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How To Use A Bike Pump

It is almost like a rite of passage, every cyclist at some point will need to know how to use a bike pump. Even if you don't get a puncture you will probably have to put some air in your tyres, as they can go down over time.

The good news is that there is not really anything difficult to pumping your tyres up and so you should know how to pump a bike tyre up after reading this article, regardless of whether you ride a road bike, mountain bike or hybrid bike.

Valve types

There are two different valve types to be found on bicycles. The first is the Schrader valve, sometimes called a "car type" valve. These are becoming less common on bicycles now and are the larger diameter of the two variants.

The second is a Presta valve. This is the narrower of the two, usually threaded all the way down. In order to pump tyres up with this valve, you need to unscrew the top of the valve to allow the valve pin to be pressed down.

Connecting the bike pump

Most modern pumps will actually pump both valve types up without needing to change anything; these are known as Smart head pumps. Some older models may require you to set the head to a certain valve type. This usually just involves unscrewing a cap from the end, and turning a centre piece around, depending on the valve type. Once this has been done, the cap can be screwed back on and the pump should work correctly.

Once the pump is set up, simply push the head onto the valve and lock it in place, usually done by lifting or pressing down a lever on the back of the pump head.

How to pump a bike tyre

All pumps work in the same way, using a reciprocating motion to push air into the tyre through the valve. Some pumps will have a built in pressure gauge that allows you to check how much air is in the tyre, but if not, give the tyre a firm squeeze and make sure that the tyre isn't too soft to prevent the tyre folding over.


If you have any questions about anything bike related, please get in touch.

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