So you’ve got a flat tire on your fat bike and you’ve never had to inflate it before. Yikes! Whether you got a flat on a ride or your tires have gone down a bit before a ride, you need to get some air in there sharp. But how do you pump up fat bike tires? Find out in this guide.
For those after the quick run down, the process is as follows:
- Check the valve type on your bike
- Attach your pump to your tire valve
- Inflate the tire/inner tube
- Check the PSI on the tire
- Remove the pump from the tire
Now you know the short answer, keep reading for the full run down and what to look out for, so you don’t go wrong.
How Do You Pump up Fat Bike Tires?
Inflating a fat bike tire is very similar to inflating the tire of a mountain, gravel or road bike.
- Check the valve type on your bike – Check to see what value you have on your tire/inner tube. This will help you work out which adaptor you need for your pump.
- Attach your pump to your tire valve – Using the correct adaptor, connect the pump to the tire. Depending on your pump this will either be using the end of the actual pump or via a pump hose. For a Presta valve, you need to unscrew the locknut on the tire before you attached the adapter, otherwise, no air will get into the tire. To save time, make sure you buy a specific pump for fat tire bike, as this will inflate the tires quicker.
- Inflate the tire/inner tube – Using your pump, inflate the tire. How you do this will depend on the type of pump you have.
- Check the PSI of the tire – This is a vital step, especially when inflating fat bike tires as getting the pressure right will make for a far more enjoyable ride than if you get it wrong.
- Remove the pump from the tire – Remove the pump and add the cap back to the tire/inner tube. Remember to secure the locknut first when working with Presta valve innertubes.
The type of pump you should buy for your fat bike depends on when you will be inflating your tires. For pre-ride inflation, a floor pump is a good choice as you can get a lot of air into the wheel as quickly as possible. For riding on trails, a dedicated trail pump for your fat bike, which is small and portable, is a better option.
How Do You Pump up A Tubeless Bike Tire?
Pumping up tubeless bike tires is very similar to pumping up normal bike tires, however, there is one important step you should take first.
Tubeless tires build up pressure between the rim and the tire, without the need for an inner tube (hence tubeless). To make sure no air leaks out of the side of the tire, you should make sure that the tire is attached to the wheel in some way, potentially using straps to hold it in place before you add the air.
Once you start inflating your tire, you will find that the tire will start clinging to the rim on its own and you can stop holding the tire in place with a strap at this point.
How Much Air Should I Put in My Fat Bike Tires?
Have you ever wondered how much air pressure is in your fat bike tire? The answer to this question can vary depending on what type of terrain you are riding, but the general rule is to have higher PSI when riding hard-packed surfaces. For softer terrain or when your fat bike tires are cold, you might need less air in the tires.
For harder surfaces, a PSI of between 16-20 would be suitable as it will keep the rolling resistance lower allowing you to ride faster.
For surfaces like sand and snow, a lower PSI of between 8-12 will provide more surface area making you ride across the top of the surface easier.
So there you go, pumping up your fat bike tires is pretty simple. The main thing is making sure you have a good fat bike pump as well as knowing which type of valve you have.
Andy is an avid cyclist who enjoys nothing more than a ride out in the hills. Competing in track, road, time trial and mountain bike events in the past, he prefers slower rides out with his family these days.