One of the most used items in a cyclist’s arsenal of tools is a bicycle floor pump. It should also be the first tool that you buy for your home workshop. The quality of floor pumps varies and not all expensive pumps are good. So here’s my recommended checklist for buying a respectable floor pump.
1. Versatile Pump Heads
The two most common valve types are Presta and Schrader. Make sure the pump’s head is compatible with your valve style. A pump that has a dual nozzle is superior to one that needs a workaround to convert a Schrader to Presta and vice versa.
2. Metal barrel
Metal pumps are generally more durable and long-lasting than plastic ones. They can withstand more wear and tear over time. Metal pumps can achieve high pressures, so they work well for road bikes with high tire pressure. Metal is good at conducting heat, so it can move heat away and make pumps last longer.
3. Pressure Gauge
An easy-to-read, accurate and reliable pressure gauge is essential for a floor pump. 5 PSI can make a huge difference in how your tyres react to the terrain. New models like the Lezyne digital drive come with digital readouts that are much easier to read. Traditional floor pumps have gauges that go up to at least 120 psi. However, the lowest 10% of the gauge’s range is not accurate because of friction in the gauge. This means if you own a fat bike it is better to invest in a dedicated low pressure gauge.
4. Tubeless compatibility
If you’re a tubeless convert then it makes sense to invest in a floor pump with a built-in reservoir. You can pump air into the tire or into the tubeless reservoir. The gauge on the pump can measure the pressure in the tire or in the tubeless reservoir. The reservoir produces a good blast of air and seats tubeless tyres to the rim.
5. A new breed of electric pumps
The last year has seen advances in electric pumps. With Cycplus at the forefront. These pumps will become popular as a reusable alternative to CO2 cartridges. They might even replace regular floor pumps. For now, they are expensive and short on life (max 1 29er MTB tyre/charge) but this will change fast. Watch this space for more on electric pumps. For now, I’d say let the better brands come to India and wait for the prices to come down.
- Icetoolz sport steel floor pump - Steel barrel, Twin-valve with thumblock lever, for Presta / Schrader / Dunlop. I’ve had one for 5 years, brusied and battered but still works perfectly.
- Lezyne Sport Drive 2.5 DV - precise and very easy to read gauge, anodized high-polish finish, machined steel barrel and piston, a varnished wood handle. Owned Lezyne Alloy floor pump for over 8 years, still good as new.