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Properly inflated tires will help you get the most out of your bike ride. Besides, optimal wheel pressure ensures a safe and smooth ride, whether you’re about to tackle a winding or rocky road. Fortunately, inflating is not an overly complicated task.
Why should you inflate the wheels on your bike?
The air in pneumatic tires acts like a spring, providing cushioning and allowing them to better adapt to the terrain. This ensures better traction and grip. You need to inflate your bike, as this allows you to instantly increase the comfort of your ride. The vast majority of bikes are equipped with an airtight ring-shaped inner tube. This component is located in the tire. It has a visible valve for easy inflation. Make sure your wheels are inflated to the correct pressure. This will protect them from punctures. How do I inflate my bike?
What type of valve does your bike have?
The first thing you need to know before inflating your wheels is the type of valve you have installed. This is the key part that keeps air in the tire, but also allows you to inflate it. Cheaper models usually have a Schrader valve installed, the same as in car wheels. It’s a hollow tube with a spring-loaded valve that closes automatically and screws into the outer body. A pin protrudes from the valve and is usually flush with the outer end. This pin can be pushed in to let the air out.
The Presta valve, on the other hand, is only found on bikes. It is installed on both mountain and road models. The valve is secured by a nut that keeps it in the correct position. To let the air out, you must first unscrew the small counter nut. Don’t worry about the nut falling off. The threads are bent to prevent that. Finally, the Dunlop valve is worth mentioning. It has a similar diameter to the Schrader valve, but you can use the same inflator for it as for a Presta valve.
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Prepare the valve
First, remove the plastic cap that may be covering the end of the valve. Don’t worry if you lose it, you can always buy a new one. If you have a Presta bicycle valve, unscrew the small locking nut at the top. Turn the valve a few times. This will make sure that it is working properly. You should then hear and feel the air coming out. If you have a bike with a Schrader valve, you can skip this step.
Pay attention to tire pressure
Before you start inflating the wheel, check the sidewall of the tire. Typically, a road bike tire should have a pressure of 80-130 psi, and a mountain bike tire should have a pressure of 25-50 psi. When it comes to hybrid models, make sure it is 40-70 psi. When choosing the right tire pressure, pay attention to your weight and preferred riding style.
Attach the inflator properly
Attach the pump head to the valve. This device is equipped with a switch that pivots down or up. Some models include an internally threaded screw instead of a switch. Both systems serve to hold the head in place when you start pumping. This allows you to make sure that air is actually going into the valve, instead of leaking out as you pump. If you think air is escaping, gently correct the head of the device. Just take it off and put it back on.
Pump to the optimal pressure
Remember to use a pressure gauge when pumping. This way you can make sure that the pressure in the wheels is at the right level. Use your arm and abdominal muscles when inflating, not your legs
If you have overinflated the tire, you will need to remove some of the air. Find out how to do this! If you are dealing with a Schrader valve, use your fingernail to push the valve until the excess air escapes. If you’re dealing with a Presta valve, leave the lock nut open and push it until excess air escapes.
Close the valve
Here a lot depends on what types of valves you have. If you have a Schreder valve, simply put the plastic cap back on. If you have a bike with a Presta valve, screw on the lock nut and then the plastic cap. The valve types should not be problematic. Remember, you need to inflate the bike well and the tires should be firm. Now you can move on with confidence!