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Let's talk air/floor pumps

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Let's talk air/floor pumps

Old 10-05-19, 10:48 AM
  #1  
General Geoff
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Let's talk air/floor pumps

I know floor pumps aren't particularly glamorous, but to me they are essential in utility for anyone who cycles a lot.


For the past five or six years, I've been using a cheap $20 Zefal floor pump that I picked up from Wal-Mart, and it's been great. But a couple weeks ago I went to pump up the rear tire on my motorcycle and, in my haste and annoyance of putting air in a tire I'd just topped off a week prior, I pumped it too hard and fast, and the pump broke. I took it apart and found that the rubber gasket had torn and popped off the piston that slides up and down within the cylinder. I found a gasket approximately the same size and put it on, but after reassembly the check valve doesn't work. Anyway, I got my $20 out of the old pump.

I picked up a new floor pump from Harbor Freight for $13, and it worked great on schrader valves. But the included Presta adapter did not thread onto the Presta valves on my bikes, which is more than half the reason for the pump in the first place. So I gave that to a friend who only has Schrader valve bikes and didn't have a floor pump at all.

Anyway, I decided to spend a little bit more and get a Topeak JoeBlow Sport III because I'd read very good things about the TwinHead DX chuck, which I'm happy to report works marvelously. After putting air in the tire, flipping the lever on the chuck to release it does not result in an immediate and rapid loss of air like it did even with the old Zefal pump, but rather it disengages the valve in a way that closes it as the chuck disengages, making for far better air retention and more accurate riding pressure without having to double-check with a separate gauge.



Old Zefal pump next to the new JoeBlow.

The new JoeBlow pump is also very heavy and sturdily built. The base and cylinder are steel, and even the chuck housing is metal (probably aluminum). Very impressed with the quality for $40.


I know a lot of folks swear by Silca pumps, and I'd love to have a SuperPista Ultimate someday, but $400+ for a floor pump is just out of my price range for the foreseeable future. With the way the JoeBlow pump is built, though, hopefully it will give me at least a decade of use, which for me is about three or four times a week, year round. And in the event I'm too vigorous with it and blow out an internal seal, Topeak has a parts kit to replace them, along with other replacement parts which will hopefully still be available in a decade when I'm likely to need them.

And to make a long topic even longer, I went ahead and ordered a Roadmorph G mini-pump to mount on my Lynskey's frame, because I'd been juggling my 12 year old Harpoon mini-pump between my old Cannondale and the Lynskey for the past year and a half. The Harpoon still works OK but I like having a dedicated pump for each bike so I can't forget to pack it. That bit me once when I was about 20 miles from home on a solo ride and got a flat. Had a patch kit and spare tube, but forgot the pump! A passerby offered their pump but it didn't work on Presta valves. That was a major bummer, but I learned from it and have now hopefully rectified that potential situation from repeating.



The Roadmorph G snugly fits between my bottle cage and front headlight battery. And I now have more room in my rack bag for other cargo.
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Old 10-05-19, 01:12 PM
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I have a Giant "Control Tower" floor pump that works great. Using it to fill the air reservoir on the Giant "control tank" makes seating the bead on tubeless tires effortless.
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Old 10-05-19, 02:55 PM
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I have a Lezyne Alloy, A New Silca Pista, a vintage Silca Pista, a Kompressor, a Specialized of some sort and a Zefal from Walmart. The Leyzne is the best pumper, I like the head on it and on the new Pista with the pressure relief button. The Zefal works well but feels flimsy.

What is a Shraeder? Presta is my game.
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Old 10-05-19, 03:11 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post
I know floor pumps aren't particularly glamorous, but to me they are essential in utility for anyone who cycles a lot.


For the past five or six years, I've been using a cheap $20 Zefal floor pump that I picked up from Wal-Mart, and it's been great. But a couple weeks ago I went to pump up the rear tire on my motorcycle and, in my haste and annoyance of putting air in a tire I'd just topped off a week prior, I pumped it too hard and fast, and the pump broke. I took it apart and found that the rubber gasket had torn and popped off the piston that slides up and down within the cylinder. I found a gasket approximately the same size and put it on, but after reassembly the check valve doesn't work. Anyway, I got my $20 out of the old pump.

I picked up a new floor pump from Harbor Freight for $13, and it worked great on schrader valves. But the included Presta adapter did not thread onto the Presta valves on my bikes, which is more than half the reason for the pump in the first place. So I gave that to a friend who only has Schrader valve bikes and didn't have a floor pump at all.

