How to Use a Bike Pump – Easy Tips & Steps

Every person has ridden a bike from their childhood. And one of the first things that we all learn from our childhood is to use the pump to pump our tire whenever the air has gone out. Tires need the right amount of air for functioning optimally. And that’s why pumping a bike using a pump is a regular incident.

We have to do this every few days. Because a bike tire may need pumping if it has lost air inside. And keeping our bike standing for days at a stretch makes air go out little by little. Also if the tire is punctured, then we have to replace the inner tube & we have to use the pump even then.

That’s why it is a must for every cycle rider to learn how to use a bike pump. This is a very simple & but an essential part of many people’s life. And since we need this pump regularly, it is recommended that all of us should buy & keep a pump at our home. So that, we can use it whenever we may need it.

Also, all of us should have the primary necessary knowledge about different types of valves, different types of pumps & about applying standard pressure of air to the tire through pumping and also other relevant information which is necessary in order to know about how to use a bike pump.

And this pump is essential for pumping air into bike tires, motorbike tires & even car tires. So it has great advantages. There are different types of pumps available in the market. And each pump needs to be used in a bit different way.

We should also learn more about different types of pumps & how to use those pumps. In this article, we are going to teach about different ways to use different types of bike pumps.

Table of Contents

How to Use a Floor Pump or Hand Pump

Step 1: Determine the Kind of Valve Present in Our Bike

Before using any pump, we need to learn more about the type of valve present in the bike.

There are three types of valves commonly available & used in the market. They are the Schrader valve, Presta valve & Wood valve. Among those, the Schrader valve & Presta valve are more generally used worldwide.

The Schrader and Presta valves are fundamentally different in appearance & mechanism.

Different valves like Schrader & Presta and especially Presta valves come in different sizes. Schrader valve is wider than Presta valve & it is flat. Presta valve has a narrow width and it features a locking nut at the top position. The locking nut needs to be adjusted beforehand for adding or releasing air.

So, not every sized valve is going to be compatible with just any pump. This is due to the fact that even the pumps come in different sizes & with diverse attributes like twin socket, reversible heads, smart heads. And since each valve has a specific size and mechanisms, and for that, a specific pump adhering to that specific valve is necessary.

Step 2: Emptying the Air Out

Here a wrench might come in handy. For emptying the air from the Schrader valve tube, we need to insert that wrench into the valve which will press on the stem inside the valve & release air consequently.

In the case of a Presta valve, there is a small locknut at the top of the valve stem. For deflating the tire, at first we unlock the locknut and then we press on the valve stem to let the air out.

Step 3: Finding the Right Pump to Deal with the Right Valve

Many days, what most people make mistakes about is that they unknowingly try to pump air through the Presta valve with a Schrader bike pump & vice versa.

And after learning about valves & finding out the valve type in our bicycles, we then go forward and choose a suitable pump. Most modern pumps come with the advantages of suitably working with both Presta valves & Schrader valves.

Step 4: Learning About Standard Pressure Guidelines

There is always a recommended standard value of pressure (psi) written on the sides of the tire.

This standard pressure is optimum for that type of tire. So we will try to get that much air pumped inside.

But if your bike tires don’t mention that, then the following basic guidelines will be a great help.

For road bikes, tire pressure can vary from 80-100psi or a bit more. And for mountain bikes, the pressure of the tire can be kept around 25-35 psi. And hybrid tire will be placed between the other two, having a pressure around 40-70 psi.

Step 5: Attaching Pump to the Valve & Lock It into Position

If it is a Presta valve, we first open the locking nut. And for the Schrader valve, there is no locking mechanism. But there are dust caps present often. We open up that dust cap.

There will be two holes present in the nozzle of most pumps. Each hole only works for a particular Schrader or Presta valve. We need to correctly place the valve into the right hole.

After learning about the standard pressure needed, we then attach the pump to the valve correctly & turn the lever 90 degree upwards to lock the pump into that position. If the lever cannot be turned upwards 90 degrees, then there should be a different locking mechanism like a switch or internally threaded screw top which acts as the locking mechanism for the pump, so that no air will go out during pumping.

Step 6: Start Pumping Using the Bike Pump

After attaching the pump with the valve, we start to pump air into it. If it is a floor pump, we use our legs to make it stand upright & stay like that. And then we start pushing air into the tire. If there is a pressure gauge machine in the pump, we will maintain the pressure accordingly & keep pumping air until we reach the optimum standard air pressure condition.

But if we don’t have a pressure gauge machine, then we will keep pushing steadily and keep checking the tire from time to time, to see if it has become nice & compact to ride without facing any problems.

And if it is a hand pump, we will need to keep pushing by our hands. Since the hand pump is smaller, it has a lower volume. So pumping air through the hand pump, will take many pushes & a longer time to complete the process.

That’s all there is. This is a very simple thing to learn, but no doubt it is very useful in our everyday life. By learning how to use a bike tube, it will definitely help us in the long run.

Safety Factor to Keep in Mind

We shouldn’t push too hard & too much, because too much air inside the tire will force it to explode. This won’t be ideal for our bicycle either. Also, we might get hurt during this incident.

Hand Pump vs Floor Pump

Both hand pump & floor pump are modern pumps which are suitable for any kind of valve our bicycle has. But there are other pumps available in the market, which are specifically used for Presta or Schrader. In that case, the pump used for the Schrader valve will not work out for the Presta valve.

In this case, a solution would be to get an adapter, which will help the Schrader bike tire adapting with the Presta valve & vice versa. There are different features of Hand Pump & Floor Pump.

Hand Pump:

Hand pumps are small. And that’s why they are portable friendly. You can easily stuff a hand pump into your backpack. This is a great thing to have. As we can easily move it from place to place. There are two holes in the hand pump as well for catering to both Schrader & Presta valves. Also, there is a pressure gauge here as well for helping us push the right amount of air.

But the problem is there are many hand pumps available in the market which also have their different mechanisms and that’s why we need to learn about the pump a little before we buy one and use it.

And since a hand pump is small, that’s why they have a small volume of air. So, it will take a longer time for pumping the right amount of air into the tire compared to the floor pump and also it will need more pushing from us. And we can’t use our legs to make the pump stand straight. We have to push the pump lever with one hand, keeping the pump in another hand.

Floor Pump:

A floor pump is big and long and that’s why this is not portable friendly. We can’t move it from place to place as we wish. But it is very easy to work with.

We just stand it upright on the floor. And use your two legs on each side of the floor pump, to keep the pump stand straight. Then we enter the nozzle of the pump to the valve and we push air until the optimum pressure.

Fundamentally, there is not much difference between the two types of pumps used worldwide. That’s why both are used triumphantly all around the world by many peoples. That’s why, in this article about how to use a bike pump, all the steps until we start pushing air into the tire with our pump is necessarily the same.

The only difference occurs when you are finally using the pump. For the floor pump, we use our legs to make it stand upright, and then we push to pump air inside. And if it is a hand pump, we can’t use our legs. But we have to push to pump air with our hands only.