Simple Tips On How To Use A Bike Pump

How To Use A Bike Pump In The Right Way

You’re prepared to ride your bike on a lovely day with the sun shining, but you discover that one of your tires is flat.

If it has been a while since you have ridden your bike, your tire pressure is most likely low. A simple repair!

We’ll demonstrate (step-by-step) how to use a bike pump.

Identify The Presta Or Schrader Valves On Your Bicycle Tire

Take some time to check your tire before you even think of removing the pump.

There are two main types of valves for bicycle tires, or more specifically, inner tubes. They are either Schrader or Presta valves. If you’re unsure of what kind of valve you have, look at the images below.

But hold on, you say, my valve doesn’t resemble those images at all. It seems to be made of plastic. That is a result of the plastic dust cap that is on your valve. Simply unscrew it to remove it.

What purpose does having a particular type of valve serve? because various valves call for various pump nozzles.

Both floor pumps and hand pumps are common in modern pumps, but you must use the right one. Other pumps may only support Schrader valves, therefore you might need to purchase an adaptor to support a Presta valve (if your tires are Presta).

Establish The Correct Tire Pressure For Your Tires

Identifying the proper tire pressure is the next thing you should do before beginning to pump.

The air pressure in bicycle tires is expressed in pounds per square inch, or PSI for short. You need a lot of pressure in order to roll quickly, but not so much that the ride becomes painful.

Additionally, if you over-inflate your tires, you risk blowing the tire off the rim. (Don’t be alarmed; this is a challenging task.)

To get the recommended tire pressure from the manufacturer, look at the sidewall of your tire. The following fundamental criteria should be followed if your tire doesn’t have this (most will):

  • 80 to 130 psi for road bicycle tires
  • Tire pressure for hybrid or cruiser bikes: 40 to 70 psi
  • Tire pressure for mountain bikes: 25 to 35 psi

Stick to the lower end of the psi range if you’re a light rider; if you’re heavy, go higher.

Step 1: Determine The Type Of Valve

Identifying the type of valve your bike employs is the first stage in the tire repair procedure. Either a Presta valve or a Schrader valve is typically seen on bicycles.

The tips of Presta valves are pointed, long, and thin. Compared to Schrader valves, they have more components and a tad more complexity because they include detachable valve cores and locknuts for further security. Presta valves are unique to bicycles, whereas Schrader valves are common on other vehicles.

Presta valves are longer and narrower than Schrader valves, which are more prevalent because they are also used in automobiles, motorcycles, and other forms of transportation. Schrader valves are more common because they are simpler to use, despite the fact that many people think they are less secure than Presta valves.

Knowing the sort of valve you are using is also helpful because the two types of valves have different functions. Even if you didn’t choose your bike based on the type of valve, you might need to do so in the future if you plan to use it for something other than a leisurely spin around the block.

Step 2: Remove The Valve Cap

Your valve’s top is likely covered with a plastic cap. Take this apart by unscrewing it and removing it. Keep in mind: Left loose, right tight.

Put it away safely so you can replace it when you’re done.

Step 3: Examine Tire Pressure

Finding the tire’s current pressure level is the next step. This procedure is one that you are already accustomed to if you’ve ever checked the tire pressure on your car. The PSI, or pressure per square inch, of your bike tire, can be determined with a pressure gauge.

Verify the tire’s pressure is at the recommended level. This number must be accurate, just like with automobile tires, as too much air in a tire might cause it to pop, causing more issues than it solves.

Read about: Who Was The Inventor Of The Bicycle: Track History – Bike Your Best

It could be challenging to read the tire pressure quantity, and occasionally tires don’t even specify a recommended amount. If so, follow the general guidelines established for your particular bike type. The preferred PSI range for the typical road bike is between 80 and 130 PSI. On the other hand, mountain bikes favor a PSI of about 30. In the middle, hybrid bicycles need between 40 and 70 PSI.

To confirm that the tire appears to be at the proper pressure level, you can also feel it. The required pressure is also influenced by your size; heavier or larger riders need tires with higher pressure than lighter riders.

