How To Inflate A Bike Tire Without A Pump?

Have you ever been stranded in the middle of nowhere with an empty bike tire? Unfortunately, it’s very likely that you’ll have this experience more than once in your life. All you’ve to do is take a quick ride off-road and ride over a sharp rock that shouldn’t be in your path.

Often, cyclists don’t have their tire pumps with them. This complicates things even more, because tire pumps are considered the only possible solution.

Today we’ll show you that’s not true and explain how you can inflate a bike tire without a pump.

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Can you Inflate A Bike Tire Without A Pump?

Inflating a bike tire without a pump? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Luckily, some ingenious cyclists and mechanics have found ways to inflate a bike tire without a pump through experimentation and experience.

In the following sections, we’ll go into detail about these methods. We’ll also go over the prerequisites and the pros and cons of each method so you can choose the one that’s right for you!

How Can You Inflate A Bike Tire Without A Pump?

In the following sections, we’ll take a look at seven different methods by which you can inflate a bike tire without the use of a pump. So, let’s get right to it.

Method 1 – CO2 Inflator

One of the best ways of inflating your bike tire without a pump would be to use a CO2 inflator. You’ll find a ton of CO2 inflator kits for bike tires on the online marketplaces, and these usually come in a pack of 3 inflators that weigh around 12 grams.

However, we don’t recommend these at all. These 12-gram canisters are actually designed for bicycle tires. Plus, while using a single canister, you’ll end up wasting a ton of air.

What we recommend instead is the 45-gram canister. Get a chuck that fits into the tire and attach that to a 45-gram CO2 canister. A single of these canisters would be sufficient to inflate your bike tire to a usable state. Plus, these lead to less spillage.

So, overall, the CO2 canisters would be a nice way of inflating your bike’s tire without a pump. You can find the 45-gram CO2 canisters in local fish shops and in online marketplaces.

However, there’s this precaution that you need to maintain while working with these. CO2 can be extremely endothermic. In direct contact, these can even lead to frostbite. So, you must avoid direct contact with this gas as much as possible. We recommend wearing gloves.

What is required:

  1. CO2 inflator cartridge
  2. A suitable chuck

Method 2 – Siphon hose

While not the most effective, probably the easiest way of inflating a bike tire is using a siphon hose. Siphon hoses are small and light, so they can be carried with ease. The same goes for Schrader barbs. Now that you know why it may be convenient, let’s take a look at how you can use these two to inflate your bike’s tire.

For making the makeshift pump, all you need to do is take the siphon hose and join two Schrader barbs at each of its sides. One important thing to note here is, that one of the Schrader barbs must be of the clip-on type. Otherwise, you’ll need to hold both sides with your hands, which is physically impossible.

Firstly, connect the clip-on end of the Schrader barb on the full tire. As you lock it in its place, hold the other end on the flat tire.

This will allow the air in the full tire to pass onto the flat tire. Thus, the tire pressure will be evenly distributed between the two tires.

Whatever you do, don’t draw the air from one tire to the other for more than two seconds. In this method, air moves very fast due to the pressure imbalance.

Although it won’t make your bike run as well as before, it’ll at least help you get home. If you’re riding in a group, you can borrow some air from other bikers for better stability.

What is required:

  1. A Siphon hose
  2. A pair of Schrader barbs

Method 3 – Engine Combustion

One of the rarer ways of pumping bike tires is using engine compression. Attach a hose to your engine. The hose should be long enough to reach the tire you want to inflate. If it doesn’t, you can always use an extension hose.

Whatever you’re using, make sure it has a Schrader barb of a clip-on variety on the side that goes into the engine. This will help keep the hose in place.

Once everything is set up and the hose is connected to the engine and the tire, you need to sit on the bike and hit the starter.

However, we must say that it’s a rather slow process, and it’ll take considerable time to inflate your tire properly. Furthermore, it can be tiresome and you may end up with a sore foot. So, we don’t recommend this unless you don’t have any other option.

What is required:

  1. A hose
  2. Schrader barb

Method 4 – Expansion By Combustion

There’s also this crazy technique that many claims inflates bike tires. In this technique, you literally need to burn your tire.

