Buying a Bicycle Pump

Things to Look for When Buying a Bicycle Pump

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A cyclist’s gear set cannot fail to include the bicycle pump. An indispensable tool to always have at your disposal is to re-establish the correct inflation of the wheels at the right pressure. Often novice cyclists evaluate the purchase of this accessory with little attention, thinking that basically, the pumps for bicycles are all the same and that it does not change much from one model to another. 

This wrong thinking leads to another mistake, that is, to buy poor quality tools because this involves an apparent economic saving. In fact, low cost pumps can not only break very easily but also prove useless in what should be their job. Accordingly, today we will tell you how to choose the best bicycle pump.

What Are Bicycle Pumps

Buying a Bicycle Pump

First, you need to understand what turns out to be a bike pump. Specifically, it is a tool that allows you to inflate the inner tubes that are inside the bicycle tires, reaching a certain level of pressure. If the purpose for which they are designed remains the same for any type of bicycle pump, the technical characteristics change. Their weight can vary, as can the type of pump attachment. Furthermore, the inflation technologies may also be different, as well as the design, which is an important aspect for many cyclists. You can read about womens bikes size guide.

Generally, it is an instrument composed of a tubular body inside which there is a piston with a membrane. When the piston is pushed down through the handlebar, the compressed air is pushed towards the valve and then into a tube, if present. From the tube, the air is then directed into the inner tube of the bike wheel, allowing it to inflate. Keep reading

Types of Bicycle Pumps

On the market, you can find a large number of bicycle pumps, sometimes very different from each other. Let’s see the types that you can find in the store or online:

Hand Bike Pump 

Hand pumps are a tool that every cyclist should carry during outings, as they are light, compact and essential for inflating the wheels in case of need. As for the technical characteristics, there is little to add. These tubular instruments have a piston that can be pushed and pulled by hand, using a handle or a small handlebar.

The advantages of this tool are obvious, the hand pumps are light and easily transportable even when you go out on a bike, and then they are often equipped with an accessory to adapt the attachment to each valve of the inner tube.

On the other hand, they must be chosen based on some factors. The piston must be very solid and slide smoothly because the use of this pump often takes place in difficult conditions, which can negatively affect the inflation capacity and seal of the piston.

We must also consider that with a mini bike pump, it is difficult to reach high pressures. Therefore they are tools to be used only in case of need, during an outing.

Pedal Bike Pump 

Pedal pumps are very different from hand pumps. These are designed to save in terms of effort when pushing the piston, but they are obviously difficult to transport and quite heavy.

Let’s say that these are tools designed to remain in the garage or at home. Therefore their use is static and not dynamic.

Let’s see how they work. In this case, the piston is pushed by the action of a pedal and not by a handlebar or grip. This means they are easy to use, fast and definitely less tiring.

In addition, many of these pumps also include a useful pressure gauge and are also sold with the braided hose, as they are designed to tolerate very high pressures.

Conversely, adapters often have to be bought separately, as foot pumps are usually only equipped with a Schrader connection. Finally, they are more subject to oxidation.

Floor Bike Pump

If hand pumps are great classics of cyclists’ bags and foot pumps often found in their garages, floor bike pumps are another type of traditional tool. It turns out to be very likely that you already own one too, because it is the perfect tool for inflating bicycle wheels at home.

The structure is practically identical to that of hand pumps but with some fundamental differences. These pumps are longer and more solid, generally equipped with a pressure gauge, with a base that allows you to lock them vertically by placing your feet on them.

Furthermore, in these cases, there is always a handlebar and never a tubular handle, which instead represents a typical feature of hand-held ones and also a tube of variable length.

The advantages of this tool are represented by the great resistance of the materials, the amplitude of the flow rate and, of course, the presence of the pressure gauge and the base. The main disadvantage is the size as it is bigger and heavier, and therefore more difficult to carry than the other models.

It is always better to choose modern tools, avoiding those in zinc with rope tubes. Finally, it is important that the base is very wide.

