Hello to everyone in the community. I used to own a mountain bike which used 26" tires and I was able to inflate them after changing the tube while on the road. It wasn't perfect but allowed me to keep riding. I have since switched to a road bike which uses narrower 700 tires and so far everytime I have tried to inflate them I find it impossible to do it properly. The pressure is just not enough to ride the bicycle and I am forced to just hire some professional to fix it. Has anybody experienced this? At 1.79m and 64kg I am certainly scrawny but I was thinking maybe with a different pump I could be able to inflate the tires. Anyway, thanks for reading and any advice will be much appreciated. Peace

  • Tire pumps have a maximum pressure that they can produce. In particular, "compact" pumps, designed to be carried on a bike, are often short and hence cannot develop as much pressure as a longer pump. But some pumps are designed to overcome this problem through several mechanisms. You need to look at the specs of the pump. Apr 1, 2019 at 17:23
  • Note that a "fat tire" pump will be designed to produce a higher volume than a pump for a thin-tired road bike, trading off pressure for volume. So it's not surprising that your old pump doesn't work. Apr 1, 2019 at 17:25
  • It sounds like you're trying to get to full pressure with a portable pump? You'd be better off with a "floor pump", saving the portable pump for roadside emergencies / tube swaps. Also, have you checked your valve types? it may be that you're used to one type and have another on your new tires.
    – Ross
    Apr 1, 2019 at 17:25
  • A CO2 cartridge is the best thing for a 700C tyrre.
    – Carel
    Apr 1, 2019 at 18:00
  • We need more information. What kind of pump are you using? What pressure are you trying to achieve?
    – Adam Rice
    Apr 2, 2019 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


Most average small/hand pumps are in the 'high volume, low pressure' category. That means they have a big air chamber and are good for inflating a high-volume tire like on a mountain bike with a relatively small number of strokes, but once you reach a certain pressure, often in the realm of not enough for a road bike but maybe around enough for a hybrid, it can become impossible or impractical to go further. Small/portable pumps that work on road bikes do exist. Traditional frame pumps are one example, as are the "mini floor pump" type like the Topeak Road Morphs and its copies. There are also some decent true road mini pumps these days; the Lezyne Road Drive is one that works well. Of note is that many road mini pumps have proven to be basically bad products that don't work very well, and all of them, even the good ones, share the characteristic of needing a high number of strokes and being generally on the tiring side to use.

Most people with road bikes settle on having a floor pump at home, which makes it easy to reach high pressures because your body weight is behind it, and then carrying either one of the above options or a CO2 inflator. If you need a new pump and can only get one, one of the mini floor pump variety is often a good choice, because of the portable pump choices they're the easiest to reach full pressure with, plus they usually have gauges (which most portable pumps don't.)

road morph g

  • Yeah, I have a loooong "frame" pump (roughly 20" long) on my bike. It can generally get the tire up to 80 psi or so (if I don't wear myself out pumping first), but I have to get home (or to the sag wagon) to use a floor pump to get up to my normal 100 psi. Apr 1, 2019 at 20:56

Are both sets of wheels using the same valve types?

I recently made a similar transition from mountain to road bike and I had trouble with my floor standing pump. The pump had so much resistance I could lift both feet off the floor and balance 100% of my weight on the pump without it going down all the way. I had assumed it had to do with the higher pressure needed for road tires. Days later I found out I wasn't converting my pump between its presta and schrader configuration correctly. Once I had the parts flipped around correctly my 63kg self had no problem with the pump.

As for my compact pump, it converted between valve types fine but it takes so long to get the tires up to pressure that I quit once it is around 80% of the tires' recommended pressure. Then I carefully ride home to my floor standing pump or to my local bike shop (one happens to be between where I work and where I live) to finish the job. As far as I know, that's just a compromise you have to make when using a compact pump. They take longer.

  • 1
    There is floor pump and floor pump. Those with short big cylinders that can also be used with car tyres are quite useless with racebikes. They produce pressures that don't normally exceed 4-5 bar. You'll need a typical track pump with a long slender cylinder to reach up to 12 bar.
    – Carel
    Apr 1, 2019 at 18:04

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