How To Use An Air Compressor To Fill A Bike Tyre

How To Use An Air Compressor To Fill A Bike Tyre

Anyone with a passion for cycling will know that bike tyres require careful maintenance. If not, they won’t perform as expected which can make using the bike more difficult and even potentially dangerous.

But using a manual pump to inflate your bike tyres can be something of a headache. If you’ve got an air compressor, you may have wondered how to use an air compressor to fill a bike tyre.

An air compressor can be used to inflate a bike tyre much more quickly than a manual pump. However, you must be careful not to overinflate the tyre as there’s a significant risk that it could burst.

The key is to remain in control at all times, and don’t forget that there is nothing wrong with taking it slowly. It’s better to take a little more time and get it right than to damage the tube and have to replace the entire tyre. In this guide, we’ll give you a detailed introduction to using your air compressor for your bike tyres.

What Is An Air Compressor?

There are several different types of air compressors, but they are all pneumatic devices. There are those that are powered by petrol whereas others are electrically powered.

In any case, an air compressor is a tool that converts energy into pressurised air. This air is forced into a storage tank and as this happens, the pressure inside increases. The air compressor will shut off once the pressure reaches its limit.

Air compressors are incredibly versatile tools and can be used for a whole host of applications. While they are ideal for inflating tyres and other inflatables, they are also used for things like spray painting, cleaning, weeding and much more.

The Importance Of Correct Tyre Pressure

As we have already mentioned, it is super important to keep your bike tyres well maintained if you want to ensure the best performance.

Part of this means keeping them under the right pressure. There are other things that will affect the performance of the bike but generally speaking, correctly inflated tyres with just the right PSI will have the biggest impact on this.

Not only will you notice that your bike handles much better when the tyres are properly inflated but you’ll also find that everything just feels that little bit more comfortable.

The problem is that every time you use your bike, air will seep out of the tyres and even though you might not notice it right away, it won’t be long before the perfect PSI has dropped and the bike stops performing as expected.

For this reason, before heading out on a long bike ride, it’s always good practice to get into the habit of checking the tyre pressure.

What Is The Right Pressure For My Bike Tyre?

There are a lot of things that can affect the level of pressure needed for your bicycle tyres. Most people think that it is down to the design of the bike and there is a lot of truth in this. But before we look at the bike itself, we have to take our bodies into account.

You see, the right tyre pressure for your bike may be different from what’s right for mine. This is because people come in all different sizes and your weight will go some way in determining the right tyre pressure.

Of course, the tyres themselves also play a role in deciding on the right PSI and for the most part, you’ll want to think about the tyre width. Wider tyres generally need less pressure as they will naturally hold their shape better.

Let’s assume you’re riding a mountain bike with chunky tyres. In this case, you might only need up to 35 PSI whereas someone riding a bike with much narrower tyres may need to up that pressure to anywhere up to 130 PSI!

You’ll need to think about your tyre width but also consider that on average, a bike tyre will need somewhere between 40 and 70 PSI for regular tyres. There will be details on the tyre and from the manufacturer as to the perfect pressure so always make sure you check that before inflating.

More often than not, there will be a range and we would suggest sticking to somewhere in the middle of that range for the best results. Of course, take into account your weight as we discussed earlier to tailor the pressure perfectly to you.

Heavier people may need to add a few extra pounds of pressure in each tyre while very light people might be able to get away with going less than average. Sometimes, you may have a bit of trial and error but you’ll know when you hit the sweet spot and the bike feels just right. That said, don’t ever try to overinflate your tyres as this will damage them.

Checking Tyre Pressure

There is no getting away from the fact that your bike tyres will lose air over time. Tubeless tyres tend to be a bit better at holding onto air but you should still get into the habit of checking them before you use the bike, just to be on the safe side.

It’s worth keeping in mind that recently repaired tyres may leak more quickly so before you use the bike, just quickly check the pressure. You can do this by using a digital pressure gauge which is easy to use and super simple to read.

Some people will rely on the pressure gauge on the air compressor but this won’t provide you with the greatest accuracy. This is because the gauge reads the pressure within the compressor and not the tyre so while it might be close, it won’t be spot on.

A Note On Valve Types

When you are checking the air in your bike tyres, you may not be aware that the type of valve you have can affect how quickly they deflate.

There are two different types of valves that can be found on bicycle tyres. These are Presta valves and Schrader valves. Schrader valves are the same as the ones you would find on most cars and you’ll find that almost all air compressors are designed to work with these.

On the other hand, most bikes will have a Presta valve although there are some that have Schrader valves. If you do have the former, then you will need to make sure that your air compressor is compatible with this or you have a suitable adapter.

While Schrader valves are easier to work with as your air compressor will be automatically compatible with them, they do have a tendency to leak a little more quickly.

How Do You Inflate Bike Tyres With An Air Compressor?

Once you have determined that your bike tyres need to be given a boost of air, you can reach for that air compressor.

To start, you will need to adjust the pressure of the air compressor so that it is in line with what your bike tyres need. You should do this with the air compressor switched off. When you’re ready, plug it in and turn it on. You’ll need to wait for the tank to be filled with air and there is a gauge that lets you monitor this.

If you are using a Schrader valve then you can use the same nozzle that you would for your car tyres. All you need to do is attach it and let the airflow in. However, if you have a Presta valve then you’ll need to get an adapter. Fortunately, these are widely available.

When you remove the valve cap, you will need to make sure that the valve is open. You can do this by tapping it. If you feel air coming out, it’s open.

No matter what type of air compressor or valve you are using, it is essential to make sure that you take it slowly. Air compressors kick out air very rapidly and if you don’t maintain control, your tyre could blow before you’re even aware it is full. Keep an eye on the gauges and don’t be afraid to stop and check if you need to.

When you’re done, don’t forget to replace the valve caps to prevent all that air from leaking straight back out!

How To Remove Air From Your Bike Tyre

Sometimes, you may overinflate your tyres and realise before it’s too late. That’s great as it’ll save you from having to buy a new tyre. However, you are still going to want to get that air out of there. So, how do you do it?

There is some good news; removing air from your tyres is quick and easy. But the process will differ slightly depending on the type of valve you have. For Presta valves, you will need to open the valve cap and press it down, this will allow air to be released. Yes, it’s really that simple.

For bikes with a Schrader valve, there is a pin in the centre that can be depressed using a screwdriver. This will bleed out any excess air. Again, don’t forget to replace valve caps when you’re done.


Making sure that your bike tyres are inflated correctly is a must if you want your bike to perform well. While many people use a manual pump, an air compressor will save you time.

But when considering how to use an air compressor to fill a bike tyre, one thing is key; make sure you go slow as these powerful tools will quickly fill the tyres and you don’t want them to overinflate.

How To Use An Air Compressor To Fill A Bike Tyre

Related Posts

Scroll to top