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Old 10-22-05, 07:47 PM   #1
sfontain
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My fiancée and I both just bought Trek 7000's with 700x35c tires (recommended 60-80psi according to the sidewall). I cannot for the life of me pump air into these things by hand.

I tried a $14 Schwinn frame pump, and with the tire already inflated to about 50psi, and I couldn't budge it; no air went into the tires. "Okay," I thought, "I must be a weakling."

Well tonight I returned the pump to Wal*Mart and bought an $8 Bell "The Judge" floor pump. Cheap, yes, but I figured it would get the job done. Well tonight I hooked it up to the tires and I can't get *any* air in. I've got the hose pressed onto the Schraeder valve almost down to the rubber of the tube, then I lock the hose on, and I lean on the pump with all my weight, and it's like I am just compressing air into the pump's hose rather than into the tire. The pump hose gets firmer and firmer, and by the time the pump handle is within 3" of the end of the available travel, I simply cannot budge it.

Now I'm 6'3" and about 250lbs and I'm putting most of my weight on the pump, and it's not moving. I'm no weakling, either.

I thought it might be a bad valve, but I tried it on multiple tires, and neither of them feels any better. I have a miniature electric emergency air compressor that plugs into my car's cigarette lighter, and that thing happily put air in them to 80psi and beyond. I should add that I have tried this on more than one tire, so I don't believe it's a valve problem. And the car pump worked, as did the bike shop's floor pump when they prepped the bike when I bought it.

So what is going on here? Am I doing something wrong, or are these pumps useless?

Last edited by sfontain; 10-22-05 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 10-22-05, 08:13 PM   #2
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First, go buy a decent pump, if you spend thirty bucks or more you got one. The secret with a schraeder valve often is to not put the head on the valve as hard as you can. The other trick is to make sure you are flipping the valve lever the right direction. Some lock up, some lock down. You can usually tell by looking at the rubber in the head. If it compresses then that is the correct position. Otherwise you will need to try it both ways.
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Old 10-22-05, 08:22 PM   #3
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I've double-checked the lever positioning and I'm doing it correctly. I've tried it with the pump far onto the valve and barely on the valve and everywhere in between. I also just tried it on a completely flat tire, and it still isn't happening. So back to return it tomorrow I guess.

I can't see spending $30 on a floor pump that's going to sit at home. I don't need a guage, I don't need pretty colors, and I don't need it to say "Topeak" on it. All it has to do is *work*. What it looks like to me is that the little "pin" in the pump that presses on the schraeder valve core is buried way deep into the hose head and isn't making contact. I'll look at others tomorrow when I go back to the store and see if I got a defective one, but otherwise I'm going to have to look for something else.
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Old 10-22-05, 08:27 PM   #4
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You can try your local gas station. They have pumps there that can blow your tire clean off the rim if you are not careful.
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Old 10-22-05, 08:30 PM   #5
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you do need a guage if you are worried about having the proper psi. spend a couple of extra bucks and you will appreciate it, really, even if it does sit in the garage when you ride the bike.
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Old 10-22-05, 08:32 PM   #6
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do you need the flip the pin you were talking about?
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Old 10-22-05, 08:55 PM   #7
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I agree, it sounds like the pump is set up for presta valves, which means the pump head won't depress the pin in the schrader valve, so you're just pressing air into the hose of the pump. Check out this page on converting your pump to presta: http://www.bicyclinglife.com/HowTo/ConvertAPump.htm
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Old 10-22-05, 08:58 PM   #8
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Maybe you don't need a thirty dollar pump, but the $14 and $8 pumps don't seem to be cutting it. They don't work as well brand new as my Silca does after 14 years. Admited, that it is a $100 pump, but it has worked flawlessly pumping up tires on nine plus bikes these many years. I have one at work as well, it has had the leather piston replaced a few times but has also pumped up more than thirty thousand tires.When you get crap it tends to work crappy.
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Old 10-22-05, 09:00 PM   #9
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Responses to all the statements/questions above:

I don't need a garage or gas station pump. I know they work. I have an electric pump that also works but it's for the car and is a pain to take out for every ride (i.e., it would prevent me from riding if I had to deal with that every time).

I have a guage, it's just not built into the pump. It is mildly more convenient to have a built-in guage, however in my experience they are fairly inaccurate unless you spend a fortune on a pump.

