is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Inflate Road Bike Tire

how to inflate road bike tire

Inflating a road bike tire is actually a fundamental skill. However, there are still new bikers who are not familiar with doing it. For this reason, we have come up with this article that will teach everyone how to inflate road bike tires the right way.

Yes, inflating a road bike tire is a very simple task. But there are other things that you need to know, such as the different types of valves, pumps, inflators, and other related information. All of these things can be confusing to beginners but can be learn in this article.

Inflating a Road Bike Tire the Right Way

Inflating a road bike is a simple task, but to those bikers who has still no idea, it can be challenging. But this article will tell you how to do it the right way and will also discuss other related information related to inflating the bike.

Step 1: Identifying the Valve Type

The initial step when it comes to learning to inflate your road bike is to identify the type of valve in the inner tube of your tire. In general, there are two types of valves, Schrader and Presta valves.

Most of the road bikes come with Presta valves, while mountain bikes use Schrader valves. The type of valve you will use will also determine the type of pump you will be using when inflating your bike tires.

If you try to differentiate the physical attribute of both valves, the Presta valve on your road bike is slimmer and lighter and is built with a lock nut that will be used to close the valve. Meanwhile, the Schrader is bigger and wider and comes with a spring system to keep it closed.

The type of valve in your tire will eventually determine the type of pump you will be using. For a tire with a Presta valve, you will need a pump with a narrow opening, while a Schrader valve will require you to use a pump with a wide opening.

Step 2: Removing the Dust Cap and Unscrewing the Valve


The next step is to remove the dust cup of the valve. This part of the valve usually covers the valve to protect it from dust and other unwanted debris while your bike is on the road. You will need to remove it before you can inflate your bike.

You will also need to unscrew the valve to make it officially open. If you have a road bike, you will probably have a Presta valve that will require you to unscrew the lock ring to inflate the bike tire.

inflating a road bike tire the right way


Step 3: Attachment of the Pump

The next step is to attach the header of the pump to the tire’s valve. If you are already in this step, I expect you to already have the correct pump in relation to the type of valve of your tire. Depending on the pump, you will either screw or press the pump’s head then flip a lever to lock. Or, simply pressed the head of the pump to lock.

You can also check and observe the type of pump you have, and it will give you some idea of what to do. If it needs to be screwed, you will find a small thread on the head. If there is a lever, you will find the lever on the side of the head, which you will press to lock.

The first time you insert the pump head into the valve, you will find some air out, but this is perfectly normal. My advice is for you to spend some time pumping with the head firmly attached to the valve.

Step 4: The Actual Pumping

Once the head is correctly attached to the valve, the next step is to start pumping. Putting the right air pressure on the tire is important, but knowing what the right pressure is will depend on your type of tire.

If you have a wider tire, such as from mountain bikes, you will need less pressure. Tires from mountain bikes will need one and a half bars or approximately 25 psi of air. When it comes to a narrower road bike, you will need 85 to 110 psi or five and a half or seven and a half bar.

The exact pressure you will inflate on the tire will also depend on the weight of the bike as well. So, if you want to make sure of the amount of pressure, you can check on the tire and see embossed writing that states the recommended minimum and maximum pressure.

If your pump does not come with a pressure gauge, using your thumb is acceptable, but it can be less accurate. Nevertheless, you can press the side of the road bike tire firmly, and if you can’t press very far, then your tire has the correct amount of pressure.

For a mountain bike, you should be able to push by about a centimeter, and the pressure should be enough in the tire. Once you have already put the right amount of stress on, you can now remove the pump’s head from the valve.

Step 5: Removing the Pump

Depending on the type of pump, you can now slowly remove the pump from the valve. If the pump’s head is screwed, you can now unscrew it and slowly remove the head from the valve. It will be normal for you to hear a sound that indicates that some air escape.

No need to worry if it happens because it is just some pressurized air that actually escapes from the pump the moment you remove the pump’s head. Do not forget to lock your valve after inflating your tire.

How to Inflate Mountain Bike Tires

Inflating a mountain bike tire is quite similar to inflating a road bike tire, with some minor differences in the process. Of course, you will need to identify what type of valve is in your mountain bike tire, but it will probably be the Schrader type of valve.

Depending on the type of valve on the tire, you should find the exact pump that will fit the valve. Follow the same process when it comes to attaching the pump and the actual pumping. You should also make sure to put the right amount of pressure which should be 25 psi, for a mountain bike.


Learning how to inflate road bike tire is a relatively easy task. But for new bikers, this can be challenging, especially the first time doing it. The process we show is the general steps when it comes to inflating the tire for both road and mountain bikes.

4.5/5 - (6 votes)

Leave a Comment