How to inflate your tyres

This video explains how to inflate tyres fitted with the two common types of valve:

  1. The schrader valve
  2. The presta valve

The video helps you find out which you have.

When adding air to an already pressurised tyre using a presta valve you will need to exert short, sharp pressure to open the value (usually with an audible snap).

Note that if your pump doesn’t have a gauge you’ll be relying on finger pressure to decide how well your tyre is inflated and – almost certainly – you will under-inflate your tyre. Under-inflation:

  • Increases the risk of punctures
  • Makes cycling harder work

We advise you to invest in a pump with a pressure gauge. There are two types in common use:

  1. A floor-standing pump – sometimes called a ‘track’ pump (as used in the video). They are easy to use and need relatively little effort to inflate a tyre. They are not, however, suitable for taking on a ride. Expect to pay £20-£25 if buying new.
  2. A ‘mini’ pump is designed to be taken on the road. Because they are smaller, inflation takes a bit more effort but they are more versatile, Expect to pay around £20 for a basic one if buying new.

You should find that pumps work with both schrader and presta valves, but it’s worth checking.

If you are unsure whether you need a pump with a gauge, try borrowing one. You’ll probably be surprised at how under-inflated your tyres are.

You will find the recommended pressures embossed on the side of each tyre. They will be shown as a range expressed in Bar (multiples of atmospheric pressure) and PSI (pounds per square inch). You should inflate to at least the minimum pressure. The higher the pressure, though, the better for puncture resistance and ease of cycling. You might, however, find the ride is less comfortable than you are used to.


One Reply to “How to inflate your tyres”

  1. Really useful little video – thanks for posting it Andy. My son is always having trouble with the Presta valves on his bike!

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