Pumps and puncture repair buying guide
Why are pumps important?
The humble bike pump is often overlooked but it will probably be one of your most regularly used cycling accessories whether you’re at home or out on the road.
Buying a quality bike pump is a worthwhile investment. Keeping your tyre pumped up to the recommended pressure should be a weekly task – it can help reduce the number of punctures and reduce your rolling resistance.
What kinds of bike pump are available?
The perfect pump for use at home. Floor pumps are sturdy and designed to quickly inflate your tyre up to the required pressure with minimum fuss. They often come supplied with dual valve fittings that allow you to use the same pump with the two most common bike valve types:
- Schrader: The most common valve type, found on mountain bikes and hybrid bikes as well as cars. The value tends to be used on tyres that run at a lower pressure.
- Presta: Most commonly found on road bikes, the presta valve is designed for higher pressure tyres that are more common on narrower tyre/wheel sizes.
Many of the floor pumps come with a pressure gauge for you to be able to see what the current pressure of your tyre is, this makes it much easier to determine how much more air you need to inflate.
While floor pumps are fantastic around the home they are too bulky to carry around with you when you’re actually out on the bike, this is where manual pumps are perfectly suited. These lightweight pumps easily fit in to a bag, jersey pocket and can even be attached to your bike frame. Due to their compact size they will take longer to pump up a tyre to the recommended pressure than a floor pump. Most pumps take around 150-200 strokes to inflate a road bike tyre from flat.
One of the key considerations of a manual pump is the build quality, Lezyne pumps are made of aluminium construction and ooze quality and offer long term durability.
CO2 pumps offer an alternative to the traditional manual pump for riders who want a portable pump that gets the job done quickly. By using mini canisters of CO2 these pumps are designed to inflate a tyre in a few seconds to a suitable riding pressure to get you home. They are perfect for use in a racing situation where every second is critical. Using a CO2 inflator takes a couple of seconds rather than a couple of minutes and this could well be the difference between winning and losing.
When using this type of pump please remember the following:
- CO2 canisters can only be used once, so you must remember to carry spares.
- The canister can get very cold when it releases CO2 and potentially stick to your hands and cause discomfort. Use long finger gloves if you have a pair with you.
Puncture Repair Kits
A good quality puncture repair kit should contain everything you need to fix the hole and get you back on the road as quickly as possible. But what exactly do you need?
Before you start the repair you will need a set of tyre levers to help you get your tyre off in the first place. Tyre levers slide between your tyre and rim creating a space in which you can remove the tyre from the wheel. Most tyre levers are made from plastic and are designed to flex under load.
A classic puncture repair kit comes supplied with the following components:
- A number of different sized patches.
- Adhesive to keep the patch in place.
- Sandpaper to roughen up the area surrounding the hole to make the adhesive stick.
There are also an increasing number of self adhesive patches available which eliminate the use of glue for a fast and effective repair.