Pumping Up Your Tyres: The Basics – Updated For The Summer!

Pumping Up Your Tyres: The Basics – Updated For The Summer!

We are often surprised to find bicycles coming into our workshop with under inflated tyres.

Not only does this result in premature tyre wear, it also means you are more at risk of getting a puncture. Also, an under-inflated tyre will increase your rolling resistance meaning you will not glide along in an efficient manner. Instead it will be harder to pedal and you will waste valuable energy!

How do I check what pressure my tyres should be?

The easiest way to check what your correct tyre pressure should be is by checking the markings on the tyre sidewall. On there you will see the maximum and minimum inflation pressures marked (see picture). You should inflate your tyre to somewhere in the middle of this range. You can always increase/decrease the pressure (within the recommended range) depending on rider weight, surface you are traveling on and road conditions.

How do I pump my tyres up?

Firstly, you need to know what type of valve you have: typically in the UK, we have Schrader valves, most commonly found on mountain bikes and Presta valves found on road bikes. The Woods or Dunlop valve is less commonly found on bikes in the UK. For the purposes of the rest of this article we will only look at the Schrader and Presta valve.

When pumping Schrader valves, you simply place the correct type of pump head (see below) on to the valve and start pumping. With a Presta valve you must remember to unscrew the small knurled nut at the tip of the valve and depress it to release some air before commencing inflation.

How often should I check my tyres

Bicycle tyres do lose their pressure in a short space of time, especially those with presta type valves. We would recommend checking your tyres every time you ride your bike. However, we appreciate that is not always practical. If you check/pump your tyres at least on a weekly basis, you will reduce the chances of punctures and help towards a lovely smooth ride.

Storing your bike

At this time of year, we see a lot of bikes that haven’t been used over the winter months and the tyres have not been inflated. Sadly, if you leave your bike in this state for long periods of time, the tyre sidewalls can crack due to the weight of the bike on the flat tyres.

If you do leave your bike sat for long periods of time we would recommend either (1) checking your tyres regularly or (2) hanging your bike to so there is no weight on the under-inflated tyres. You can turn your bike upside down, but this may have an adverse effect on hydraulic disc brake systems and some suspension forks/shocks.

Using the correct pump head

There are many types of pumps and pump heads depending on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers’ pumps have the ‘Smarthead’ technology which means the pump head will fit all valve types. With others you need to use a specific pump head depending on valve type:

What we use at havebike

Being a professional workshop we are fortunate enough to have access to a lovely air compressor which makes pumping up tyres a breeze! However, when we are working onsite or in mobile locations we use the Topeak Joe Blow Sport II track pump. These are great value easy to use pumps. You can buy yours here http://www.havebikeshop.co.uk/products/topeak-joe-blow-sport-ii

Our tyre recommendation

We are huge fans of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus (for MTB and hybrid bikes) and the Schwalbe Durano Plus (for the road bikes) tyres. As well as providing a good grip, these tyres have a puncture resistant layer in them, as well as being hard wearing.

They’re so good they are used by all our Police, Ambulance and Fire bicycle clients. And we currently have an offer on them. Normally these tyres retail at £37.99. We are offering them for £80.00, with free fitting (worth £20.00) and new Schwalbe inner tubes (worth £15.98). When you book your service, just mention the Schwalbe tyre offer. You can book here.

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