I've seen people fit tire/tyre pumps to their bikes. What's the use in that?

If I have a puncture it's usually a sizable hole in the tube, such as a piece of glass that pierced the tube.

I could image that the pump is for if you also carry a puncture repair kit, plus levers to get the tyre off. Is that the use in carrying the pump?

  • 2
    a pump by itself is useless. most people I know either carry both an extra tube and a pump, or none (and possibly levers - not always necessary though)
    – njzk2
    Oct 28, 2016 at 14:43
  • 4
    A patch kit is small and light compared to a pump + tube. It's worth having in case of a second puncture.
    – Chris H
    Oct 28, 2016 at 15:39
  • 5
    I don't understand why people are so shy about carrying pumps.
    – rclocher3
    Oct 28, 2016 at 18:12
  • 1
    It should be noted that whether or not you need to carry a pump depends on what kind of riding you do. If you never ride more than a half mile from home you can always walk home. If longer rides are always accompanied by some sort of "sag" support (or at least other riders who are equipped to help you should you get a flat) then you don't need to be ready to fix your own flats. And if you have a cell phone and a compliant wife you don't need the pump. But if you ride considerable distances and help is not always handy you need the pump. Oct 28, 2016 at 22:38
  • 6
    Another point: Make sure the pump really works! Alas, many "compact" pumps are incapable of inflating a tire to greater than 30 pounds. While it's often not practical to use a frame pump to achieve 120 PSI, the pump should be able to get the tire to the low end of your pressure range -- generally at least 65 PSI for road tires. Don't just read the specs, test it. Oct 28, 2016 at 22:41

5 Answers 5


Yes, people riding with a frame pump or a mini frame pump will use this in conjunction with a repair-kit (spare tube, patch kit, tire levers).

Most if not all recreational cyclists carry some method of a repair kit because flats happen and it doesn't have to mean the end of your ride. Generally with practice a reasonable time to fix a flat is 5 minutes. Those 5 minutes spent fixing a flat will be much faster than calling an Uber or your SO for a ride, or even resorting to public transit. Better yet spend those five minutes changing a flat and then go finish your ride!

You don't need a lot of bike tools—you, just need the right tools. A frame pump is one of those tools...

A frame pump can be seen as a one time cost to get air into a deflated tire. Whereas others use a CO2 cartridge to inflate a tire, but over time a few bucks for one cartridge adds up. A pump and a CO2 cartridge have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end the result is the same—fix a flat and be on your merry way!

Some satire on the matter can be found here.

  • 1
    I personally keep my pump in my car or at home, and take a patch kit, a couple of CO2 cartridges, and an emergency tube. I ride tubeless so 99% of the time this will get me out of the woods or back home where i have a real pump before the next ride.
    – Nate W
    Oct 28, 2016 at 15:58
  • @NateWengert yeah tubeless is awesome and almost makes carrying a repair-kit unnecessary. I haven't had to use a repair kit with my bike (knock on wood), but I have been on rides where a tubeless tire wouldn't plug.
    – Nikolai
    Oct 28, 2016 at 18:01

Generally, most prepared cyclists carry a spare tube, some tire levers and a bit of money or something else that could be used as a tire boot. With these, if you have a damaged tire or tube, you can normally put in a new tube and continue your journey. For tubeless riders, a spare tube is sometimes necessary. A pump or CO2 cartridge is necessary to inflate the tire. CO2 is nice because its quick, and you can reseat a tubeless tire if necessary with one, but it is wasteful and once you're out of cartridges, you have to go to a pump anyway. I carry both, just cause a small pump can be tiring on your arms.

A patch kit is useful but usually you end up replacing the tube on the road and patching it at home so that the patch is reliable.

Another use of a frame pump is to get dogs to go away.

In any case, I leave mine on my bike normally so its always there (its a mini, and attaches to the underside of my rack, so nobody sees it). If I'm riding around town, I won't carry a spare tube or levers since its less of a hassle just to walk the bike home or catch a bus, but when I go out of town, I carry them just cause there aren't many options to get home without fixing the flat myself.

  • 4
    I always carry both a spare tube AND a patch kit. The spare tube is used first, and if you get another flat on the same ride you have to use the patch kit.
    – Gary E
    Oct 28, 2016 at 15:50
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    I carry a full-size frame pump, but it rattles unless I also strap it down with a velcro strap. Unfortunately the strap makes the pump too difficult to grab quickly when a dog comes after me, which is why I carry pepper spray.
    – rclocher3
    Oct 28, 2016 at 18:11
  • @rclocher3 pepper spray is hardcore and probably leaves the dog and dog owner quite grouchy. I like spraying some water from my water bottle.
    – Nikolai
    Oct 28, 2016 at 18:35
  • Yeah, I've used a pump to ward off dogs, but have also experienced the problem that, on newer bikes without a pump peg, you generally have to use a strap, and hence the (ominous looking but harmless) pump cannot be quickly waved at the dog the get him to keep his distance. Oct 28, 2016 at 20:03
  • 4
    I rarely have problems with dogs. I carry roman candles in my frame bag to ward off wolves and moose. Oct 29, 2016 at 18:26

I use (tough) touring tires. If I have a puncture it's usually a slow one, from a sharp piece of grit (embedded in the tire) that has finally managed to work a tiny pin-prick through the outer tire, and begin to hole the inner tube. I've been able to get home after discovering a slow leak, simply by stopping to re-inflate every 40 minutes or so (and without even finding and removing the offending grit until after I get home).

I also now carry tire levers and a spare inner tube.

I don't count on repairing a puncture (hence the spare inner tube): to find a puncture when I'm at home, I need to submerge the faulty inner tube in clean water and look for bubbles.


Pumps have other uses as well. If you have a tubeless setup, punctures can be sealed by your tubeless juice, but still cause some loss of pressure before self sealing. In that case, carrying a pump without a patch/spare is completely appropriate. It allows you to replace air lost while your tire sealed itself.

Additionally there are styles of riding to which frequent pressure changes are important. Winter cycling races are a good example. Over a long course , it may be well worth it to put additional air in your tires if trail conditions improve or the temperature drops significantly. Punctures are of small enough concern during winter racing here that I often don't care a spare tube, but will still carry a pump to adapt tires to changing trail conditions.


I carry a spare tube, a pump, patches and glue. Because if I get a flat tyre I don't want to be stuck pushing the bike. Simple as that.

  • 1
    One spare tube per 50 or 100 km to travel, so that's three for a 150km ride. Tubes are cheap and relatively light, and you make a friend when helping the stranded (and ill-equipped.)
    – Criggie
    Oct 30, 2016 at 23:24

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