How to Inflate the Tires on an eBike

October 22, 2020

Tire sidewall

Tire inflation is extremely important! Keeping tires pumped up is one of a few maintenance tasks that should be performed regularly at home. There are two main points: finding which valve is equipped on the bike and how it operates, and learning how much to inflate your tires.
  • Inflate your tires at least once a month. Properly inflated tires ensure that you get optimal life, battery range, and traction for steering and braking.

  • Tires will normally drop around 15 PSI per month if not topped off. This is because bicycle tires are much thinner and lighter than car tires, and are often inflated to higher pressures. If a tire is deflating more quickly, there may be a slow leak in the valve or puncture. In that case, contact us to schedule service.

  • Under-inflated tires can be hazardous; always keep your tires inflated at or above the minimum pressure listed on the tire sidewall. Pressures that fall below manufacturer recommendations can result in reduced control of the bike, increased risk of puncture and pinch flats, and sidewall or tread damage, sometimes causing blowouts.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Inflating Tires

 

1. It is recommended to use a floor pump or compressor with a gauge. Squeezing a tire is inaccurate; but for a quick test, the tire should feel quite firm.

2. Check the sidewall of the tire for the manufacturer's recommended pressure range, typically measured in bar or psi. Use whichever measurement you are familiar with and is represented on your pump's gauge.

This example is a wide urban commuter tire typically seen on an e-bike. It can inflate from 35 to 70 PSI. Substitute the pressure range listed on the tires equipped on the bike.

3. A pressure somewhere in the higher half of the range is good for most people, considering a heavier e-bike with commuting accessories in an urban environment. Contact us or read the detailed section below for more specific recommendations.

4. Bicycle tire pressure is much more influenced by rider and cargo weight than a car, because the bicycle itself is a fraction of the total weight.

  • Use higher pressures as weight increases, such as with fully loaded panniers or carrying children, or if the rider is heavier than 160-180 lbs. Consult the manual for your bike and cargo accessories to determine maximum weight capability.

  • For example, inflate and maintain the rear tire of the Xtracycle Edgerunner at its maximum pressure (50-55 PSI). Pressures below this range will have exaggerated negative consequences due to the small tire size and increased load.

At the extremes of a tire's pressure range, the riding experience is changed dramatically. Again, substitute these example pressures for the those listed on the tire sidewall.

  • 35 PSI will provide a soft, comfortable ride that handles more slowly.

Pressure this low can be better for very rough terrain or dirt path riding, but needs to be checked regularly to make sure it doesn't drop too low.

The tire may also wear out more quickly, especially on heavier bikes. There is a higher flat risk.

Battery range will be reduced and/or the bike will require increased pedaling effort.

  • 70 PSI will be a firm, speedy ride with quicker, more responsive handling.

Pressure this high is best suited for smooth, freshly paved surfaces, and can be jarring on poorly maintained roads.

The tire can be less susceptible to flats.

Battery range can increase with higher pressures.

  • Tire pressure can be an individual preference. Experiment with tire pressure within the manufacturer's range to find what best suits your riding style and terrain.
  • Never inflate beyond the tire manufacturer's recommended maximum pressure.

5. Determine which valve type is installed on your bicycle.

6. Check to make sure the valve is properly fitted and not bent, cut, or otherwise damaged. If so, replace the tube or contact us to schedule service.

  • If the valve is coming out of the rim at an angle, deflate the tube fully, realign the valve, then re-inflate the tire.

7. Follow the steps for your specific valve type:

  • Inflating a tire with a Schrader valve:
  1. Remove the Schrader valve cap if present.

  2. Depending on your air pump, screw or press the pump end directly onto the valve.

  3. Pump air into the tire inflating it to the recommended PSI (BAR) pressure.

  4. Unscrew or pull off the pump end from the valve.

  5. Screw in the Schrader valve dust cap.

 

  • Inflating a tire with a Presta Valve
  1. Locate the valve dust cap and remove it.

  2. Unscrew the valve end counter-clockwise and carefully push in the valve to make sure it is open.

  3. Depending on your air pump, you can screw on a Presta/Schrader valve adapter or press the pump end directly onto the valve.

  4. Pump air into the tire inflating it to the recommended PSI (BAR) pressure.

  5. Carefully remove pump head making sure not to bend the valve end.

  6. Remove valve adapter (if previously installed) and screw in the valve end clock-wise.

  7. Screw in the valve dust cap.

  

  • Inflating a tire with a Dunlop Valve

Note: Dunlop valve tires are not as common as Schrader or Presta valves.

  1. Locate the valve dust cap and remove it.

  2. Screw on a Presta/Schrader valve adapter.

  3. Install pump head to the valve adapter.

  4. Make sure to complete the pump cycle in order to press air through the valve and into the tube.

  5. After inflating to recommended PSI (BAR) pressure, carefully remove pump head.

  6. Remove valve adapter and screw in Dunlop valve dust cap.





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