using a compressor to pump up road bike tyres

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using a compressor to pump up road bike tyres

Postby straydog » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:32 pm

I've orderd my new road bike which hopefully I will be picking up soon and was planning to buy a small pump to carry with me on rides but to inflate the tyres to full pressure I was wondering if I can use a compressor with a presta - shrader adaptor? The compressor gets to about 110psi so could I just let it pump to full pressure and leave it on the tube until the pressures equalise? I don't really want to have to buy a floor pump with a gauge unless I really need to.
I normally pump my mountain bike tyres up at the servo to about 70psi but does anyone know what is the maximum pressure is you can get from most servo's?
How often will I likely need to pump up the tyres on a road bike? I have heard you normally need to do it about once a week?
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by BNA » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:47 pm

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Postby Bnej » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:47 pm

Check pressures once a week.

Service station pumps are high volume, you can blow your tyre off your rim with them if you pick the wrong servo. Doubtful you'll get the right pressure.

Don't know about your air compressor, it might do the job, but the easiest way is with a floor pump at home. I got by with just a hand pump for a few months but it's less than ideal.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:07 am

I think that a floor pump would be quicker than a compressor - it only takes about 30 seconds to fully inflate a tyre.
In addition, you soon get a feel for the pressure that suits you (and the conditions you're riding in) best and the gauge on the pump lets you be consistent.
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Re: using a compressor to pump up road bike tyres

Postby woteva » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:29 am

straydog wrote:I don't really want to have to buy a floor pump with a gauge unless I really need to.


I have bought a lot of cycling stuff over the last six months, and I probably paid too much for my floor pump, but it is probably one of the more useful tools that I have purchased.
It has a guage and makes pumping up tyres a pleasure instead of a chore.

I have hand pumps and, a couple of 12V compressors, and I had a look at 240V compressors too, most of the mains powered ones are only rated to about 100-110 psi, some bike tyres will take up to 140psi.

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Postby straydog » Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:21 pm

I realise a floor pump would be preferable but it just seems that the budget is being blown out with all the extras that I seem to have to get with upgrading from a mountain bike to a road bike. The good old mountain bike seemed so easy.....
If anyone has managed to use a compressor , which I already have in the shed, with success, it would be interesting to hear their experiences.

Regarding how often to check the pressures, do all road bike tubes leak a certain amount over time? I only need to pump my mountain bike tyres up once every 5 weeks or so.
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Postby thomas_cho » Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:36 pm

I got a floor pump Giyo from Torpedo7 for about $35 +$9 postage. I can pump up to 120psi easily, comes with a guage.

I have now used it for about 2 years, and its still going. Its not as pretty, ergonomic, flashy, etc as the rest, but it works, and even has a "smart" pump head which accepts Shrader and Presta valves.

Cant go wrong with a floor pump.
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Postby NotTim » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:52 pm

thomas_cho wrote:I got a floor pump Giyo from Torpedo7 for about $35 +$9 postage. I can pump up to 120psi easily, comes with a guage.

I have now used it for about 2 years, and its still going. Its not as pretty, ergonomic, flashy, etc as the rest, but it works, and even has a "smart" pump head which accepts Shrader and Presta valves.

Cant go wrong with a floor pump.


I've got the 160psi version of that, taken a huge amount of abuse, and never had an issue with it. Best money I've spent
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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:52 pm

Just how do you abuse a floor pump NotTim? ;)
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Postby MountGower » Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:34 pm

NotTim wrote:
thomas_cho wrote:I got a floor pump Giyo from Torpedo7 for about $35 +$9 postage. I can pump up to 120psi easily, comes with a guage.

I have now used it for about 2 years, and its still going. Its not as pretty, ergonomic, flashy, etc as the rest, but it works, and even has a "smart" pump head which accepts Shrader and Presta valves.

Cant go wrong with a floor pump.


I've got the 160psi version of that, taken a huge amount of abuse, and never had an issue with it. Best money I've spent
+1......or is that +2 now?

