Every cyclist needs a good pump. All tires slowly lose air over time, making regular tire inflation a must. In fact, we recommend checking tire pressure once a week, or even more often if you have high-pressure road tires. There are two basic types of bicycle pumps, floor pumps and frame pumps, each with its specific purpose.

Floor Pumps

If you are only going to have one pump, a floor pump is the style to get. This is the basic bicycle pump you’ve always seen. With their large, high-volume cylinders, floor pumps make inflating even high-pressure or high-volume tires quick and easy. Our favorite is the Joe Blow Sport from Topeak. It features a sturdy steel construction, comfortable rubberized handle, easy-to-read gauge,andTopeak’sTwinhead inflator, which fits both Presta and Schraeder valves. It is very well built, inflates up to 160psi, and issure to give you many years of service.

Frame Pumps

Frame pumps are small lightweight pumps designed to attach to your bicycle frame. They are used as emergency pumps in the event of a flat tire out on the trail. Frame pumps are not ideal for use as a primary pump, because their small size limits their air volume, and can make inflating tires to the proper pressure a chore. Still, it is a far cry better than having to push your bike all the way home. Because of the differences in the road and mountain bike frames these pumps must attach to, frame pumps are often categorized as road or mountain pumps. Of course, a mountain pump can be used to inflate a road tire in a pinch, and vice versa, but frame fit will be best if the proper type of pump is used. For road bikes, our recommendation is the Topeak Road MasterBlaster; for mountain bikes, the Topeak Mountain Morph.

CO2 Inflators

A third option is the CO2 inflator. This is a device that uses a high-pressure CO2 cartridge to inflate a tire. This is generally used in place of a frame pump. These devices can be very convenient, and are much quicker than using a hand pump, but they have their drawbacks as well. You must be certain the tube repair is done correctly the first time, because a single pump cartridge will typically only give you one shot at inflating your tire. Also, refill cartridges must be purchased, making this system much more costly than a hand pump.