Anyway, I decided to spend a little bit more and get a Topeak JoeBlow Sport III because I'd read very good things about the TwinHead DX chuck, which I'm happy to report works marvelously. After putting air in the tire, flipping the lever on the chuck to release it does not result in an immediate and rapid loss of air like it did even with the old Zefal pump, but rather it disengages the valve in a way that closes it as the chuck disengages, making for far better air retention and more accurate riding pressure without having to double-check with a separate gauge.



Old Zefal pump next to the new JoeBlow.

The new JoeBlow pump is also very heavy and sturdily built. The base and cylinder are steel, and even the chuck housing is metal (probably aluminum). Very impressed with the quality for $40.


I know a lot of folks swear by Silca pumps, and I'd love to have a SuperPista Ultimate someday, but $400+ for a floor pump is just out of my price range for the foreseeable future. With the way the JoeBlow pump is built, though, hopefully it will give me at least a decade of use, which for me is about three or four times a week, year round. And in the event I'm too vigorous with it and blow out an internal seal, Topeak has a parts kit to replace them, along with other replacement parts which will hopefully still be available in a decade when I'm likely to need them.

And to make a long topic even longer, I went ahead and ordered a Roadmorph G mini-pump to mount on my Lynskey's frame, because I'd been juggling my 12 year old Harpoon mini-pump between my old Cannondale and the Lynskey for the past year and a half. The Harpoon still works OK but I like having a dedicated pump for each bike so I can't forget to pack it. That bit me once when I was about 20 miles from home on a solo ride and got a flat. Had a patch kit and spare tube, but forgot the pump! A passerby offered their pump but it didn't work on Presta valves. That was a major bummer, but I learned from it and have now hopefully rectified that potential situation from repeating.



The Roadmorph G snugly fits between my bottle cage and front headlight battery. And I now have more room in my rack bag for other cargo.
Sacrificing your bottle cage bolts just for your Road Morph pump is un-necessary. Topeak makes a mounting bracket that permits you to click the Roadmorph off to the side and then bolt the bottle cage in the normal way. You might need slightly longer bolts but probably not. They do not include this particular bracket in the box with this pump for some reason. You can order one directly from Topeak for $4.95 I believe. I use this same pump on several of my road bikes and it has been a lifesaver. I have been a good Samaritan multiple times on the side of the road and usually can do a better job inflating a presta valve tire with a lot less drama than other types of pumps or CO2 set-ups.

Last edited by masi61; 10-05-19 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 10-05-19, 06:33 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Sacrificing your bottle cage bolts just for your Road Morph pump is in-necessary. Topeak makes a mounting bracket that permits you to click the Roadmorph off to the side and then bolt the bottle cage in the normal way. You might need slightly longer bolts but probably not. They do not include this particular bracket in the box with this pump for some reason. You can order one directly from Topeak for $4.95 I believe. I use this same pump on several of my road bikes and it has been a lifesaver. I have been a good Samaritan multiple times on the side of the road and usually can do a better job inflating a presta valve tire with a lot less drama than other types of pumps or CO2 set-ups.
I'm not sacrificing anything, I've never had a bottle cage mounted on the bottom tube.
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Old 10-05-19, 07:05 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
What is a Shraeder? Presta is my game.

The valve type on my cars which I also use my Silca pump to top off. Very handy for me since not a lot of autos have Presta valves that I'm aware of.
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Old 10-05-19, 07:25 PM
  #7  
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I have an old Silca floor pump that is 40 years old and works a treat! I grease the leather piston every now and again. It has a brass end which fits presta or schrader valves. You just unscrew its endcap, unscrew the barrel, flip 180 then screw the barrel back into place followed by the endcap. If you find one of those jump on it!
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Old 10-05-19, 08:01 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by August West View Post
The valve type on my cars which I also use my Silca pump to top off. Very handy for me since not a lot of autos have Presta valves that I'm aware of.
Yes, I know, I was kidding. I have never owned a bicycle with anything other than a Presta as far as I can recall. Maybe I guess somewhere when I was a child.
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Old 10-05-19, 08:03 PM
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SKS Rennkompressor, made in Germany, available for under $60 from many places.

product information at https://www.sks-germany.com/en/products/rennkompressor/

Was formerly available as the Zefal Husky as well. The current Zefal Husky is a different beast.

