How To Pump Road Bike Tires

Road bikes, what would we do without them! They are suitable for exercise, and they are also good for fun. You can grab them and go out and do your thing. Road bikes are good when you want to beat traffic or go out for fresh air. For those dating, you can also use them as a good date idea, so long as you're both into it.

But there comes a time when the tires give out. This is such a bummer, especially when you are still using the bike. But fear not, I am here to show you what to do when you need to fill your bike. Here is how to pump road bike tires. I will also show you how to change the bike's inner tube or use clipless pedals.

Valve Types:

Before proceeding, you need to know what valves your tires have. There are two main types of valves; Presta and Schrader. Most road bikes use Presta valves for the inner tubes of their tires while mountain bikes use the Schrader valves

The Presta valves are slimmer and have a lock nut for closing. They are also lighter than the Schrader valves. The Schrader is much more robust and use a spring instead of a lock nut to close the valve.

Knowing the type of valves your bike has is necessary because you can only use one type on your bike. Presta valves are easier to pump because they don't have a spring. They are easier to use with small hand pumps. They also don't leak air even with the top open unless you press it down. This means that you can even forget to close screw the nut back and you won't lose any air and not have a flat tire.

Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump

Pump Heads:

Now that you know of the different valves, you need to know about the pump heads. You can't very well use a Schrader pump on a Presta valve or vice versa. You can get two different head types on a pump, or you can get a pump with an interchangeable head. You can also use an adapter to get the pump to work.

Modern pump designs come with dual attachments on one pump head to make it easy for you. This pump head comes in handy if you are using both a road bike and a mountain bike because you only get to use just one pump head instead of two.

You might get one with different attachments, but other pump heads will require you to remove the attachment and connect another or flip the valve end to get to the other attachment.

Types Of Pump:

We've talked about the valve types, the pump heads and now we have to talk about the different types of pumps.

Track pumps- these are larger than most pumps. They are mostly kept in the house or wherever you store your bike. Due to their large size, they can easily inflate a tire in only 15 strokes. The pump capacity will determine how much pressure you get in a single stroke.

Mini pumps- these are a smaller size compared to the track pumps. You can carry them in a jersey pocket, and you can use them whenever you need it when mid-ride. Due to their smaller size, they take longer and are more tiring and frustrating to use. They are, however, pretty handy when it comes to an emergency flat. There are even mini, mini pumps that have a tube connected to the end of the pump for more flexibility. 

Mini inflator- this one isn't necessarily a pump. It uses disposable carbon dioxide canisters to inflate the tires. They inflate very quickly, and it all depends on the size of the canister. Sadly, you can only use one canister per inflation. To be better prepared, you might need to carry more than one inflator to be on the safe side.

Air compressors- now these are a bit on the expensive side. Pro team mechanics mostly use them. They are much simpler to use than any other pump type. They are popular with professionals because they make it easier to get the desired psi.

How To Pump The Tires:

Now that you know all that you need to know about your tires; valves, heads, and pump types, it is time for us to dive into how to pump the tires. In this procedure, we will be using Presta valves and pump heads because that is what road bikes use.

  • Start by unscrewing the valve head. Do it until the valve is open all the way through.
  • Attach the pump to the valve. Ensure you use the correct pump for the correct valve; otherwise, the connection won't work. Also, make sure the head is firmly fastened to the valve to make sure air gets into the tube properly. Pull the lever up to lock it.
  • Now here is how to use it with different pump types.

Floor pump: Place one foot on the two sides of the stand, take the handle in your hands, and pump up and down. Remove the pump once the tire is inflated.

Hand pump: Hold one hand on the valve, the pump head, and the bike spokes. Use the other hand, to move the pump handle. Slide the hand pump out of the valve and lock it.

It is essential to pay close attention to the pressure valve so that you don't over-inflate the tire.


We have come to the end of our article. I hope that it has been helpful to you. Remember, when dealing with road bikes that use a Presta valve, use a Presta pump head. Using any other type of head won't be able to inflate the tires.

Also, make sure to check the pressure valve against the indicated pressure on the tire. You can also carry a small pump in case of emergencies. Well, that has been a guide on how to pump road bike tires. Happy riding!

References: Wiki How , Quora

Scroll to Top