How to Inflate a Bike Tire– Step-by-Step Tips & Solutions

All of us have learned to ride a bike from our childhood. And from that very beginning, one of the major things we learn to do after learning how to ride the bike is how to inflate bike tires. This is a simple, everyday task that should be learned by all of us. And it is easy to learn. Learning how to inflate bike tires is going to be beneficial to us in several ways. Like, we will be able to inflate motorbike tires after learning about inflating bike tires. And we have to face several situations in our everyday lives, like punctured tires; and air flowing out due to pressure. That’s why learning how to inflate the bike tires is going to be enriching & helpful for all of us.

Possible Reasons for Tires Losing Air & Solutions for Solving

Puncturing of Tires Due to a Sharp Object

If we are riding our bikes on the roads, we sometimes find ourselves suddenly stranded down in the middle of the roads due to a puncture in the tire. The puncture may happen if the tire is pierced by a sharp object lying on the roads. And if that happens, the tire will lose air & we won’t be able to ride our bikes anymore at that moment. A possible solution for this problem would be such that, we will need to change the inner tube of the tires & repair the puncture on the tire. And after that, we should be careful whenever we are biking on the roads. And we should always keep our emergency maintenance kit with us.

An Improperly Functioning Tire Valve

The valves present in the bikes are responsible for keeping air pressure inside the tires. But if for some reason, the valves become loose or it is functioning improperly, the tires will be losing air. A good solution for this would be like the following. We need to always carefully close our valves. We also need to check our bikes often and do complete maintenance. If there is an improperly functioning valve, we need to repair it soon. Otherwise, we won’t be able to ride our bikes.

Standing Our Bikes for Many Days in One Spot

Sometimes it may happen that we could not bike our bikes for a long time. But after becoming free & wanting to get out of our houses for a cycling session, we find that our tires have become flat over the period.  It happens when we have stranded our bikes in one place for a long time, due to the constant pressure, the tires let out a little bit of air regularly. For solving this problem, we must bike our bikes regularly. And we should keep doing maintenance checks on the tires from time to time.

Necessary Pieces of Equipment

  • Pump
  • Wrench

How to Inflate the Bike Tires

The skill of inflating the bike tires whenever necessary is really important, especially if you are someone who rides the bike regularly. We are going to learn about how we can easily inflate the bike tires. And once we learn this, we are never going to forget this knowledge.

Step 1: Learning About the Type of Valve Present in the Bike Tire

There are different kinds of valves present in different bike tires. There are generally three types of valves that are commonly found. They are the Presta valve, Schrader valve & Wood valve. But mainly Presta & Schrader valves are more commonly found. Different kinds of valves have a variety of mechanisms. And those valves also come in different shapes & sizes. The Presta valve is different in appearance. It possesses a locking nut on the top of the stem of the valve for the locking mechanism. The Presta valve is narrower than the Schrader valve. On the other hand, the Schrader valve doesn’t possess any locking nut. It is wider than the Presta valve. This is commonly found in car tires as well.

Step 2: Unscrew Top of Dust Cap from the Valves

There are generally dust caps present on top of the valves for preventing dust to accumulate inside the valves. We need to unscrew the dust cap before we can proceed to the next steps.

Step 3: Letting the Air Out

Before pumping the tire, we need to let the air out from inside the tires. For the Schrader valve, we need to put a wrench into the valve that will put pressure on the stem & release the air. But in the case of the Presta valve, at first, we need to unthread the locking nut from its place. Then, we need to press on the stem of the Presta valve to force the air out from inside of the tire.

Step 4: Finding the Right Pump for the Valve in our Bike

After we decide on the type of valve present in our bike, we now need to find the right pump for that valve. Modern pumps come with facilities that cater to both types of valves present in most of the bikes. The pumps might possess two holes where each hole is only perfect for that particular type of valve. We need to differentiate between the holes. There are mainly two types of pumps available more commonly in the markets. They are hand pumps and floor pumps. Although there are certain advantages & disadvantages in the case of each pump, the mechanism of each pump is necessarily the same. A floor pump is a bigger tool which means it has higher air capacity. So, it can easily pump a bike tire in less time. And it is easy to handle. But since this is big, it is not a good portable item. On the other hand, a hand pump is a small portable tool that can be carried anywhere with ease. But it is a bit difficult to use, we have to use only our hands for pumping air. And since it is a small tool, it has low air capacity. So, pumping the tire through the hand pump will take more time than the floor pump.