Wooden Handle, Cast Iron Base, Leather Pump Cup, Parts available. I would say it's one weakness is the pump head. The classic version, which required using the included chain mounted adapter for presta, is less convenient than some of its competitors. Over the years I have encountered several different SKS pump heads. The classic is, in my opinion, the best of the SKS offerings. However, fitting whatever head floats your boat is a simple task.

I've never used one of the current, made in USA Silca pumps but older made in Italy versions work well, particularly for high pressure and presta valves. I still prefer the Rennkompressor or the Japanese made Medai Top Super Pump, which was sold under many brand names, including Schwinn and can be frequently found used for just a few dollars. Information on the Medai Top Super at Medai Top Super Bike Pump - the Buyer's Guide, 2015
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Old 10-05-19, 09:47 PM
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Air squashes. Big time.

A two litre tube of air compressed to a tyre pressure will fit in a chicken's egg.

I liked old pumps. They were nice and big, and gave me big arms. They weren't very efficient because the hose on the end held half of the pump when compressed - only a fraction of my work was actually making it past the valve...

Cue forward a few decades and we have mini pumps, the size of a sausage, that pump tyres up faster. They do this because there is almost zero reservoir between the piston and the valve. So most of the air you push into a small compressed state has absolutely nowhere to hide but past the valve.

Going back to old technology, we have the floor pump. What's good about these is they have the highest capacity of manual pumps. Twice as long, twice as thick, they look great! But look at that hose... Same flaw. You may be pumping two litres of air, but most of it is just squashing back and fourth in the hose.

So if you must have a floor pump (and big-scale inefficiency does still equate to an effective pump when you have your bodyweight behind it) you should focus more on a short, braided, small-bore hose than the size of the cylinder.
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Old 10-06-19, 06:32 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
Air squashes. Big time.

A two litre tube of air compressed to a tyre pressure will fit in a chicken's egg.

I liked old pumps. They were nice and big, and gave me big arms. They weren't very efficient because the hose on the end held half of the pump when compressed - only a fraction of my work was actually making it past the valve...

Cue forward a few decades and we have mini pumps, the size of a sausage, that pump tyres up faster. They do this because there is almost zero reservoir between the piston and the valve. So most of the air you push into a small compressed state has absolutely nowhere to hide but past the valve.

Going back to old technology, we have the floor pump. What's good about these is they have the highest capacity of manual pumps. Twice as long, twice as thick, they look great! But look at that hose... Same flaw. You may be pumping two litres of air, but most of it is just squashing back and fourth in the hose.

So if you must have a floor pump (and big-scale inefficiency does still equate to an effective pump when you have your bodyweight behind it) you should focus more on a short, braided, small-bore hose than the size of the cylinder.
The length of the hose doesn't matter as long as there's a check valve between the hose and the cylinder (which there is in almost all modern pumps).

That check valve is what ended up not working after reassembly of my old Zefal pump. It still works but, as you describe, air just squishes in the hose and comes back into the cylinder when bringing the piston back up for another pump, so only about 1/3 of the air in the cylinder gets into the tire with each stroke.

Last edited by General Geoff; 10-06-19 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:03 AM
  #12  
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I've gone through several pumps (a large plastic Zefal Double shot, a Blackburn), but my 30 year old Silca made with Columbus tubing and a wooden handle soldiers on. Just greased the leather gasket for the first time this year, and replaced the head gasket, works good as new and I think I paid $80 for it back in the 80's.

I also use a full size frame pump, a Blackburn that's probably 15 years old. Can't get parts for it but it keeps on working.
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Old 10-06-19, 07:26 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post
...flipping the lever on the chuck to release it does not result in an immediate and rapid loss of air like it did even with the old Zefal pump, but rather it disengages the valve in a way that closes it as the chuck disengages, making for far better air retention...
I'd be interested in this feature. Will check it out next time I need a pump.

Thanks for the report on pumps because as you said"

"...floor pumps aren't particularly glamorous, but to me they are essential in utility for anyone who cycles a lot."
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Old 10-06-19, 07:46 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
Air squashes. Big time.

A two litre tube of air compressed to a tyre pressure will fit in a chicken's egg.

I liked old pumps. They were nice and big, and gave me big arms. They weren't very efficient because the hose on the end held half of the pump when compressed - only a fraction of my work was actually making it past the valve...

