How to Inflate a Road Bike Tire

How to Inflate a Road Bike Tire
Inflating your tires is a matter of both safety and performance. Under-inflated tires bring risks of pinch flats and premature wear and will hinder your overall efficiency and performance. Just like in a vehicle, you need to check your tire pressure regularly to keep your bike running smoothly. Inflating the tire is a very simple, quick process that will only hold up your ride for a few minutes.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Presta pump
  • Presta pump
Step 1
Unscrew the cap. Due to their skinny rims, road bike tires use long, thin Presta valves. Removing these valves entails unscrewing the outer cap (if there is one) and then unscrewing the little nut at the top of the valve. Turn both counterclockwise to unscrew.
Step 2
Press the nut down to loosen it. A little air will escape. Check the pump head to see if it has an open/close function. If so, open it. Then put your thumb on the back of the pump head and press it straight onto the top of the valve.
Step 3
Close the pump head. If your pump contains a gauge, read the current air pressure of the tire.
Step 4
Find the manufacturer's designated tire pressure on the tire's sidewall and then pump to that pressure. Depending on your pump, you may need to press down on the pump head to maintain a proper seal. Road tires use higher pressures than other bike tires, typically 80 to 135 psi.
Step 5
After inflating your tire up to the appropriate level, open the pump and quickly pull it off the valve.
Step 6
Close the Presta nut. Put the cap back on and then repeat the inflation process for your other tire, should it need inflation.

Tips & Warnings

To keep your road bike at its best, check and inflate your tires prior to every ride. Be sure to carry a pump with you on your bike.
To keep your road bike at its best, check and inflate your tires prior to every ride.
Be sure to carry a pump with you on your bike.
Just as you don't want under-inflated tires, you don't want over-inflated tires, either. Don't exceed the highest recommended pressure.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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