Bike Pump Buying Guide
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Looking for the best bike pump? This guide is going to cover some of the main factors to consider before buying one.
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Why You Need the Best Bike Pump?
Any serious biker understands the frustration that comes with a flat or low tire emergency. A good bike pump always comes in handy to get you back on the road. It is also advisable to ride at the recommended pressure level in different riding conditions for your safety and comfort and having the best bike pump with you allows you to inflate tires to their optimal PSI settings.
For instance a rough trail requires bouncy tires for better grip while soft surfaces would require firmer tires. To maintain these pressure settings, you need a high performance and portable bike pump with you.
A good bicycle pump also avoids the inconvenience of calling for help or having to carry your bike after suffering a flat tire emergency. You enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have tire emergencies covered with your pump. Some of the high quality pumps in the market come with a bonus puncture kit and you will find it easy to get back on the road in case of a puncture.
Professional bikers will also tell you that maintaining optimal tire pressure settings protects tires and other parts of the bike. You will also not ruin the valve system through poor connections because such pumps are compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves. There is also no tedious valve switching with a good bike pump as it comes with adapters which convert your Schrader valve into a Presta valve through a simple connection.
If you want to get the most out of your bike, you also need a reliable bike inflator. As a rider you appreciate that better control of a bike gives you the most out of a riding experience. Proper pressure levels allow you to push the bike to the limit especially for road races or mountain climbing. The same applies for training and exercises as you are able to focus more on your body and not the bike.
A good bike pump is also built to last meaning it can withstand the elements. More importantly, these pumps leverage latest technology but are still easy to use. They are portable, durable, flexible, affordable and readily available from any bike shop.
Which Bike Pump Is Best For You?
If you want to get the most out of your bike, then you need the best bike pump. This not only comes in handy during flat tire emergencies but also when you need to adjust pressure settings to suit riding conditions. A good bicycle pump is essential for the optimal riding experience, enhanced comfort, safety and for proper bike maintenance. The question for most bikers then is which pump to use for their specific bikes.
There are many different types of bike pumps just as there are many types of bikes around. When shopping for a bike pump, you have to consider the following:
- Type of bike: For road bikes, you need a bike pump which is compatible with Presta valves. For mountain bikes (MTB) whose tires tubes come with a Schrader valve, you need a pump which works with these tubes. However, most of the pumps in the market are now compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves either through use of adaptors or in their unique design. These small attachments save you the pain of having to switch valves when inflating different types of bikes.
- Type of pump: These include floor/ track pumps (for high pressure inflation and pressure tracking on a gauge), CO2 inflators and mini pumps (for portability), frame pump (versatile design for high pressure inflation and easy transportation). Your choice here depends on your tire inflation needs.
- Pressure requirements: While high pressure is a major selling point for bike pump manufacturers, you discover that most bikes need a pump with a maximum High pressure might require you to compromise on pressure accuracy or volume output. Unless you are specifically looking for a road racing bike or a mountain bike, it is important to balance pressure settings, accuracy and volume output.
- Volume needed: A high-volume pump is easier to use as you get to the desired pressure settings but it also means lower maximum pressure. This is the ideal pump for a mountain bike which requires more volume and lower pressure. Such pumps are also ideal for tubeless tires without even the need for an air compressor.
- Gauge accuracy: The best track/floor pumps have pressure gauge which is important for correct PSI settings. The best bike pumps are accurate at the middle of the range.
- Size/weight: If you won’t need your bike pump for the ride, size doesn’t matter much but if you want to carry it along, go for a portable lightweight design.
What You Need to Know About Bike Tires?
If you are a cycling enthusiast, then bike tires should be of great concern to you. You see, bike tires not only determine how comfortable you are when riding, they also improve control of your bike. The tires you fit on your bike make all the difference in your riding experience.
