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I'm trying to find a good floor pump for my Raleigh Talus 3.0 bike which I recently purchased. I don't know much about bikes and have seen that there are different valve types (i.e. - Presta and Schrader) that a bike may possess.

How do I distinguish a good floor pump from a bad one and how can I tell if it is compatible with my bike in terms of its design and features?

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Most modern floor pumps have either double-headed or "agnostic" chucks, so they will fit either car-style Schrader or the thinner Presta valves. Planet Bike, Crank Brothers and Topeak are some good brands, but there are others. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 23 at 2:40
    
One important detail is the pressure that the pump can deliver. A pump will have a peak pressure, and that should be 20-30% higher than the highest tire pressure you will need, or you will have difficulty getting the tires filled. But getting a high pressure pump for low pressure tires means they will be slower (though easier) to fill. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 23 at 2:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You likely want a floor (track) pump - something that looks like this: topeak

(Image from here)

Most good floor (track) pumps have support for both Presta and Schrader valves, usually through two opposite ends of the chuck:

Topeak

(Image from here)

If your pump only supports Schrader valves but you have a Presta valve, you can go to your bike shop and buy an adapter for Presta->Schrader for around a dollar, each. (The reverse case is rare to occur, but adapters do exist but they're around 8 dollars a piece)

To pump up a Presta valve, you unscrew the nut, tap the nut to let a bit of air out (so that the valve isn't stuck), push the chuck onto the valve and lock it, then pump, tighten the nut. Dust cap is optional. Schrader is identical to the procedure on a car.

As for which pump to buy, make sure its rated to an appropriate maximum pressure, has a good warranty and has good reviews. Going with a good brand helps too, but you don't need to spend much. I've been using a Topeak Joe Blow Sport II which I got for around 30 bucks with no problems for the past 2 years.

Frame pumps are a different matter, but they're primarily for people going on longer rides who won't have access to a floor pump in an emergency. Shock pumps are for people who have air suspension to fill their forks, and are also a different matter.

A non-exhaustive list of quality manufacturers include:

  • Topeak

  • Park Tool

  • Lezyne

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Thanks for you answer Batman! Very informative. –  THE DOCTOR Apr 22 at 21:38

The best floor pumps have a steel tube, a steel shaft and a wooden handle. They have a heavy brass attachment at the hose end without levers or locks, push-on for Presta (a locking mechanism is not necessary to attach to a Presta valve, the fitting just needs to be well made and have the appropriate rubber seal) or remove the Presta part and screw-on for Schrader. This is what it looks like - apparently it is called a chuck sometimes.

Brass Presta adapter

They have a steel foot plate and a pressure gauge. The rubber hose should be secured with clips rather than glued or molded in so that if you need to you can replace it - this is a good sign the manufacturer expects the pump to last longer than its hose.

This sounds like a dinosaur, something like your grandfather might have tucked in the back of the shed, but I bought mine only about 15 years ago. I don't think I'll ever need another one. It has handled road, MTB and kids bikes (very different capacity and pressure requirements). The brand is Silca but others must make a non-plastic pump.

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...Wooden Handle? –  Batman Apr 23 at 0:14
    
Oak. ("How ’bout you Jimmie, you an oak man?") –  Adam Eberbach Apr 23 at 0:19
    
I would disagree on several grounds. Wood handle is certainly unnecessary, and modern chucks are far superior to the kluge you suggest. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 23 at 2:35
    
Kluge? Objectively the brass fitting is far from that, simple and functional. As for wood, it's comfortable. Not cold on a cold morning or hot if you leave it in the sun. It doesn't deteriorate in UV light, isn't attacked by solvents and it's much harder to break. –  Adam Eberbach Apr 23 at 2:40

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