How Do Bike Pumps Work?

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Bike pumps may have pump heads that allow the user to use a Schrader valve or a Presta valve. Learn about the different parts and functions of bicycle pumps with help from an experienced bicycle mechanic in this free video on bike pumps.

Part of the Video Series: Bicycle Repair
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Video Transcript

Hi. This is Christian from Mellow Johnny's in Austin, Texas, and today I'm going to show you how a bicycle pump works. Basically, there's a couple different options or a couple different pump heads that will allow you to use either a Schrader valve or a Presta valve. This particular one here uses both Presta or Schrader. A Schrader valve, in case you don't know, is basically an automotive-style valve. This particular pump, you will take the Schrader valve, which is the larger one, attach it on here, pull that lever up, and then just go ahead and start pumping up the tire. This pump here, which allows you to do both the Presta and Schrader, go ahead and attach that. Tighten that lever down, and go ahead and pump air into the tire. Same valve. Attaching it to the Presta valve. Go ahead and pump air into the tire. The way a bicycle pump functions, basically you have a chamber here. Right around this point there is a, basically a cylinder or a bushing that's attached to this rod. When you pull it up, it lets air fill up into this tube. When you push it down, it creates pressure in this section, here, and then that pressure is pushed through this hose and out this hose through this head unit into the bicycle tire. So basically you're just consistently building pressure in this section, and that air is slowly moving from this chamber, through this tube, out this tube and into the bicycle tire.

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