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Asking the Right Questions: Buying a Bike Pump

You need a bike pump. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just getting into the sport, your tires are going to need air if you’re going to keep riding. With the huge number of pumps available these days, we wanted to create a guide to help you narrow down your needs, ensuring that every dollar you spend gets you exactly the pump you need.

Question one: Do you need to take the pump on the road with you?

There are two main categories of pumps: Hand pumps (small and compact) and floor pumps (large and efficient). If you only need a pump at home to fill your tires before a casual ride, then a floor pump, like Axiom’s PropelAir 160 is ideal. These pumps are super easy to use and efficient, meaning you spend less time pumping and more time riding. If you need to take a pump on the ride with you, a full-sized floor pump won’t work though, so a hand pump is your best solution. These pumps come sized for either maximum air volume (for mountain bike sized tires) or maximum pressure (for road bike sized tires)

Question two: What kind of bike do you ride?

Mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and road bikes have different tire volumes. The volume of your tire will tell you the first thing about the pump you need. If you ride a road bike, cyclocross bike, touring bike, or anything with a smaller volume tire and higher optimal pressure, a small-volume pump, like Axiom’s FuseAir 160, will get you up to that higher pressure. Using a high volume, low pressure pump, like the Crankbrothers Klick HV will put a lot of air in the tire quickly, but you’ll find it hard to get up to optimal pressure.

Question three: Are you running tubeless, or tubed tires?

If you run tubeless tires (or you foresee yourself being in a hurry when you need to inflate your tire) consider investing in a CO2 inflator, like Axiom’s FuseAir 120. Tubeless tires require a large sustained burst of air to seat the tire beads, which is hard to achieve even with a large floor pump (with the exception of Topeak’s JoeBlow Booster Pump), necessitating the use of a CO2 inflator. Inflators can be used to inflate regular tires in a hurry as well, in case you flat on race day!

2Question four: Does it matter what valves I run?

It’s safe to say that all modern pumps are capable of inflating both Shraeder (car valve type) and Presta (skinny French type) valves. Don’t worry about buying a specific pump, you’ll be able to inflate your tires with any of the products found through your Live to Play Sports dealer.

We hope that this guide is helpful in choosing your next pump. Enjoy the benefits of optimal pressure on all your rides this season! See you out there!

Derek Kidd BioFooter