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An Ultimate Guide for Selecting a Quality Bicycle Pump

A Guide for Selecting a Quality Bicycle Pump
It's usually before heading out or during rides that we notice the pressure in the bicycle tires is running low. In such situations, a bike pump becomes an essential tool to own. You must keep one track pump at home, and carry a compact pump with you for your daily commutes on your bike.
WheelZine Staff
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Did You Know?
The first pneumatic tire was patented in France by Scottish inventor, Robert William Thomson in 1846.
Keeping a portable bike pump in your bag can save you a lot of trouble in case the tires of your bike decide to deflate at the wrong time and place. On the other hand, having a sturdy track bike pump at home will ensure that you no longer need to go out for a refill or search for a public air compressor.

Like the brakes, a helmet, and rearview mirror, a bicycle pump is an essential biking accessory that every cyclist must own. Some cyclists also use the foot pump; however, these pumps were not designed with the intention of being used on bicycles. This WheelZine article discusses some tips on how to choose a bike pump.
Features to Consider
Valve-appropriate Head/Chuck
Bike valves and head
You must know the type of valve that is fit on the tires of your bicycle. The two most common types of valves that are used in the US are the Schrader and Presta valves. The third type of valve that is also used by some bike manufacturers is the Woods/Dunlop valve, which can be inflated using a Presta adapter as well. If you have more than one bike in the family, or own bikes for different styles of cycling, you may consider going in for a dual valve pump that has both Schrader and Presta adapters on a single head.

Note: A Presta valve is smaller than a Schrader valve.
Pressure Capacity and Gauge
Bike pumps with gauge
You will need to buy a bike pump that meets the PSI (pounds per square inch) recommended by the manufacturers on the sidewalls of the tires. By keeping the tires inflated at their optimal pressure levels, you will be able to avoid punctures, extend the life of the tires, and ease your cycling style. As far as possible, go in for a bike pump that has an attached gauge. You can use the gauge to fill the right amount of air in the bike tires without overdoing it.
Material and Weight
Metal and plastic bike pumps
Before buying a bike pump, consider the weight and material of the pump. The material used in making the internal and external parts of a bike pump can determine its longevity and effectiveness. For instance, plastic bike pumps are comparatively less durable than metal alloy pumps. That being said, such pumps are comparatively lighter and easier to carry during biking trips. On the other hand, unless the bike pump is made of aluminum, metal alloy pumps tend to be slightly heavy and may add to the weight of the rider's backpack or bike bags in case of compact or mini air pumps.
Stability of the Pump's Base
Fixed and fold-up bike pump base
In case you plan on buying a track bike pump, you will need to decide between a fixed or fold-up base. Pumps with a fixed base tend to lend more stability while pumping air into the tire; however, the steadiness of the pump will also be determined by its overall weight. The downside of having a fixed base bike pump is that you will find it hard to store this bulky machine. On the other hand, pumps with fold-up bases are comparatively a little less steadier than fixed base pumps, but are easier to fold and store.
Bike Frame Compatibility
Bicycle wheel
When it comes to selecting a suitable and portable handheld bike pump, you must ensure that the pump is compact enough to fit the frame of your bike. It must neither be too thick or long so that it can be mounted on the frame of the bike. Secondly, it must not make it uncomfortable for you to ride the bike. Thirdly, the pump must come with good quality clamps that can be adjusted according to the girth of the bike's frame. If the clamps that come with the pump are not that strong but the pump in itself is great, you may consider ordering an extra pair from a trusted bike store.
Replaceable Parts
Bicycle pump
Always go in for a bike pump that has easily replaceable parts. This way, you will be able to replace any parts if they show signs of wear and tear. There are several stores that sell spare parts for bike pumps, so finding what you're looking for won't be that hard. However, if you go in for a specialized premium make, the chances are that you will need to either get the pump repaired by the original manufacturers, or buy a new one. In case of really expensive bike pumps, the one purchased by you must come with a guarantee, must be returnable, and have replaceable parts. If some part of the pump breaks or malfunctions within its warranty period, you will be able to get the parts replaced without incurring additional costs. For instance, if the hose of the pump lets air escape, you must get it replaced immediately or else you would be investing more manpower than necessary while refilling the tires.
Choose a Trusted Manufacturer and Retailer
Always make sure that you buy your bike pump and paraphernalia from certain trusted manufacturers only. If you do not know who is the best bike pump manufacturer, carry out in-depth research on the Internet. Walk into a local bike store, and casually inquire about their going rates for bike pumps. If you haven't used a certain pump make earlier, ask the store employees to give you a brief tutorial. In case you decide on ordering the bike pump from an online store, make doubly sure that you buy a reputed brand from a trustworthy retailer whose products have been positively reviewed by several customers.