Taking proper care of your bicycle is critical if you own a bike. Believe me, you don’t want your bike to give up the ghost in the middle of the road and break completely.
The most important part of your bike that you need to pay attention to is the bike tires. You should check your bike tires every time you go for a ride. After all, safety is the number one priority.
To take the best care of your bike tires, you need to acquire some knowledge. One of them is how to let the air out of a bike tire. This sounds like a simple task, but you must know how to do it properly and safely. You don’t want to damage the tire while you’re deflating it.
Now you might be wondering why you need to learn how to let the air out of your bike tire? I mean, you could just take it to the store. But it’s one of those things that comes in handy when you really need it. And there are many situations when you need to let the air out of your bike tire. You can get into big trouble if you don’t know when and how to deflate a bike tire.
- When Should You Let Air Out of a Bike Tire?
- How to Deflate a Bike Tire?
- Tools to Help You Deflate a Bike Tire
- How Long Does It Take for Bike Tires to Deflate?
- How to Store Your Deflated Bike Tire?
When Should You Let Air Out of a Bike Tire?
Knowing when to deflate your bike tire is also an important skill you should have. Here are the most common reasons when you should deflate your bike tires.
Related reading: How To Carry A Spare Tubular Tire On Your Bike
If You Over-inflate
Sometimes after inflating your bike tire, you realize that you overinflated it. This is a common mistake beginners make, but nothing to be ashamed of. As soon as you know you’ve over-inflated, you need to deflate some, or you could be involved in an accident.
Over-inflated tires can lead to bumpy rides, and your bike will be harder to control. There’s also a risk of blowing out your tires! Yes, your tires can blow out mid-ride if you over-inflate them, so always check that they’re sufficiently inflated.
When You Change Tires or Tubes
Changing your bike tires and tubes is much easier if you deflate them completely. If you’ve been biking for a while and notice that the tires and tubes are worn out, you should change them immediately to avoid accidents.
When You Fix a Puncture
A flat tire is common, especially if you’re driving on rocky roads. If you know how to let the air out of the tire and change it yourself, you don’t have to panic in such situations. You don’t have to worry about taking your bike to a mechanic and paying for maintenance. The maintenance cost adds up to a considerable amount over time, and it’ll save you a lot of time and money!
If You Transport Your Bike
Let’s say you’re taking a road trip by car, but you also want to take your bike with you. The idea sounds great until you realize that your bike is too big and heavy for the car. Well, this could be your chance. You could let the air out of the tires to reduce the size and weight of your bike to fit you.
Related reading: Do Bike Trainers Ruin Tires?
How to Deflate a Bike Tire?
Now that you know in what situations you need to deflate your bike tires, the next question is how do you deflate a bike tire? But before I get to that, let’s talk a bit about the different valves in a tire.
Yes, bike tires can have different types of valves, and each valve has its own technique for letting air out. Check your tire to see what kind of valve you’ve. The most common types of valves are the Schrader valve, the Presta valve, and the Woods valve.
Each of the above valves releases air differently. So you need to know which valve your bike has. Once you figure that out, the rest is easy. Here’s how to deflate these valves.
Schrader valves, also known as American valves, are found mostly in cars and motorcycles. In bicycles, they’re primarily found in mountain bikes. Their main feature is that they’re shorter and thicker compared to other types of valves, with rubber caps for safety.
To release air from a Schrader valve, you must first remove the cap that seals it. The stem of the Schrader valve is threaded like a screw, so you simply twist off the cap and push it in with a pointed end. Screwdrivers, toothpicks, needle nose pliers, valve removers – they all work well.
Because the cap is designed to prevent dust and dirt from entering the valve, it’s securely sealed, and the air will only come out very slowly if you don’t push on the valve. If you want to release only a tiny amount of air, press the valve until the desired amount is left. If you’re going to release all the air, press until the hissing sound stops.
Presta valves or French/Sclaverand valves are commonly used in road bikes. They’re long and narrow, unlike Schrader valves, and are secured by caps.
Bleeding a tire with a Presta valve is also reasonably straightforward. You must first remove the outer cap that secures the valve to do this. Then you unscrew the brass cap and press on the center of the valve with a metal object. If you don’t have a tool to help you with this, you can also use your fingernails and push out the desired amount of air. Then screw everything back on, and you’re ready to go!
Related reading: How to inflate a bike tire without a pump?
Woods valves, also known as English or Dunlop valves, are a mix of Schrader and Presta valves. They’re the same size as Schrader valves, but their mechanism is more like Presta valves. They have an outer valve stem with two caps, one on the inside and the other outside.
A Woods valve works much like a Presta valve. You’ve to remove the top cap to let the air out of the tire. Before you do that, you’ve to remember that the tire will deflate very quickly when you take the cap off. So keep an eye on it if you only want to deflate a little.
Tools to Help You Deflate a Bike Tire
Deflating a bicycle tire is pretty simple in itself, but some tools will make your life even easier. It’s best to get metal objects with a pointed end, such as screwdrivers, pin caps, valve removers, and needle-nose pliers.
But if you don’t have these on hand, don’t worry. You can also use your fingernails or a toothpick.
How Long Does It Take for Bike Tires to Deflate?
How long your bike tire takes to deflate depends on the amount of air and the type of valve. Road bikes usually ride best at 90-120 PSI, while mountain bikes need a value of 35-60 PSI. So it shouldn’t take too long to completely deflate.
And if you have a Schrader or Presta valve and push the valve down properly, the air should come out quickly. And if you have a Woods valve, the air will be out in no time!
How to Store Your Deflated Bike Tire?
The best way to store your tire after deflating it’s to fold it. Keep folding it back and forth on itself until the size of the tire is compact. Make sure the tire’s valve is on top and facing up, so it doesn’t touch the rest of the tube.
To store it, secure it with a soft string; don’t use a rubber band as it may stick over time. Wrap it in a piece of cloth or a sock and store it with your other bike gear.
It may sometimes be necessary to deflate a bike tire, and you should learn how to do it. The task is pretty simple, but a few tools and techniques make it even easier.
Knowing the valves and how to deflate a bike tire is an essential skill that you may not always need. But it’ll come in handy. So, grab your tools and practice how to do it right now!