The pin doesn't flip. According to the instructions, there is a little insert that screws into the pump hose head for filling presta tires. Supposedly the pump works for both presta and schraeder valves, however I am under the impression due to the depth of the pin inside the pump hose head that this pump might be better suited for presta tubes.

The smart thing would have been to test this on a bike in the store... sigh. Tomorrow, tomorrow...

It's funny because I can't find this pump online, and considering it's an $8 pump at Wal*Mart, I would have figured all kinds of people would have tried and rated it. Ah well.
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Old 10-22-05, 09:07 PM   #10
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A good pump will cost you about $1-$2/year. A cheap one, probably about twice that much, because it won't last very long. Without a gauge? I think that's foolish. A good pump will be a pleasure to use, a cheap one, a pain. If you bike very much at all, you'll use your pump a couple times a week. That means it will cost you a few cents per use. Good tools don't cost, they pay! OHB
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Old 10-22-05, 09:21 PM   #11
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Since you asked, we are trying to help you. Now you have to make another trip to Wal-mart and spend gas and time to do so. Forget Wal-mart and go to a bike shop. There are pumps for less than $30 that will perform much better than any pump at wal-mart.

The fact that you took the time to post your question means that you care about your bike and how it works, so care enough to get a decent pump. Your fiance will like the fact that you won't be griping about a pump not working and you two can go for a fun ride together.
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Old 10-23-05, 05:58 AM   #12
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I think staying out of Walmart would be a good first step.


Wallyworld and its ilk are committed to buying products wholesale at the absolutely lowest cost, quality/labor issues be damned. And then this is passed on to the consumer as a 'good value?'

I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

Get a real pump, just like everyone else says. If you buy Planet Bike brand pumps and accessories, they donate some of the money you give them to cycling advocacy.

Now, THAT'S good value.
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Old 10-23-05, 07:16 AM   #13
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Ummm, What is the psi rating on the wal-mart pumps? You are trying to pump up a 700c tire with a pump made to pump up a 20 inch Huffy tire. That is the truth of the situation. Please, for your own sanity, go buy a decent pump. I have been using a 25.00 Planet Bike pump for 4 years without so much as a hiccup from it. Pumps don't have to cost a fortune but they do have to work. So far, you are 2 and 0.
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Old 10-23-05, 07:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crankaddict
Ummm, What is the psi rating on the wal-mart pumps? You are trying to pump up a 700c tire with a pump made to pump up a 20 inch Huffy tire. That is the truth of the situation. Please, for your own sanity, go buy a decent pump. I have been using a 25.00 Planet Bike pump for 4 years without so much as a hiccup from it. Pumps don't have to cost a fortune but they do have to work. So far, you are 2 and 0.
It's rated for 120PSI. I mentioned it won't even put air into a completely deflated tire. So that is the truth of the situation. It's just not hooking up with the valve.

I don't believe I'm 2-0 as you say. I did say that people have told me they can't get more than 60psi of pressure into their tires with a frame pump. I don't do any particularly "sprited" riding and I'm nowhere that I can't easily walk back home or to my car, I just wasn't aware that frame pumps weren't made to get a tire to 80 or 100psi or beyond; it's not the pump's fault that I didn't know that.

Nonetheless I will look around.
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Old 10-23-05, 07:37 AM   #15
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the pump is branded a Bell, and the frame pump a Schwinn?

but those are likely only marketing agreements with a pacific rim distributor of cheapass pumps to be sold at big box retailers.
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Old 10-23-05, 08:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfontain
I just wasn't aware that frame pumps weren't made to get a tire to 80 or 100psi or beyond; it's not the pump's fault that I didn't know that.

Nonetheless I will look around.
I had a cheap mini-pump coudn't get 50 psi without spending half an hours pumping like mad. Got new narrow tire so time for new pump got a topeak road morph with gauge. Now I can pump easly to 120 psi without any problem.
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Old 10-23-05, 08:24 AM   #17
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Nowhere in your posting do you say what type of valve you have and everyone seem to think they are Schrader (car type). Are they? If you have presta valves, I expect you haven't unscrewed the small nut that seals the valve.

I can't believe you have run into so many "defective" pumps and/or tire valves. I expect you have presta valves and don't know how to use them properly.

