Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Pumping the Tyres on a Dutch bike

This is the most common question we get asked  -How to pump the tyres on a Dutch bike.

Not too sure why this causes such problems, but in this short post I will show you how easy it is to pump the tyres on any bicycle, regardless of the type of valve your bike has.

3 Steps to pumping the tyres on your bicycle.

  1. Work out what type of valves your inner tubes have.
  2. Work out what pressure (PSIs) your bicycle tyre should have
  3. Pump your tyres

Working out the type of Valve your bike has

The first step is to work out what type of valve your bicycle has. The valve is the bit of the inner tube where you attach your pump to. There isn't one type of valve, but 3 types. Therefore you will need to work out which type of valve your bicycle has in order to work out which setting your pump needs to be on to pump your tyres.

Different types of Bicycle Valves.

There are 3 different types of bicycle valves:

  1. Schrader Valve (or car valve as they're often called)
  2. Presta Valve  (or road/racing bike valve as they're often called)
  3. Dunlop Valve (or, Woods Valve as it's often called)  

Usually, a Dutch Bike will have Dunlop Valves (often called 'Woods Valves') fitted to them. However, it's worth knowing the 3 types of valves that are fitted to bicycles as it could be yours isn't fitted with Dunlop Valves/Woods Valves.

Schrader Valve

Probably the most common valve in the UK, fitted to most children's bikes and also adult mountain bikes. Looks just like the valve on your car. Recognisable with a pin in the middle of it.

Image result for schrader valve
Schrader Valve

Presta Valve

Presta Valve with have a little collar on the top that you have to screw upwards (but not completely off) to open the valve.

Image result for presta valve
Presta Valve

Woods Valve/Dunlop Valve

Most common valve fitted to Dutch bikes and as I said earlier they're actually a Dunlop Valve, but are often called Woods Valves. 

Image result for woods valve
Woods Valve/Dunlop Valve

Once you've identified which valve you have, then all you need to do is to work out which setting to use on your pump.

Most pumps will either come with a valve adaptor included somewhere, or alternatively with two different pump nozzles/heads. 

Although there are 3 different types of valves, there are only 2 different sizes - hence your pumps alternative 2 head/nozzle sizes.

The wider nozzle/head on your pump is for use with the Schrader Valve (car type valve)

The Narrower nozzle/head on your pump is for use with the Presta or Dunlop/Woods Valve. As the Presta Valve is exactly the same diamater as the Dunlop/Woods Valve.

Therefore if you have a Dutch Bike, you're most likely to have a Dunlop/Woods Valve fitted, so you'll need to use your pump's Presta Settings.

You can also use a valve adaptor which you screw on to your Dunlop/Woods Valve and then this will expand the size of your valve allowing you to use the Schrader Valve setting of your pump. Personally, I find this the easiest way to pump a Woods or a Presta Valve as the vast majority of pumps don't give a great seal when using the Presta Setting.  

Valve Adaptors can be purchased from your local bike shop or online at places like Wiggle. 

 Working out your Tyre Pressures.

Tyre Presssures are printed/embossed on the side of your bicycle tyre walls. Often they will come with a recommended range for you to pump to. For example - 50-65psi - indicates a minimum pressure of 50PSI or a maximum pressure of 65PSI. 

Most modern Dutch bikes will have anti-puncture protection tyres fitted and usually these require a high pressure - typically 50 - 60psi. 

A good quality track pump will give you a guage indicating the tyre pressures.

Beware that with Dunlop/Woods Valves, these valves open and close as you push the air in, therefore the readings on the gauge will often go up and down as you pump the tyre. While this can be frustrating to watch the pressure guage going up and down, just note the up readings and once you see the desired pressure readings hit, you're then and pumped.

Pump Your Tyres

Using your Pump - It's impossible to give you advice on how to use your pump as there are so many different pumps out there. Personally I would recommend you buy a track pump for use at home as these are usually excellent. Buy a decent pump from a decent bicycle shop retailer. 

You may also find our short video helpful




  1. I was actually considering contacting you about this Paul. I’ve never had a problem with schrader or presta valves and I’ve had the same Bontrager floor pump for a long time. It has a single connector which works with both, but when I tried it on the dunlop valve (with and without adapter) I couldn’t get it to work at all.

    So I bought a new pump with presta and schrader connectors. It seems to work now with the adapter but the arrow on the dial that shows the pressure goes back down after every stroke. Which doesn’t happen with regular schrader valves, or even presta ones on road bikes.

    I just struggle to see the point of it. I’ll probably switch to schrader pretty soon. It’s the first thing about Dutch bikes that I don’t see the benefit of. But otherwise I’m loving the Personal Bike. I’ve done a couple of commutes on it so far and it’s great.

    And it’ll only get better as we get new bicycle infrastructure.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Good to hear you're enjoying your new Personal Bike.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Best wishes,


Pumping the Tyres on a Dutch bike

This is the most common question we get asked  -How to pump the tyres on a Dutch bike. Not too sure why this causes such problems, but ...