Best track pumps

Our pick of the top inflators

To keep punctures to a minimum and rolling resistance to a maximum, bicycle tyres need to be pumped up pretty regularly. While a frame-fitting pump will do the job – and some mini-pumps might just about get a road tyre up to 100psi – if you’re regularly pumping up tyres a track/floor pump is definitely a worthwhile investment. Here's our pick of the best ones we've tested this year.

Best track/floor pumps

Overall winner: Lezyne Alloy Floor Drive

£60 / US$70

Lezyne really deliver with this classic pump. It has a superbly reassuring feel, aided by its comfortable varnished wooden handle, while the CNC-machined base and 15mm shaft make it very stable and the gauge is clear to read. 

Add in a long hose and great build quality and you’ve got a more than competent pump, but what really makes it is Lezyne’s excellent Flip-Thread chuck. This does away with a locking lever, the reversible head screwing directly – and very securely – onto Presta valves for leak-free pumping every time. Slightly slower to attach, but worth it, and it makes bent Presta valves a thing of the past. Comes in four colours. 

From: Lezyne / Upgrade (UK)

Best high-end pump: Topeak Joe Blow Ace

£90 / $150

Posh surnames and shotguns aren’t the only things with double barrels – Topeak’s top-of-the-range Joe Blow Ace track pump has them as well, and it’s no gimmick. Both barrels are in play up to 60psi, the main barrel takes over up to 120psi with the smaller barrel alone taking care of pressures up to 260psi – all instantly controlled by a handle-mounted switch. 

The figures on the floor-level gauge could be a tad clearer, but the Joe Blow Ace scores top marks for speed and ease of pump action (more shotguns…), excellent marks for construction quality and good marks for stability. 

From: Topeak / Extra (UK)

Best budget pump: Topeak Joe Blow Sport

£35 / $40

We’d have preferred a longer hose, but that’s our only real criticism of the Topeak Joe Blow Sport. It's very stable, thanks to its large, wing-shaped metal base, and construction is good quality, too.

While the chunky plastic handle doesn’t have quite the pleasing feel of the best wooden ones, it’s smooth on top with finger shaped moulds underneath and very comfortable to use, with no hard edges. The gauge isn’t that large, but it’s mounted a third of the way up the barrel and is clear to read. Overall, this is a great quality budget pump. 

From: TopeakExtra (UK)

Also consider

Lezyne Sport Floor Drive

£37 / $50

This has all the features we expect from Lezyne, and at a very impressive price. It’s not the quickest to 100psi, but in just about every other way it excels. The gauge is mounted towards the bottom but the figures are easy to read and there’s a long hose.

The substantial 15mm shaft and metal base – effectively three feet – make this incredibly stable. It’s also great to see Lezyne’s ultra-secure Flip-Thread chuck, which screws onto Presta valves for leak-free pumping; a ‘Speed’ chuck is also supplied. The wooden handle adds the finishing touch.

From: LezyneUpgrade (UK)

Airace Hercules DG

£90 / $120

The bicycle pump goes digital with the Airace Hercules, and though it doesn’t take the labour out of pumping, this excellent tool would grace any workshop. You preset the pressure you want – in bar, PSI or kg/cm2 – on the large, bright, intuitive and easy-to-read LCD screen at the top of the pump. 

The locking lever on the head started out very stiff, and a slightly larger base would have given this a little more stability, but the large diameter shaft, long stroke and reassuring solidity create an efficient and impressive high-tech pump. The LCD screen takes a couple of watch batteries that are a doddle to change.

From: Airace / Fisher Outdoor Leisure (UK)

BBB Airblaster BFP-31

£100 / $142

Like Lezyne’s pumps, the BBB has a screw-in chuck. The advantages of this are that you can use it when only a small amount of Presta valve is visible, the seal is more secure and you’re much less likely to bend the vulnerable outer Presta valve stem while attaching or disconnecting it. The downside is that it’s marginally slower to attach.

The quite large display on the gauge could be a little clearer – there are too many figures fighting for your attention – but this is a very fine and super-stylish pump, with a distinctive Art Deco look and braided metal hose. But is it worth that whopping pricetag? Nearly.

From: BBB / Windwave (UK)

One23 Track

£41 / $71

This solid, predominantly metal construction pump from One23 has a lot going for it. Its top-mounted pressure gauge, with silver figures against a black background, is crystal clear with a red pointer, and its rubberised handle is very comfortable to use. 

