The bicycle is a beautiful invention – but you know what it’s almost useless without? Air. Lose the plump out of your rubber and you won’t be going very far at all.
In most cases, you’ll be using clincher tyres that are kept alive with an inflated inner tube. In the event of a flat, the tube will need to be repaired or replaced, and then you’ll need to pump up the new tube inside the tyre.
There are two different styles of inner tube and you do need to use the right one for your bicycle wheel rim, as well as ensuring your pump is compatible. Most road bikes use Presta valves, as do many high end mountain bikes. Shrader valves look similar to those found on cars and are common on hybrid and mountain bikes.
So you understand what sort of tube you need and how to change it. But what to pump with? We’ve selected our top three inflation devices – one track pump, one hand pump, and one mini pump…
Track pump: Specialized Air Tool High Pressure Floor Pump – £50 here
A track pump is for home use. Owning one allows you to get your tyres up to full optimum pressure with ease. Whilst reaching 100psi on a road bike with a mini pump might take quite a lot of elbow pumping, with a track pump it will be relatively easy.
What we love about this particular track pump is that it’s specifically designed to make reaching high pressure easier – 30 per cent easier, according to Specialized. Speaking as someone who has been known to (lazily) avoid arm exercise by sitting on the handle of less fine-tuned pumps, that’s a bonus.
We also like that this pump uses ‘Switch Hitter Technology’ to automatically determine if you’re pumping a Presta or Shrader valve, and select the correct mode, and the steel base is great for helping you keep it locked down as you get to work. The max pressure is 180 psi – more than enough for the average rider who will generally never need to go over 120 psi unless using tubular tyres.