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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32

    Help - Tire Pressure / Floor Pump Issue

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    I've just got a bike and am really looking forward to getting into cycling. I'm a complete beginner in that I haven't cycled since I was about 12, so my question may seem really obvious.

    Love this website btw. I think that it's hard to ask technical questions when you're a woman, as sometimes guys give you techie answers which are impossible to understand versus breaking it down into normal English!

    I've got a turbo trainer to work on my fitness when I can't cycle outdoors as I've promised to train for a ride later this year with my friends. My problem is that I'm trying to pump up my training wheel which my LBS put my training tyre on. I need to ensure that every time I use my turbo trainer it's at the same setting. I bought my bike from my LBS, so they recommended the training wheel and training tyre.

    On the training tyre itself, it says that the maximum pressure should be 120 psi. Other websites recommend only pumping it up to 110 psi, although the maximum is 120 psi. I'm going to pump it up to 110 psi and keep it at that pressure.

    I finally figured out how to use my Bontrager Recharger Track Pump with the Presta valve on the wheel after a lot of Googling. The tire wasn't completely flat when I pumped it. The problem is that when I pumped it to about 60 psi, I felt that the tyre felt as if it was at maximum inflation and the pump didn't seem to be adding any more air. I'm afraid to pump it any more as it feels like it will burst.

    I thought that the pump would automatically show what pressure the tire was at and that you would just pump it where you need it to be. I feel like I'm missing something so obvious. How do I manage this issue in the future? Surely cyclists don't empty their tires just to pump it up to the right pressure? Is there some gadget I'm supposed to buy that tells you the tire pressure and then if you're low you just pump the difference with your floor pump?

    Help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Actually good questions. Tire pressure is dependent on rider weight, and tire thickness. A 23 mm tire with a rider who weighs 150 lbs pumps to about 105 psi. The wider the tire, the lower th pressure, but the more a rider weighs, the higher the pressure.

    Try this link for pressure guidelines.

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=53582

    And this link, post number 6, has tire pumping tips. Basically you need to have no pressure in the pump when you start, and make sure all the valves are set correctly. Having the presto valve at 6 o'clock helps, too.
    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=44376
    Last edited by Muirenn; 01-03-2015 at 12:13 PM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    While I'm at it, this thread has a link to a very good how to change a rear tire video,

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=42029

    As you can see, these questions are common; agree that men tend to take these types of things more for granted.

    Oh, and welcome to TE!
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Thanks, Muirenn. That's very helpful.

    How do I know how much pressure is in the tire to begin with? Can I know this from my Floor Pump?

    Cheers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    There should be a pressure gauge on the floor pump. If your pump is a small one without a gauge, or a portable model, I'd invest in a better one. Oh, and you don't need to put the valve cap back on the stem. It's not necessary, and will probably fall off somewhere, anyway. Also don't keep the washer nut on the valve stem, if your tubes came with one. That can actually cause a leak around the stem.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Cheers, Muirenn.

    I actually have a pressure gauge on my pump. I got the same one that my LBS uses (Bontrager Recharger Track Pump). They recommended it. When I connect the pump, the current pressure doesn't show. The gauge says zero. It's only when I pump that the needle moves up. This is why I'm confused.

    Also, noob question here: what are valve caps on the stem and washer nuts?! I'm seriously technically deficient when it comes to biking. I'm trying to learn though. I've learned so much in the past few months since I first decided to buy a bike.

    I thought the stem was the bit the handlebars attach onto because when I got my bike my LBS said that they switched around the stem to give me a more comfortable reach. I'm 5' 3" but prefer the unisex model of the bike I got versus the WSD. With the WSD, my arms felt wrong - like they were too bent. With the unisex model, I felt like my reach was too far until the LBS switched around the stem. Then it felt fine.

    On my wheel, I only have a black cap which I take off the Presta valve. There's no other cap. I had to unscrew the silver round thingy to loosen it. I pushed in the silver round thingy in slightly to make some air come out and then fixed on the floor pump to the narrower hole (my pump can do Schrader valves too so it has a wider hole as well) and locked it in place. Then I pumped.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Okay, sounds like a nice pump. It should be zero until you start pumping.

    http://www.jensonusa.com/Kenda-Thorn...sta-Valve-Tube

    The link has a picture of the black valve cap, and brass nut directly beneath. Dispose of both. Tightening the nut against the rim can cause a leak at the base of the stem. I only mentioned throwing away the black cap because in the original link for tips, I state that it needs to go on the valve. It doesn't. But i didn't know that, back then.

    The handlebar stem attached bars to bike. The valve stem is that thing that allows you to pump air into the tires. The presto valve is attached to the valve stem.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 01-03-2015 at 03:38 PM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Oh ok. That makes sense now. Cheers.

    Do you think it would be best for me to always pump the tyre up to max (assuming that this means it's at 120 PSI which is the manufacturer's maximum tyre pressure) and then let some air out and then pump up to what the correct tyre pressure should be (using the formula you linked to)? Otherwise, I could buy a separate type pressure gauge which would measure the pressure and then use my pump to get to the PSI I need.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Not sure I follow. Don't know why you'd want to pump to the max. Do you mean your tire's max? Or the max based on you? Your pump has a gauge, that should be fine. The amount of pressure is a guideline, not a rule.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    This thread on tire pressure from a few years ago may interest you. The OP is a racer on very thin tires, so it's not likely you would find yourself in such extreme situations. (Not yet, anyway!).

