Pumping up a bike tyre

Do you need a different type of bike pump depending on what sort of bike you've got?

Zilla bought me a bike pump a while ago and today i tried to use it for the first time. Now instead of having very little air in the tyre i have no air at all.

Do all bike pumps work on all bikes? In which case - how do i pump my tyres up as i'm clearly completely incompetent.


<M wanders off disconsolately looking blonder by the moment>


  • mountain bikes have bigger valves than road bikes, and need different pumps

    its probably all your hapless bloke's fault
  • (bet he's got a beard.)
  • You can have Schraeder valves & Presta valves, I think. You're more likely to have Schraeder on MTBs, Presta on road bikes. Schraeder are like car valves, about 5 mm across, approx. Presta are a lot smaller and have a kind of thing that presses in at the top. You can get pumps that do both; I've got one, but there are 2 obviously different sized holes in it.
  • Here, there's a pic of the different types on this page:


    Whatever hole is in your pump should pretty much match the diameter of your valve.
  • I think you'll find that if you do buy expensive rubbish road bikes, they are not designed to fit common pumps, you have to expect to buy a slimline expensive pump too.

    mind you that pump might fit nicely on my mountain bike (handy)
  • It might be worth checking if the bit on your pump that fits on the valve is reversible. If it unscrews there may be a rubber bit inside that you can turn round.
  • Sounds like you have Presta tubes.
    You unscrew the lil valve a few turns and then slide the pump over.

    If you unscrew the valve all the way then you usually end up pressing it in by mistake and losing all your air.

    Get a track pump for in the house - they are fab and will pump your tyres up as hard as you like with minimal effort.

    Once you have a good one - it saves months of toiling with on bike crappy pumps. Honest.
  • sorry - ive held it in to long


  • PS, track pumps are great
  • thank you to everyone except will

    and while i'm at it
    <big raspberry to will>

    i'll go and sort out getting a new bike pump tomorrow as clearly from quimby's picture (special thanks to quimby :-)) i've got a presta valve but a schraeder pump.

    thank you for the thing about track pumps cougie (where do i get one?)
  • (((((M.)))))

    Well, I was *nearly* right.

    [hard stare at Will for making a liar of a li'l leopard]
  • A good bike shop will be able to advise you on track pumps M.
    But be careful - a bikey friend bought an MTB only track pump, and was surprised that the dial only went up to about 60PSI !

    Road pumps can do up to 140 PSI easily, but most tyres/rims only need about 110 or so.
  • thanks cougie

    i'll drop into the bike shop in letchworth this afternoon and see if they can sort it out.

  • chances are the pump you have will work, like someone says, the rubber bit that clips onto the valve is most likely reversible. Track pumps ARE ace, but effin useless if you need one when you're riding. You need both.

Sign In or Register to comment.