Being an owner of a road bike with tubeless tires, I have always felt the need to inflate the tires often. As visiting a bike shop at a time when your tires lose all their tightness is not possible every time, you must know how to inflate your tires by yourself.
This is pretty common whether you are using tubeless or tubed tires as you will definitely require to inflate your tires at some point. Flat tires not only give you bad cycling performance, but they will also waste a lot of time in your cycling journey.
In this post, I am going to guide you on how to inflate the tubeless tires the right way as tubeless tires have become pretty common.
What do you need to inflate a tubeless tire?
To inflate tubeless tires, you do not need a lot of equipment but some are necessary and some are optional. The most important tool you need is a Floor Pump.
I personally use a Floor pump as it is handy and doesn’t need any big storage area. It’s easy to use and inflates the tires in a minute or two.
However, if you don’t own a floor pump right now, there are a couple of more tools you can use to inflate your tubeless tires. These are the Tire Booster or Compressor.
Do you need a special pump for tubeless tires?
No, there is no need for any special pump for inflating tubeless tires and the floor pump is all you need. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are a few other types of pumps you can use to inflate the tires.
A Compressor is one of them which is a fine solution but not the best one. It should only be used when you have no floor pump available with you. While it is not necessarily bad for inflating tubeless tires, it can be problematic when your rim is made up of carbon.
If you are thinking of other types of pumps that will work, then, unfortunately, it may not be possible. The “Tankless” bicycle pump, available at car parts stores, won’t work. A tubeless bike tire requires a fast and powerful burst of compressed air, and a standard hand pump won’t provide the required force.
A floor pump works just fine for installing tubeless bicycle tires. For stubborn tires, however, you’ll need a higher-pressure pump. Professional mechanics typically use a compressor. You can also purchase an adaptor, which transforms an air compressor’s fitting into a bike valve.
There are a few different types of adapters, including the Prestaflator Professional or Arundel Shop Inflator.
Compressors vs. Floor Pumps For Tubeless Tires
Even though some may prefer using Compressors for inflating the tires with adequate air pressure, this might lead to problems if the rim is made up of carbon.
Typically, the floor pumps slowly fill up the air inside the tubeless tires and is a controlled way of inflation. However, a compressor may put too much pressure on the carbon rims as the carbon fiber is not able to tolerate the high pressure and the air may try to escape from the rim cavity.
This may result in the destruction of the rim but this is not the case with rims that are made up of aluminum.
Step by Step method for inflating the tubeless tires
Clean the Rim
If you want to make sure that there is no air loss and the contact between the tire and rim should be strong, then clean the rim first. This is a fairly easy process and all you need is a dry rag or a cloth that can clear the dirt off the rim.
Position the valve correctly
To make the connection between the valve and the pump head easier, you should position your tire in such a way that the tire valve should either be at 3 or 9 O’clock. This not only makes an easy connection but also ensures a perfect build-up.
Inflate the tire
Now start inflating the tire with the floor pump and as the process goes on, the pressure should make the tire tight enough to make a seal between the tire and the rim.
Make sure the valve nut is secured properly after the inflation so that the air cannot escape. If air is escaping around the valve, you should tighten the valve nut further.
Air pressure needed to inflate tubeless tires
The best pressure for tubeless bike tires is lower than for tubed tires. However, you should also keep in mind that different types of bikes and tires require different levels of PSI.
If you are using an MTB, then you will need around 40 PSI but for road bikes, you will need higher pressure. There is no specific number for each bike and tire type as this also depends on the wheel load and tire size. If you want to know the correct pressure, then refer to the following chart-
In general, the recommended pressure lies between the maximum and minimum sidewall pressure. Now as you inflate the tire to the point when it is tight enough, it’s time to make sure the pressure is maintained.
The first step is to close the valve. Once you’ve closed the valve, the air pressure will turn the straps and form a seal.
After inflation, you should close the valve again. This will prevent air from getting in the tire, which can lead to high tire pressure. Incorrect inflation can ruin the tire.
How to seat a tubeless tire with the compressor?
If you’re wondering how to seat tubeless bike tires, then this process can be tricky, especially if the tire is stiff and flimsy.
Also, the rim’s shape may make it difficult for the bead to pop into the seat properly. And the air in the tire can’t get into the valve fast enough. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution that can help you seat your tire without the help of a compressor.
You can buy a “tankless” compressor at an auto parts store, but these models aren’t designed to seat tubeless bike tires. Rather, they’re designed to inflate car tires. Despite being cheap, these devices lack the volume and pressure necessary to seat tubeless bicycle tires.
To properly seat tubeless bike tires, you need a good air compressor. These tools can make the process a breeze. Use the pressure regulator on your compressor to check for correct inflation pressure.
You can also use a prestaflator inflation tool. Some prestaflator tools have an integrated pressure gauge, which can help you keep a constant pressure.
Lastly, you can check out the video tutorial by Neil on how to mount a stubborn tubeless tire with a simple floor pump.