Sunday, September 19, 2010

Equipment - PMP-5 Frame Pump

I've been wanting to buy a full length frame pump for a while. I kept checking out the pumps I knew, but nothing really struck me, or, in some instances, I wasn't in a position to buy one. Pumps are one of those "LBS" (local bike shop) things - you need to be able to touch and feel them and get feedback from the staff.

So, when I was at my LBS, I decided to pick up a pump they had on display, the Park PMP-5 (image of it here).

I find that mechanical pumps, rather than CO2 cartridges, work better for me. Fine, they take a bit longer to inflate, they're more bulky than CO2, but they have a few advantages.

First, they use "real" air - I found that every time I used a CO2 cartridge I'd have to re-inflate the tire the next day. I don't know why the tire would go flat, but it always did. The tube was fine, I rode it after inflating it, but it'd deflate overnight.

Second, you can use them over and over. You don't have to worry about them leaking or not seating or whatever.

Third, they don't freeze your fingers, not even a little bit.

Fourth, they allow you to fiddle a bit with the tire. As you probably know, making sure the tire is seated properly is an important part of installing it, and if you let a CO2 cartridge go wild on a non-seated tire... it's loud to say the least, and now you need to find another tube.

Fifth, if the pump is decent, they're reasonably quick.

I used a couple different mini-pumps in the past, the Airstik-1 by Blackburn being a good one. I didn't like the under-bottle-cage mount. If I wanted to run lights on the bike, I ran out of frame real estate, and something would tap-tap-tap my leg the whole ride. I had a velcro type strap but my leg sometimes hit it, so I'd have to be careful how I got it on the bike. It didn't help that I'd often misplace the strap so I'd just stick the pump in my pocket. Of course the pump would stick out a bit so I'd worry about it dropping out on a descent or a bumpy road.

Which, I have to admit, has happened. Meaning in both ways, on descents (it's a pain to slow, turn around, and climb back up the hill you were just bombing down) and bumpy roads.

I have a classic Silca chrome frame pump, which I suppose I could use. But it's not as sturdy (they seem to shatter like fluorescent bulbs if you smack them just right) and the spring that holds the pump in place is still "in effect" when you pump. So the first bit of the pump stroke is compressing the spring.

I do like it for one reason though - using the two little feet (pictured here), I could put the pump in a cool location. I'd put one end on the end of the front skewer (the handle part) and the other end, the little feet, under the bars.

Of course that also dropped on bumpy descents and stuff. But ever since I saw a Cat 2 carrying a pump like that (and I was a very impressionable 15 year old), I decided that was the coolest way to carry a pump.

So, when you get the Park PMP-5, a nice, durable full length frame pump, and my bike, which has no frame space for a full length frame pump, the situation screams for the cool Cat 2 solution.


Since I'm a little more risk averse than I used to be, I use velcro straps at the top and bottom of the pump. I can't get the pump to drop, even when tugging it pretty firmly. I did some bumpy descents tentatively, checked things, and when I saw nothing had moved, started bombing down descents.

All good.

So, now, the bike is set with the pump in its now normal location.

Now for a sweet ride.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love that pump, but for frames that don't have the little frame pump nub on the back of the headtube, I typically put it under the left seat stay- top corner sticking into the junction of the seat tube, top tube, and seat stay, and the bottom against either the skewer or, if there's clearance, into the junction of seat and chain stays at the dropout.

Note, though, that this is completely dependent on rear triangle geometry- no wishbone stays, needs enough clearance. It works well on Cannondale-style hourglass stays, probably not as much on stouter tubes.