Step 4: Decide Pump Type

To ensure optimal use, it’s essential to identify the sort of bike pump you have. The majority of air pressure pumps are floor or hand pumps.

The floor pump that has a base that you place your feet on and a handle that you press to force air through the pressure pipe comes to mind when you think of a bike pump. People who require a speedy fix, like professional cyclists, choose this kind of pump since it expeditiously passes more volume via the pressure pipe.

A hand pump typically has just one tiny pedal or bulb that needs to be squeezed to inflate the air. This style of pumping is slower but frequently more controlled. It is practical for smaller

Step 5: Open Presta Valve

It’s time to start putting air into the tire now that you are aware of the type of valve and pump you have. Those that have Schrader valves can move on to the next level. However, if you have a Presta valve, you must first open the valve before continuing.

Twist the valve several times to the left to release it. I do this by hand, but if the valve is tight or you haven’t touched your bike in a long, a set of pliers might be useful. Push down briefly on the top once the valve has been opened to release a little amount of air pressure.

Simple Tips On How To Use A Bike Pump
Simple Tips On How To Use A Bike Pump

Step 6: Fit Pump Nozzle Onto Valve 

Prior to connecting the hose, ascertain the proper nozzle hole. Presta valves are thin, but Schrader valves are wide and need a larger bore. Make sure you’re using the right floor or hand pump by double-checking that it has both options.

Once you’ve located the proper nozzle hole, screw or press the nozzle firmly into place on the valve. After that, press a little harder to firmly fasten the nozzle. If any air escapes while you’re doing this, that’s okay.

You might have a pump lever if you’re utilizing a floor pump. The lever must be raised all the way up to a 90-degree angle. If not, a push lever should be visible so that you can engage to start the pump.

Step 7: Pump Air Into Tire 

Hold the pump nozzle in position with one hand after attaching it to the valve. Pump the recommended volume of air into the tire with the other hand. Depending on the kind of pump you have, this process can take a while. Due to their smaller size and lower power, hand pumps take longer to finish a task and necessitate more pumps.

If you’re using a floor pump, put your feet on the base of the pump and raise and lower the lever until the tire is fully inflated. Because floor pumps carry a lot of air quickly, take care not to overfill the tire.

Use the appropriate mode when using a hand pump. There are two settings on certain hand pumps: “high volume” and “high pressure.” Start with the “high volume” setting, then when it becomes more challenging to manually operate the hand pump, go to the “high pressure” setting.

No matter what kind of pump you are using, monitor your air pressure the entire time you are pumping. The pressure gauge on your pump might make this operation straightforward. In any other case, you should physically check the pressure occasionally. To test how stiff the tire feels, you can also squeeze it. It needs to be tight but with a little give so that it won’t pop.

Step 8: Change Pump From Nozzle 

Remove the pump from the nozzle vertically in one fluid motion once the tire has been filled to the recommended air pressure level. Losing a little air throughout this process is typical. Reduce the quantity of air released, but do not be concerned if some escapes through the bike valve.

Step 9: Shut Presta Valve

Use your hand to firmly twist the Presta valve back into the closed position if you have one. If using pliers, avoid stripping or overtightening. There shouldn’t be any more air being released, or a “hiss.”

Step 10: Change Valve Cap 

Reattach the plastic valve cap to the tire’s valve by finding it and finding it. To prevent harm to the valve, make sure everything is firmly in place. To make sure there are no issues when you get your bike back onto the road or dirt, you might want to do one more check of the pressure, valve, and tire at this time.

You have successfully finished the procedure once you have replaced the valve’s cap. Your bike is ready for the road in a matter of minutes!

Step 11: Replace The Dust Cap And Tighten The Valve (If Presta)

If you have a Presta valve, be sure to securely close it once more by screwing it right.

Additionally, be sure to screw the plastic dust cap back on if you have one.

Well done; you’re finished!


Simply flick the switch on the pump head so it pops off once you’ve inflated your tires to the desired pressure, then tighten the locking screw before replacing the valve cap. After that, “Go shred,” as Mcleod so eloquently puts it.

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