Inflation has become a bit of a hot topic in recent times, everything getting more expensive and costs involved with day-to-day life going through the roof. Well, that’s all a bit miserable and depressing and would be guaranteed to leave you feeling flat and deflated. So, let’s think about Inflation as in bike pumps!
There has never been more options for getting air into bike tyres, either on the roads & trails or at home. Here are the main alternatives;
These handy little cartridges have been around since the early 90’s. They are the most compact option for emergency tyre inflation on a ride. The only downside is once the cartridge is used, it then becomes a waste product. CO2 cartridges are probably best used if you virtually never puncture as a last resort – back up. The CO2 cartridge works in conjunction with an inflator head which the cartidge screws into to activate.
Little mini pumps have come a long way. They used to be pretty hopeless and only good for getting a small amount of pressure into tyres in emergency situations to get you home. Modern mini pumps, however, are small, lightweight and very powerful, the best little pumps can manage 100psi, while still fitting easily into your back pocket.
Pumps which fit into the gap next to the frame seat tube or top tube, used to be the only option for road bike riders needing a pump while out on a ride. These days with frame tube profiles varying massively and smaller options available, frame-fit pumps have faded out of favour. However! Those masters at making beautiful things at Silca, produce a really nice frame-fit pump – ideal for traditional road riders with an eye for a super classy pump.
Workshop, Track or Floor pumps are all the same thing – a pump not designed to go out on rides, but to stay where you store / maintain your bike. Floor pumps are essential. If you regularly check pressure or inflate tyres, this is the best option. There is a wide choice of floor pumps, look for a metal shaft and solid, sturdy base. Unlike other bike products and accessories, the heavier and sturdier the better! Features vary between pumps, having both valve types (Schrader & Presta) covered is often useful. As usual, check reviews and specifications and think of it as an investment – decent quality floor pumps do last a very long time.
Fitting tubeless tyres usually needs a bulk ‘woosh’ of air to help seat the tyre properly. This is where compression tanks / tubeless pumps come in. Tubeless specific pumps either feature an additional ‘burst’ tank next to the barrel or are a separate tank which you inflate with a regular floor pump. Either way, the extra air provides the necessary rapid inflation to get the tyre sitting where it should be without too much effort.