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Bike pumps and inflation tools come in many shapes and sizes and within all the varying sizes and functions, there are four main types of inflation used in the world of cycling. These include floor pumps, hand pumps, shock pumps, and CO2 inflators. If you are looking for some inflation tools to fill up your bike tires, we have a wide selection of options for you here at JensonUSA.
A floor pump is the most common form of bike tire pump. A floor pump is used to inflate bike tubes or top off a tubeless setup. Installing a tubeless setup usually requires an air compressor because a large amount of air needs to be released at once in order to set the tire bead and a floor pump usually can’t release enough air fast enough to achieve this. Most standard floor pumps can be used with either presta valves or Schrader valves with some pump heads automatically working with both valves and some requiring the reversal of an internal flip chip in order to work with the other valve standard. Floor pumps typically go up to 120 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) or 160 PSI which is more than enough to fill up mountain bike tires and road tires.
A hand pump (often referred to as a mini bike pump) is essentially a smaller version of a floor pump. A hand pump is a great thing to take with you on long rides in case you get a flat tire and need to change the flat on the fly. A hand pump has a smaller air chamber than a floor pump, so it takes substantially more pumps to inflate a tube than it would take with a floor pump. Hand pumps come in a plethora of sizes that are able to handle different tire sizes easier. Essentially, the bigger the pump, the larger the air chamber will be and a larger pump will be able to inflate a tube faster than a smaller pump. However, mini bicycle pumps with larger air chambers typically do not fill up higher pressure tires well.
Shock pumps are used to inflate suspension products that have an air spring. The main two differences between a shock pump and a standard pump are the tiny air chamber and high PSI rating. A rear shock can be rated to hold up to 350 PSI. A shock pump must be able to accurately pump up to these high pressures. Since the air spring volume of a fork or shock is much smaller than a tube, a shock pump has a very small air chamber which allows the air volume of the fork or shock to be increased by only 1 or 2 PSI per pump. With an easy to read gauge on the pump, you’ll know exactly how much pressure is in your suspension.
A new favorite technique among riders to inflate a tube is with a CO2 cartridge and inflator head. Compared to a standard bike air pump, a CO2 cartridge can inflate a tube much faster. If you are fixing a flat on the side of the trail or road, you want to get back on your bike as soon as possible. A CO2 cartridge allows you to inflate your tube in a matter of seconds. This is much faster than a floor pump and way faster than a hand pump.
With most pumps fitting both presta and Schrader valves, there’s no excuse to not have a pump with you at all times. It is definitely one of the most useful bike tools to have in your arsenal of tools. Whether you’re looking for a portable pump to take with you on the ride or you need something back at home for the start of your ride, Jenson USA has some of the best bike pumps. If you have any questions about bike pumps and inflation, hop on a call or chat with one of our expert Gear Advisors today at 888-880-3811. They are always happy to help you with any questions you may have. Keep Pedaling!