Here’s How To Deflate a Bike Tire the Right Way

Are you in need of a proper way to let the air out of your bike tire?

This post will tell you exactly how to deflate a bike tire, including what tools you can use and how to let the air out of different types of valves.

Person adjusting bike tire valve after learning how to deflate a bike tire

Why Deflate a Bike Tire?

There are a number of circumstances and situations that might require you to deflate your bike tires, including:

  • When your tire is over-inflated. Pay attention to the PSI (pounds per square inch) when inflating your tire to prevent it from bursting.
  • When you travel over rough terrain. Taking a little air out of your tires will help to reduce your bounce when riding.
  • When you change your tires. It’s much more difficult to change a tire when it’s inflated. You can deflate the tires to make the job easier.
  • When you change the inner tube. It’s way easier to remove the old tubes and insert new ones when they’re not full of air.
  • When you have to repair a Flat or leak in your tire. Always deflate the tire before you attempt to repair the puncture. This is common among riders and you should expect it to happen to you eventually.

Tools for Deflating a Tire

Maintain a small bag of bike tools and secure it somewhere safe on your ride. These tools can be as vital as the bike itself, so don’t leave home on a long ride without them.

Tools that you should keep in your bike tool kit include:

  • Screwdriver
  • Pin cap
  • Valve remover
  • Pair of needle-nose pliers
  • Tire repair gum
  • Small bike tire pump
  • Tire levers
  • Wrench
  • Adapter
  • Patch kit
  • Pressure gauge

Types of Bike Valves

The type of valve that you have dictates how (and how much) air goes in and out of your tire when you remove and replace the tire’s valve core. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Here are the common valves you’ll likely have to deal with:

Three different bike tire valves to consider when learning how to deflate a bike tire
From left to right: Presta valve, Dunlop valve, Schrader valve.

Presta Valves

A Presta valve, also called a French valve, is a type of valve that’s fairly easy to use. Undo the ring at the top of the valve and then press down. You should hear the sound of air being let out of the tire.

With a Presta valve, you have a lot of flexibility and control when it comes to tire pressure.

Dunlop Valves/Woods Valves

The Dunlop valve, also called a Woods valve, is a type of valve made exclusively for bike tires. It consists of a two-part valve system. To let air out of a Dunlop valve, unthread the cap a few turns, and pull outward on the tip.

Schrader Valves

Schrader valves (sometimes called American valves) are among the most common types of valves. These are often found on automobile tires and on a mountain bike. Schrader valves have a pin in the center that you must depress before air can be let out. You’ll likely need to use a screwdriver or other tool to press this needle down to deflate your bicycle tire.

releasing air from a bike tire's schrader valve
The tip of a key is usually small enough to press down on the pin inside a Schrader valve and release some air. (© Pedal Street)

Folding the Bike Tire Tube

Make sure you get all of the air out of the tube before you try to roll or fold it. Folding it up and keeping it bound with a soft string or tether can help it in storage. Do not use rubber bands to bind the tube, as this can cause damage.

Some riders use an old sock to contain their tire tubes after they’ve had the air removed and are folded or rolled up. This small package should easily fit in your bag or on your bike. Just keep it away from other objects, items, or tools to prevent damage to the tube.

Bicycle maintenance also includes learning how to properly deflate and manage your tires. For instance, ensuring that the tire bead is properly seated can prevent damage to the inner tube. Using a tire lever or even a second lever can help remove the tire without using a sharp object that might damage the tube.

DIY repairs, including using a Patch kit and sealant for minor punctures, can be a crucial part of your bicycle maintenance routine. Always carry these essential items to fix a Flat or leak on the go.

Now you know how to deflate a bike tire!