Newbie pump questions

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by brian_biker, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. brian_biker

    brian_biker New Member

    Aug 26, 2010
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    Hi all. I tried searching the forums for these answers, but to no avail.

    1. I have a Spalding air pump, (like the pic attached except WITHOUT the guage), is this good for carrying with me and pumping up the bike tires on the go?

    2. What are the different types of valves for the pumps? I just see a circular screw-on valve on my bike (Trek 4300 with road tires), with a black plastic cap.

    3. After I finish pumping air into the bike, will the air leak if I do not screw back on the black cap?

    4. What is a "seat pack"? Could I store a mobile pump in it?

    5. I don't understand the difference between a tube and a tire, and can't seem to find any explanation that I understand.

    Thanks, and I apologize for my newbie-ness.


  2. BikingBrian

    BikingBrian New Member

    Sep 25, 2003
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    Welcome to the forum!
    I've tried answering your questions here:

    1. That pump looks like it is probably intended for filling soccer balls, basketballs, etc., no, it won't work as a bike pump. You will need a bike tire-specific pump. Ideally, you should have 2; one for pumping the tires at home (called a "floor pump") and one to take with you in case you flat and need to pump up in the middle of a ride - a "frame pump", sometimes called a mini pump. etc. You can get away with just having a frame pump, but be aware that it will take longer than using a floor pump.

    2. Almost all road tubes today come with Presta valves. Floor pumps generally have both Presta and Schrader (a fatter valve type usually seen on cheaper department store bikes).

    3. No, it won't leak, as it's held in by air pressure, but if you accidentally touch it, it will let out air, so it's best to screw it shut after pumping. You don't need the black plastic cap, in fact, just throw it away.

    4. A seat pack goes under your saddle to store stuff you might need on your ride, ie, patch kit, tire levers, money, tools, and yes, sometimes a mini-pump (if it will fit, depends on size).

    *Some people just put their mini-pump in their jersey pocket. Other people (myself included) use air cartridges instead of a pump, as they fit easily in a saddle bag and fill the tyre very quickly. However, they are a bit pricy, and can leave you stranded if you have multiple flats. YMMV.

    5. The tube holds the air and goes inside the tyre (what is connected to the rim and contacts the road).

    You might want to get a book that describes the basics of cycling and/or maintenance, Park Tools have some excellent ones, they also have a lot of info on their website.

    Happy riding!
  3. genedan

    genedan New Member

    Feb 13, 2010
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    1. I can't see from the picture, but that there looks like something you would use to pump up a basketball. If you don't have a permanent floor pump, I would go get one for around $35.

    Bicycle tube valves come in two different varieties. Presta and Schrader. Presta valves are found primarily on road bikes, while Schrader valves are found on road bikes. Presta valves are skinny whereas Schrader valves are fat. A good floor pump will be able to automatically switch between the two types.

    There are lots of choices riders use to pump up their tires while out riding. I use CO2 cartridges, but others use mini-pumps or frame pumps. These methods won't be able to pump up a tire to the recommended pressure, and are used primarily for emergencies.

    2. The valve, at least from the pictures you posted appear to be Schrader.

    3. The black cap is meant to keep dirt away from the valve, but you won't lose air if you don't screw it on.

    4. A seat pack is used to hold tools for minor repairs or emergencies. Most people carry spare tubes, tire levers, a chain tool, spare links, CO2 cartridges, cell phones, and perhaps a pump if it's small enough to fit in the bag. However, the smaller the pump, the harder it is to pump up your tires.

    5. If you look under your tire, you will find a tube underneath that looks like a miniature version of inner tubes that children use to go play in the water. The tube holds the air that you pump into a tire. The valves that you see sticking out of your tire are part of the tube.