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Floor pumps, head types

Old 12-27-08, 10:09 AM
  #1  
cllvt
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Floor pumps, head types

Maybe I should ask this elsewhere, but you folks seem to have the most "rounded" opinions I think (at least in this old guys mind). I have purchased cheap pumps, fairly expensive pumps, not really happy with any of them. It's usually a failure with the pumphead that kills it.

Last go-round, I ordered a Topeak Smarthead to go on a pump that still worked fine, but had a dead head. They get good reviews, and it worked well for a couple months on presta valves. Then I tried it on schraeder and was not able to get it to work. Still worked fine on presta. Then we tried it again on schraeder, sort of worked, then stopped working ... not schraeder, not presta, dead. This was only a few months old, maybe used 30 times. Topeak quickly sent me a new one, good service! Well, works fine on presta, does not work on schraeder, even if I loosen the chrome part a turn as customer service suggested. I feel like I know where this is going. I have seen some reviews where people say to use pumps for one or the other valve type. Maybe they are correct?

When I look at pumps, most of them have very similar looking heads, and claim to do both valve types, but I think I want to stay away from that style.

The Silca pumps have a different style. How do they work? Do they lock on somehow? Do they work OK for threaded and non-threaded valve stems, and presta/schraeder?

Any info on the Silcas would be appreciated. I also like the fact that they are rebuildable, but would like it to be easy to use as well. Thanks,
Chris
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Old 12-27-08, 10:17 AM
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I use this one with a dual head.
Had it for one year, use it everyday.
Lifetime warranty.
https://www.southport-rigging.com/browse.cfm/4,4681.html
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Old 12-27-08, 10:23 AM
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All of my pumps have had dual heads, not one combo head. They have always worked fine. Current pump is a Park Tools home pump and the older pump now gone to one of the kids was a planet bike. That pump finally required a new washer..........about normal after all those years.
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Old 12-27-08, 10:52 AM
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I have been using a Topeak Smarthead for several years on both presta and schraeder valves with no problems. I like it better than any other pump head I've used except possibly the Silca presta-only type. It sounds to me like you got a bad unit. Not typical of the product. Could it be something odd about the way you are using it?
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Old 12-27-08, 10:58 AM
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Yes, it could be. I had trouble with the SV on the Smarthead (Topeak) of mine, but eventually got it to work just fine. Don't remember what I did differently, but the problem was the user, not the Smarthead!

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Old 12-27-08, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
All of my pumps have had dual heads, not one combo head. They have always worked fine. Current pump is a Park Tools home pump and the older pump now gone to one of the kids was a planet bike. That pump finally required a new washer..........about normal after all those years.
Myself and two friends have dual head floor pumps - all different makes! and all three of us have problems with air escaping from the unused opening.
After fiddling with it, it eventually works but we'll be darned if we can figure out what the problem is.
Operator error?
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Old 12-27-08, 12:03 PM
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I've got a Specialized floor pump which I've used with a Topeak Smart Head for many years. Over most of that time it's worked well with Presta but took some serious concentration to make it work with Schrader. Recently it's started leaking air when I use it with a Presta valve. I think that the head is about due for replacement.

My two top choices are either the Silca Presta only head or the Silca Presta/Schrader head that rotates to shift from one to the other. If I were ordering the part today I think that I'd pick the Presta only head (with the 90 degree bend) because I've never seen the convertable so I've no idea how well it works.
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Old 12-27-08, 04:43 PM
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I've got a Topeak Joe Blow Pro, with Smart Head, never had a problem on either Schraeder or Presta.
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Old 12-27-08, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dellphinus View Post
I've got a Topeak Joe Blow Pro, with Smart Head, never had a problem on either Schraeder or Presta.
How old is yours? Mine's about 8 or 10 years old. They could have been improved over that time or mine may just be worn out.
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Old 12-27-08, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
I have been using a Topeak Smarthead for several years on both presta and schraeder valves with no problems. I like it better than any other pump head I've used except possibly the Silca presta-only type. It sounds to me like you got a bad unit. Not typical of the product. Could it be something odd about the way you are using it?

Um, I guess I could be doing something wrong, but darned if I know. I even tried the "trick" that customer support suggested for schraeders. So far the replacement behaves just like the old one. Fine for presta, can't get it to work for schraeder. Who know? I am at the point that if it's that difficult to use the pump head it's either 1) poor design, or 2) specific instructions are required (none included or on-line). Maybe I'm just cranky, but it does not seem that it should be a project to pump up your bike tires. I am leaning towards the Silca, or maybe just use the Topeak for prestas, and pick up another pump for the schraeders ... jeeese.
Chris
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Old 12-27-08, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cllvt View Post
Um, I guess I could be doing something wrong, but darned if I know. I even tried the "trick" that customer support suggested for schraeders. So far the replacement behaves just like the old one. Fine for presta, can't get it to work for schraeder.
To get mine to work with Schraders I have to be very careful to push it well down on the valve stem. Otherwise it won't push the Schrader finger down to open the valve.
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Old 12-27-08, 05:28 PM
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I'm going to reverse my opinion about it being a faulty unit. I think what may be at work here is the incredible complexity of the human hand and fingers. There must be forty gazillion different bones, tendons, nerves and muscles involved in the seemingly simple act of placing a pump head on a tire valve. Is it any wonder that little variations in individual physiology combined with little quirks in how we perceive instructions and how we prefer to hold and move things to cause what works for some not to work for others?

