Floor Pumps – Next to a helmet a good quality floor pump may be your next most important bicycle accessory. By checking to make sure that your tires are properly inflated prior to every bike ride you will greatly reduce your likelihood of getting a flat. With an investment in a quality floor pump with a gauge you will likely never have to replace your bicycle pump. In our shop there are several pumps that have been used for years. Even with heavy use and they are still going strong today. So what makes a good quality floor pump? A metal body is important. I have seen pumps explode out the side of the body after being left in a hot car and then put to work. The size of the body will also be an indicator of what type of tires the pump is designed for. A wider body will move a higher volume of air and be better for mountain bike tires. Narrower body pumps will be a more all-around pump, with some of the narrower ones designed for higher pressures like road bicycles and making them easier for the user to get to the higher pressures. Don’t forget to look for a good quality base. My preference is metal again, but I have seen pumps with strong plastic bases that have held up. You also want to look for a larger base to provide more stability when you are pumping up your tires. Next up you want a gauge. A gauge at the top will be easier on the eyes but one at the base will work too. Many pumps have a ring around the pump that you can move to set an indicator for your desired air pressure. Making it easier to see if it is farther away from you. Next up is the head of the pump. A good modern pump will be able to accommodate both presta and schrader valves with an auto sensing head. Many pumps will have two slots in the head that the user selects. Finally be sure to check the handle to make sure it is comfortable and sturdy.
On the Ride Inflation – For on the ride inflation there are a lot of options for you to choose from. Frame pumps, mini pumps and CO2 systems. CO2 systems are the most popular these days, they are small, lightweight and make it easy to inflate your tires to the proper pressure without a lot of effort. The down side is that a cartridge is generally good for only one use, where a mini or frame pump is good for many many uses. Pumps designs like these will take much more effort to get your tire properly inflated. Selecting a mini pump designed for the type of tire you will be inflating is critical when selecting this method of tire inflation.
Note – This is part of a series we will be sharing that Ernest wrote about cycling accessories and components. While they aren’t intended to be full on “Buyers Guides” We do hope they will help you with things to consider when thinking about them or to view them a little differently. Then in future post we will dive deeper into each one of these.