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inflation managment(5 posts)

inflation managmentRev. Litespeed
Jun 18, 2001 9:05 PM
I am a newbie what do most folks use for pump my mtb pump to low pressure
Inflation 101Marlon
Jun 19, 2001 7:35 AM
I'm feeling charitable today...

Pumps are pumps are pumps. You've got your minis, you've got your floor pumps, and you've got frame pumps. I'm not counting compressors, because those are dicey to use.

Mini-pumps (aka "MTB pumps") are primarily designed as "last chance to get home" devices. Their primary advange is size - small and light, they can fit in the back pocket of a jersey, which is why they are the type of pump most favoured by MTBers; after all, when you're bumping around on rough terrain, you don't want a frame-mounted pump that could fall off. Their disadvantages all stem from their size. With a few exceptions (such as those double-chamber mini-pumps), mini-pumps just can't pump a lot of air. Their small physical air compression chamber not only limits the volume of air pumped, but also limits the higest pressures a mini-pump can achieve. Hence, they're a last ditch thing - you'll pump for hours, but you'll eventually inflate your tire with a minimal pressure, just enough to get home.

Road tires are typically high-pressure low-volume. MTB tires are the converse: low-pressure, high-volume. Mini-pumps fit MTB purposes best, not only because of the physical factor of carrying the mini-pump, but because only low-pressures are required. Most mini-pumps can ONLY achieve low pressure. Road tires need high pressures, achievable with frame pumps. You can squeak by with a mini-pump on a road bike, but you'll want to get going straight home right afterwards on it, since tire pressure will be low.

Frame pumps are designed to be mounted on your bike frame. They tend to be bigger than mini-pumps, and hence are the traditionally preferred type of pump for road bikes. Higher pressures are achievable, and more volume can be pumped as well, leading to less strokes with your pump.

Floor pumps are designed for true inflation. Not bike-mountable, these babies have high volume, can achieve high pressure, and because of how you use a floor pump versus a frame pump, they're easiest to use of the pumps because you can compress the air (ie push the pumping handle) with your entire upper body weight, versus just your arm strength with mini-pumps and frame pumps.

Mini-pumps and frame pumps are designed ONLY for emergencies. ONLY!!! If you're going to inflate a lot of tires, use a floor pump, since they're more accurate, easier to use, and also a lot easier on the valves, both presta and schaeffer.

I've left out talking about compressors and CO2 inflators. Inflators are a pump in a compressed can. Great stuff for racing purposes or if you want to travel light, but I find them a little expensive, since you need to buy the CO2 cylinders and the inflator mechanism. Compressors (like the ones at the local gas station) are just a bad idea in my opinion: they pump air way too fast, and there's no ability to fine-tune the pressure at the end without over-inflating or without being extremely lucky.

That's that. Pump away my friend.
Floor pump maintenanceBruno S
Jun 19, 2001 8:59 AM
I've had a nice specialized floor pump for about 1.2 years and use it every week. Do I need to do any maintenance on it?
I don't think soMarlon
Jun 19, 2001 10:39 AM
I'm not an expert on floor pumps per-say, but I figure that they require little, if no maintenance at all. About all that I've done on my floor pump is that I've put a very light coating of grease on parts that can produe potential friction (e.g. the metal ramrod going into the body of the pump) and I've very lightly oiled the junction for the lever that tightens the pump head to the tire valve. I've done the same for my frame pump.
Piston leather drys out...Don in OKC
Jun 22, 2001 10:34 AM
If your pump starts to 'skip a beat' look for a dry piston leather. (Yours may be plastic, don't know) Best to take it apart and soak the leather cup with oil. Suprising how much difference it'll make. My Silca floor pump is turning 14 in July, still going strong.