A bike pump ensures the right tyre pressure and a safe ride
You should check your bike’s tyre pressure before going out for a ride. Well-inflated tyres increase comfort and safety. If you are a frequent cyclist, we recommend checking your tyre pressure regularly.
Anyone who has ever suffered from a lack of air pressure or had a flat tyre while on the move knows how crucial a bike pump is. A pump should be a standard part of your equipment when you go out for a ride. Only well-inflated tyres ensure a safe and comfortable ride. Bike pumps come in different models and varieties.
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A complete guide to bike pumps: Choosing the right pump for your needs
It’s impossible to talk about “the” bike pump, because a wide variety of pumps exists to serve different needs and purposes. The choice is just as diverse as the choice of bicycles. Most bicycle pumps are compatible with various types of valve. If this isn’t the case, the valve heads can easily be converted with the appropriate adapter. Besides the valve, it’s important to consider the type, size, weight, material, and efficiency of the pump.
Mini pumps or frame pumps
Most bikes come equipped with a pump at purchase. In most cases, this is a mini pump that is so small it can be attached to a bracket mounted onto the bicycle frame.
Mini pumps, also called frame pumps, are operated by hand and rarely have an air pressure gauge. They require a lot of effort and strokes to inflate your tyre, but they’re highly portable. You can use your thumb to check whether the proper air pressure has been reached.
CO2 cartridge pumps
Another small and compact bike pump is the CO2 cartridge pump, or CO2 inflator, which inflates your tyre using small CO2 cartridges. These air pumps are lightweight and, thanks to their small size, can easily be taken along on your ride.
Though compact and lightweight, they can produce high air pressure. All you have to do is hold the pump to the valve and pull the trigger. The advantages of a CO2 inflator are efficiency and user-friendliness – they don’t require any hard work to inflate your tyre.
Floor pumps and pumps with an air compressor
There are also bike pumps, such as floor pumps, which are equipped with a pressure gauge, and which can inflate your tyre up to 11 bar. With the manometer you can measure the air pressure, which is indicated in bar or psi.
It’s important that you know what tyre pressure is right for your bike. You can read the recommended air pressure on the tyre itself. Floor pumps allow you to inflate your tyre to the exact tyre pressure recommended for your conditions, which is particularly important for road cyclists and mountain bikers.
There are also bike pumps with air compressors which allow you to inflate your tyre effortlessly and in the blink of an eye up to 12 bar.
If the tyre cannot be inflated even though the inner tube is OK, this may be due to a defective bicycle valve. Bicycle valves are wearing parts and have to be replaced every now and then.
Bike pumps come in different sizes
Every cyclist has different requirements when it comes to bike pumps. Make sure to carefully consider your options to choose the pump that suits your needs and requirements.
When you browse the wide variety of cycle pumps available, you’ll notice they’re made of different materials and that each has its own maximum pressure output. Some require a lot of manual effort and others do the job effortlessly. The classic bicycle pump is about 17.8 cm (7 inches) long and has a maximum pressure output of 7 bar.
For some cyclists, a small, handy bicycle pump that can be attached to the bicycle frame is sufficient. Others opt for a larger model such as a floor pump, with an integrated pressure gauge or that comes with a compressor. These pumps often have high pressure output and are perfect for using in your garage before you go for a ride on your e-bike, road bike or city bike.
The different valve types of a bicycle
There are three common bicycle valves:
- The French valve, also called the Sclaverand or Presta valve
- The car valve, also called the Schrader or American valve
- The Dunlop or Woods valve
Most bicycle pumps can be used with any of these three types of valves. The French valve is the narrowest and can deal with a high pressure of up to 15 bar. The air pressure can be precisely adjusted with this valve, so it’s particularly useful for road bikes, trekking and mountain bikes.
The Schrader valve has the advantage that it can cope with high pressure. Tyres with a Schrader valve can also be easily pumped up at a gas station, which can be very useful if you don’t have a bike pump handy.
The Dunlop valve is most often used in German-speaking countries, so it’s also referred to also referred to as the German valve. It’s mainly used on city bikes, everyday bikes and trekking bikes. Most Dunlop valves have a low maximum air pressure of 6 bar, making them unsuitable for road bikes.
Valves are wear-and-tear parts, but luckily enough, replacing a bicycle valve is rarely much hassle. If the tube isn’t damaged, it can be reused.