Another example involving pumps and valves is how some people seem to break valve stems every few times they pump up a tire. I have watched people do this hoping to see what they were doing wrong and often could not see anything they did differently but clearly seeing that they got different results.

I bet for every person who has trouble with the Smarthead, there is another pump head that works great for them and that some of us who have good luck with the Smarthead have trouble making it work.

So, I think it must come down to this. There is nothing wrong with the pump head and there is nothing wrong with the way the OP is using it. It is just one of those quirky things that doesn't make sense but there it is. It just be's that way.

If it don't work for you then you shouldn't have to put up with it. Youll just have to find one that does work for you and your phalanges. Or maybe I'm wrong and that's not it at all.
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Old 12-27-08, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
How old is yours? Mine's about 8 or 10 years old. They could have been improved over that time or mine may just be worn out.
2005 model.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
I'm going to reverse my opinion about it being a faulty unit. I think what may be at work here is the incredible complexity of the human hand and fingers. There must be forty gazillion different bones, tendons, nerves and muscles involved in the seemingly simple act of placing a pump head on a tire valve. Is it any wonder that little variations in individual physiology combined with little quirks in how we perceive instructions and how we prefer to hold and move things to cause what works for some not to work for others?

Another example involving pumps and valves is how some people seem to break valve stems every few times they pump up a tire. I have watched people do this hoping to see what they were doing wrong and often could not see anything they did differently but clearly seeing that they got different results.

I bet for every person who has trouble with the Smarthead, there is another pump head that works great for them and that some of us who have good luck with the Smarthead have trouble making it work.

So, I think it must come down to this. There is nothing wrong with the pump head and there is nothing wrong with the way the OP is using it. It is just one of those quirky things that doesn't make sense but there it is. It just be's that way.

If it don't work for you then you shouldn't have to put up with it. Youll just have to find one that does work for you and your phalanges. Or maybe I'm wrong and that's not it at all.
bluesdawg,

Maybe you are right, who knows. I have had others try with the old smarthead though, same resuilts (ok w/presta, no-go on shraeders), but maybe they are like me (unable to physically operate combo pumpheads)? I can't recall ever breaking a valve stem, but maybe those are different skills.

I think at this point I am just soured on the combohead style, but as they seem to work for a lot of folks , that's great and I wish you continued success - may your pumphead never blow off your valve stem until you have reached your desired pressure!. You are certainly right about different folks having different experiences with pumps though; to read through reviews sometimes you really wonder if they are talking about the same pump. Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions,
Chris
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Old 12-27-08, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cllvt View Post
may your pumphead never blow off your valve stem until you have reached your desired pressure!.
I think we've just found a new wedding toast!
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Old 12-27-08, 09:36 PM
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I have this one https://bontrager.com/model/05264/en and it is the best pump I have owned to date. It works really well on presta valves and I can easily pump tubies up to 160 psig. It grabs the presta valve securely and releases easily without harming the valve stem connection to the inner tube. It works well on smooth stems, threaded stems, smooth deep dish carbon extender stems and high pressure tubulars. I have not tried it on schrader valve stems. YMMV
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Old 12-27-08, 09:44 PM
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My Topeak Joe Blow Pro works like yours. The Topeak smart head is great for presta. The dual head on the Topeak Joe Blow Sport doesn't fit in between the spokes on a 20" wheel. I need to get a pump with the dual head on the same side for that. What happened on your smart head was trying to put it on the schrader valve messed up the rubber seal inside. Happened to me and I got the replacement kit.
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Old 12-27-08, 10:46 PM
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my final rubber gasket I had for my 35+yr old Silca Track pump finally gave up the ghost about a yr ago. And finding replacements for that head seems impossible.
So I took a chance on a 'replacement' for the entire hose and head assembly and got the replacement assembly from nashbar - very inexpensive. It has separate locking (opposite facing) connectors for Schrader and Presta, and after a year of solid use of both heads, I gotta say its pretty good.
I like the separate connectors, since each needs only to work with its head type. Thumbs up for this pump head. Have used both heads a lot, and they both work reliably well.
It comes (and is shown) on the nashbar white floor pump - reg $29.99, and now on sale for $16.99.

