Types of Bicycle Pumps

Picking the right pump has a lot to do with the type of riding that you do. If you are road riding, the lightest and smallest pump will be the best for you. If you are mountain biking, you will need a more durable pump that can handle the hazards that you may encounter on your bike ride. You also want to make sure that the pump does not get in your way or add lots of additional weight for times when you need to carry your bike, such as across streams.

Before choosing between a floor pump, a portable pump or CO2 cylinders it is important to know a little about the “pressure output”. The maximum pressure output of an air pump is measured in “psi” (“pounds per square inch” – pounds per square inch); This is the amount of air a pump can put into a tire. The maximum psi is always indicated on the side of the tire and the pump that you buy should be able to equal or exceed this amount – if the maximum output of a pump is too low, you can never inflate your tires to the indicated pressure.

Each type of tire, (for each type of bicycle and use) has a different maximum pressure. Car tires normally inflate at a pressure of aprx. 30psi. Although this is a low pressure, the largest volume of air inside the tire is enough to support the weight of the car. However, due to the small size of a bicycle tire, the volume of air that can sustain is much lower, therefore, require a higher pressure to support the weight of the cyclist and maintain its shape by hitting “obstacles” in the path. That’s why a wheel of a road bike or track in competitions with its tiny size should be inflated at pressures of up to 160 – 180psi.

Types of Bicycle Pumps

Floor Pump

The most common of bicycle pump is the floor pump. These pumps are designed to be left at home, in the garage or in a bike shop. They are heavy duty and allow for the highest capacity of air-filling. They are designed for the high-pressure jobs that smaller pumps are unable to do. A floor pump although you can not take it with you on your bike is something that every cyclist should have. This allows you to inflate your tires quickly by the largest size of the air chamber you have; but above all, it allows you to inflate your tires to the high pressures required for urban and road bikes – the vertical position of the same allows you to use both hands and the weight of your body to help you when it is difficult to put the air to the rim . A good quality floor pump is an investment that you will enjoy for many years.

Frame Fit Pump
Another type of bicycle pump is the frame-fit pump. These fit right onto your bike frame with an easy snap and require no extra mounting hardware. Though they are larger than mini pumps, they are able to fill up tires at greater speeds.

Portable bombs
If you are a cyclist who comes out to pedal regularly or who likes to get away from the city a portable pump is indispensable since it will save you from many “emergencies” (especially when you go alone) when you have a puncture when you least wait Portable pumps can be attached to the bicycle frame or even some models are so small that they can be carried in the back pockets of your jersey. Although these pumps can be used at home as your only pump it will take you much longer to inflate the tire and at least it is a very good quality pump.
difficult to have the ability to inflate a road tire to the recommended pressure. Some of these pumps now have the ability to inflate in both directions of movement, which makes you inflate your tire in less time and with less effort.

CO2 cylinders
There are now small cylinders filled with Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that can inflate a tire with enough pressure to continue on your way through a valve. There are different sizes of cylinders for different tire sizes and once they are empty they can not be filled. Some cylinder valves allow you not to use all the air in them and save what remains for another time; but others only serve to empty the entire cylinder.

These cylinders offer the cyclist a practical solution to fix a flat tire quickly. Its only drawback is its cost, especially if you are one of the people who suffers from many punctures.

Types of valves
Another aspect that must be considered is the type of valves that bicycles have. There are two types: “Schraeder” (like that of cars) and “Presta” (thin ones that have a small “nut” with thread to seal the air).

“Presta” type valves are usually found only on medium / high level road bicycles and high level mountain bikes. The reasons for a bicycle to use air chambers with “Presta” valves is to ensure a better air seal at high pressures. The smaller hole in the wheel makes the structural integrity of the wheel less involved, although today this is an imperceptible problem due to the high quality of the materials used. However, the main disadvantage is that they can only be inflated with a pump designed for these valves (or with new ones that work for both types), or that you have an adapter to be able to inflate them with a regular pump – although they do not always work well at high pressures

The “Schraeder” valves are found in children’s, urban, hybrid and MTB bicycles. Their great advantage is that they are the same as the tires of the cars and therefore, they can be inflated in the self-service stations. It is also much easier to find someone to help you with this type of pump if you need help for not being prepared to repair and inflate your flat tire.

Recommended pressures for different types of bicycles and uses:
Mountain Bike:
– Recreational use: 40 – 50psi
– Urban use to achieve greater efficiency: 50 – 65psi
– Use in mountain (depends on the terrain): 35 – 45psi

Bike route:
– Recreational use: 90 – 110psi
– Competitive use: 100 – 130psi
– Use of high competition (against clock and track bicycles) 160 – 180psi

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