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  1. #1
    Senior Member rbiked's Avatar
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    presta valves, pumps, and packing spares

    i purchased a long pump that attaches to my top frame bar on my poprad lemond disc... it seems to work okay on my presta valves but the downside i realized that since it was long and solid, it was easy to bend the valves... after pumping up my tires, i removed the pump to find i bent the little piece, i pulled it back a tad to straighten it it back up so i could put the cap on... and it snapped off! it keep the air pressure and i road it a little.. it still worked fine for me... so it looks like i have to buy a new tube for that wheel... i've been planning on buying some spares anyway! I


    soo i do have a few questions...

    1.) is it safe to ride with that little plug broken off from that presta valve? and will it let me put more air into it? until i buy a replacement tube

    2.) road tires apparently are a lot easier to get flats with... i'm reading that most people recommend just a spare tube and a pump.. and some recommend patch kits and spare tires as well..

    i do plan on getting a bag to put under my seat, i would like to keep it light and keep it on their at all times... i don't plan to do anything longer than 50 miles round trip, at least for now. what all should i pack? i'm already planning on packing a multi-tool, pump, and spare tube... but a tire to?


    3.) can someone point me in the direction of a good pump? i was kinda thinking of getting an electric pump, but might not.. pricey... the LBS had the bontrager power charger for about 70... i'm thinking of finding a good stand up pump, but some of the ones listed on bontrager's website cost more than the electric pump.. not sure what all the benefit of those would be just yet... as long as it does presta valve's, all is good. any advise or recommendations would help :-)

  2. #2
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    This is heresy, but I got a 12 volt inflator for $10 at Wal-Mart and it does a super job in my garage. Mine has a switch and a pressure gage on the inflator. Some come without a switch, and you just know that is wrong. Also, I think the gage may not be completely accurate on some of these. The inflator's fitting is for a Schrader valve, so use one of those little brass screw on adapters for Presta valves.

    This is another heresy, but I put Slime in my road bike tires. We have a lot of problems with goat head thorns. The tire may bleed green, but the Slime gets me home again. I do not use tire liners. They caused more flats than they saved me from.

    I carry an extra tube. My experience with patching has been hit and miss. If you carry a tube, you either need to have a frame pump or a CO2 inflator with you. Or, you need to stop at a friendly farmhouse with an air compressor in the garage. CO2 molecules are smaller than natural holes in butyl rubber and the CO2 will leak out in a couple of days. Replace it with air later.

    Some recommend carrying a tire boot. One fellow even made a temporary tire boot from a soft drink can he found by the side of the road. Park Tools makes and sells tire boots. I have not carried a boot. I have never carried a tire.

    A multi-tool is a good thing to have, even if only to adjust the brakes so they center and do not rub on a wheel. Carry 3 "tire irons."

    Always carry a cell phone loaded with the numbers of kind friends or family who will come out to get you and your bike in case you cannot make it home again by yourself.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    I carry a mini pump, a spare tube, tire levers, and a small stick on patch kit. All (except the pump which attaches to the frame) in a very small seat bag.
    Not too much to say here

  4. #4
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    Don't bother carrying a spare tire. Instead, carry something to "boot" a tire. I prefer tyvek from race numbers or priority mail envelopes, but some people use energy bar wrappers or dollar bills. If you get a cut in your tire, slip the tyvek inside the tire, between the tire and tube.

    The tube with the missing nut is trash. It will hold air for now, but next time you try to inflate it, the valve stem will fall down into the tube, and all the air will rush out. I'd just take it off your bike and throw it away right now so that it doesn't leave you stuck somewhere. I've done the same thing myself, and it takes a bit of finesse to pump up a tire with a frame pump or a mini pump. One technique is to put the end of the pump on your toe while you pump; this supports the valve stem.

    I always carry a cellphone, a spare tube, a patch kit, a tyvek boot, and a mini pump when I ride, and I feel I have things covered. At home, I would never use a frame/mini pump to top off my tires. It's too much work, and as you discovered, there's too much risk of messing with the valve stem. I use a Nashbar floor pump that I bought for $20 that I've been very happy with. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a decent floor pump. I'd be skeptical that a general-purpose electric pump could reach the ~100 psi you need for a road tire.

  5. #5
    On-On! Dr.PooLittle's Avatar
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    I have a mini pump with a Presta/Schrader head but use a Schrader converter on my Presta valves anyway, just to avoid complications (I've snapped off a head before, too.)
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  6. #6
    Healthy and active twobikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by likeguymontag View Post
    I'd be skeptical that a general-purpose electric pump could reach the ~100 psi you need for a road tire.
    The little 12 volt inflator from Wal-Mart is rated at 250 psi maximum. I put about 110 psi in my tires. It will do 120 psi and more with no problem.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Next time you use a frame pump, cradle the valve stem and the end of the pump with one hand while pumping with the other. When you're done pumping, use an open palm and give a straight slap to the pump body to get it off the valve. Practice this and other flat changing techniques at home first - don't wait until you have a flat in a remote area.

    I have one of those 12v pumps. It works but I use a floor pump on my bikes. You can get a decent one for $25.

    I use Park tire boots. A dollar or energy bar wrapper will work but I take the Park boot and a stick on patch kit, lay them on a folded spare tube, put the three items in a ziplock snack bag and put a rubber band on the outside. Then I slip a tire lever under the rubber band.

