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How Do I Choose A Bike Pump? | Beginners Buying Guide

As a bike owner, a bike pump is one of the essential accessories you should buy after getting your bike. However, choosing the ideal bike pump might seem difficult, but it really should not be.

There are several factors to consider before buying a bike pump. Heading out without this information might result in you making a wrong purchase.

So, if you are wondering how do I choose a bike pump, this article got you covered.

Below, we highlight the important things to consider when looking for a bike pump.

Best Bike Pumps Buying Guide

Choosing a bike pump becomes easier if you know what type fits your bike. Hence, heading out to buy one without prior research might result in a bit of regret. 

One fact you need to keep in mind is, all bikes do not use the same pump. So what factors determine the pump you choose? We are going to answer this question below. So, read on. 

Basic Types Of Bicycle Pumps

First, you need to know the types of bicycle pumps that will work perfectly for you. So, here are the pump bike types.

Track pump

This is also known as a floor pump. It is a type every well-meaning cyclist should own. The main features of this pump include a pressure gauge, flexible hose, and quick air transfer chamber.

Hand pump

Also called a mini-pump is an emergency pump. Designed for occasional use, this pump is lightweight and compact. These types release air at less than optimal pressure. Using them often would lead to leaking inner tubes.

Frame Pump

This frame pump is an advanced hand pump. It is longer and more effective than the conventional hand pump. In addition, it usually fits comfortably in the triangle of your bike frame [1].

Know your Valve Type

This is the first step in choosing the ideal bicycle pump for your bike. There are two types tubeless of valves [2].

  • Presta
  • Schrader

The type of valve found on a bicycle depends on the kind of bike it is. Presta valves mostly come with road bikes due to their long and slender nature. Furthermore, high-performance bikes requiring high air pressure use Presta valves too.

On the other hand, Schrader valves are wider and offer more security than the Presta.  They are used on most mountain bikes.

Both these valve types have different heads and require different pump heads. Now imagine heading out to buy a pump without this information.

Air Pressure Requirement For Your Bike

Air pressure is another important factor to consider when buying a bike pump. Why is ideal air pressure important? It ensures your bike rolls quickly, assures you smoother rides, and helps avoid flats [3]. 

Selecting the right pump that would provide the correct air pressure for your tyres assures you of the above benefits. 

Keep in mind that road bikes require air pressure of 85-130 psi while mountain bikes require 30-50 psi. Therefore getting a bike with significantly higher psi, such as 200 might be detrimental.

Weight and Size of Pump

If you use your pump at home only, you don’t need to worry much about the size and weight. This means you could get a large pump such as the electronic or track pump, ideal for use at home. 

But, if you love camping and you often have to travel through uneven terrain, a mini-pump is best.

One downside to using mini-pumps is that most of them are for single-use purposes. They also do not release air with the level of pressure you will get with standard pumps. On the other hand, floor pumps are heavy and might reduce bike speed. 

If you travel a lot, here is my suggestion: get a quality pump for home use and a mini-pump for travels.

Air Gauge

An air Gauge Meter- Bike Pump

A gauge helps tell the range of air pressure your bicycle uses. Using the gauge effectively might extend the lifespan of your bike. You might not find a gauge in smaller pumps, but it is a basic feature in electric and floor ones.

With the recent advancement in technology, it has become easier to find digital gauges that could accurately read air pressure. These might be expensive, but trust me, they are worth their prices. 

When buying a pump with a gauge, ensure you have one that is easy to read.

Conclusion

We believe that you don’t need to ask how do I choose a bike pump with the information above. There are two basic criteria for choosing bike pumps; use and tyre types. Sounds too simple right? Let me break it down.

What do you need a bike pump for? Will you be pumping the tyre after a long day’s journey or before leaving home? Or pumping during a journey? If you often find yourself needing a bike pump during a journey, you need a hand or frame pump. 

Secondly, the type of tyre determines the kind of pump you get. Mountain bike tyres differ from road bike tyres in valve type. Hence, you might be needing something different.

FAQs

Know your valve type. The kind of valve your tyre uses would determine what kind of pump you purchase. There are two basic types of bicycle valves; Presta and Schrader. Road bikes use Presta, while mountain bikes use Schrader valves.

Does your road bike use a Presta Valve? To pump it effectively, all you need to do is get a pump with a Presta valve adapter. You could also purchase this adapter from your local bike store for about a dollar.

This is a million-dollar question! All bike pumps have the primary function of filling your tyres with air. Therefore, a good bike pump must be easy to use, display optimal stability, strength and durability. It must also sport an accurate gauge for measuring air pressure optimally.

A good bicycle pump should fill your tyres optimally and fast.

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