Suspension Bike Pump 

Suspension pumps are very special tools, which become mandatory for anyone who owns a bike equipped with a suspension and suspension fork. The main advantage of this instrument is the possibility of introducing air but also of subtracting it so as to be able to obtain practically perfect inflation.

However, it is useful to underline some characteristics that should always be present in this tool, first of all, its solidity in terms of pin and piston due to the possibility of working at very high pressures.

In addition, it is also advisable to buy a suspension pump with an adjustable valve connection and with the instant flow. This is a defining aspect, which can only be found in this instrument.

Finally, it is also good to consider the presence of a pressure gauge capable of providing a reliable value, minimizing the error caused by the air present in the pipe.


Although it is a mistake to call them pumps, CO2-filled cans can also be very useful for inflating wheels. It is obviously a tool to be used in emergencies, perhaps in place of the hand pump. These cans allow the rubber to be inflated by introducing carbon dioxide. They are very light, take up very little space and therefore prove to be the best in terms of portability. However, it must be said that they are not very easy to use. You need to practice to understand how to use them to their full potential.

How to choose bicycle pumps

If the operation of a bicycle pump always respects what has been said above. On the other hand, the manufacturers of this tool have chosen to offer on the market models that are sometimes much more complex, performing and therefore more expensive. This means that when you are going to buy a bicycle pump, you will have to consider that they are not all the same. If you want to make a purchase that suits your needs, you will therefore have to go into detail and analyze all the features of this tool. Let’s see what the most important elements to consider when buying a bicycle pump are.

It is necessary to start from the analysis of two aspects considered universally fundamental in the choice of a bicycle pump, the inflation pressure and the air flow. In the first case, the pump should be able to cover a certain pressure range, for example, from 1.7 bar up to 9 bar, so that you can use it to inflate the wheels of a mountain bike, but also those of mountain bikes. race. A racing bike pump must be able to reach high pressures. This is an important feature, which makes a pump much more versatile than normal, a universal tool.

As for the flow rate, however, you will need to make sure you buy a bike pump that is capable of delivering a large amount of air to the tube. This is essential because a high flow rate decreases the number of times you have to push the plunger up and down, making you struggle less.

The pump must obviously be compatible with the tire valve. Currently, two types of valves can be found, Presta and Schrader.

Presta valves consist of a threaded screw into which the valve body is inserted. This is opened or closed through a nut placed at the end. In this type of valve, the closure is allowed by the internal air, which acts as a plug.

Schrader valves consist of a brass structure in which the valve body is inserted, consisting of a shutter held in position by a spring.

Presta valves tend to lose pressure more easily, particularly when connecting and disconnecting the pump.

Schrader valves, on the other hand, are more difficult to inflate.

The two types of valves are not interchangeable. The Presta valves have a diameter of 6 mm, while the Schrader valves have a diameter of 8 mm.

Other essential aspects to take into consideration when choosing the best bicycle pumps are resistance, the presence of the pressure gauge and clearly the price. When we talk about resistance, we refer to the ability of the piece to withstand any bumps or falls. Being the bicycle pump an often abused tool, it is necessary that it has a body that is as resistant as possible, so it is better to choose those with a metal or aluminum structure rather than plastic. Furthermore, the tube must also be of great quality and able to withstand the pressure of the air pushed into the tire chambers.

The presence of the pressure gauge, although not mandatory, is however strongly recommended. Without this accessory, in fact, you would never know the tire pressure, and consequently, you would not be able to understand if you have inflated it too much or too little.

Important when it comes to floor pumps is the base, which must be strong and stable. Depending on where you plan to use the pump, you may be focusing on models with rubber feet. Not only can this help prevent slippage, but it could also help prevent scratches if you plan to use the pump on delicate surfaces such as the floor in your home.


The price never chooses cheap bike pumps. This is because you would most likely end up buying a flimsy tool with a malfunctioning piston, a poorly functioning valve, and a poorly sealed tube. The advice is, therefore, to choose a professional bike pump. In particular, the more you pay, the greater the chance that key pump components are made of steel or aluminum compared to plastic.

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