Assuring your tires are properly inflated is crucial for a smooth ride and to prevent flats. However, it’s important to note that tire pressure should not exceed the recommended capacity. Overinflated tires can quickly dissipate under extreme conditions, leading to punctures or blowouts.
Getting your bike tires to the right pressure can sometimes be tricky. Mitch McLeod from Kamikaze Bikes in Collingwood Ontario shows us just how easy it is to pump them to their appropriate pressure level.
The first step is to check the valve type on your bike. Most bikes feature either a Schrader or Presta valve on their inner tubes. You can determine the valve type by unscrewing the top cap and looking inside. Once you know you have a Presta valve, find an appropriate pump – either a floor pump for home use or a portable one capable of inflating both Schrader and Presta valves simultaneously. Inflate both of your inner tubes as necessary before heading out on your rides.
To use the Presta valve, remove the plastic cap and loosen the lock nut on top by turning it counterclockwise. This will allow you to add or release air from the tire. Recommended pressures for road bikes range from 90-120 PSI, while comfort and off-road tires may indicate a different number, such as 60 PSI, for optimal comfort.
Assigning the appropriate pressure to your bike tires improves ride quality and efficiency, while also helping them resist punctures. Schrader valves, similar to those found on cars, use a metal pin at the center of a threaded valve. This pin must be depressed before inflating the tires with air.
Modern bicycle tubes often feature Presta valves, which are easier to inflate using most bike pumps. However, if you have Schrader valves, you can still use a pump with the appropriate adapter. When inflating, use short bursts of pumping to avoid overinflation. Once the tires reach the desired pressure level, remove and reattach the plastic valve cap.
If you find your tires low on air while riding, stopping at a gas station and using their air pumps is the best solution. Ask the attendant for a pressure gauge and inflate the tires in short bursts to avoid overinflation. Remember to recheck the pressure before hitting the road again.
Properly inflating the tires of your vehicle is not only essential for your safety but also helps save on fuel costs and reduce environmental emissions. By keeping your tires properly inflated, you can reduce wasteful emissions that pollute the environment and save on fuel expenses.
Start by purchasing a dial-type tire pressure gauge for the most accurate readings. Install the gauge into one of your tire’s valve stems and firmly press the open end against the pin. Listen for any rush sounds to determine the pressure reading in pounds per square inch (psi). It is crucial to maintain your car tires at the manufacturer-recommended pressure for maximum comfort, safety, and fuel efficiency.
Under-inflation can lead to quicker wear on the center tread sections, resulting in an unstable ride quality and reduced handling performance. Be sure to inflate your tires at or just below the recommended level and never allow the pressures to drop below that level.
Nobody likes getting stuck on a busy road due to a flat tire. Airless tires have been designed as a solution to this issue. However, they still need to be properly inflated to reduce rolling resistance and ensure adequate contact with the road.
Inflating airless tires too much can make them more compact, adding weight that compromises traction and causes rougher rides. To avoid damage from punctures or abrasions, it’s crucial to use a tire sealant compatible with the tire and wheel material.
To inflate airless tires correctly, you will need a high-pressure air compressor that creates a vacuum seal around the wheel rim. These compressors are usually available at automotive or bike stores. Before using the pump, make sure to remove the valve cap and inspect the stem for any damage that may prevent proper inflation.
For a visual demonstration on how to properly inflate different types of tires, check out this video tutorial:
Now you have all the information you need to ensure your tires are perfectly inflated, whether you have Presta, Schrader, pneumatic, or airless tires. Happy riding!
This article was written exclusively for Legendary Motors Mag.