The bicycle pump is an essential accessory for all cyclists. Tyres naturally deflate over time, lose pressure during a ride, or are punctured and need to be replaced – and inflated – on the go. Let’s look at the best type of pump for each scenario:
Track Pump/Floor Pump/Stand Pump
In order to bring your road or mountain bike tyres up to the recommended pressure (approx. 5.5-9 bar/80-130 psi for road bikes and approx. 2-3.5 bar/30-50 psi for MTBs) we recommend using a track pump.
Track pumps are very effective when it comes to filling tyres with air quickly and efficiently. They are among the most powerful available and are very easy to use. High-pressure tyres can only be filled accurately and quickly with this type of pump. They are also usually equipped with a barometer that allows you to accurately read the pressure of the inner tube of the tyre.
This large and powerful type of pump is an ideal tool to have at home, but it isn’t suitable for transporting around with you. In this case you’ll need a mini pump.
You’ve got a flat tyre again and you’re forced to get off your bike and take a look. In your small saddle bag, you’ve got a spare inner tube, but you’ve left your pump at home. When this happens a small puncture can ruin your whole ride. The solution? Every cyclist should always carry an emergency or mini pump on them. Smaller and lighter, the mini pump is perfectly portable and is often designed with special clips that neatly mount it to your bike frame– so it won’t distract or irritate you during rides.
For racers and ambitious athletes there are mini pumps made from aluminium or carbon – this essential bit of kit doesn’t have to be heavy.
This type of bike pump is very practical, but is relatively low-power compared to the trusty track pump. Although a mini pump can generate enough pressure to get you back home on your road bike, your arms will get a proper work out before you fully fill your tyre.
The CO2 inflator has become increasingly popular in recent years – and for good reason. This type of pump uses a small CO2 cartridge to inflate your tyre in seconds and is light and easy to transport.
However, CO2 pumps do have their disadvantages like any other pump. The gas escapes more rapidly through your tyre wall – so it will deflate quicker than a tyre filled with air. It’s worth noting that the price of the cartridges can add up if you’re using the inflator regularly. Also, the CO2 cartridges become one more thing to remember to take with you when you’re heading out.
MTB Shock Pumps
A pump type just for the MTBers out there – full-suspension mountain bikes and models equipped with suspension forks will require a shock pump. Just like tyre pressure, air sprung suspension pressure degrades over time. To make sure you are running the correct amount of air pressure, you’ll need to use a shock pump on your forks and shocks. This type of pump is designed to inflate up to 300psi (20 bar) without any trouble.