Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Bicycle Pump
Extend the life of your bike tires by keeping them properly inflated.
A quality bicycle pump is an insurance policy against bailing out of a ride because you have a flat tire. Whether you’re a casual biker or a single-track shredder, you’ll want a bike pump handy. But a bike pump isn’t a one-size-fits-all tool, so here are three things to think about when it’s time to pump up.
Not all bicycle pumps pump out the pressure needed to fill all tires. Make sure your pump cranks out or exceeds the required air pressure for your tires. You’ll find the psi (pounds per square inch) rating on the tire’s sidewall. A beach cruiser’s tires require less tire pressure than a mountain bike or road bike, so match a pump’s PSI to the tires to keep your wheels rolling.
There are two primary tire valve designs on bicycles today: Schrader and Presta. The fitting on some pumps work with both valve types, but the majority are specific to one valve or the other. The Schrader valve is the same used on car tires and is common on less-expensive bikes. Presta valves have a smaller diameter than Schrader valves and are on bikes that need a greater degree of strength along the wheel rim. Make sure the pump fitting attaches to the valve on your tires before you buy it.
The fastest way to pump up your tires is with a standard floor pump. But if you strike out on the road or trail, you should take a pump with you. A small-capacity pump fits on the frame of a bike using mounts and clips. Micro-pumps that are smaller than 6-inches long stay tucked out of the way, but they have relatively small air chambers, so refilling a bike tube takes some time and effort. To make the task easier, consider a dual-action pump that injects air on both the down and upstroke.