I usually find cheap things annoy me and I'd rather save up for a good model that will give better value and performance. I have had one of these pumps for over a year and it is going strong. I reckon by the time it fails, I'll be in the que for another one.
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Postby il padrone » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:47 pm

The small cost of a good stand pump will pay itself back for many years.

I have never used a compressor, never felt the need. I have bought a 12V one to pump up the air bed for car camping. Sheeesh, what a waste of money. So slow! I gave up and went back to blowing lilos up by mouth. Now we've given up on them anyway and use stretchers with a Thermorest on top. I doubt that a tyre compressor would be as fast or as high a pressure as a good pump. Most of them will be designed for car tyres - high volume, low max pressure.

As to pumps.... I use a Silca stand pump. Top quality and durability. Their design hasn't changed much for 20 or 30 years, doesn't need to. I can easily get 120psi with it, probably a good deal more but I don't need that sort of pressure. All the parts are easily replaced - standard pressure hose and hose clips. The head is lever operated and has a reversible rubber seal for presta or schraeder valves. It cost me about $80, 9-10 yrs ago. Still working very well.
Last edited by il padrone on Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bnej » Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:43 pm

il padrone wrote:I have never used a compressor, never felt the need. I have bought a 12V one to pump up the air bed for car camping. Sheeesh, what a waste of money. So slow!


If you want a portable pump for things like car tyres, air beds, lilos etc. a foot pump is the way to go - nice big air cylinder lets you push a big volume of air without too much effort. The little cheap air compressors you can get just aren't worth it generally.
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Postby mikeg » Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:30 pm

In the 1970's if I used an Air Compressor at a service station I used very short bursts of air with the hose to control the filling of the tyre.
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Postby mikeg » Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:58 pm

OT: A bit Off Topic,
I have recently purchased a 12V compressor which has a maximum flow rate of 37.5 l/min, and it inflates medium/large car tyres in 3 to 4 minutes. This compressor came with a pressure gauge on the business end of 6m coiled air hose. max 150 PSI, max current 23 Amp (AT) 12V. You have no choice but to have the engine running. This compressor is much better than the little 200PSI one that I have had for years, and would take a long time to bring tyre pressure up from about 20 to 35, and it would do a constant irish jig making it difficult to read the gauge at less than quarter scale.
Haven't tried it on either the road or mountain bike tyres, just not worth it while having a floor pump handy.

At the same time I purchased a Slime tubeless tyre repair/patch kit for car tyres. So far have had to plug 2 tyres successfully, from nail/screws picked up.
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Postby cev » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:45 am

I have used my 240v compressor to inflate my road bike tyres, albeit very seldom, maybe if I'm changing 4 tyres I'll think about using it. Even with the regulator at the max you'll get 110-120psi so I still need to top them off with a floor pump, also need to get the adaptor for the presta v/v.
More than most I'll just use my top peak floor pump and check the pressures once per week.
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Postby Blaze » Sun May 11, 2008 12:13 am

I use to use my compressor to top up my tires... but since test driving a Subaru, I have a freebie Floor Pump (via RideOn ad) and I much prefer using it to the compressor, much better control over the final pressure.
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Postby challs » Sun May 11, 2008 2:14 pm

I use a compressor to inflate my road bike. It pumps to about 115psi which is adequate for the riding I do. When I started using it instead when I was between track pumps, (3 years ago) I thought it would be a short term solution, but I still haven't bought a new track pump yet.

The compressor won't reach that high unless its motor is actually running and it then cuts out at the 115psi mark.

I pump the tyres on my race bike and commuter once a week. The compressor is good because I attach the adaptor to the valve and let it go until it cuts out, then move it to the next valve until they are all done. I can usually give my chains a quick clean and relube while I wait.

Try using the compressor and if you don't find it too inconvenient, then don't worry about buying a track pump.
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Postby cjmonke » Sun May 11, 2008 5:14 pm

Initially when I started riding I used my mains compressor in the shed with an adaptor. It did about 110-115psi. The problem came when I started riding early in the morning. In order to get high pressure, the compressor needs to run so the neighbours didn't think much of me. Was in Anaconda the other day and got a Topeak floor pump for about $30.

Much easier coz I don't have to fit the adaptor everytime, and much happier neighbours :roll:
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