To start off, you need to spray some contact cleaner under the bead of the tires using a needle nozzle. Also, spray some on the rim to make sure the fire enters inside.

Now, once it starts burning, the fire will expand some of the air insides. However, that’ll only remain inflated as long as the fire is burning.

Here, the trick is to keep the valve open while the fire burns. When you’re burning a contact cleaner, you’re essentially burning a hydrocarbon in presence of oxygen. This leads to the creation of water and carbon dioxide.

From one of the previous methods, we saw how carbon di-oxide can inflate the tire of your bike. Now, if you keep the valve open while burning the hydrocarbon, it’ll suck in more oxygen, thus creating additional carbon-di-oxide.

In this way, you can inflate your bike’s tire to a certain degree. However, it does come with some potential dangers. One of the greatest risks of this method would be the tire blowing up. You can easily prevent this by lighting it up from a distance.

What is required:

  1. Any contact cleaner
  2. Needle Nozzle
  3. Lighter

Method 5 – Dry Ice

This method works a lot like CO2, but it’s a bit more inconvenient to travel with dry ice. Nonetheless, we’ll discuss the procedure in detail.

Dry ice can create a ton of gas. Only 1.5 ml of dry ice can create up to a liter of gas. So, to inflate your bike’s tire with dry ice, you need to open the valve core first. Once it’s open, stuff some dry ice down the opening.

Keep in mind that dry ice can damage the rubber of your tire. If any part of the rubber gets frozen, that part will become brittle and may potentially break. So, we recommend rotating the tire so the ice block keeps moving around.

What is required:

  1. Dry ice as per necessity

Method 6 – Spray Duster or Pressurised Gas

You can also use any pressurized gas canister for inflating your bike’s tire. This is a rather simple method that requires the gas canister itself, along with some simple tools.

Firstly, take out the core valve. Here, you must know that if you have a quality airtight valve cap, you’d be better off leaving the valve core the way it is.

Now, take a spray duster or a pressurized gas canister. Install a needle nozzle on it. Then, use some duct tape to attach the nozzle tightly to the valve. Here, you need to ensure that there isn’t any space remaining through which the gas may leak.

All that’s left for you to do is spray away until the tire is inflated enough to help you limp back home.

We’d recommend inflating the tire a bit more than you’d like. This is because, once you take off the makeshift adapter made of duct tape, some air is bound to leak no matter how fast you put the valve in.

What is required:

  1. Spray duster or any pressurized gas canister
  2. Duct tape

Method 7 – Use your mouth

Although it may seem like it is not possible, blowing up your tire with your mouth is a very real option. Especially when you do not have many tools in hand, it does require a lot of work and time, so buckle up.

Before you start putting your lungs to work, make sure you maintain hygiene. The valve of the tire is not the cleanest object out there as it is constantly subject to mud, dirt, and dust. Wipe the valve with a towel, tissue paper, or even your t-shirt to make sure any surface dirt is removed. After you ensure that the valve is cleaner, it is time to get your hands dirty.

Start by blowing in small amounts of air at a time. To keep the valve open at all times, place your tongue on the valve and apply pressure to it.

After inflating the tire, a bit, stop to check whether the tire falls perfectly on the rim and adjust it in place if it is not already.

This process is laborious and time-consuming, so we need you to be patient. Don’t get discouraged or demotivated, as this little task will take you a long way( no pun intended).

What is required:

  1. A towel or a tissue paper
  2. A lot of time

Conclusion

Now that you’ve taken a look at this article, hopefully, you have a good grasp on how to inflate a bike tire without a pump.

Among all the different methods we’ve discussed, we’d say that the CO2 idea is the best. While the canister will leak some CO2, it won’t necessarily damage your bike. The only other method closest to this one is using a spray duster or pressurized gas.

The combustion and dry ice methods are good as well, but they pose certain risks that you may not want to take.

You can also use the siphon hose, but that will sap some pressure off of the other tire, which can be a drawback depending on the scenario you’re in.

Finally, you should use your mouth or the engine combustion if you don’t have any other option left. These aren’t very effective, take a ton of time, and may lead to a sore leg, diseases, or discomfort.

Related reading: How To Deflate A Bike Tire?

Related reading: Can I Use a Car Tire Pump on My Bike?

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