    Tire pressure, potential issues.

    I'm surprised I never commented in that thread. I'm subscribed to it and have read it more than once. Guess I didn't have anything to add!
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Thanks for all the help, Muirenn. I'm probably being a bit of a pain here. Are you Irish by the way? Muireann (with an 'a' usually) is an old Irish girl's name?

    That last link was really useful. That girl is amazing. How she kept going with all those injuries is unbelievable. Fair play to her. Great info too.

    Basically, my problem is that I can't guess how much air to pump into my tire when it's already inflated because my gauge doesn't say how much pressure it's at already. So if I was able to attach my floor pump and see that it was at 100 PSI already, then I'd know that I just had to add 10 PSI more from my pump (as an example) to make the pressure inside my tire become 110 PSI. At the moment, I can only attach the pump and add more pressure until the tire goes hard (so I start at 0 PSI on the pump gauge and go up to 60 PSI as an example). But this doesn't allow me to know what the total PSI in the tire is at that point because the pump gauge would read 60 PSI at this point, when the pressure inside the tire could be 110 PSI because I started with pressure already in my tire (or I'm guessing even 120 PSI if the pump isn't allowing me add more air and the tire feels completely rigid, since 120 PSI is what the manufacturer gives as the maximum tire pressure). I hope that makes sense.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Not Irish, but Sheila is my real name. There is a specific reason for Muirenn, and the non-traditional spelling.

    Dubz. Are you from Dublin? I'd love to visit Ireland, someday.

    Not a pain at all. All those links are threads I've subscribed to for a reason. I've linked to therm for others here many times.

    Your gauge should tell you how much pressure is in the tire. Maybe take it back to the shop and have them look at it? If it doesn't work, they should replace the pump.

    What kind of bike is this?
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    So once your pump gauge starts reading, it is usually reading the pressure in the tire. You usually hear a little whoosh when the pressure in the tube of the pump exceeds the tire pressure. Reading the gauge when you hear that will tell you the approximate pressure in the tire. You can always remove the pump and depress the center portion of the valve to let air out of the tire if you are afraid you have overinflated it. So - if you want the tire to be at 110, you would pump until the gauge on the pump reads 110. Make sense?
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    548
    As soon as you pump it once, the gauge should move to show the then-current pressure for the tire. The gauge doesn't just show what pressure you add (by pumping), it shows the total pressure in the tire (some show the total pressure as soon as you hook it up, and some may not show the total pressure until you actually start pumping). You would rarely start from zero (in the tire) unless you had a flat and/or just mounted a new tube in the tire.

    ETA: Blueberry and I were writing at the same time.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    32
    Thanks a lot, girls. Now I see why I'm confused. I thought I was being a bit thick. My pump isn't showing the current pressure on start up. It starts at 0 all the time. I think I need to bring it back to my LBS to see if it's working properly because it looks like it isn't. I don't think I've done anything wrong because I've looked at loads of vids online and have followed exactly what they say to do with attaching a floor pump to a Presto valve.

    / Warning - Rant Beginning: It's a bit frustrating tbh because the amount of simple things I've had to ask about or try to figure out myself is unreal. I don't mind learning or researching stuff, but some information either isn't out there or is hard to find. I wish there was a website for people starting out, who are non techies, with loads of vids to explain the basics. For example, I was having problems with my speed / cadence sensor not reading. It was only when I went back to my LBS that they showed me that there was a magnet on my pedal which was slightly out of line with my sensor and that my training wheel also needed a magnet. I had spent ages looking online to try and figure out the issue myself as I'm the type of person who likes to solve things on my own. I had no idea that sensors needed magnets or that I had one on my pedal and one on my normal rear wheel. It just didn't occur to me and it wasn't mentioned anywhere online or on the manufacturer's website.

    Some of the guys in my LBS are really helpful and understanding, but some of them look at me like I've 2 heads when I ask these kind of questions. That's why I'm glad to have found TE. I wish there were more women working in bike shops. It would make life easier because I think they would be more understanding and you can ask embarrassing questioning without feeling like a total eejit. / Rant over!

    So basically, I really appreciate your help.

    @Muirenn - Yes, I'm Irish. From Dublin. But I live in London now. Dublin's my home, so I'll always love it. But London's great. Any time I go back to Dublin, I start getting homesick for London after a few days. I love it.

    Ireland has very beautiful parts. You should visit. They've recently opened the 'Wild Atlantic Way' which is apparently the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. It's in the West of Ireland. Since you enjoy cycling, that might be something to consider checking out one day. Some of it is really spectacular. Especially if you like scenery that's a bit savage and untamed.

    Here's the website for it and a vid as well, so you can have a look.

    http://www.ireland.com/en-gb/wild-atlantic-way/#

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNjsFzyKJOI

    My bike is a 15" Starry Night Black / Volt Green Trek 7.2 FX 2015 btw. It's your average bike, I know. But I love it more every day.
    Last edited by Dubz; 01-03-2015 at 05:49 PM.

 

 

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