Inflate your bike tyres with a floor pump
You can easily inflate a bike tyre with a floor pump. There are different models that are equipped with pressure gauges and other additions. When choosing a floor pump, look for a non-slip handle and variable valve attachments. This allows you to use the floor pump for different types of bicycles and tyres, but also for other purposes such as inflating a ball or an air mattress.
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How does a bicycle floor pump work?
Inflating a tyre is one of the most common maintenance tasks on a bicycle. There are standard bike pumps – mostly hand pumps that come as bicycle accessories – but since these pumps aren’t always very effective, many cyclists opt for a floor pump.
With a normal hand pump, air pressure can be brought up to 5 bar. Floor pumps, on the other hand, can achieve an air pressure of up to 14 bar – but these pumps are also considerably more expensive. Floor pumps can also be used for other purposes; adapters for air mattresses or balls are commonly included as accessories.
As the name suggests, the pump stands on the floor. A floor pump is operated with the hands and is equipped with a nonslip handle and nonslip tread area. It also includes a hose that can be used to easily inflate the tyre. The valve is fixed with a locking lever so that nothing slips off.
Bicycle floor pumps have a powerful stroke and a high pumping capacity. When inflating with a hand pump, you always work with one hand only. A floor pump has the advantage that it can be operated with both hands. This also reduces the amount of force required from you.
Floor pumps and foot pumps are also available with a double stroke, which enables fast inflation. A double stroke ensures that air is pumped into the tyre both when pushing and pulling, as it is equipped with two cylinders. It’s actually nothing more than a double cylinder that fills the tyre with air at the same time.
With a floor pump, the stand is particularly important. It should never be too small, otherwise the pump will wobble. Stability is crucial for a floor pump.
A high-quality floor pump is always equipped with a pressure gauge, so that the tyre pressure can be optimally controlled and adjusted. Watch out, though – inexpensive models don’t necessarily have pressure gauges.
Due to their weight and dimensions, floor pumps aren’t very portable. They weigh between 1.5 and 3.5 kg. So it’s best to have a floor pump for home and a mini bike pump for on the road, so you can travel worry-free. A floor pump is really something for the garage and offers great ease of use there. You can pump up your tyres easily and comfortably without breaking a sweat.
A foot pump can be a good alternative
Alternatively, there are foot pumps, which are becoming increasingly popular. Foot pumps are easy on the back and make pumping much more pleasant. With these models, you step on a pedal to generate the pumping power. Less effort is required – your legs won’t get as tired out as your arms might with a floor pump.
Pumping power and speed are identical for the floor pump and the foot pump.
The floor pump pressure gauge is also a question of price
A floor pump not only has a high pumping speed, it’s also easy to use, achieving a high tyre pressure without much effort. High-quality floor pumps are usually equipped with a pressure gauge, which makes it easy to control tyre pressure.
Most floor pumps reach about 4 bar with about thirty strokes. Standardly, most floor pumps are equipped with a pressure gauge with a pressure indicator and locking lever. With the help of the locking lever, the pump is fixed to the valve to prevent it from slipping during the pumping process.
Inexpensive floor pumps, on the other hand, tend to lack pressure gauges, so you’ll have to rely on your instincts.
It’s important to get the right tyre pressure
The bike tyre pressure should always be well matched to your bicycle and how you intend to use it. Depending on the manufacturer, tyre pressure is usually marked on the bike tyre. In general, it can be said that wider bicycle tyres require less pressure (measured in bar) than narrower ones.
If you are heavier or carrying luggage on your bike, you’ll always need higher tyre pressure. This also applies when transporting children on your bike.
Basically, a tyre pressure of 4 bar is a good starting point. But tyre width also plays an important role in tyre pressure. For narrower tyres, an extra 0.5 bar can't hurt.
Mountain bikes and road bikes have different starting values. Racing bikes are usually inflated to 8 bar, due to rolling resistance, among other factors. In racing, the harder the tyre, the better, because rolling resistance is very low.
Mountain bikers, on the other hand, ride in forests and on uneven terrain where the tyre pressure must be lower. Many mountain bikers lower their tyre pressure to about 3 bar in order to ride and react optimally off-road.
However, the right bicycle pump for you depends on your requirements and wishes. We recommend that you always take a mini pump with you on longer bike rides, so that you can re-inflate in the event of a flat tyre or loss of pressure. A wide range of bicycle pumps is available – some suited to the garage, some to take with you on the road.