Ensuring that your bike tires are properly inflated will help riders get the best out of their rides. It may seem like a simple process, but knowing how to fill bike tires properly is pretty darn important!
We will provide a simple, step-by-step guide for how to properly fill your bike tires.
Proper Bike Tire Filling Procedure
Choose the right bike tire pump for your specific tire inflation valve
- Depending on your bike and its tires, you will either have a Presta valve or a Schrader valve. If you aren’t sure initially, be sure to find out before you purchase a bike pump.
- It is acceptable to use either a floor pump or a hand pump, whichever is most readily available and financially reasonable
Determine the tire pressure range needed for your tires and bike
- Be careful not to unintentionally over-inflate or under-inflate your tires
- Take a look at the sidewall of your bike tire, there will be a manufacturers label of some sort that indicates the minimum and maximum recommended tire pressure range
- The general rule of thumb is 80 – 130 PSI for road bikes, 40 – 70 PSI for cruiser bikes, and 30 – 50 PSI for mountain bikes
Unscrew the valve cap
- Presta valves and Schrader valves will both have plastic caps on the valve that needs to be removed before inflating.
- Presta valves will need to have the lock nut unscrewed as well as the cap. Turn the Presta valve multiple times to fully open the valve before attaching the pump
Attach the pump to the valve
- Both hand pumps and floor pumps will most of the time have two nozzle holes to accommodate either a Schrader valve or or a Presta valve
- Attach the correct pump nozzle firmly onto the tire valve so that it is fully attached
Pull The Pump Lever
- Most bike pumps will have a lever that needs to be cranked or rotated 90 degrees to engage the mechanism
- This process may vary between pump brands, check your instructions for guidance
Inflate The Tire
- Once your pump is securely attached to the tire valve and properly engaged, it is time to start inflating
- If you have a floor pump, step on the pads on either side of the base and start pumping with both hands in a steady rhythm
- If you have a hand pump, hold the nozzle securely onto the valve with one hand and use the other hand to pump
- Continue pumping until you have reached your desired air pressure
Remove The Pump From The Valve
- If your pump had the lever we mentioned in step 5, disengage the lever
- Next, pull the nozzle off of the valve slowly and gently
- You may hear some air escaping as you do this, which is normal
Close The Valve
- If you have a Schrader valve, you can simply put the plastic cap back on the valve
- If you are dealing with a Presta valve, make sure that you screw the lock nut on tightly before putting the cap back on
Voila! You have successfully and properly filled your bike tires.
What Pressure Should I Inflate My Tires To?
As discussed in one of our previous articles that was focused on bike tire PSI, we covered some of the recommendations in regard to tire pressure for a number of different styles of bike.
Here is a quick breakdown of these general recommended PSI ranges:
Road Bikes: Designed for speed and handling on smooth surfaces
- Recommended air pressure range is somewhere between 90 and 130 PSI
Gravel or Hybrid Bikes: Designed for leisure riding and versatility
- Recommended air pressure range is somewhere between 40 and 70 PSI
Mountain Bikes: Designed for rugged, bumpy, uneven terrain
- Recommended air pressure range is somewhere between 30 and 60 PSI
How To Prevent Your Tires From Deflating Over Time
Learning how to prevent deflation or avoiding flat tires, in general, is something that all riders should strive to learn!
Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks for doing just that.
Use Talcum Powder
One of the best tricks you can use to prevent flats and tire deflation and punctures is to lightly dust the inner tube with talcum powder before you put it in.
This will help keep the tire from getting stuck to the tube itself, which will reduce friction that can cause holes and gradual deflation.
Invest In Quality Tires
Some tires will inevitably be of higher quality than others. Tires made with cheap, inexpensive material will inherently be much more prone to deflation over time and puncture damage.
Simple research will tell you exactly which tire manufacturers produce quality tires that will last long and retain their air, and these are definitely worth the investment!
Use Extra Tire Protection
There are a number of things you can do to provide extra protection and stability to your tires in order to reduce deflation over time.
Things like rim strips and tire liners will protect the inner tube from the rim and the tire, effectively reducing friction and the potential for punctures.
Keeping your bike tires properly inflated on a consistent basis will not only make for a better riding experience but will help improve the longevity of your tires.
We have provided a step-by-step guide for how to properly fill bike tires, as well as discussed tire pressure recommendations and talked about how to prevent tire deflation.
Consider these things and apply them to your riding habits! Thanks for reading.
Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic