Today I will tell you about a skill that every rider (cyclist or biker) should achieve. It’s about knowing how often to pump bike tires.  Because if you don’t know how much air pressure your tires have, you can damage the bike if you go too fast. To determine the right time to pump your bike tires, you will need to know a few things, that we can name the rule of thumb. I have a good idea, let’s divide this into three parts. First, we will understand how pressure affects the bike ride. Second, we will know when it is safe to check the air pressure in your tires. And third, we will know how much air (correct tire pressure) it takes to fill the bike tire.

How often and how much tire pressure you need to pump your bike tires mostly depends on bike type and its tire size.  If you want to make sure that your tire is inflated properly, then go ahead and check out my guide here. This article will help you learn when you need to pump bike tires. 

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Photo Credit: Istockphoto

Comparison Chart of Three Popular Types of Bike Form

If it’s a road bike with high-pressure tires, you need to pump it at least once a week. If it’s a casual hybrid bike, And if it’s a knobby tire, mountain bike tires are a little wider so it’s fine to pump an mtb bike once in two or three weeks.

DetailsRoad BikeHybrid BikeMountain Bike
Tire Width23-28 mm28-38 mm40+ mm 
Avg Recommended Pressure Range100+ psi80-100 psi 20 – 35 psi 
Pressure Lost Per Week5 – 40 psi3 – 30 psi1 – 15 psi
How Often To Check The PressureEvery Few Days ( At Least Once a Week)Every Two WeeksEvery Three-Four Weeks

How Often To Pump Bike Tires

When we are using a high-pressure road bike, we need to pump our road bikes at least once a week so the air pressure will be at maximum.  And we don’t want to be found on a bike ride half on a flat tire on the road and offroad. So remember to check and pump your road bike tires within a week after you started riding. But when our bike changes, we are commuting with our casual hybrid bikes, the tires need to be pumped at once every two weeks.  And when it’s an MTB bike with knobby tires sometimes it’s fine to wait for several days like two-three weeks. 

Because while riding on the road bike at full speed its tire is gonna lose air faster than other two types of bikes tires. As we know faster speed and narrower tires mean faster wear and tear and more air pressure loss.

Air pressure in mtb tires and hybrid tires are usually lower than on the other two types of bikes. So, it can be neglected a bit and wait for several days or so to fill the tire with air. It’s recommended to check the mtb bike for 100 psi and then go with a bike pump. And if you are a heavier rider then you should check it frequently.  

No matter if you are riding a road bike, hybrid or commuter bike, or mtb bike, you should keep checking the bike tire at the mentioned time. If you have a pressure gauge floor pump (actual tire pressure gauge), getting the accurate pressure in number is quite easy. Try it and know the score to pump at the right time with the right amount which is essential. If you put high pressure on the bikes, it will rather slow you down. The tire will be hard to ride and will vibrate and bounce. It will increase the rolling resistance and will give you a harsh ride and will take more effort to traction, it is time for a new air pump and some high-pressure bicycle tire inflation for a comfortable ride.

When Should You Check Bike Tire Pressure? 

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Photo Credit: Istockphoto

After every ride – of course, you should regularly check the pressure of both front and rear tires when you ride a road bike. Sometimes, it is okay not to check the air pressure immediately after every ride if it’s a commuting bike or mtb bike. Mtb bike has a wider tire that can run longer

We should check bike tire pressure and update it in order to maintain the road bike tires’ optimal performance. if you are worried about the pump, don’t be.

There are many types of bike pumps available in the market. Rather than visiting a gas station regularly, you can buy any of the best bike pump ( a mini pump, or a bike mount pump) to save some money. If you are searching for a good option that is affordable, a floor pump can be the best choice. Pumping isn’t a difficult task, open the valve cap, place the pump head ( bicycle pump or any of the mentioned pump) you have on the bike tire valves, pull up the lever, and inflate the tire properly. Now remove the pump from the tire valve and that’s it!

But make sure you track the pump bike tire pressure while pumping.

In addition to checking tire pressures, also pay attention if there are any cracks or tears on a bicycle wheel or Presta valve because it can leak air easily. If there are any noticeable cracks or tears in the tire sidewall, Presta valve, schrader valve or valve core, this is recommended to be repaired right away and not wait for unnecessary failures which can occur if you don’t do so as soon as possible. 

Why Is It So Important To Keep Tires Inflated?

Properly inflated tires mean no punctured tire and a smooth ride. Like car tires or trucks, bike tires will rapidly wear out with even moderate to light rides. Actually, that’s all the more reason why it is so important for you to keep those rubber blocks in good shape! With a little bit of routine bike maintenance and regular checks and adjustments over time — you can extend the life of your tires by quite some time.

