, traction will be compromised.
2. Ensures safety
A flat tire can cause serious accidents. If you feel not enough pressure on your bike tire, your cycling performance can be sacrificed. It can also lead to road accidents. A flat tire is not ideal to use in different surface conditions.
It will compromise your bike balance and can not provide a sturdy and stable performance. You will also have difficulty steering with a poorly inflated tire.
3. Provides comfort
If you want to be more comfortable during your rides, ensure that your bicycle tire is perfectly inflated. The right pressure in the tire gives you comfort when riding. You can ride on the bicycle smoothly and confidently with the correct pressure.
4. Avoids flats
A poorly inflated tire is a major reason you get flats during a ride. It would be really frustrating to encounter a flat tire, especially when you are in the middle of your long-distance ride. Thus, it is important to always check your tires before going out for a ride. Therefore, if you have a flat bike tire, please check out this guide for more steps to fix it.
5. Bad performance
Bad tires mean bad cycling performance. If your tire is poorly inflated, the responsiveness of your bicycle wheels will greatly be reduced. As a result, you cannot maximize the function of your bike on the road.
Ways to Inflate a Bike Tire
1. Determine the type of valve your tire has
The first step in this process is to know what kind of valve your bicycle tire has. There are several kinds of valves available in the market today. These valves require a specific bike pump or an adapter before inflating.
You should look at the valve initially and check what kind of pump it needs. For your reference, here is the most widely used tire valve currently:
Schrader valves – this kind of valve is thick and usually used for bicycles with wide tires. The Schrader valve is almost the same as the valves found in cars. They are user-friendly and compatible with most bicycle pumps.
Schrader valves normally have hollow tubes along with a spring valve. You will also see a pin at the top of the valve controlling the air pressure coming out from the tire. It comes with a dust cap that does not require manual removal. The dust cap prevents dirt and debris from penetrating through your bike tire.
- Rim bore: 8.5mm
- Used for: travel bike, everyday bike
Presta valves – the Presta valve is an uncommon type. It is ideal for thin and narrow tires like those in 700cc wheels. It is a more complicated version of the valve because you need to unscrew the top of the valve before you can begin to pump the bike tire.
Aside from that, a Presta valve requires its own Presta pump or an adapter. This also comes with a nut that needs to be removed to open the valve when you put the air pressure. It is thinner than Schrader valves and more delicate to use.
- Rim bore: 6.5mm
- Used for road bikes, mountain bikes, tubeless system
Woods valve – it is also called the Dunlop or English valve. This type of tire valve is widely used in Asia and Europe. It looks like a bigger Schrader valve that uses the same mechanism similar to a Presta valve.
- Rim bore: 8.5mm
- Used for: City bikes
2. Check the proper tire pressure
The next thing you should know is the recommended pressure your bike tire needs. You must look at the tire’s sidewall and check the pressure the tire requires. You can also refer to the tiring manual to see the manufacturer’s suggestion. Ensure that you do not go below or above the recommended tire pressure.
- Road Bike: 80 to 130 psi
- Mountain Bike: 25 to 35 psi
- Hybrid Bike: 40 to 70 psi
3. Start to inflate the tires
Prepare your bike pump and put air in the bicycle tires. For a specific valve type, the process varies, too. Check out the procedure below:
- If you have a Schrader valve, you must first remove the rubber cap before inflating the tire. Ensure that you place the cap in a proper storage area to avoid misplacing it.
- Next, you must open the pump’s lever, and place it on the valve. After ensuring that the pump is properly placed, you can now close the lever and start to fill the bike tires. Continue filling bike tires with air until you achieve the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
- Then, you can unlock the level, remove the bike pump, and put the screw cap you just removed earlier.
This valve is a little more complicated compared to the Schrader valve. Remember, you need to get the correct bike pump or use an adapter for this process.
- Open the valve by unscrewing the dust cap that comes with it. Keep the cap safe as you will return it back after pumping up a bike tire.
- Then, you should remove the brass cap covering the valve. This brass cap will not come off entirely, so you just have to lift it to create a gap.
- Get the Presta pump or if you are in the gas station, bring out your adapter and connect it to the valve. Start pumping the correct tire pressure continuously.
- After you are satisfied with the air pressure or achieve the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, you can now flip the lever and put the dust back again.
This is almost the same process as the Presta valve. You must remove the valve cap first, and loosely screw the valve nut. Expect that upon screwing the cap, the air will automatically come out. After that, you can now pump air in the bike tire to achieve the desired tire pressure.
How to inflate a bike tire is never complicated. You just need the basic knowledge of understanding the tire valve, the correct bike pump, and the recommended tire pressure. You do not need expert skills to be able to inflate your own bicycle tires.
This guide has provided you with fundamental information on how you can inflate a bicycle tire without visiting a bike repair shop. The steps are simple and easy to understand, as well.
“I ride my bike to work for years, but is that enough? Our carelessness towards our surroundings has taken a toll on the environment. And now, everyone is responsible for changes; even the most minor contribution is counted. With this hope and spirit, I started with my partner to establish Biketoworkday to help more individuals commute to their work sites on their bikes.”