How important is a track pump

lgcbiking
lgcbiking Posts: 34
edited October 2012 in Road beginners
Hi,

recently got my first bike, got most of the kit (I think) I need, just wondering about a track pump. I've got a zefal light pump, was close to get the road morph as it had a gauge, but wasn't sure whether it was too big. Anyway, is it doable to rely just on this, and assess pressure roughly by touch? I'm reluctant to get a track pump, not so much for the money (although stuff does add up, especially as I had to replace one wheel after just a couple of rides), but because I move around fairly often (will probably move abroad in the next 9-12 months) I generally avoid accumulating stuff.

If not having one is just a ridiculous notion that I should forever dispel from my brain, any cheap and cheerful suggestions?

Cheers!
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Comments

  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    100psi without a track pump is pretty difficult.

    If you don't have one, get 25 or larger tyres that you can run at lower pressures.

    If you're over 90kg's, get a track pump.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Gizmodo
    Gizmodo Posts: 1,928
    Personally I wouldn't be without one, but then I want to know that my tires are at the right pressure, not just "that feels ok".

    I guess it depends on your attitude towards tire pressure. I know some in our club haven't pumped up their tires for 6 months and as long as they feel ok they are happy. But I check my tire pressures every ride and they have always dropped by 10 psi or so.
  • I couldn't cope without mine. The effort required to get up to 100psi with a mini hand pump is considerable. I use the track pump at home to keep the tyres at the right pressure and carry the mini pump for emergencies out on the road. I check my tyres before every ride, no matter what they feel like.
    Ridley Orion
  • Peddle Up!
    Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    A good investment. I use a Joe Blow and it's faultless.
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • ilm_zero7
    ilm_zero7 Posts: 2,213
    jibberjim wrote:
    100psi without a track pump is pretty difficult.
    .
    100? 120psi even more difficult, in fact my track pump is the only time I know i have got the right pressures. so i'd say essential, and a good investment, but if ever the saying "buy cheap, buy twice" was appropriate, it would apply to track pumps
    http://veloviewer.com/SigImage.php?a=3370a&r=3&c=5&u=M&g=p&f=abcdefghij&z=a.png
    Wiliers: Cento Uno/Superleggera R and Zero 7. Bianchi Infinito CV and Oltre XR2
  • Obviously you CAN top up your tyres by feel. Many experienced cyclists do.

    Track pumps give you the numbers, which are consistent and precise. 10-20psi can make quite a difference to ride feel and puncture vulnerability. They are also much more efficient and quick for inflating tyres. I carry a Zefal HPX framefit on the bike and I wouldn't want to inflate my tyres with it in preference to my track pump; there's no chance I'd do it with a mini pump! You should be able to attain optimum pressure, though, even if it does take a veritable age.
  • Peddle Up! wrote:
    A good investment. I use a Joe Blow and it's faultless.

    +1

    Its the most essential piece of kit you won't actually take with you on the bike.
  • jameses
    jameses Posts: 653
    £20-25 will get you a reasonable track pump, which is a small price to pay for the time and effort it will save you, even if you abandon it in 9 months time.
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    Gotta agree, a track pump is brilliant for checking and inflating tyres routinely. Going up to 100psi is pretty easy with a track pump and the gauge tells you exactly what you've got. If I'm out in the wild, my mini pump and "that feels about right" will have to do in an emergency.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    If you live near an Evans you could always call in regularly and use theirs to get your tyres topped up to 100 psi. Difficult to see how you can manage without the use of a track pump, but at doesn't necessarily mean you need to buy one :D
    Bianchi Infinito CV
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  • stueys
    stueys Posts: 1,332
    It's very surprising little air is in a bike tyre and air escapes slowly continually. I run my conti's at 110 psi, I reckon two weeks would see them at 85-90 psi. Nipping out for a 30 mile ride and you would notice that difference. M

    With a track pump (I've a joe blow which cost me £35), I check the tyres every ride and its easy. You just wouldn't do that with a small pump, it would be too painful. It's essential to get a track pump.
  • I thought that's the response I'd get...

    So, something like this should do the job?

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... tedKingdom
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    Yep, or this:
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/bon ... p-ec008558
    Which is what I bought.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
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  • nbuuifx
    nbuuifx Posts: 302
    I'm surprised by the answers, I've done a couple of years without a track pump and don't intend to get one.

    I just use the electric pump from the car most of the time, it's digital so just set it to 95 and press start, when it stops connect to other tube and press start again. Only takes a minute and as I pass the car on the way out with the bike is no extra hassle.
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    You must have schrader valves then? A car pump won't work with prestas, hence a track pump.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Yes they are a good investment imo. I've had the same one for the past 10 years, absolutely brilliant Blackburn and use it most days.
  • Useless unless you carefully choose your tyre pressures ;)

    But for me a track pump is critical. Getting the pressure wrong by just 5psi can make quite an impact (for example, on rolling resistance and more importantly, comfort). Certainly the most used of all the accessories I don't actually take riding with me.