Go to any bike shop and ask for a quick lesson in bike tire proceedures.
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Old 10-23-05, 08:28 AM   #18
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About the valve thing
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/presta-schrader.html

First 3 are presta the last is schrader. Schrader is exacly like a car valve.
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Old 10-23-05, 01:48 PM   #19
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Nowhere in your posting do you say what type of valve you have and everyone seem to think they are Schrader (car type). Are they? If you have presta valves, I expect you haven't unscrewed the small nut that seals the valve.
Third paragraph, fourth sentence: "I've got the hose pressed onto the Schraeder valve almost down to the rubber of the tube, then I lock the hose on, and I lean on the pump with all my weight, and it's like I am just compressing air into the pump's hose rather than into the tire."

Quote:
Originally Posted by HillRider
I can't believe you have run into so many "defective" pumps and/or tire valves. I expect you have presta valves and don't know how to use them properly.
'fraid not. Trust me, I know how to inflate tires. I'm slightly amused that so many people think I have presta valves and assume I just don't know what I'm doing.

I've been working on cars for years. Yes, the valve is exactly like the valve on my car's tires.

I returned the crap pump to Wal*Mart this afternoon. I looked at other identical pumps to the one I returned and indeed, the core pin in the pump's hose's head definitely looks like it's buried deeper into the head than the other ones in the store. I will be looking for another pump elsewhere. Thanks all for your advice; I appreciate it!
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Old 10-23-05, 02:07 PM   #20
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For all the time and frustration you have spent with your Wal*Mart pumps, head on down to your local LBS and buy yourself a decent floor pump. I have an INLINE floor pump I bought at my LBS years ago. It has a multiple head that accepts schraeder and presta valves, as well as a built-in pressure gauge. It set me back a whole $10.00.

Last edited by EXCALIBUR; 10-23-05 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 10-23-05, 02:27 PM   #21
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I haven't been inside a Walmart store since 2001. I expect to keep that record up for as long as I can breathe.
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Old 10-23-05, 06:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfontain
'fraid not. Trust me, I know how to inflate tires. I'm slightly amused that so many people think I have presta valves and assume I just don't know what I'm doing.
Sorry about not paying attention. I apologize. It's just I've come across so many riders new to presta valves that have problems my first thought is they don't know to loosen the valve nut. Apparently that's not the case here.
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Old 10-23-05, 07:48 PM   #23
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I buy the Bell "Judge" floor pump for just over $8 at Walmart--I find it appropriate technology for what I do. I am familiar with the problem you are describing. When new, they are a bit tight.
Hold the stem of the schrader and gently twist the pump valve down onto it--(maybe even harder than you think you should be trying) it should seat--then lock it. Still no air? try again--you'll get the feel and after you use it a half dozen times it will fit easily. I gently twist to release it as well to keep it from pulling too hard on the schrader. Use care not to twist the schrader stem itself and damage to the tube.
This pump lasts surprisingly long before it wears out. I chuck 'em and buy another--
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Old 10-23-05, 09:07 PM   #24
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A very simple solution might be to press stem in the valve (let some airout). Sometimes the valve gets stuck and needs to be loosened. Once you have broken the seal try all of your pumps again, i am sure they are fine.
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Old 10-24-05, 06:29 AM   #25
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I buy the Bell "Judge" floor pump for just over $8 at Walmart--I find it appropriate technology for what I do. I am familiar with the problem you are describing. When new, they are a bit tight.
Hold the stem of the schrader and gently twist the pump valve down onto it--(maybe even harder than you think you should be trying) it should seat--then lock it. Still no air? try again--you'll get the feel and after you use it a half dozen times it will fit easily. I gently twist to release it as well to keep it from pulling too hard on the schrader. Use care not to twist the schrader stem itself and damage to the tube.
This pump lasts surprisingly long before it wears out. I chuck 'em and buy another--
John
Aha! This is exactly what I figured, and it's good to hear that somebody else has tried this thing. I ended up returning the pump but it's just as you say, the pump is very very tight off the shelf. I thought about filing out the inside or something but then I decided I wouldn't unleash that kind of fury on the next person who buys the pump I returned (not that they are going to be thrilled with it anyway). I attempted to try a different Judge when I returned mine but there were too many employees hovering around the bikes for me to mess with them; I got one pump halfway onto the stem and locked it down and it seemed to pump. So I don't think my pump was defective per se, but I would go so far as to say that some Judges are better than others.

ostro: Good idea, but they valves read correctly on my pressure guage and also fill up correctly with my electric mini compressor that I keep in my car.

In the end I'm getting ragged on a lot about cheap pumps so I may end up spending the $30 after all; it would cost me over $20 to get a cheap floor pump with guage and a cheap frame pump anyway.
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