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Newbie Question

Old 03-21-20, 12:20 AM
  #1  
calebpagan
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Newbie Question

I've only had my bike a few weeks and have been lucky enough to not have any flats yet. I have a question regarding changing flats when you're out riding. I have tubes, a mini pump, and tire levers in my seat bag, but how do you gauge tire pressure if you change a flat during a ride? The normal small portable gauges are just for shrader valves. I've watched some YouTube videos on changing tires and everyone seems to gloss right over it. What am I missing?
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Old 03-21-20, 01:23 AM
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I put tubeless sealant in my tubes. It should seal all but large holes in tubes, which I have had very rarely. I think it will be a very long time before I have a flat tire. I don't carry anything to repair a flat tire. I think it is a good idea for all casual riders.

I did buy a pressure gauge for $1.50 (in Asia).
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Old 03-21-20, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by calebpagan View Post
I've only had my bike a few weeks and have been lucky enough to not have any flats yet. I have a question regarding changing flats when you're out riding. I have tubes, a mini pump, and tire levers in my seat bag, but how do you gauge tire pressure if you change a flat during a ride? The normal small portable gauges are just for shrader valves. I've watched some YouTube videos on changing tires and everyone seems to gloss right over it. What am I missing?
You don't need to use a tire gauge and worry about getting the exact tire pressure. All you need to do is make sure that you pump your tires hard enough to prevent pinch flats, I do this by feel and have never had a pinch flat yet.
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Old 03-21-20, 06:43 AM
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I appreciate the help!
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Old 03-21-20, 07:05 AM
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Yes, do what wolfchild said. With a mini-pump, you'll soon decide when you have "enough" air. You don't say what size your tires are, but if they are in the size range of most commuting bikes (32-40) you should be able to run pressures as low as 50 psi safely. Check and pump up further when you get home. If you're using narrow tires (23-25) higher pressures are necessary to prevent pinch flats.

Good luck and welcome to BikeForums
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Old 03-21-20, 07:27 AM
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Many inexpensive mini pumps now have built-in gauges that are accurate enough for most people.
Here are two that I have now. I like the foot hold on the Schwinn. It and the gauge swivel to make an "L" when you use it, and to make an "inline tube" for carrying in the frame.





Many mini pumps now come ready for both presta and schrader. Mine do not. But you can get presta to schrader valve adapters for a coupla bucks each, if not free from an Local Bike Shop. I use them as valve covers on my presta valves.


As ​​​wolfchild said, you are fine without a guage in most cases. I am just sharing what I do.

By the way, Most frame pumps do not match the ease and ergonomics of a standard floor pump. I mostly commute and keep a cheap floor pump (with gauge) in the shed with the bikes, and in the warehouse at the office where I am allowed to keep my bike during the day.
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Old 03-21-20, 08:24 AM
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Doesn't have to be precise. The pinch test is fine for most cases. I rarely use a gauge. Rarely have pinch flats. I tell my friend who's new to bike commuting that it should feel like a firm apple, as opposed to an orange.
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Old 03-21-20, 09:05 AM
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Amusingly, my first bike pump didn't have a gage, but I figured out that putting all of my weight on it would produce the correct pressure for my bike.

I think it's worth having a floor pump for at home, just to make it more convenient to maintain good pressure, depending on how fast your tires bleed down. I've made a habit of observing how much my tires pooch out under my weight. That makes it easy to check the pressure when I'm out riding, and to know if I've got a slow leak.

Using a mini pump for daily use gets old in a hurry, in my view.
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Old 03-21-20, 09:26 AM
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I have a floor pump at home. I was just concerned about flats when out on a ride.
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Old 03-21-20, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by calebpagan View Post
I have a floor pump at home. I was just concerned about flats when out on a ride.
Presta gauges are available: https://www.ghmeiser.com/product-cat...icycle-gauges/

I don't carry a gauge. Have been fortunate to seldom flat - carry everything needed to fix and don't worry about exact pressure.
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Old 03-21-20, 12:54 PM
  #11  
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In time, you will have calibrated thumbs.
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Old 03-21-20, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
In time, you will have calibrated thumbs.
But even if your ideal pressure is 90 psi, you can probably put 60 in and get home safely. Remember, your tires leak normally, and they may go from 90 to 60 when you think to air them up again.
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Old 03-22-20, 01:13 AM
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Don’t overthink this stuff unless you feel like it would be fun to.

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Old 03-22-20, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Don’t overthink this stuff unless you feel like it would be fun to.
It's always fun for the over-thinker, but highly annoying to others.

PS: OP is not overthinking this. The original question was a darn good one.
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Old 03-22-20, 07:50 AM
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The.pumps I carry just aren't going to get enough pressure in the tire for a pressure gauge to matter. Ride light until you get home and pinch flats won't be a problem.

and I ditto what Russ said above, CO2 if you're pressed for time. It also gets as much pressure in as you want.

Last edited by wphamilton; 03-22-20 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 03-22-20, 08:00 AM
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In my experience most portable pumps won't get the pressure high enough without more effort than it's worth. The topeak morphs are one exception and the have somewhat useful gauges, mine will have you at 100psi while claiming 80. For commuting I want to be on my way quickly and so I prefer CO2 pumps.
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Old 03-22-20, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The.pumps I carry just aren't going to get enough pressure in the tire for a pressure gauge to matter. Ride light until you get home and pinch flats won't be a problem.

and I ditto what Russ said above, CO2 if you're pressed for time. It also gets as much pressure in as you want.
A very smart guy who used to be here on BF offered a tip. If the cartridge doesn't bring you to full pressure, it's tempting to use the cartridge first and the pump second, but it's better to do it in the opposite order.
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Old 03-22-20, 05:57 PM
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If you don't have a gauge on your mini pump, the solution is simple: Pump until your elbow feels like it's about to either explode or snap right off your arm. When you reach this point, you'll have about half the air you need.

Translation: You'll know when there's enough air to support your weight. Your main concern, as others have said, is to pump enough air into the tube so that it doesn't "fold" into the edge of the tire and get snipped off between the tire bead (the inside edge of the tire) and the rim.

Last edited by Papa Tom; 04-02-20 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 03-26-20, 06:37 AM
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I carry the Zefal Profil Mini RG01 in my pannier, reliable for several years now.

It's light, compact, designed for floor operation, presta/schrader, and has a pressure gauge

Zefal Link
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Old 03-31-20, 01:08 PM
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Congrats on your first bike! It's an amazing purchase.
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Old 03-31-20, 01:26 PM
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I appreciate all the help and information. I had alot of anxiety about just getting on a bike, learning how to do maintenance, and generally being inexperienced and ignorant to so much of it. The positive and helpful responses on this forum are greatly appreciated. Side note: changed my first tire this week. No flats, but I upgraded the unbranded stock tires to Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I wanted to have changed a tire before I'm doing it on the side of the road one day. A few hiccups, but no big problems and got them both changed in about 35 mins.
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Old 05-13-20, 11:34 PM
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keep going! it's really empowering to fix things on your own bike.
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Old 05-14-20, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by esteli View Post
keep going! it's really empowering to fix things on your own bike.
Very much so!
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Old 05-14-20, 09:58 PM
  #24  
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Mosquitos

Having once had to fix a flat in a swampy area, make sure you have repellent. I carry a couple of the towelettes in foil.

It is very difficult to fix the flat and swat the little monsters at the same time.
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