How to Use a Pump Correctly

Inflating the tire of our bicycle to the correct pressure is very important. We will see in more detail which pump we will use to inflate the tires of a bicycle among the different existing types and how to correctly use a pump to obtain an optimal inflation of the tire.

What are the types of pumps to inflate a bicycle tire?

Today there are electric pumps, one of which is the Xiaomi Youpin Electric Inflator Pump. They are very practical and can pump very accurately, but in general, there are three main classic types of pumps for inflating bicycle tires: hand pumps, compact pumps and foot pumps, either upright or on the ground.

The hand pumps are practical, light and compact. It is advisable to always carry one on our outings and routes. They are usually first aid pumps because it is usually difficult to obtain adequate pressure due to the small volume of air they can move. Some of these pumps do not have a hose with a fitting: the head and body are integrated in one piece, so they have to be used with great care by holding the valve head firmly with one hand to avoid breaking the valve when inflating the tire. There is a type of pumps that remains on the ground and uses with the foot. It requires a bit more balance, but less force to inflate the bike’s tires to the proper pressure. The vertical foot pump is a great option for regularly inflating tires. They are often equipped with a pressure gauge to inflate them to the correct pressure.

How to properly use a bicycle pump for optimal inflation

First, make sure the bike’s pump head fits the valve type. There are two valve diameters and therefore two pump head diameters.

The widest diameter is 8mm. It corresponds to the so-called Schrader (fat) valves, which are also used by car tires. The hole in the pump head is wide and a small projection, corresponding to the howitzer, is visible in the center of the hole.

The thinnest diameter is 6 mm and corresponds to the so-called Presta (fine) and Dunlop valves. 

The hole in the pump head is narrow and there is no visible protrusion in the center of the hole.

If your pump is equipped with a pressure gauge, it probably has a small indicator to guide us as we inflate. Before inflating the tire, it is necessary to lock the pump head on the valve to facilitate inflation. There are several ways to do this, but the three most common are:

• Screw lock. Some heads screw into the valve. The process usually takes longer, but is safer and you never risk damaging the valve. It is only necessary to screw the hose onto the valve.

• “Forced” blocking. Some pumps, especially handheld ones, are connected by pushing the valve firmly into the nozzle. We recommend that you keep one hand on the nozzle while inflating to avoid damaging the valve with the pump moving from side to side.

• Lock by latch. This is the most common system today. The pump head has a latch that opens from top to bottom or left to right. To fit the head on the valve you have to lift or turn the latch to lock it on the valve. Remember to return it to the open position before removing it from the valve.

That’s it, you know how to use a pump correctly. Now you can inflate your tire to the desired pressure safely.