Step 5: Placing the Pump on Top of the Valve

Now, we start to place the pump on the valve. We can choose one to use from both types of pumps available – the hand pump & the floor pump. And here is a good reminder that all of us should possess a pump at our homes & workplace & garage. It will be beneficial for us as we would be able to use the pump whenever we might face a situation. Choosing the right pump as we desire, we then place the pump on the valve. Then we lock the pump into that position by pulling the lever 90 degrees on top of the pump.

Step 6: Removing the Pump

After we are finishing pumping the tires, we then turn the lever back for releasing the pump from the valves. And after that, we remove the nozzle of the pump. When we are doing that, a little bit of air might get out which is a normal phenomenon.

How to Inflate a Tubeless Tire

Tires may come in two different conditions – tires with inner tube & tubeless tires. In recent times, due to many benefits, many of us are turning our bikes into tubeless tires. If we don’t have a tube inside the tire, then we wouldn’t need to worry about the tube being torn & pierced. We use an extra layer in the tire casing or liquid sealant inside the tires instead of the tubes. But the tubeless tires are a bit difficult to handle.  We are going to learn how to inflate a tubeless tire & seat a tubeless tire that won’t hold air.

Step 1: Letting All the Sealant Out of the Valves for Proper Pumping Operation

Most times, we use liquid sealant inside the tubeless tires. It is done for making the tires impermeable to air. This sealant helps to protect the tire & that benefits us in several ways. So before we start pumping air into the tubeless tires, we need to remove all the sealant from inside the tires. If any sealant is present inside the tires, it will disrupt the pumping process. We turn the wheels so that the valve is 90 degrees vertical. This will help to get the sealant out from the valves & accumulate it at the bottom of the tires.

Step 2: Pressing the Valve Stems & Letting out Additional Sealant

For a Presta valve, we unscrew the nut & press on the stem for some time to let the additional air & sealant out of the valve stem completely. We make sure no sealant gets inside the valve at this time.

Step 3: Inflating the Tubeless Tires

Then, we attach the nozzle of our pumps with the top of the valve stem. Then we turn the lever 90 degrees or in another different mechanism, for locking the pump at that position. And then we pump air into the tire normally, as we have learned already in this article.

How to Use the Adapter for Inflating the Tires

Sometimes, pumps we own might not be adaptable for the kind of valve present in our bikes. In that case, we have options to do two things.  One case would be to buy a totally different kind of pump which is perfect for pumping the valve our bikes have. This is a good option in the long run. But if we don’t want to buy a new pump, then we would at least need to buy a new adapter that will work for the valve our bikes have. The adapter is like the top part of a valve. So, when we attach the adapter to the top of the Presta valve, we can make it like a Schrader valve & vice -versa. After attaching the adapter to the valve, then we can just use our pump suitable for only Schrader valves & vice-versa. And the next process of inflating the pump using the pumps is the same process we have already learned in this article.

Safety Factors

  1. We should try to be safe when we are pumping air using the pump because if we pump too much air inside the tires, the tires might burst due to high pressure & ultimately make us hurt. Also, too much pressure can make the tire get easily punctured whenever it is pressed against a strong surface or object. This might also cause us to have unnecessary costs.
  2. We should be careful when we are handling the lever of the valves & pumps because if we are being careless, we could just break those levers. And we might also hurt our hands. And if the lever breaks, we would need to repair it.  And that is another unnecessary cost to spend.

Final Remarks

Properly inflated tires with the standard pressure inside are going to give us the full immersive experience. For experiencing those immersive feelings, we definitely need to learn this skill. And, when we finally do that, it will be a great change for all of us. We should always keep in our minds about the maintenance of our bikes. And regarding that, it is a very good practice to check up on the tire pressures of our bikes regularly & definitely before riding out with our bikes. Keeping a pump ready by our side is a very good habit. And we recommend everyone to do the same. Also, keeping a hand pump might give additional advantages as this will be easier to carry whenever we are thinking of riding far away. Safety is an important issue and that’s why we should always wear helmets, knee caps & joint caps whenever we go out riding.