Use the right tool

For Christmas this year I received a floor pump. One of those with a plunger that you have to manually push down to fill the tire with air. I also own an electric pump designed for high volume low pressure tires such as used on cars. I have been asking for a floor pump as a gift for three years because the electric pump is very loud especially at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning before everyone else is awake.

I have high pressure tires on my commuter bike rated for 115 - 125psi. Until this week I believed that high pressure tires just leaked more than low pressure tires because I filled them 3 times a week and when I connected my electric pump it would register between 80 and 90psi. I re-learned this week that it is very important to use the correct tool for the job. Using my floor pump I was pleasantly surprised how fast and easy it was to get to 125psi. The second thing I noticed was that I didn't need to re-inflate my tires all week.

When I use the electric pump I have to put an adapter to allow the schraeder style pump to connect to the presta valve on my bike. This adapter works great and no air leaks from around it. But the schraeder pump works by having a metal piece that depresses the valve, after the pump has already depressed the valve you close the seal. This process takes a fraction of a second, but it is a noisy moment in time because of escaping air. Something that did not occur to me was that a high volume low pressure pump has a rather large chamber and this pump allows the air to freely refill the chamber on connection. Similar to the method of connecting you release the seal before the valve has been released and therefore there is another fraction of a second of his when removing the pump. On top of this it typically takes about 5 minutes per tire to inflate them. After testing I found the maximum I could safely inflate my tires using the electric pump was 100psi.

I thought my electric pump was pretty convenient before I got my new floor pump. Now when I use it I see the previous paragraph. I have found that sometimes it is hard to determine that although you have a tool that pushes air into a tire it may not be the correct tool for the job. With my floor pump the process is faster, less frequently necessary, and quieter. Thank you Christine for getting me the correct tool for this job.