The short answer is that you can’t use a ball pump for a bicycle. You might be able to connect this pump to a bicycle tire somehow. However, the work required is too much, and the proper results may not be obtained. There are even better ways to fill a bicycle tire with air.
Characteristics of a ball pump
In this case, it is a tool that is used specifically to inflate different balls. Some of them are basketball, football, soccer, among many others. That is why it is not possible to obtain enough pressure to fill a bicycle tire. A bicycle tire with wheels between 16 and 20 inches requires between 60 and 120 PSI, or what is the same 4 to 8 bars.
How do you air up a bike tire with a ball pump?
As we have mentioned there are several ways to inflate the tires of a bicycle. Among all of them, the least recommended is to use a ball pump for this purpose. Regardless of the type of valve, the truth is that you do not get the necessary pressure required by the tires of a bicycle.
So, to start inflating a bicycle tire, you must calculate the exact PSI you need. It is important to mention here that each tire size will need a certain PSI. In particular, we recommend a minimum level and a maximum level of pressure required. So if you calculate a level lower than the minimum, then the tire will not be properly prepared.
In the same way, calculating pressure beyond the maximum level could easily cause the tire to break due to excessive pressure. From here you can find different air pumps needed for bicycle tires. Some of them are manual while others can be automatic.
Once you have your air pump you must connect the pump nozzle to the tire valve. At this point, you should have already calculated the exact amount of PSI you want for your tire. So now you can start inflating the tire on your bike. At the same time, continue to inflate the tire until it is completely hard.
To be able to tell if a tire is completely ready, you should not squeeze the sides of the tire. Simply press your hands from the outside to the inside of the tire. When a tire is properly loaded with air, you should only be able to push it in one centimeter.
When you want to do this with a balloon pump, you will need a great deal of time and effort to do so. Simply put, this type of inflator is not designed for bicycle tires but other purposes. As the name suggests, it is only used for balloons, so its features are only suited to that.
What kind of pump do I need for my bike?
Firstly, it is important to consider the type of valve your bike’s tires need. Broadly speaking there are two types of valves that you can find Schrader and Presta. The first option is usually used on mountain bikes, while the second one is used on road bikes.
So in principle, we recommend that you purchase the specific type of valve for your type of bike. After that, pump heads are also important. Nowadays the vast majority of bicycle inflators have more than one adapter for both valves. Therefore, you should make sure that your next pump includes this dual accessory.
Third, you can choose the type of pump you want to get. For one thing, tracked pumps are one of the most common inflators. In turn, they are an excellent choice when a high amount of PSI is required. In combination with this, you can also count on a mini pump. In this case, the advantage is that it is a tool with a compact and transportable size.
Here you will not have the same amount of PC as on the tracked pump, but still, the operation is acceptable. Therefore, it is an excellent alternative, especially when you are on the road.
Last but not least, you will have an air compressor at your disposal. Although it is the most expensive option of all, it is an excellent tool. Here you can select the exact PSI you want for your tires. Also, the tires can be filled with air more quickly and with much less effort. So if you have the right budget you can afford this tool.
Can you pump a bike tire at a gas station?
You can pump the bicycle tires at a gas station. If you have Schrader tires and valves, you will not need any adapters to use the service station pump. However, the important thing here is to ask for help from a local worker.
If you do not apply the correct PSI, you could easily break the tire on your bike. So by getting some help you will avoid spending money on new tires for your bike.
On the other hand, you can also use these inflators if your bike’s tires have Presta valves. In this case, you will need a Presta adapter. After that, you simply need to perform the same procedure as with the previous valve.
The important thing here is to ask a service station worker for help in achieving the correct PSI. After a burst of air, you should check whether the tire is hard enough. If it is not, you can increase the PSI of the inflator a little and try again. It is important to consider the maximum PSI your bike’s tire can tolerate.
Do bike pumps work on all bikes?
As mentioned, you will have the ability to use any bike pump on all bikes. For this, it is important to consider Presta and Schrader valves. Generally, the vast majority of bicycles have one of these valves.
In this case, we recommend that you buy a bicycle inflator with additional adapters. In this way, you will be buying a bicycle inflator that can be used with both valves. In these times, the vast majority of bicycle inflators provide these accessories along with the main purchase.
After that, there are different bicycle inflators such as the tracked pump, the mini inflator, air compressors, among others. Each of these options can provide you with a different size, PSI range, and functionality.
Therefore, you should select the option that best suits your needs. Besides, all of these options have different costs. Beyond that, you will have the ability to use any option that includes dual valve adapters. You even can use a gas station pump. In this case, you will need the Presta adapter if your bike’s tires have Presta valves.