Can;t say anything about the rest of that pump, but the head assembly works great.
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Old 12-28-08, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
my final rubber gasket I had for my 35+yr old Silca Track pump finally gave up the ghost about a yr ago. And finding replacements for that head seems impossible.
So I took a chance on a 'replacement' for the entire hose and head assembly and got the replacement assembly from nashbar - very inexpensive. It has separate locking (opposite facing) connectors for Schrader and Presta, and after a year of solid use of both heads, I gotta say its pretty good.
I like the separate connectors, since each needs only to work with its head type. Thumbs up for this pump head. Have used both heads a lot, and they both work reliably well.
It comes (and is shown) on the nashbar white floor pump - reg $29.99, and now on sale for $16.99.

Can;t say anything about the rest of that pump, but the head assembly works great.
cyclezen,
I am going to give that one a try. I was thinking that the heads with seperate connections for each type might work better (for me). Price is right. Thanks,
Chris
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Old 12-28-08, 08:48 AM
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handpump head problems

Wow, and I thought I was the only one with pum problems! Personally, I have found the pumps with the "smart" heads to be basically worthless. I have a Planet Bike ST with the "smart" head that will attach to both Schrader and Presta valves, but leaks above 90 psi. I thought I would be wise to spend the big bucks and get a Topeak Joe Blow Pro, and it also will not go past 90 psi on Schrader or Presta valves.

I purchased a Silca Pista, and could not be happier with a pump for my bikes with the Presta valves, but the screw on attachment for the Schrader stems is a POS and leaks at very low pressures. So far the only pump I have that really works for the Schrader valve stems is a cheapo "Tech Team" that I bought at Target or K-Mart but only fit Schrader valves, but I've had it for 5+ years and it still pumps great and will let me pump up to 120 psi (I don't go any higher) on the Schrader valves.

The only down side with the Silca pump was me learning how to disconnect it from the valve stem. I learned the hard way that I needed to rest both of my palms on the tire, place both thumbs on the pump head opposite of each other, and then press then head evenly to push it off the valve stem. When I tried any other method of disconnecting, POW, and I ripped the valve stem off the tire...making me not a very happy camper. But since I learned a safe method of pump head disengagement, I think the Silca pump head style is the greatest for Presta valve stems.
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Old 12-28-08, 09:06 AM
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I tend to use a pump for only one type of valve, and since all my bikes are now presta, I've had no problems. In the past, I always had problems when switching from presta to schrader. I wouldn't even think of using my floor pump on a schrader valve. That would be like making instant coffee in my wife's favorite tea pot.... something that is simply not done. When someone comes along with a schrader valve, I pull the small pump from my VW trunk that plugs into the cigarette lighter. I really think switching between two different valve types is just a bad idea. BTW, I make my pump purchasing decisions based on what is being used at the best LBS in my area. They've got one Silca pump with over 8 years of service on it.
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Old 12-28-08, 09:25 AM
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I bought a Topeak Smarthead for my pump and it broke on about the third tire I tried to inflate. A part under the lever broke and two small springs flew out. They sent a new one, but I'm not too impressed with the durability of that pump head.

I only use it on Presta valves however.
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Old 12-28-08, 11:11 AM
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Just for a sanity check, this morning I used my Zefal Husky pump with replacement Topeak Smarthead to pump up the tires on my road bike (presta) and my son's MTB (schraeder). It worked just fine on both as it has every time I've used it over the past five years (fifteen years for the pump). A pair of fine products imho.
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Old 12-28-08, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Just for a sanity check, this morning I used my Zefal Husky pump with replacement Topeak Smarthead to pump up the tires on my road bike (presta) and my son's MTB (schraeder). It worked just fine on both as it has every time I've used it over the past five years (fifteen years for the pump). A pair of fine products imho.
You know BluesDawg, (I can say this in the 50+ forum I think) ... maybe part of the problem is that they don't make 'em like they used to. I was thinking about this, and my pump issues really started just in the last few years. The pump I had for 15 or 20 years before that was fine, until it physically fell to pieces (not an expensive pump either, but I can't recall the brand). Seems as it had more metal though than the newer ones. I even saw several Pista reviews where folks said the new ones were not as sturdy, but at least they are still rebuildable. Or maybe that's just what all us old cranks think

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Old 12-31-08, 01:39 PM
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I've had a Silca for almost 20 years with no problems.

Get a head like this for both types of valves.

https://www.westernbikeworks.com/prod...il.asp?p=SNJWI

I'd take off the black part which is designed to push onto a presta stem and be pulled off. I've always had a concern about breaking the valve. At the very least the rubber washer wears out.

Instead take off the black section and replace it with one of the little presta/schraeder adpaptors that the LBS sells for about a dollar. No more pushing or pulling on the stem and a connection that screws to the stem so there's no air leak. Even most threadless stems have a few threads for the useless plastic cap to screw on. For Schraeder, just unscrew the adaptor.
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