    It surprises me when I hear cyclists using equal pressures in both tyres :?
  • nbuuifx wrote:
    I just use the electric pump from the car most of the time, it's digital so just set it to 95 and press start, when it stops connect to other tube and press start again. Only takes a minute and as I pass the car on the way out with the bike is no extra hassle.

    It takes a whole minute? That's the problem with those electric pumps; not only is there the hassle of getting it out & setting it up, you have to waiyt a minute for the tyres to inflate. I reckon it takes me about 20 seconds with the track pump, from the time I first reach for the valve's dust cap.

    (Yes, I know aboutrRule #whatever it is, "no dust caps". Thing is, I prefer to ignore such rules.)
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Pretty important ...
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    Another vote for the Joe Blow. Essential piece of kit, I pump my tyres up once or twice a week as its amazing just how much pressure you lose over a few days even. Like to put 110 in the rear and 95 in the front (23c tyres)
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • g00se
    g00se Posts: 2,221
    This one is very cheap but works fine. I've had one for 3 years and it's still going strong. http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Beto-Alloy-Trip ... =Froogle02
  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    ILM Zero7 wrote:
    jibberjim wrote:
    100psi without a track pump is pretty difficult.
    .
    100? 120psi even more difficult, in fact my track pump is the only time I know i have got the right pressures. so i'd say essential, and a good investment, but if ever the saying "buy cheap, buy twice" was appropriate, it would apply to track pumps

    120 would fall into the 90kg rule (unless you're track racing, or running very narrow tyres or something...)
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Cheers for the advice chaps, an unusual amount of agreement. I don't have a car, so car pump not an option (in response to the lonely dissenting voice..) Opted for buying the evans bontrager one, as you say, for £20 will probably get my money's worth over 9 months (and I'm sure it will find a new home even if I don't take it with me).

    So how do you decide the appropriate pressures, other than trial and error? I'm not particularly heavy (75ish kg I think, been a while since I weighed myself).
  • racingcondor
    racingcondor Posts: 1,434
    I'll add to the consensus that the Joe Blow £30 pump is about the best option.

    Track pumps and work stands are two of those things that you wonder about the value of until you get one, then you wonder how you ever managed without. Workstands make cleaning everything so much easier as you can take the wheels off, they're not just for bike building...
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,540
    The other thing I find with trying to get a decent pressure with a mini pump is that it feels like I may shear the valve off with the effort of pumping. The flexible hose on a track pump means this isn't an issue (you can of course get frame pumps and possibly mini pumps with flexible hoses but most don't these days).
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Well I made do with the Topeak Road Morph with the little in-line gauge for a few months. On occasion I'd get pinch flats cos I'd been too lazy to take the thing off the frame and faff about checking the tyres before an evening ride. Then one day I made an impulse purchase of a Joe Blow track pump after loitering (read warming up again) in a LBS for a while.

    Can't imagine now how I coped without it. So quick and easy to use; tyres get checked and topped up before every ride, and the gauge is much easier to read with my failing eyesight.
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    lgcbiking wrote:
    So how do you decide the appropriate pressures, other than trial and error? I'm not particularly heavy (75ish kg I think, been a while since I weighed myself).
    It's a bit of a trade-off between your weight, rolling resistance and how bumpy you want the ride to be. I am about the same weight as you and I've settled on 100psi in the rear and I'm experimenting with the front, currently 90psi there to take the sting out of our rough roads, some will go lower than that in the front, I'm still playing with it to see what I will like.

    One warning - if you go too low you are at risk of pinch punctures, so I'd be nervous of going below 80psi in the front.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • sub55
    sub55 Posts: 1,025
    A lot of poster's seem to assume their gauge is accurate :?:
    but not many have calibrated it :twisted:
    constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly
  • nbuuifx
    nbuuifx Posts: 302
    Mikey41 wrote:
    You must have schrader valves then? A car pump won't work with prestas, hence a track pump.

    Nope I only have presta valves on both my MTB and my road bike. The electric pump in my car came with an adapter, the other electric pump didn't but the adapters are only pence.

    It takes a whole minute? That's the problem with those electric pumps; not only is there the hassle of getting it out & setting it up, you have to waiyt a minute for the tyres to inflate. I reckon it takes me about 20 seconds with the track pump, from the time I first reach for the valve's dust cap.

    (Yes, I know aboutrRule #whatever it is, "no dust caps". Thing is, I prefer to ignore such rules.)

    The actual time for the tyre to inflate is minimal. Even more so with the road tyres. The time of a minute is based on opening the car door, plugging it in and sorting it out. I'd guess at it taking longer for me to walk across the garage to the other side where I keep my bike stuff to get the pump! - You're talking seconds anyway!



    I am surprised to be the only one on here who uses a car pump, everyone else who I go cycling with uses a car pump, obviously if you don't have a car it does make for a slight issue! In that case I would choose a decent track pump .
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    sub55 wrote:
    A lot of poster's seem to assume their gauge is accurate :?:
    but not many have calibrated it :twisted:
    and how do you do that then?