How to keep your tires properly inflated

2/12/2024

Having the right amount of air pressure in your bike tires is a crucial part of regular bike maintenance, especially for ebikes, which are heavier than regular bikes. With the right tire pressure, you’ll experience a smoother ride, better grip, and can avoid flat tires. 

Tire pressure can fluctuate with temperature changes and over time as air gradually leaks out. It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly, ideally before every ride for bikes with skinny tires, or every week or two for fat tire ebikes. For most tires, if you squeeze the tire hard with your hand, it should give, but only a little. If the tire feels at all soft, it probably needs air.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to help you figure out if your bike tires have enough air pressure:

5 steps for perfect tire pressure

  1. Find the recommended pressure range.

Look for the recommended pressure range on the sidewall of your bike tire. It will usually be written in PSI (pounds per square inch). This range indicates the minimum and maximum pressure your tire can safely handle.

  1. Grab a tire pressure gauge or pump with gauge.

Use a tire pressure gauge or a bike pump with a built-in pressure gauge. If you don't have one, you can purchase one for $20-50 at a bike shop or online.

  1. Check the tire pressure.

Unscrew the small nut or cap at the top of the valve. Press the gauge or pump firmly onto the valve and read the pressure on the gauge.

  1. Adjust the pressure if needed.

Bike tires have two different types of valves: Schrader & Presta. Schrader is the same kind you would find on a car and is more common on ebikes. Presta valves have a little nut at the end that you have to unscrew to get air in and out. They are also skinnier than Schrader valves so you might have to adjust your pump head to get the right fit. Use the lever on your pump to clamp it onto the valve and start pumping.

If the pressure is below the recommended range, use the pump to add air.

If the pressure is above the recommended range, release some air by gently pressing the valve (for Schrader) or tapping the nut (for Presta) and check again until you reach the desired pressure. More pressure isn’t always better. Being a bit under the maximum pressure can make your bike more comfortable to ride and help the tires grip better.

  1. Repeat for the other tire.

Don't forget to check both tires, as they can have different pressure levels. Keeping them even is the best possible state for your bike.

Perfect PSI is worth your time

By keeping your bike tires inflated to the correct pressure, you'll enjoy a smoother ride, better traction, and reduced risk of punctures. If you need any more help or have questions about your specific bike model, drop us a line! We’re here to help.

When our family bought an electric cargo bike earlier this year, one of my biggest fears was that this lovely and expensive new machine was going to get stolen. So I got the best lock money could buy, and I started to investigate: did I need ebike insurance?

First, I called my homeowners insurance provider to see if they would cover the bike if it were stolen. To my surprise, because it’s an electric bike, not only did my policy not cover it, they wouldn’t even add it for an additional fee or sell me a separate policy for it, the way they did for our family car.

Instead they referred me to an insurance company that specializes in bikes and ebikes. I bought a policy from them and sleep a little better for it.

I’ve heard similar stories from other ebike owners. And I’ve heard worse.

What can happen without ebike insurance

The saddest stories are the ones where someone assumed their homeowners or renters or car insurance covered their ebike, and after it was stolen or seriously damaged, it turned out it wasn’t covered.

And then there are the stories about people whose ebikes were covered by their homeowners policy, but their premium went way up when they made a claim for a stolen ebike.

Why it’s hard to insure an ebike

When it comes to insurance, ebikes land in a gray area outside standard homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Here’s why:

  • Ebikes are new in terms of the insurance industry. Most of the several million ebikes in the U.S. were purchased in the last two years. Insurers aren’t familiar with them, and insurers don’t like to be surprised by unfamiliar products.
  • Ebikes are more expensive than regular bikes. Policies that cover bikes, like most homeowners or renters policies, might have also covered ebikes until the insurer had to pay much larger claims than they expected to replace a damaged or stolen ebike. See above about insurers and surprise. So some policy terms got changed.
  • Finally, ebikes get stolen a lot, and not only from people’s homes. They are ridden and locked up outside all over the place, which makes them more vulnerable than other valuable household items.

Steps to take to properly insure your ebike

The odds that your ebike is covered by your existing insurance is lower than you may think. Here’s what to do to find out if you need ebike insurance:

  1. Call your insurance company and find out what they cover. Things to bring up: coverage of accidental damage, theft, and travel (like what would happen if you flew somewhere with your bike and the airline did a number on it). Does the insurance company consider your ebike a “luxury item”? If you’re happy with the coverage, great! You’re good to go.
  2. Consider bike-specific coverage. If you aren’t covered, or feel like the coverage you do have isn’t enough, here are some things to think about.

Bike insurance covers all kinds of bike specific things, not just theft. Think damage to the bike from a collision, medical payments if you are injured in a collision, insurance for the bike if you are traveling with it or racing it, or a bike rental while your bike is being repaired. Some policies even cover things like accessories (like bike lights and panniers) and riding clothes.

Bike claims won’t affect your other insurance premium. Should you need to make a claim on your ebike, your home insurance premium won’t change or get canceled.

We can help

Want to learn more about ebike insurance? Join Tempo and get easy access to insurance quotes, and other ways to protect your ebike right inside the app.

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