Tires are one of the most important components of your bike, so it’s imperative that you take proper care and necessary precautions for their maintenance. For this sole reason, making a note of your bike’s tire pressure and adjusting it according to the necessary riding and weather conditions is crucial. Confused on how to do that? Look no further!
How to Inflate Your Tires Properly?
Properly checking your tire pressure is absolutely crucial for safety and efficiency. Being aware of the ideal tire pressure for your bike and the ability to detect discrepancies accordingly will not only save you from risks of accidents and blowouts but will also be highly advantageous in terms of longevity and fuel economy.
This task is not as daunting as it may seem, and you can easily do it in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a tire gauge. So how do you inflate your tires properly? Follow these simple steps:
- Remove the caps from your tires’ air valves
- Put your gauge on the mouth of your bike’s air valve firmly
- Upon receiving a reading from it, repeat the process 2 to 3 times to get a good average
- Compare these readings to the recommended PSI level that is appropriate for your particular model
- If the reading is less than the PSI level, pump air into the tire until you reach this level
- If the reading is more than the PSI level, release the air from your tire with the aid of the valve
- And you’re done!
Type of Valves
Whether it’s the matter of pumping air into your tires or buying inner tubes, you need to know the kind of valve that’s installed in your hybrid bike.
The two types of valves that exist are Schrader and Presta:
This type of valve is found in mountain bikes or hybrid bikes with wider tires. It comes with removable cores, but the disadvantage of this valve is that it requires a larger diameter hole in the rim, evidently making it unfit for narrower rims like ones used in most road bikes.
Presta is a relatively complicated valve than Schrader but is easier to pump and is found on most road and off-road bikes in the inner tubes and tubular. These valves are longer, thinner, and easier to use if the pump includes a hose and its head locks in place. Some Presta valves come with removable cores, while some don’t.
Pumps That Are Compatible With The Valves
Now that you know the different types of valves, let’s see which pump is compatible with what kind of valve. Presta valves can typically be inflated with any air pump, but a special adaptor is necessary, while no such adaptor is required for a Schrader valve.
Let’s look at the type of pumps you can use:
Floor pumps are compatible with both valve types. These pumps constitute a head that basically locks onto the valve while you’re inflating your tire, so there’s no need to hold it in place with one of your hands.
Mini pumps are portable, making them extremely convenient during your roading adventures. Minis are typically compatible with any bicycle due to their small size; however, they require more effort and strokes during inflation.
Checking the Bike Tire Pressure
Proper tire pressure is imperative for speed and smooth-riding and avoiding flats. There are many ways you can check your bike’s tire pressure; these include a pressure gauge and manual checking.
We will discuss them in detail later, but in order to provide a brief understanding, a pressure gauge measures the pressure inside the pump. Give the pump a few strokes, so the valve opens up and then get a reading of the pressure inside the tire.
Connecting the Pump to the Tire
Pressure gauges measure the pressure inside the pump and not the tire, so once the pump has been connected, open, and close it a few times to acquire an accurate reading. Your ability to determine the pressure by feel will eventually be polished using a gauge.
If you don’t know what air pressure is an ideal fit for your tire, inflate them to the maximum amount as outlined on them, go for a few test rides to see, and then adjust accordingly.
Avoiding Over-Inflation Of The Tires
Make sure not to over-inflate the tires because it leads to hardening of the sidewalls and tread of the tire, reducing overall performance and traction all while increasing instability. Once you perfect the checking and gauging, this will not be an issue. In addition to this, the verification of instruments is essential to steer clear of excessive pressure during inflation.
How To Check Tire Pressure on a Hybrid Bike?
Checking tire pressure on a hybrid bike isn’t difficult. You just need to keep the following in mind:
Using a Pressure Gauge
Like mentioned earlier, each model or style of the bike comes with its own particular PSI range, depending on the tire’s type. This range is clearly visible on the side of the tire. Locate this outlined range, then using the pressure gauge, calculate the tire pressure to show the actual current pressure of the tires.
