The narrower and higher pressure your bike's tyres are, the more often you'll need to top them up with air. Once a fortnight should do for fatter tyres (35mm-plus); once a week for skinnier ones. To make this task as painless as possible, use a floor pump (also called a 'track pump') with an in-built pressure gauge.
Floor pumps are great. What they're not is easily portable. So you'll want a second, smaller pump tp carry with you on the bike for emergencies. While you'll seldom need to use this, one day it will be vital.
With its fold-out foot stand, flexible hose and folding T-shaped handle, the Evolution is like a floor pump in miniature. Since it's braced on the floor rather than by your other hand, it's less strenuous to use than similar-sized pumps. It will inflate road bike tyres up to 140psi too - a figure only bodybuilders will reach with many hand pumps. The pump head internals can be reversed to fit Schrader or Presta valves, and the aluminium pump barrel provides durability. It comes with a bracket to fix it to your bike frame.
Blackburn frame pump
The traditional, long-barrel frame-fit pump is bigger but easier to use than a mini pump. Blackburn's is capable of 160psi, so is ideal for road bikes with high-pressure tyres. Its pump head locks in place with a thumb lever, and can be converted for Schrader or Presta use. The shaft is spring- loaded, so the pump wedges in place under the top tube or between pegs on a seatstay. Four lengths (XS-L) are available to fit different frame sizes.
SKS Airgun CO2 pump
Instant inflation without the effort, thanks to a tiny cylinder of compressed CO2 gas, the Airgun will put up to 115psi into a road bike tyre or 44psi into a fat mountain bike tyre. A control valve lets you regulate the gas to inflate fully or just top up a tyre. The Airgun is a racer's favourite and handy for anyone who travels light: it's just 100g, including the cartridge, and 125mm long. A pack of five replacement CO2 cartridges costs £11.99.
Topeak Joe Blow Sport
It's a sturdy and affordable floor pump, which will quickly inflate the fattest tyres or put up to 160psi into narrow race tyres. The handle has elastomer pads to improve comfort when you're pumping to high pressures, while the base and barrel are steel and should last forever. The long hose has a dual Presta/ Schrader pump head that locks securely onto the innertube valve. Clips keep the hose tidy when the pump isn't in use, and when it is
an easy-to-read pressure gauge takes the guesswork out of tyre inflation.
Bontrager Air-Support Road
It takes persistence and hundreds of strokes to inflate a high pressure tyre with most mini pumps. The Air Support is faster, reaching 110psi with fewer strokes because the pump is dual-action: it also pumps on the back stroke. A fold-out handle gives a more comfortable grip for your hand whilst you're at it. The lockable pump head can be converted between Presta and Schrader use. It can be fitted to your bike frame by the bottle cage.
Cheap doesn’t have to mean nasty. Choose wisely and you can buy a decent new commuter bike for £250 or less.
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