Bike Pump Buying Guide

Bike Pump Buying Guide

If you cycle often there is little more frustrating than a flat tyre. What is more frustrating is not having the means to repair it. A bike pump is a MUST have for anyone with a bike.

Bike pumps come in all shapes and sizes. Some fit within the frame of the bike, some come with their own mounts to fit under your bottle cage and some are designed to fit in your jersey or pannier bags.

Regardless of where you fit your pump it is important to have one with you at all times. You never know when a puncture may strike. If you aren't a frequent cyclist a plastic pump will last a long time. Eventually a pump will always fatigue so most brands will offer a harder wearing pump made from alloy within their range.

Generally, the longer your bike pump is the faster it will inflate your tyres. Longer pumps have a greater capacity and push more air into the tyres with each pump stroke. Smaller pumps however look neater on your bike, especially when fitted on the bottle cage bolts under your bottle cage. Many brands offer their bike pumps in a multitude of colours too so you can get them to match your bike. If you prefer a subtle look all pumps come in black and silver too!

There are 2 valve fittings that are common on bikes now. The first is a Schrader or car type valve. This is the same size as a car valve so you may have a foot pump or plug in pump in the boot of your car that will fit. These are a little awkward to carry around so you will still need something fixed to your bike. The second valve type is a Presta valve. Presta valves are the most popular valve types on Road Bikes, Hybrids and Mountain Bikes. Almost all pumps come with the fittings to inflate both valve types. The Presta valve is thinner and has a core that you need to unscrew before inflation. They come in varying lengths so you can still pump up your tube if you have deep section rims on your road bike. Continental offer road tubes with 42mm, 60mm and 80mm valves. They also have extender valves available for rims deeper than this.

Smaller hand pumps are great as a rescue tool but you don't need to spend 5 minutes pumping a tyre up when you are home. Floor pumps or track or stirrup pumps are a great addition to your home workshop. These are for the garage and are about 10 times larger than a standard bike pump hence they will pump your tyres up in about a tenth of the time. They are also much easier to use if you need to inflate your tyres to higher pressures. Inflating your tyres to pressures upwards of 100 psi (for Road Bikes) is much easier with a track pump. Again these usually have fittings for both types of valve and will get your road tyre to 100 psi in less than a minute. They usually come fitted with a gauge so you can see your pressures and some come with adaptors for airbeds and footballs too.

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