It feels very solid even when you’re pumping up to high pressures, thanks to its slightly oversized 12mm shaft and a firm metal base; the base itself is surrounded by a rubber shoe for grip and stability. The head switches automatically between Presta and Schrader valves. 

From: Today's Cyclist

Specialized Airtool HP

£45 / $50

This is a very good quality pump. It has a long hose with a chunky SwitchHitter head – which switches automatically between Presta and Schrader valves – and an easy-to-read gauge. Its main strength is its stability; the combination of 12mm diameter shaft and wide three-legged base – with the largest footprint of any of the pumps here – makes this extremely stable. 

There are also grippers on the top of the base to make sure your feet don’t slip. The hard plastic handle could be a little more comfortable, but Spesh have delivered a rugged and competitively priced pump. Available in striking ‘Ion’ or white.

From: Specialized / Extra (UK)

Airwave Storm

£25 / $42

Airwave have created a good looking, attractively priced and well thought out pump here. The gauge, with black figures on a white background, is very clear, with a large red pointer to indicate tyre pressure. The predominantly metal base is quite small but offers pretty decent stability, and the head swivels between the two different valve systems with a reassuringly firm engagement. 

We found the rubberised top of the handle comfortable, although we weren’t quite so keen on the hard plastic ridges on the underside, and we’d have preferred a longer hose too, but this is still a very decent pump considering the price.

From: Hotlines (UK)

Meqix Air Fighter F1

£100 / $N/A

One of two digital pumps in this round-up, the Meqix can be set to PSI or bar, and while the display isn’t as bright as the Airace’s, it’s still clear and easy to read. The solid base and large diameter shaft mean it’s very stable, which, combined with the speed it gets tyres up to pressure, makes this a very practical pump.

The screw-on head gives very secure pumping too. The all-metal construction and long hose only add to the pump’s qualities, and it comes with adaptors for footballs and airbeds. A very good digital pump, although we do prefer the Airace’s display.

From: Meqix / Cyclelife (UK)

Revolution Air Track Pump Pro

£30 / $N/A

Despite the Air Track Pro’s quite small footprint, we found this competitively priced model to be very stable and pretty efficient too. The good quality head switches automatically between the two different valve types, and the Revolution is one of the few budget pumps to have a bleed valve. 

The rubberised handle is comfortable to hold, the top mounted gauge is clear, and the hose long enough to reach workstand mounted bikes. It should prove suitable for the long term too, because very well priced spare parts are available. A decent quality track pump then, with Revolution’s usual eye for good value.

From: Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative

How we tested

We spent days pumping 23mm tyres up to 100psi (6.9 bar), a typical pressure for a road tyre, and testing pumps for efficiency – the ease with which they get tyres up to pressure – and for how comfortable and stable they are. All of our selection are suitable for both Presta and Schrader valves, so if you’ve got bikes with different types of wheels in your stable you’re covered.

Key things to look for when buying a floor pump

Base: Weight isn’t an issue for a track pump – a heavier base with a larger footprint will offer more stability. Fixed bases tend to be more stable and user-friendly than those with fold-out feet, but the latter are handier for storage, and for throwing in the back of the car come race day.

Head: All the pumps in this round-up are suitable for both Presta and Schrader valves. Presta is the narrower one with a locknut, usually found on road bikes, Schrader the slightly wider one with a spring. It’s found more on bikes with 26in rims, such as mountain bikes and hybrids. Some pumps have chucks with locking levers while others screw onto Presta valves. This is slower but reduces the chance of damaging the vulnerable nut on the stem’s inner core.

Gauge: All the pumps in this article come with pressure gauges. Some are mounted on the top, some at the bottom, and some have a pointer so you can set your chosen pressure. They vary a lot in clarity, so check these out before purchasing, especially if you have trouble with your eyesight.

Digital: The digital revolution has even reached the humble track pump, two of our pumps having digital pressure gauges. They’re far from a necessity – they don’t make life any easier and add to the expense – but do add a high-tech flavour.

Hose: This isn’t the most crucial factor in a track pump, but if you’re working on a bike in your workstand a longer hose will offer more convenience.

This article is based on a group test originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Related Articles

Comments

Back to top