How to inflate a bicycle tire – ways, instructions

You can’t go far on a flat tire. To avoid turning into a dull pedestrian in an instant, you need to know how to inflate a bicycle tire with a hand pump. Some may think that there is nothing complicated here, but you still need to know some nuances, and today we will talk about them.

Needed tool

pressure gauge pump

To inflate the wheel, you need a hand pump. There are two types of device:

  1. Standard.
  2. With a pressure gauge.

Equipped with a gauge, the pump is a more practical solution, as it allows you to monitor the pressure level in the bicycle chamber and not allow you to exceed the recommended parameters.

How to properly pump the wheels with a hand pump

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Remove the nipple cap.
  2. Deflate the air by holding the slide valve.
  3. Insert the outlet and turn the valve to its maximum capacity.
  4. Take hold of the stem and begin to move in a reciprocating motion, thereby filling the chamber with air.

In the process, you should periodically feel the wheel with your hands, estimating the amount of air mass inside it. If the pump is equipped with a pressure gauge, you can adjust the pressure with the appropriate device.

What should be the pressure

bicycle tire pressure

The recommended value is specified in the data sheet. It is clear that the documents may not always be at hand, so the desired parameter can be found on the tire. The average values are:

  • on asphalt – from 2 to 3.5 atm.
  • On a rough terrain – from 2,5 to 2,8 atm.

It is possible to define it conditionally, having probed the tube along the perimeter. If you don’t feel any deflections, everything is OK. However, more experienced cyclists and craftsmen recommend using a pressure gauge for this purpose – a device that comes with most modern bicycle pumps. It must be said that the insufficient amount of air in the chamber is fraught with not the most pleasant consequences:

  • poor maneuverability;
  • a greater likelihood of a puncture;
  • you have to pedal with a lot of force.

Approximately the same is the case with the wheels, in which the pressure level exceeds the allowable norms. This is fraught with:

  • insufficient traction;
  • a high probability of an accident on the road;
  • a punctured tire.
Read also How to brake properly on a bicycle – braking methods

The optimum amount of air in the wheels is a prerequisite for a comfortable and safe ride.

How to inflate a wheel with a car pump

Inflating bicycle wheels with a car pump

Many bicycles have a “shrader” installed on them. This just means that you can inflate the wheel by means of a compressor, which is available at almost every gas station. Sequence of steps:

  1. Remove the cap and insert the pump nozzle.
  2. If using a universal device, put the jumper in the “auto nipple” position.
  3. Close the front cover and turn on the pump.
  4. Turn off and disconnect the pump, screw the nipple tightly.

But what if you have to deal with Presta? Here you need a special adapter to which you can connect the compressor. You can also jumper outward with the thin end. Inflate the wheel according to the recommended standards.

How to inflate a wheel without a pump

a non-pumping way to inflate a bicycle wheel

Inflate the wheel in the usual way is not always possible. But a way out can be found in any situation. There are several ways:

  • A vacuum cleaner with a blower function. A flexible hose is used to connect the appliance to the nipple. You can use duct tape, scotch tape, pieces of cloth, etc. for better sealing.
  • Ordinary plastic bottles (2 pcs.). From one cut off the bottom part and, passing a thin hose through the neck, connect to the outlet of the camera. In this construction, you need to insert the second bottle and pump air.
  • With your mouth. Like a balloon.

As you can see, you can even inflate a bicycle wheel in ways that are not quite standard. The main thing is to ensure a tight connection between the “pump” and the nipple.


Well-inflated wheels are the key to a safe and comfortable ride. Creating the right pressure, it is important to take into account the type of nipple and the recommended parameters specified by the manufacturer.

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Comments: 2
  1. Betty Coleman

    Great post! This is really helpful for anyone who needs to learn how to inflate a bicycle tire. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do this and this gave me some great tips. Thanks!

  2. Henry Dunn

    Great post! I found the instructions and tips for inflating a bicycle tire to be very useful. This is a great resource for anyone who needs help with this task. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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