When to Replace Bike Tires
The problem for most cyclists comes in tire replacement when they have to buy another set of tires. This could be due to wear and tear or if you need to improve the grip of your bike. To determine if your bike’s tires are worn out consider the following:
- Increased infrequency of flat tire emergencies: This is a sign of worn out tires because the treads are too thin to protect the tube against punctures.
- Disappearing grooves: You need to constantly check the condition of your bike tires. Shallow or disappearing grooves will tell you when it is time to replace the tires.
- Reduced speed: Squaring-off causes poor performance of your bike. The top of the threading wears off and causes poor grip hence reduced speeds.
By replacing worn out bike tires, you improve the quality of the ride, boost riding comfort and enhance safety when riding.
Type of Tires to Buy
The type of bike you are riding and riding conditions go into determining the type of tires you buy. These include:
- Mountain bike tires: Ideal for rough trails and are designed to prevent punctures, provide good grip for better bike control and cushioning for comfort.
- Road bike tires: These are designed for racers on asphalt and have a narrow profile, smooth thread pattern and low tire volume. This design provides a perfect balance for low rolling resistance, good grip and comfort.
- Commute bike tires: These are similar to road bike tires but larger in volume.
- Tubes vs. Tubeless: Bike tires with a rubber tube are most common and the tube is inflated to required volume and pressure. Tubeless tires are designed such that the tire and rim act as a seal to prevent air loss thus reducing chances of a flat.
- Tire sizing: This depends on the size of the wheel that the tire fits. Common sizes include large 24-inch, used on ‘cruisers’, mediums 20-inch tires and 12/16-inch for smaller bikes.
- Bike tire tread: Treads determine the grip of a bike and you will in the market smooth slick bike tires for speed, inverted tread tires for more grip and rolling resistance and knobby tires for different trail situations.
- Valves: Bikes tires will either have narrow Presta valves (on higher end road bikes) or the wider Schrader valves (on inexpensive and mid-range bikes).
What to Look For When Buying a Bike Pump?
There is no denying the importance of a good bike pump in enhancing your riding experience. This helps in case of a flat tire emergency and when you need to adjust tire pressure to improve the quality of your riding experience. Correct tire pressure also boosts comfort when riding and enhances safety on precarious riding surfaces.
If you are in the market for the best bicycle pump, you will be overwhelmed by the large number of options available. As more people take up cycling, more companies are manufacturing biking accessories top among these being bike pumps.To choose the best bike pump in the market, consider the following:
- Good quality gauge: It is important to choose a bike pump with a good-quality gauge to guarantee you don’t overinflate tires. This prevents your tires against damage and also ensures an optimal riding experience.
- Pump construction: Go for a sturdy steel/ aluminum alloy pump which is built to last. Such a pump is durable and will save you the cost of repairs and parts replacements. The design and construction of the pumps you buy should also be sturdy. It should also feature secure connections to eliminate air loss.
- Type of bike: If you own a mountain bike, your main concern when buying a bike pump is high volume. There are specially designed MTB pumps but also others which switch from high pressure to high volume with just the move of a lever.
- Wide base: For a track or floor pump, you should go for a wide base to guarantee greater stability. A fold-up pump with such a base is not only stable but also easy to store.
- Type of pump: There are different types of pumps to choose from including floor pumps/track pumps, mini-pumps, hand pumps, electric pumps and CO2 inflators. Each comes with its own unique functionality and differences in effectiveness. Floor pumps are ideal for high pressure pumps but CO2 inflator and mini pumps are more portable.
- Valve compatibility: The most common bike tire valves are Presta and Schrader. The best bike pump should easily fit into both these types of valves and even other inflatables in your home.
- Pressure/volume levels: A high pressure pump inflates a tire very fast but is not ideal for high volume tires. You should look for a bicycle pump that balances pressure and volume levels while also guaranteeing high accuracy levels on the pressure gauge.
- Brand: The name behind your bike pump goes a long way in determining the effectiveness of the pump. Go for highly reputable brands with a solid track record in the industry.