While riding a bike, a tire’s inflation pressure is an important element in how a bike will ride. In fact, the air pressure in your tires affects not just how smoothly it rides but also tire life. If the bike has lower tire pressure than the right range, it’s gonna cause damage to the tire and ruin the fun of your ride.  Higher pressure creates firmer and stiffer rides on bumps. It also eliminates tire sidewall wobble, which can help improve ride comfort by reducing vibrations and allowing better handling for a long time. So having a properly inflated tire is important for every type of bike.

How Pressure Changes Over Time

Whether you have an inner tube or are a tubeless bike tire, the total air pressure of the tires will go slow, puncture naturally, or will pinch flats. Because tubeless tire and inner tube tires both systems tires will leak air slowly. If it’s high-tire pressure road bike tires you will face air leaks faster than ever. While with a commuter bike or a mtb bike, it doesn’t happen. Mtb tires take a minimum of 2-3 weeks to leak air. 

Let’s know the fine details of different tire pressure rating (Psi range). Road bike tires usually need maximum pressure of 100psi, a hybrid bike 75 psi, and an mtb bike 65 psi.

The following amounts are the proper tire pressure levels for these bike tires. If it goes lower than these, you need to pump the tires immediately.

Most of us don’t know temperature also affects the pressure in our tires. If the tire is filled with correct tire pressure in a cool garage but not on the ride over hot pavement the pressure will go up.

For a given volume of air, the pressure tires will increase and decrease along with the temperature. So, If you filled up to the right pressure in a cool garage, but you are out riding on piping hot pavement, expect the pressure in your tires to go up. And if you leave your tire under the hot sun, chances are there it can pop up due to getting overheated.

How Much Air To Put In Your Bike Tire

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This can get tricky since all bikes are different. A road bike will blow through a single ride tube or two. A mountain bike tire will blow them away in due time. Usually, if you have a road tire that is much bigger than usual, it will hold pressure longer and will offer you a long ride.

If we take for a standard example 50 x 1.75 road tires and 35 x 2 mountain tires – how many pumps would be needed? Well, here is the formula:  For p = number of air pumps. For r = road rim size. And for v = volume of a rotational revolution on a tire

Then we can get this simple conclusion that you need to inflate two road tires with 1 psi each in 120 pumps and one mountain bike tire with 2 psi in 80 pumps.

If you are not much of a maths person – we always recommend that the professionals fill up each tire to the maximum which is approximately 1 bar. If you have already done your research, then great! Just add them all together and you will have a rough estimate of how many pumps you need for ONE bicycle tire. 

Tips

These are main bike tire pressure tips from us that might help to avoid buying extra items: 

  • Check the Presta valve to know the air pressure amount immediately after every ride, if it’s lower pressure, inflate immediately.
  • Re-check it once again every 3 months if it’s a new bike; then check them every 6 months. 
  • When you do have a puncture or low pressure – Re-inflate with the correct amount of air as soon as possible with a hand pumps or take it to a bike shop, 
  • Be wise when you deflate your tires; if you have no spare tube/tubeless-ready, put as much of the old rubber as possible back into the tyre to reduce weight and save more air pressure. 
  • If you have high speed, low rolling resistance tires – please check their pressures regularly

Conclusion

Whether it’s your road bike or mountain bike, you’ll need to pump the tires regularly. But only then when they need. To keep them in top shape, it’s important to maintain the air pressure in the tires. But not more than their need.  Over-pumping can damage the tire and make it less durable over time. But how often should you pump? I have given the answer above. I hope now you are clear about when you should pump your bike, in which amount, and why.

FAQ

Is it normal for bike tires to lose air?

Yes, it’s normal for bike tires to lose air. But if the amount of air lost is more than a bike should lose then it’s not normal. If your bike is a road bike and it’s losing air 5-40 psi, or a hybrid bike that is losing 3-30 psi, an mtb bike losing 1-15 psi per week then it’s normal.

How often do you need to add air to tires?

If it’s a road bike with high-pressure tires, you need to pump it at least once a week.
If it’s a casual hybrid bike you need to pump it once every two weeks.

And if it’s a knobby tire mountain bike tires are a little wider so it’s fine to pump an mtb bike once in two or three weeks.

Why do road bike tires lose air so fast?

If you ride a road bike, your tires will lose air quickly due to the speed of the bike. The tire loses air because of how fast it is spinning, which is why we use tubes in the tire to give it more time to slowly deflate without losing its shape and becoming unsafe for us to ride.

What happens if I Over inflate my bike tires?

If you overinflate your bike tires, the air will push out from under the tire and can cause it to burst. This happens because there is not enough pressure in the tire and if it bursts, you could lose control of your bike.

Can a tire go flat for no reason?

No, a tire can’t go flat for no reason. There are many factors that can cause the air to escape from the tire, such as punctures or cuts in the rubber. However, these types of flats happen in the most simple situations.