Outdoor

Looking to buy a pump for a bike, but unsure of which one to get?

You are on the correct side. It can often be a difficult decision to choose the correct bike pump because there are so many out there. But only a few decent ones of good quality.

Floor pumps, hand pumps, mini floor pumps, CO2 pumps, and electrical wireless USB pumps are provided. Each one has a different application and is sold differently to make it a little more complicated.

Types of pumps for bikes

Bike pumps come in different styles, sizes and applications. Here are some of those that are widely found.

1. The floor pump

The floor pump is arguably the most prevalent form of bike pump found at home for most cyclists. They can be made of either aluminum, steel, or plastic. 

The long barrel and piston shaft helps you to pump your road tires up at high pressure quickly and efficiently as they can push a huge volume of air. To show the air pressure you are at, there is an air pressure gauge.

2. Hand Pump

Often, due to its smaller size and being mounted on the bike frame, it is often referred to as a mini pump or frame pump. It doesn’t pump up to elevated pressures because it’s smaller. If the air pressure increases, pumping becomes easier.

Tip: Normally hand pumps top out at about 100psi/6.9bar and are enough to safely get you home.

Most of them do not come with an air pressure scale, so you have to pinch the tires with your finger to get a sense of the air pressure.

3. Mini Floor Pump

It is smaller but larger than a hand pump than a floor pump, making it a hybrid version of both.

Some versions are small enough to be held in your back pocket. Since the mini pump version is slightly bigger, it is simpler to pump and can normally go up to about 120psi/8.3bar.

4. CO2 Inflator

Unlike mini pumps, the CO2 inflator is a lightweight and portable tool you can carry in your saddlebag.

In mere seconds, CO2 inflators are a simple and easy way to inflate your tires. It operates in combination with CO2 cartridges containing a fixed volume of air.

5. Electric pumps for bicycles

If you use an electric bicycle pump, you don’t need to use any power. This type of device is multifunctional. Nowadays there are also rechargeable mini compressors that you can take with you on the road.

You can of course use an electric bike pump on any type of bike and not only on E-bikes.

Electric Bike Pump
The Coolado tPump is suitable for inflating all types of tires up to 10 bar.

Inflator Head – Presta vs Schrader Valves

There are 2 types of valves used these days for the inner tubes of a bike.

With both Presta and Schrader valves, most bike pumps today are compatible.

Presta Valves

Often known as the French valves, because they can handle a higher air pressure, they’re the thinner valves used in all road bikes.

You may need to unscrew the top screw at the top before you can pump in order to use a Presta valve, and then tighten it back so that it does not inadvertently become depressed and release the air.

Since road bike rims are narrow with less spacing between the tire beads, the cross-sectional strength would be greatly decreased by inserting a hole in the rim. Therefore, because of its slender design, Presta valves are used and need only a small hole compared to Schrader valves.

Schrader Valves

They are also known as the American valves, the heavier and more widely used valves. You will find them in vehicles, mountain bikes and children’s bikes.

Compared to the Presta valves, they’re easier to use. Currently, at the gas station, you can pump up a Schrader valve quickly.

Efficiency of construction -Steel vs Aluminum vs Plastic

The design standard of the bike pump is the one area you would want to make sure you don’t skimp. There is nothing quite like having a pump at home that is well-built and bomb-proof.

Normally, the best bike pumps are made of steel or aluminum. The robustness of these metals gives you a solid, reliable and high-quality pump feel, particularly if you pump something above 60 psi/4 bar.

Since steel or aluminum pumps are more durable, they normally give you a greater volume of air per stroke. Therefore, it makes life much simpler for you.

Plastic pumps, on the other hand, are lightweight, cheaper and easier to hold, particularly for races. Although they may not give you the feeling of high quality, they still do the job well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the car tire be inflated by the bike pump?

Yes, it does, because the regular Schrader valves are car tires. However, since they have a much higher capacity compared to a road bike tire, it would take a lot of time to completely inflate the tire of a vehicle.

The car tire has approximately 10L of air capacity at 32psi/2.2bar compared to the bike tire that has approximately 4L at 85psi/5.9bar. The wireless electrical tPump Model from Coolado is on the contrary a good alternative.

How do I convert a Presta to a Schrader valve?

How to convert a Presta valve

You may use a screw on the adapter to convert Presta to Schrader Valve. You can inflate your bicycle tires at the gas station by using this adapter, as the pump inflator heads only support Schrader valves. Most pumps for gas stations go up to 80 psi/5.5bar only. When you’re done, remember to turn down the air pressure.

How does a bike pump work?

The bike pump has a piston attached at the top to a handle. There is an inlet and outlet valve within the barrel (body), regulating the air flow.

The inlet valve opens and lets the outside air into the barrel as the piston is pushed up. The inlet valve shuts, and the outlet valve opens as you drive the piston downwards.

As you force the piston further downwards, through the inflator head, the air is compressed and forced outward through the hose and finally to the bicycle tires.