Make necessary adjustments, depending on whether the tire pressure is below or above the PSI standard. While doing so, switch back and forth between the air pump and the gauge until the standard pressure is finally achieved.
If you have the margin to spend an extra couple of bucks, buy an air pump which already comes with an integrated pressure gauge. Use this to check the pressure of the tire first.
Eyeball The Tire Pressure
If you don’t own a pressure gauge and don’t intend to buy one anytime soon, don’t worry! You can still get a fair reading of the amount of air the tire requires. It won’t be as accurate as a pressure gauge, but it’s not impossible to check without one.
If your hybrid bike has a pair of 700c tires attached to the front and rear, you can check the pressure by simply squeezing the tire. If the tire squeezes easy, there’s definitely a need to pump up some air. All you have to do then is to get some air into the tires until they’re firm and you can’t squeeze them anymore. If the tire feels firm already, there’s no need.
On the other hand, if your bike features tires that are thicker, kind of like a mountain bike, you need to sit on your bike and then carefully observe the tires. If the tires are low on pressure, your weight will cause them to flatten slightly, making them protrude out from both sides. If that’s the case, air them up. If not, you’re good to go.
PSI Requirements (Pounds per square inch)
Different types of tires have a different set of requirements, including the appropriate air amount. Road bikes that rock the usual thin style tires perfect for the thoroughfare require a PSI range of 80 to 130. On the contrary, bikes that feature heavy-duty thick tires usually have PSI standards in the range of 25 to 35.
While these requirements remain universal, there are some factors that impact the ideal PSI range of each bike. Let’s what these factors are:
Regardless of the model and type of bike you steer, the kind of surface you usually expedite on matters a lot.
Considering the usual 700cc tires, a smooth road does not necessarily impact the PSI standards, so you can keep the pressure at maximum level.
However, if you ride through rough and hard terrains, try lowering the tire pressure slightly for effortless riding experience.
Weather conditions account for another important factor in this discussion. Ideally, For every 10-degree drop in temperature, you should decrease the tire pressure by 2%.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of off-roading adventures, make sure you slightly reduce the PSI so as to thrust traction and grip.
Weight Of The Rider
Last but not least, the rider’s weight is a crucial factor you should contemplate to devise the PSI accordingly. For someone who’s light-weight, say around 130 pounds, a PSI of 80 would be perfect. A rider weighing somewhere between 130 and 180 should have a PSI of approximately 100. And for someone who weighs around 200 pounds, 125 PSI is ideal.
Tyre Pressure for Wet Conditions
For traction in wet conditions, lowering your tire pressure can be extremely fruitful. When you’re decreasing the tire pressure, you’re essentially increasing the area of the tire’s contact patch with the road. This will, in turn, provide a better grip and handling. As a rule of thumb, we would suggest subtracting 10psi from the standard when driving in wet.
How Regularly Should I Inflate The Bike Tires?
Proper maintenance is the key to optimal performance and longevity. So, how does one define proper? Let’s discuss this.
Ideally, you should check your tires before and after each ride and increase or decrease the air pressure accordingly, especially if you’re a frequent or an everyday user.
Additionally, as discussed earlier, we’d suggest checking the tire pressure and adjust it according to the weather conditions of that day
Inner Tube vs. Tubeless Tyres
Road bike tires generally feature an inner tube and are commonly known as clinchers. These types of tires are specially made for flat surfaces and make commuting around the city a reasonably comfortable task. The stumbling block here is that they don’t perform as well on rough and hard surfaces, and there’s a good chance of punctures.
On the other hand, tubeless tires are better suited for tougher conditions with their ability to run equally well on lower air pressure for a finer grip and better traction, especially around corners. Giving you a higher contact with the ground, tubeless tires provide stability while reducing the risk of punctures and unwanted friction. They work equally well for both flat and rough conditions.
By considering and implementing our suggestions, we feel that your journey as a responsible hybrid bike owner will surely be smooth and effortless. From how to check the tire pressure to the proper procedure for inflating a tire, we’ve covered it all. Now, all that’s left to do is for you to be mindful of all these tips and tricks the next time you take your two-wheeler out for a spin.