On the road with the right tire pressure thanks to an appropriate bike pump!
Air pumps are not only used to reinflate your tire after a puncture or to inflate a new tire. All tires lose air when not in use. That's why regularly monitoring the tire pressure with a pump is essential. As well as different types of pump (mini pumps, floor pumps, foot pumps, CO2 pumps) with various pumping capacities, you also have to take valve types into consideration when buying a pump. Here are some tips on this and other features of air pumps for bikes.
Different types of bike pumps and their properties
Bike pumps support different valve types and come in different sizes as a result. Not all models come with a pressure gauge (scale displaying the pressure in bar and PSI) and have the same pumping capacity.
As with other bike accessories you need to take the intended use into consideration. If you're looking for a portable bike pump for use on the go, you should consider a telescopic mini pump or a CO2 pump. These pumps are small, lightweight and can easily be attached to the frame or stored in the saddlebag. The important thing is to get a pump that is compatible with the valves on your wheels! There's the Dunlop valve, the Presta/Sclaverand valve and the Schrader valve (as found on cars). Compact bicycle pumps specify their pumping capacity and not all models are suitable for high-pressure road bike tires. For fast inflating in competitions etc. a pump for CO2 cartridges is recommended.
For regular pressure control at home and changing tires/inner tubes a floor or foot pump should be the first choice. It is a lot easier and quicker to achieve a high pressure with these types of pump. Large road bike pumps like this also tend to include a pressure gauge and valve adapter.
Don't forget to check the material when buying a bike pump. Lightweight models intended for portable use are made of aluminum, but if you want a long-lasting pump for the workshop the pump shaft should be made of steel. Small details like soft and ergonomic handles, an integrated pump hose for mini-pumps and a wide, stable base for floor pumps complete the package. Good-quality bike pumps are available from brands like Zefal, Birzman and Contec.