Cue forward a few decades and we have mini pumps, the size of a sausage, that pump tyres up faster. They do this because there is almost zero reservoir between the piston and the valve. So most of the air you push into a small compressed state has absolutely nowhere to hide but past the valve.

Going back to old technology, we have the floor pump. What's good about these is they have the highest capacity of manual pumps. Twice as long, twice as thick, they look great! But look at that hose... Same flaw. You may be pumping two litres of air, but most of it is just squashing back and fourth in the hose.

So if you must have a floor pump (and big-scale inefficiency does still equate to an effective pump when you have your bodyweight behind it) you should focus more on a short, braided, small-bore hose than the size of the cylinder.
It does take maybe a stroke on a floor pump to charge the hose to pressure, after that it is a solid column. Whatever pump you had must not have had a working check valve. My old Silca Pista and old Rennkompressor have no problem taking a tire up to pressure.

You either have volume or you have pressure. By that I mean, look at the barrel on the pump, the larger diameters tubes and pistons move more air but become difficult as the pressure rises which is great for tires of 60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.) but the small diameter tubes and pistons will move less air and the effort to stroke the pump at higher pressure will be less thus they can reach upwards of 200 psi in some cases.



You can tell what sort of bicycles I ride, sure these high pressure pumps will fill a fat tire bike or MTB, just takes more strokes.

Last edited by Loose Chain; 10-06-19 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 10-06-19, 08:45 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
tires of 60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.)
What the heck?

Based on this, it seems that you have zero experience with mountain bikes or fat tire bikes.

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Old 10-06-19, 08:58 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by ab_antiquo View Post
What the heck?

Based on this, it seems that you have zero experience with mountain bikes or fat tire bikes.


Whatever, as I said, you can tell from my floor pumps that MTBs are not high on my priority list, I am not into arguing with you, this takes nothing from the fact there are bicycles pumps suited to higher pressure and bicycle pumps suited to higher volume. I have no fat tire bicycles but do have several various MTBs. It should have read, 60 psi working pressure or less. Maybe you have some that use high pressure tires, but none of my MTBs are ridden with greater than 60 psi or so, usually less.

Maybe you could glom onto the 200 psi number I gave also though most road bikes with 23 to 25 mm tires run 90 to110 psi, tubulars (sew-ups, 120 maybe) and some track bikes do run up close to 200 psi. Are there any more pimples you can pick at? Are you myopic?

Last edited by Loose Chain; 10-06-19 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:32 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
It should have read, 60 psi working pressure or less. Maybe you have some that use high pressure tires, but none of my MTBs are ridden with greater than 60 psi or so, usually less.
Nope, not myopic, just chuckling at how silly your posts are.

You just offered further evidence that makes it seem that you have zero experience with mountain bikes or fat tire bikes.

Fat bikes are typically in the 8-15 range, my current mountain bike pressures are 15f/18r (sometimes 20f/22r depending on terrain) and even way back near the dawn of mountain biking I, like most folks who actually mountain bike, ran 30-35psi.

So yeah, no where near your fanciful "60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.)"
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Old 10-06-19, 10:51 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by General Geoff View Post
The length of the hose doesn't matter as long as there's a check valve between the hose and the cylinder (which there is in almost all modern pumps).
Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
It does take maybe a stroke on a floor pump to charge the hose to pressure, after that it is a solid column. Whatever pump you had must not have had a working check valve.
Ah, cheers guys. Seems kinda obvious now, that this would be covered. Yeah the last one i had was some cast iron Dunlop thing from like the 1940's that was my dad's... We used foot-pump hoses on it.. I'll look into these again, though i'll need a large diameter cylinder myself as i use balloon tyres.
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Old 10-06-19, 11:50 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by ab_antiquo View Post
So yeah, no where near your fanciful "60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.)"
I used to run 55-60 PSI in my MTB tires when I weighed 270 lbs. Now that I hover around 200, I run them around 40.
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Old 10-06-19, 02:56 PM
  #20  
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I have a small air compressor I use at home to air up my bike tires.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:33 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by ab_antiquo View Post
Nope, not myopic, just chuckling at how silly your posts are.



You just offered further evidence that makes it seem that you have zero experience with mountain bikes or fat tire bikes.

Fat bikes are typically in the 8-15 range, my current mountain bike pressures are 15f/18r (sometimes 20f/22r depending on terrain) and even way back near the dawn of mountain biking I, like most folks who actually mountain bike, ran 30-35psi.

