HOW TO CHOOSE BICYCLE PUMPS – BUYERS GUIDE

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A good bicycle pump is on our list of Top essentials for every bike ride.

Bicycle pumps do a simple but important job of ensuring tires are inflated to specification. This ensures your ride is comfortable, safe and that tires last. As with all essentials, having a good pump will definitely ensure you ride even more!

This guide should give you an idea on pumps available in India and also what you need to consider while choosing a pump.

TYPES OF BICYCLE PUMPS

FLOOR PUMPS

Also known as the Track Pump, is definitely a must with a new bicycle. These pumps sport a long flexible hose, a pressure gauge and a wide chamber for quick air transfer. These are ideally kept at home or service centres to enure your bicycle is pumped up at all times.

HAND PUMPS

Also called Portable Pumps, these should be used in addition to the floor pump and ideally not used as a primary pump.

These pumps are compact in size and hence discharge small amounts of air. They are designed to be used during emergency occasions while you’re out riding.

CO2 INFLATORS

These compact pocket-sized inflators used compressed carbon dioxide and inflate tires in a hurry. Ideal for emergency situations when you have a flat on the road/trail and saving time is of utmost importance.

Although convenient, these end up being quite expensive and wasteful as the single-use cartridges cannot be refilled.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A BICYCLE PUMP

1. VALVE COMPATIBILITY
Presta and Schrader valves are the two most common valve types. Almost all pump heads are compatible with both but all may not be simple to use. Some pumps are valve specific and some have to be internally changed to fit the valve. A Smart Head is a simple to use pump head which fits all kinds of values. Super useful!

2. PRESSURE COMPATIBILITY
Not many riders need a pump that manages to go up to 160 psi. Mountain bikes probably don’t need to go above 50psi. Choose a pump that suits the pressure recommended for the tire.

3. VOLUME COMPATIBILITY
The volume of air depends on the main bike choice. A higher volume pump will fill up the air faster, but in turn, will mean low maximum pressure. The mountain bike tires have greater volume, a large volume pump is important here. If you’re looking at tubeless setups, pumps need to push out huge volumes of air.

4. GAUGE
An accurate gauge is extremely important. Accuracy enables us to maintain the correct tire pressure and this leads to longer tire life and better traction and speed on our ride. Most emergency pumps don’t come with a pressure gauge since these are used to pump up to ensure you reach home and not really focus on pumping to spec.

5. BUILD QUALITY
Pumps can be built out of plastic or steel. Beware of cheap plastic pumps – they don’t work and are a waste of money. Especially for floor pumps, a good solid pump lasts a long long time and ensures pumping up tires is super simple.

6. SERVICEABILITY
Seals and o-rings on pumps and pump heads can wear out over time and being able to easily service and replace parts ensures the pumps live a long long time.


You will not go wrong in choosing the right pump when you are clear about which type of pump you are looking for and what is compatible with your bike.

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