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  1. #1
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    frustrated: Can't get tires inflated

    I have a cheap bike I inherited, a motiv. I have a tire pump for it, a Mt Zefal Graph.

    I can't seem to get the pump to put pressure in the tire. It has a rudimentary gauge and the gauge does not budge. I am so frustrated, I don't know if I am doing something wrong or what.

    I try pushing the pump on the shraeder valve and lifting the pump lever and pumping, but pumping takes super human force and the valve isn't moving and the tire is staying soft. I got so mad out of frustration that I chucked the pump.

    I cheap stand up pump does no better.

    I want to ride badly and I can't.

  2. #2
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Are you sure you have a Schrader valve? Maybe it's a Presta?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  3. #3
    Timely Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    If this inherited bike has really old tubes I wonder if the valve has corroded. Were there caps on the stems?

    Maybe you'll get results with new tubes. They're pretty inexpensive.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I don't know when he last had tubes put in. He has some sort of Michilin tire on it.

    I asked my roommate to try pumping tonight and I noticed he couldn't get it to inflate either.

    I think my inner tubes are bad and also that my portable pump is bad, both. I got so frustrated today I kicked the bike (I can't afford expensive bike repairs, I don't usually do things like kick bikes, life isn't going well). I'll take the bike to the shop later this week when I have some money and get new tubes.

    They ARE Shraeders. I went online to verify to see if there was something I was doing wrong.

    I put a tear in the cheap bike seat while laying it on its side trying to pump it. This bike is not well made, I miss my trek. I hope the thief went to jail for something somehow one day after stealing it.

  5. #5
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserjock View Post
    They ARE Shraeders.
    I thought it was worth asking. When I came back to cycling 4 years ago, I had never seen a Presta valve before and wouldn't have had a clue how to put air into it.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  6. #6
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Op, did your trek have presta valves?
    If so you might need to change the pump head to schrader.
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  7. #7
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Op, did your trek have presta valves?
    If so you might need to change the pump head to schrader.
    Huh... wut?

    Quote Originally Posted by laserjock View Post
    They ARE Shraeders.
    Are you asking whether he's trying to use a pump that has a Presta head?
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    One poss. is that you're not putting the pump onto the valve firmly enough to depress the valve.

    Or the inner tubes could be mounted on the rims incorrectly. Make sure the valve stem is sticking out of the little hole in the rim at a 90 degree angle.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  9. #9
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Possible there is just a hole in the tube...

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserjock View Post
    I have a cheap bike I inherited, a motiv. I have a tire pump for it, a Mt Zefal Graph.

    I can't seem to get the pump to put pressure in the tire. It has a rudimentary gauge and the gauge does not budge. I am so frustrated, I don't know if I am doing something wrong or what.

    I try pushing the pump on the shraeder valve and lifting the pump lever and pumping, but pumping takes super human force and the valve isn't moving and the tire is staying soft. I got so mad out of frustration that I chucked the pump.

    I cheap stand up pump does no better.

    I want to ride badly and I can't.
    The part in red leads me to believe that the valve has stuck shut. This can happen to tubes if the valves are not moved in a long time.

    Get a flat-ended metal object and see if you cannot push the valve in (the metal pin in the middle of the stem opening). It should press in 1/8" or so, and have spring tension to hold it "out".

    You may let some air out, but that's not the problem right now and you can put it back in. The main thing is to make sure the valve is working properly.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    One poss. is that you're not putting the pump onto the valve firmly enough to depress the valve.

    Or the inner tubes could be mounted on the rims incorrectly. Make sure the valve stem is sticking out of the little hole in the rim at a 90 degree angle.
    Or if the pump is ancient that the little potrusion that depresses the valve to let the air in is gone.

    Try using the pump on a car tire. If the pump is good it should work. Becaseu of the volume you may not see any preasure change in hte car tire, but it should pump easily.

  12. #12
    Timely Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    The part in red leads me to believe that the valve has stuck shut. This can happen to tubes if the valves are not moved in a long time.

    Get a flat-ended metal object and see if you cannot push the valve in (the metal pin in the middle of the stem opening). It should press in 1/8" or so, and have spring tension to hold it "out".

    You may let some air out, but that's not the problem right now and you can put it back in. The main thing is to make sure the valve is working properly.
    Yeah, that's why wondered if the caps were on the valve. The cores if left exposed can corrode and stick. But if that's happened the tube and tire are probably shot from dry rot anyway.

  13. #13
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    It's weird, but I have a pump at home (one of several) that will not put air into a new tube or any tube that doesn't at least have a little pressure in it. If I'm just increasing pressure, it works great and is my "go-to" pump for checking pressure in my tires, so I just deal with it's idiosyncracies and grab another pump to inflate empty tubes.
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  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
    Possible there is just a hole in the tube...
    Or a tear in the valve stem, which can be caused by improper pumping technique with a mini-pump.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  15. #15
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    So what does the pump do if you try to inflate your spare tube with it? I hope going into a blind rage is something you only do when your bikes piss you off...

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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  16. #16
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    So what does the pump do if you try to inflate your spare tube with it? I hope going into a blind rage is something you only do when your bikes piss you off...

    - Scott
    Give me a freaking break. Are you a Zen holy man or something? Never get upset when you're frustrated?


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  17. #17
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    I have had bad pumps do exactly what you describe. Borrow pump from neighbor or friend that they use regularly. If it works you got a bad pump. If not its probably the valve stem. You can usually by a package of shrader stems and removal/install tool pretty cheap. They just unscrew/screw in. I did have bad pumps ruin a couple of stems. I also use my tool to remove good stems from any damaged tubes I through out.

  18. #18
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Give me a freaking break. Are you a Zen holy man or something? Never get upset when you're frustrated?
    I get frustrated just like everyone else, but I try to narrow down the problem a little before throwing stuff around. (I was subtly probing whether he had a fresh spare tube, as any bicyclist should.)
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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