So yeah, no where near your fanciful "60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.)"
Again, that is not the point I was making in the differing types of pumps, that was not the subject of my post or the OPs. A 60 psi range pump will generally cover most MTBs and similar and the higher volume makes the pumping easier because less strokes are needed and certainly do not need a pump capable of 200 psi like my Silca Pistas. If you do not understand the difference between volume and pressure perhaps go back to Jr. High science or maybe 6th grade.

And you are right, I could care a flying flip about fat tire bikes. Thus all of my pumps are high pressure, low volume.

Myopic is not the word I would apply any longer to you, perhaps troll is more accurate.

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Old 10-06-19, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Again, that is not the point I was making in the differing types of pumps, that was not the subject of my post or the OPs. A 60 psi range pump will generally cover most MTBs and similar and the higher volume makes the pumping easier because less strokes are needed and certainly do not need a pump capable of 200 psi like my Silca Pistas. If you do not understand the difference between volume and pressure perhaps go back to Jr. High science or maybe 6th grade.

And you are right, I could care a flying flip about fat tire bikes. Thus all of my pumps are high pressure, low volume.

Myopic is not the word I would apply any longer to you, perhaps troll is more accurate.

"I am not into arguing with you"

Apparently you are. Just as much as you are into moving goalposts from your "tires of 60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.)" nonsense that prompted my incredulous reply. Oh well.
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Old 10-06-19, 08:50 PM
  #23  
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Yawn:



Looks like a MTB with a tire that states 35 to 80 psi to me. But then I can read and comprehend simple concepts and extrapolate across a simple word omission. Let us go over the concept again, a lower pressure tire such as this one on this Specialized MTB in the photos is more appropriate to a high volume pump. It does not need 200 psi that my Silca or the other pumps in my photo earlier are capable of. If I were to ever purchase a true fat tire bicycle, which I never will, I would purchase a different pump, one that worked at a lower pressure but could move a lot more volume per pump stroke.

Dear fellow, perhaps you do not understand freshman Physics, but force = area X pressure. But maybe you slept through that part. Hopefully this advanced math does not strain your capabilities. This, to make it easy for you, a pump piston of a smaller diameter will require less force to reach a given pressure. But the volume would be less, do I need to get you that equation or did you sleep through that one also?

Of all the forums I visit, this forum is the worst for this sort of thing, well, the Hull Truth may have it beat on any given day but then again, maybe not.

So, I am done, with this thread, I will not come back to it again, it is ruined by a troll, my sincere apologies to the OP.

Last edited by Loose Chain; 10-06-19 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 10-06-19, 09:52 PM
  #24  
ab_antiquo
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Yawn:



Looks like a MTB with a tire that states 35 to 80 psi to me. But then I can read and comprehend simple concepts and extrapolate across a simple word omission. Let us go over the concept again, a lower pressure tire such as this one on this Specialized MTB in the photos is more appropriate to a high volume pump. It does not need 200 psi that my Silca or the other pumps in my photo earlier are capable of. If I were to ever purchase a true fat tire bicycle, which I never will, I would purchase a different pump, one that worked at a lower pressure but could move a lot more volume per pump stroke.

Dear fellow, perhaps you do not understand freshman Physics, but force = area X pressure. But maybe you slept through that part. Hopefully this advanced math does not strain your capabilities. This, to make it easy for you, a pump piston of a smaller diameter will require less force to reach a given pressure. But the volume would be less, do I need to get you that equation or did you sleep through that one also?

Of all the forums I visit, this forum is the worst for this sort of thing, well, the Hull Truth may have it beat on any given day but then again, maybe not.

So, I am done, with this thread, I will not come back to it again, it is ruined by a troll, my sincere apologies to the OP.

This is awesome! Posting a picture of an ancient MTB tire (they were ok back in their day, I went through a few of them) to try to continue to move the goal posts and defend your "tires of 60 psi working pressure (MTBs, fat tire bikes etc.)" nonsense.

You sure do have a strange way of "not arguing" but I guess it's understandable given your confusion about something as basic as what the working pressure is for people who actually mountain (or fat) bike.


p.s. Extra points for conflating max pressure with what people who mountain bike (or fat bike) actually use.
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Old 10-06-19, 10:30 PM
  #25  
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All I know is Joe Blow pumps are utter ****e.
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