  8. #8
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy Pig View Post
    Next time you use a frame pump, cradle the valve stem and the end of the pump with one hand while pumping with the other.
    Or get a pump with a hose. There's a few of them out there by now.

    I'd always have a floor pump to keep at home, too. The weekly topping-off of the tires isn't as annoying when you can put your weight into it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    I also have 12v/120v air compressor (I think from Black and Decker) that I use to pump up my road bike tires. The tires need 120psi, I only weigh 125 lbs - so the air compressor works nicely. They are quite noisy, however.

  10. #10
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    If you're bending valves, you're not holding the pump and wheel correctly as you pump.
    And like Grumpy mentioned, a quick karate shop at the pump head is all that's needed to release the pump from the valve.


    I'm not so sure about carrying an electric air compressor with you on the bike....

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy Pig View Post
    Next time you use a frame pump, cradle the valve stem and the end of the pump with one hand while pumping with the other. When you're done pumping, use an open palm and give a straight slap to the pump body to get it off the valve. Practice this and other flat changing techniques at home first - don't wait until you have a flat in a remote area.

    I have one of those 12v pumps. It works but I use a floor pump on my bikes. You can get a decent one for $25.

    I use Park tire boots. A dollar or energy bar wrapper will work but I take the Park boot and a stick on patch kit, lay them on a folded spare tube, put the three items in a ziplock snack bag and put a rubber band on the outside. Then I slip a tire lever under the rubber band.
    Kudos on the pump technique... been doing this way "forever." I wrap my hand onto the tire and grab some wheel too... all in an effort to stabilize the pump head to the valve.

    As far as the "boot" idea... I keep a bit of duct tape wrapped around my pump, and if the tire gets a rip that needs "supporting" I have found a couple layers of duct tape stuck inside works quite well and is still cheaper then the ever dwindling dollar.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    If you're bending valves, you're not holding the pump and wheel correctly as you pump.
    And like Grumpy mentioned, a quick karate shop at the pump head is all that's needed to release the pump from the valve.


    I'm not so sure about carrying an electric air compressor with you on the bike....
    Actualy, those little compressors aren't too tough to carry along- but the extension cord is a real killer...

    A decent floor pump is easy to use & not too expensive, and it doesn't have to be one of the big glamour names either. When I bought my Trek SU200, the owner also had a RAVX floor pump, with built-in gauge, that he was asking $25 for. He wound up throwing it in for no extra $$ on my part. Maybe he felt I'd earned it for driving 145 miles one way, about 50 miles of that through blinding fierce thunderstorms(no foolin', they were *bad* storms & I was lucky to get there at all)- or maybe he just wasn't getting any nibbles on it & didn't want to throw it away or take it when they moved. Anyhoo, I have it, it works really well & makes it a snap to air up bike tires at home. It's also easy to carry in the car, needs no electricity whatever, and the gauge seems to be pretty accurate too.

    Or you could get one of those little compressors- and a *long* extension cord...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbiked View Post
    1.) is it safe to ride with that little plug broken off from that presta valve? and will it let me put more air into it? until i buy a replacement tube

    2.) road tires apparently are a lot easier to get flats with... i'm reading that most people recommend just a spare tube and a pump.. and some recommend patch kits and spare tires as well..

    i do plan on getting a bag to put under my seat, i would like to keep it light and keep it on their at all times... i don't plan to do anything longer than 50 miles round trip, at least for now. what all should i pack? i'm already planning on packing a multi-tool, pump, and spare tube... but a tire to?


    3.) can someone point me in the direction of a good pump?
    (1) Safe for the trip home, but beyond that your tube is DONE. They cost $5.00 at my LBS; keep a few spares on hand.

    (2) In my seat pouch I now carry: Cash/ID/Credit card. Cell phone. Topeak Alien II tool (it has its own tire irons). Spare tube. CO2 inflater.

    (3) I got a Topeak floor pump. I forget the model. After using a floor pump I'll never go back to trying to inflate with a frame pump. I actually ruined a few tubes with frame pumps. The floor pump loads my Armadillos up to 125psi with almost no effort. You NEED a floor pump. It's a lot easier to use accurately than the 12v pump I also used to use, and doesn't wake the neighbors when I fiddle with it at night.


    As for frequent road-bike flats: I once went for a ride with my wife around a nearby park where she and I each picked up three to four rams-heads per tire before we made it home. It was terrible. Our tires were as good as ruined because we couldn't get the entire sticker out. We had to get new tires and tubes for both of our bikes.

    We ended up getting tires with a kevlar strip under the tread. That's been a great move for us. I haven't had a flat since.

    When I recently upgraded my hybrid's tires from 38 to 25, I switched from a semi-knobby kevlar tire to Specialized Armadillo tires, also with a kevlar strip under the tread. Once again I was out biking with a friend, and he picked up a thorn, resulting in a flat. I have managed to stay flat free ever since switching to kevlar.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I add a couple of alcohol swabs to the seat bag. They take up about as much space as that dollar bill, and I'd much rather put a patch on a clean tube. So, now I carry a spare tube, swabs, and patch kit on each bike. I've got a Road Morph on the street bike. The hybrid gets by with a combination mini pump/co2 inflator. I also pack a set of metric allen wrenches with each bike.

    This works well. I developed this setup after walking two miles in a shoe with cleats, and haven't (crosses fingers) had a flat since.
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