How To Pump Bike Tire? In Easy 4 Steps The Best Way!

How to pump bike tire? Inflating the bicycle is one of the most frequent and most straightforward repair and maintenance operations on a bike.

However, this is often the entry point for non-specialists in bicycle technology, so it is worthwhile to prepare repair instructions on this subject.

Even for experienced cyclists, inflation can be frustrating when it doesn’t work and you don’t understand why.

After all, there are three different bicycle valves on a bicycle, which have significant differences between them when it comes to inflation.

Instructions for all three of these valves can be getting found in our repair instructions for inflating bicycle tires.

See Also: Bike Tire Valve Types Differences

Inflating a bicycle

If the bicycle tube loses air or has just changed it, it still needs to be inflated. 

  1. To inflate a tube, you only need a pump. There are different versions, such as a pressure gauge that shows the tire’s air pressure or a pump with various attachments. These are important because bicycle tires have other valves, and you need to have the right accessory to pump them up.
  2. Tubes have three different types of valves; they are called car valves (or Schrader valve), bicycle valves (or Dunlop valve or Blitz valve), and the French valve (or Scalverand valve). If you look at these valves directly, the French valve is the narrowest and longest, the car valve the widest and shortest.
  3. Different types of bicycles require other pressures in the tires. A city bike has about three to four-bar, a mountain bike with about 2.5 bars, and a road bike has about 8 bars. 
  4. We can also read the optimum tire pressure on the tire itself. You will find the number in highlighted letters and numbers on the side of the tire. 

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Inflating a bicycle
How to pump bike tire? – Inflating a bicycle / Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Bike valve types and their synonyms:

  • AV valve: car valve, Schrader valve
  • DV valve: Dunlop valve, flush valve, bicycle valve, standard valve, Presta valve
  • SV valve: Sclaverand valve, road bike valve, French valve

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What to consider when pumping a bike tire?

If you have a suitable pump with a proper attachment, the inflation can start with:

  • Inform yourself beforehand, if in doubt about the tire itself, what the air pressure must be. It should be reached, but not too far below or above. Then, if necessary, place the correct attachment on the pump.
  • First, remove the cap from the valve. Check whether your valve may need to be getting opened before pumping. Place the pump attachment on the valve and snap it into place. There is a kind of rocker arm for this purpose in most cases. This way, you have both hands accessible for pumping.
  • You can test how much you still have to pump by pressing the tire by hand. When the tire has reached the desired bar number, you’re done. Next, the lever on the pump is getting folded down again, and the valve is closed if necessary. 
  • Finally, the cap is screwed back onto the valve. Take a test drive to check the tire pressure. 

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What to consider when pumping a bike tire
How to pump bike tire? – What to consider when pumping a bike tire? / Image by Ty Lu from Pixabay

What to do when bicycle tires cannot be getting inflated?

If you are sure and confident that you have the right bicycle pump for the valve and have followed all the steps, there must be a defect in the tube somewhere. Maybe the plug is leaking, or you may spread it somewhere in the tube.

You might even hear the air hissing out of the tire with a piece of luck. To determine where the defect is, you have to inflate the tire slightly and immerse it in water, for example, in the sink.

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What to do when bicycle tires cannot be getting inflated
How to pump bike tire? – What to do when bicycle tires cannot be getting inflated? / Image by M. H. from Pixabay

Where can I pump bicycle tires?

Inflate bicycle tires at the petrol station: You can pump up your bike anywhere, and you only need the right pump or adapter. Hardly any cyclist is safe from a flat tire.

Of course, there are tires with very thick puncture protection layers and sealing milk, but it can still happen that you are on the road, and the air leaves your tire.

If there is no mini-pump at hand or no bicycle dealer nearby, gas stations are often the only way to re-inflate the bicycle. You can re-inflate your tires with any valve at the petrol station.

AV, car valves can be getting connected to the air station without an adapter. It would help if you had a valve adapter for DV and SV valves, and the adapters are tiny and very easy to store.

It never hurts to attach such an adapter anywhere on your bike. In the situation of a breakdown, this can be very practical.

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Where can I pump bicycle tires
How to pump bike tire? – Where can I pump bicycle tires? / Image by FROET from Pixabay

What happens if there is not enough air?

Too little air in the bicycle tire can cause damage to the rims. But why? The air in the tire forms a counterpressure to the wheel’s weight and the rider.

If this counterpressure, the tire pressure, becomes too low, the springy air cushion between tire and rim is missing.

When driving up a curb, all shocks pass on onto the rim unfiltered. Depending on the strength of the impacts, this can lead to dents in the rim.

Another problem with insufficient air pressure in the bicycle tire is that the tire beads jump out of the rim flanks more quickly due to the lack of counterpressure.

If the tire is not pressed into the rim flank by the air pressure, it will slip out. It is often the case in curves. In the worst case, the tire slips completely off the rim, making it difficult to turn a fall.

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What happens if there is not enough air
How to pump bike tire? – What happens if there is not enough air? / Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay


Apart from the points already mentioned, we can also suggest an enormously increasing wear of the tires. Due to the too low pressure, the tire is getting compressed much more.

The consequence is a more substantial deformation of the tire under load; besides, the tire’s carcass wear increases.

For these reasons, you should always pay attention to the air pressure indications for the minimum pressure. These are getting written on the tires’ sidewalls.

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Last Updated on 28/03/2022 by Buzz This Viral