Bike pumps can help you get the right tyre pressure!
Air pumps are not only used to reinflate your tyre after a puncture or to inflate a new tyre, they’re also used to fill a tyre with missing air. Regularly monitoring the tyre pressure with a pump is therefore essential. As well as different types of pumps (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 and other features of bike air pumps.
Types of bike pumps and their properties
Bike pumps support different valve types and therefore come in different sizes. 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 a saddle bag. 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 racing bike tyres. For fast inflating in competitions etc. a pump with CO2 cartridges is recommended.
For regular pressure control at home and when changing tyres/inner tubes, a floor or foot pump should be your go-to choice. It’s a lot easier and quicker to achieve a high pressure with these types of pumps. Large road bike pumps like these 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 aluminium, but if you want a long-lasting pump, 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.