How to pump your bike tires

Having the right tire pressure can make a huge difference in the quality of your ride. When your tires have just the right amount of air, you’ll feel more comfortable and have better grip and handling. But if pressure’s too low, you risk pinch flats, added rolling resistance, and quicker wear on your tires. If pressure’s too high, you risk a harsh, bumpy ride with less traction. We’re here to help you find your tire pressure sweet spot. Watch our video below to make pumping your tires a breeze.

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Step-by-step instructions

Before you start, this is your official warning that cleaning your chain is a dirty job. So take off that tux, pull on some gloves, and let’s get started!

1. Determine what your tire pressure should be. Every Bontrager tire has a recommended pressure range right on the sidewall of the tire.

2. Check to see if your pump is compatible with the type of valve on your tires. All tires have either Schrader or Presta valves, and most Bontrager pumps are compatible with both! If your pump isn’t, you can purchase an adapter at your local bike shop.

3. If your valves have dust caps, remove them.

4. If you’re using a Schrader valve, you’re ready to get pumping!

5. If you’re using a Presta valve, unscrew the end to open it. You can check that it’s loose enough by pressing the valve core inward. If you feel a burst of air, you’re good to go.

6. Secure your pump to the valve by pushing the pump head down on the valve as far as it can go. Then, lock the head by lifting the lever.

7. Wiggle the head. If you feel the valve moving inside, it’s not secure enough and needs to be pushed down even more.

8. Once the pump is securely attached, begin pumping. If you hear air hissing out as you pump, the head still isn’t secure enough. Repeat step 7, and try again!

9. Keep an eye on the pressure gage as you pump. Stop pumping when you’re within the range printed on the side of your tire.

10. Release the pump head by pressing the lever down and quickly pulling the head off the valve. If you’re using a Presta valve, don’t’ forget to close it.

11. Secure your pump to the valve by pushing the pump head down on the valve as far as it can go. Then, lock the head by lifting the lever.

Now that you’re a tire pressure expert, remember to always check your tires before you ride. This can be as easy as giving them a gentle squeeze with your hand, or using a pressure gauge to ensure you’re having the best ride possible. You should also consider keeping a CO2 cartridge in your jersey pocket or on your bike for those times when your tires need a little extra air on the go.