All you need to know about pumps

In this video, Paul explains why everyone should have a Track Pump at home as well as the different kinds of pump you could consider taking with you on ride. We cover the different types of valve and why it is important to have a pump with the correct fittings as well as when to use High Volume / Low Pressure and High Pressure / Low Volume  pump options.

Video Transcript

All you need to know about pumps

Hello, welcome to this video where we’re going to be talking everything pumps. So let’s get right to it.


Okay, so understanding all the different types of pumps that are available on the market is really important for you to decide what type of pump is going to be best for you. So, a lot of people think a pump is just a pump, but it’s not. There are two different types of valve that are available on bikes. Usually, less expensive bikes or hybrid style bikes would come with a car type valve, which is also known as a Schrader valve. And as you start moving more into more expensive bikes, and particularly on road bikes, they use the slightly more high pressure valve which is called a Presta valve. So, first things first is to understand what type of valve is fitted to your bike or bikes. And if the bikes that you’ve got at home cover both of those different types of valve, then it’s important to make sure that you have a pump that covers both of those. So that’s the first thing is what type of valve you’ve got on your bike.


The next thing is to understand the different types of pumps. And to do that you have to have a little bit of physics. So the first thing is a mountain bike tyre, or any tyre that is probably over about 40 millimetres in width. So from gravel tires, up through to mountain bike would tend to have a pressure between 20 psi, all the way up to around 50 maybe 60 psi. For those, you’re looking for a pump that caters for more high volume. So this is where you’ve got low pressure, but a lot of air in there, which is a high volume style pump.


Then when you move into bikes like road bikes where the pressures are much higher, they’re anywhere between sort of 70 and maybe 120 psi, but the tyrez are much thinner, then you’ve got a type of tyre that is high pressure with low volume. So you need a pump that’s going to be suitable for that. So it’s important to just understand that principle before you start then looking at the different types of pumps.


So first thing that you should have in every garage or shed, if you own a bike is a track pump. A track pump is this kind of pump here, where it’s a floor standing pump, and you’ve got a big handle on the top. Most of them are fitted with an accurate gauge and most of these pumps also tend to have a head which will be suitable for both Presta and Schrader.


Now, some of your cheaper pumps might have two holes, maybe one either side of a locking lever, where you’d have to choose whether you’re putting it into a Presta or a Schrader valve. And then you’ve got other pumps like this, which is a slightly higher spec pump, which has got what’s called an auto head. This valve head is designed to fit over a Presta or a Schrader valve. You push the locking lever up, that’s it located onto the valve itself, and then we start inflating by lifting the handle and pushing it back down.


We don’t have a percentage on this but we would say that the vast majority of punctures that people experience are actually by going out on their ride with an incorrect tyre pressure to start with, sometimes too high, but most of the time too low. And if you go out on a bike ride where the tyre pressure is too low to start with, you’ve got much higher chance of causing what we call a pinch puncture, which is effectively where the inner tube gets pinched between the tyre bead and the rim itself.


So a lot of people then decide what I’m going to do is I’m going to put a really heavy armoured carcass tyre, and then they completely lose the performance of the bike because this is a very heavy and high drag style tyre, and actually all they needed to do was pump up the tyres up to the correct pressure and they could have avoided most of the punctures that they experienced in the first place.


So that’s why we would recommend having a track pump because before every single ride that you go on, pump your tyres up, make sure they’re at the correct pressure. We’ll have another video which is going to talk about what is the correct pressure for your tyres later on. This is purely on pumps. So get a track pump, make sure you’ve got one of those in your garage, in your shed and make sure that your tyres are pumped up correctly in the first place. So that’s tip number one.


From there, you are then advised to have a pump for whilst you’re out on your ride. It’s important if you do get a puncture that you know how to repair a puncture, which is what this whole video series is about. But then having the right equipment to be able to repair that tyre or change that inner tube whilst you’re out on the road or on the trail.


So firstly, if you have a road bike or a tyre that requires quite a high pressure, so it’s low volume, high pressure, then we have pumps like this, which tend to be generally a lot thinner. And also handily, it gives you a diagram on here to ensure that it’s going to cover the correct valve type as well. And this is what the HP in the title stands for, which is a high pressure pump. And this is perfect for when you’re out and about with the road bike. It’s very light, and it’s going to inflate a road bike tyre relatively quickly up to the higher pressures that it’s designed to do so that is what we refer to as a high pressure pump.


We then move on to high volume pumps. And you can see here, the length of the pump isn’t much different. However, the diameter of the actual pump shaft itself is much thicker. And this again is designed to push for every single stroke that you’re pushing through, a higher volume of air. Now, if you tried to pump up a high pressure tyre with one like this, you will instantly inflate that tube but as the pressure starts to increase, trying to push that volume of air into quite a thin high pressure inner tube, it’s going to be really really hard. So that’s why your high pressure pumps are much thinner. So you’re not pushing that volume of air through and that’s why it takes longer. You’ve got to have more physical pushes of the pump itself, but you can achieve those higher pressures. But on a mountain bike tyre / gravel tyre where you just want to inflate big volume inner tubes in big volume tyres to a relatively low pressure, that is where this type of pump is going to be absolutely perfect. So that’s what we refer to as a HV pump, which is a high volume pump. So hopefully that’s helpful.


And then for road tyres, and even mountain bike tyres, this is a bit of a crossover video part of the video here because we’re going to be talking co2 inflators. But you can get hybrid style pumps like this, and it’s more specifically for road and you can use it for mountain but I would probably recommend that you use this for road and this is quite an interesting pump because it has a head that will take a Presta and the Schrader valve and it is a very high pressure but very low volume pumps.

So if you just needed to inflate your road tyre up to pressure, it’s going to take you a long time because this pump itself isn’t delivering a huge amount of air for each stroke of the pump. It’s really designed as a pump in an absolute emergency, if you get so many punches that you run out of co2 cartridges. But at the top here, you can screw on a co2 cartridge and then you’ve got the valve on the top which will then deliver the carbon dioxide through the pump head and into your tube and that’s going to inflate your tyre, your high pressure road tyre really quickly. So that’s a Combination style pump.


The final type of pump, which isn’t really a pump, it’s more of an emergency tyre repair system. But this is great for folk who don’t have a tonne of confidence about repairing their own punctures. And as a very quick get home one time use system, it’s pretty good. And this particular one is from a company called Zefal who have been doing this type of system for many years. And again, it will work with both a Presta or a Schrader system. There is a little screw in adapter for a Presta. In here not only is there a carbon dioxide inflator, but it also has a repair sealant in there as well. It’s quite messy so you know there’s got to be compromise when you’re when you’re not changing your own inner tube, you just want repair a puncture but essentially you screw the valve head onto the valve itself, and then you depress the little push button on the top and that delivers a sealant and add pressure in there as well. So that is another way of doing a repair out on the road or trail. But after that you really do need to replace the inner tube afterwards.


So those are all the different types of pumps that are available on the market. Hopefully that was really helpful to give you a good idea of things that you’re looking for. Again, please give us a call or message us and if you’re looking for a new pump, we’ll be absolutely delighted to help you with that. So we’ll move on to the next video now. So thank you very much for watching.