How Bike Pumps Work

How Bike Pumps Work
A bicycle pump can be a useful tool to have around the house or attached to a bicycle in the event of a flat tire. There are two main types of bike pumps, floor pumps and mini-pumps. Both use the same principles to work and are typically lightweight, portable and easy to use.


A bicycle pump can be used to inflate bike, utility and automobile tires, as well as some sports equipment like footballs and soccer balls with the correct valve fittings.



A typical bike pump is a narrow, cylindrical device. A hose is connected at one end to an outlet valve and at the opposite end to a nozzle attachment. Inside the pump is a piston that is moved back and forth.

Basic Principle

When the handle is pushed down and pulled up, it moves the piston. The piston forces air downward into the air valve and the hose. The air moves down the hose through the valve and released.


Manual bicycle pumps come in a variety of sizes, styles and weights. Floor pumps typically have hand and foot handles and a built-in pressure gauge. Mini-pumps are lightweight, compact and good for pumping at lower pressures.


Familiarize yourself with your bike pump. Deflating tires at home prior to a bike ride and using your bike pump will ensure proper understanding of the pump.


Article Written By A.C. Bauer

A.C. Bauer is a seasoned adventurist with explorations spanning four continents, including hiking Machu Picchu, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, running the Ice Age Trail and road biking out of her front door. She has written marketing materials for eight years and worked for Red Bull, Disney and Dick's Sporting Goods, and received a master's in recreation and sport science from Ohio University.

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