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What can I expect from a frame pump?

Old 05-07-14, 10:17 AM
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What can I expect from a frame pump?

Hello! I have more dumb things to say.

A couple months back I bought a cheap frame pump for my commute. It sucked. It tended to bend my Presta valve stems and didn't do well with getting PSI over about 60 or 70 on my 700x23's. Don't think I ever tried my 700x 28's with Schraeder, but if I did it wasn't a positive experience. Thinking it was the pump, I traded it in for another cheap frame pump. Also crappy experiences. The worst bit seemed to come when taking it off, as I was never able to smoothly detach it and ended up spilling air. Don't have that anymore either.

Recently I got a floor pump worth having (a Topeak). It is GLORIOUS, though not quite as smooth as the Blackburn AirTower 4 we have here at work. It replaced a crummy foot pump I bought ages ago, which sucked so hard I giggled with glee when it finally broke.

So now I want a good frame pump, to replace or supplement the CO2 *** I carry in my commuter bag with a spare tube. I'm aware Topeak makes good pumps, so I'm liable to get their frame pump, which has been thumb-upped here a couple times I've seen. However, I'm not sure just how to benchmark it as a good pump. Here are my questions (after much wasted text above):

1) How much pressure are frame pumps, in general, "good for"? They lack a strong base to push against, so I suspect they might not be able to get the 100-120 pounds my tyres ask for.

2) Are they typically brutal on Presta valves, specifically the stems? Is there a technique to it, or is it a problem with cheap pumps (a concept I am wholly abandoning)?

3) When detaching, do these usually have issues causing leaks? Or is that another technique and or cheap pump thing?

Thanks,

M.
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Old 05-07-14, 10:27 AM
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I really like the Topeak Morph (Road or Mountain) because they are more like a floor pump than many other portables. The flexible hose will be easier on your valves then anything a traditional frame pump will do. I don't run high pressure currently, but I think the Road Morph will give you pretty high pressure, since you can step on the little flap just like the base of a floor pump, and lean on the pump to get the pressure... It isn't as nice as a good floor pump, but it is as close as I would expect to get for a portable pump.
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Old 05-07-14, 11:17 AM
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So the Road Morph is actually made to work against the ground? Looked it back up - it is quite large. Guess I'm sold!

M.
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Old 05-07-14, 11:56 AM
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To me, a frame pump is an emergency device that allows you to put enough air in a tire to get home where you can inflate the tire to its proper setting. Don't expect 110psi from a frame pump.
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Old 05-07-14, 12:05 PM
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Yea the deal is you need to generate a higher pressure in the Pump than what is in the tire , to raise the PSI in the tire ....

But as said a Floor pump you can use the whole body weight to push down the plunger , but for on the road puncture repairs

the mini-floor pump like Morph pumps are allowing you to push against the ground as well ..


the presta valve is not the issue , (unless you dont unscrew the nut and tap the pin before you start pumping )
(then operator , not the valve's shortcoming)

the air in the hose escapes , the air-pressure in the tire closes the stem check valve , then screw down the nut again..

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-07-14 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 05-07-14, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DBA
To me, a frame pump is an emergency device that allows you to put enough air in a tire to get home where you can inflate the tire to its proper setting. Don't expect 110psi from a frame pump.
I agree. In fact, I usually carry my full sized pump in the car so that if I drive to a location, I have a proper pump in case I flat anywhere near the car.
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Old 05-07-14, 02:20 PM
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Heck, my Mountain Morph will pump to 120 - I'm sure the road morph will, even if it is a little slower.
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Old 05-07-14, 03:37 PM
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what to expect from a frame pump?

50 pounds.
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Old 05-07-14, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan
what to expect from a frame pump?

50 pounds.
"what to expect from a cheap frame pump", IMHO
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Old 05-07-14, 03:50 PM
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I have a Topeak RaceRocket HP, used it the other day to top off my tires as I don't have a floor pump. It worked fine. It has a flexible hose so you can get to the stem and not put undue pressure on it. Sure, it was a little bit of work but I needed it anyway...
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Old 05-07-14, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
I agree. In fact, I usually carry my full sized pump in the car so that if I drive to a location, I have a proper pump in case I flat anywhere near the car.
OTOH, I frequently use my bike-mounted frame pump (Zefal HPx-4) even when at home if the floor pump is over on the other side of the garage. Decent frame pumps designed for road bikes shouldn't have any problem getting the pressure up to 120 psi.
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Old 05-07-14, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann
OTOH, I frequently use my bike-mounted frame pump (Zefal HPx-4) even when at home if the floor pump is over on the other side of the garage. Decent frame pumps designed for road bikes shouldn't have any problem getting the pressure up to 120 psi.
+1 on the HPx4. Great pump that has no trouble pumping to 120. Been using these Zefal frame pumps since the 70s and never damaged a valve; although it is a good idea to hold the pump head hard against the valve when you hit the higher end of the PSI. That said, I recently acquired a Zefal hose adapter designed for their frame pumps and it works great. Just attach the hose to the valve and the pump and you can inflate the tire without any contortions to prevent damaging the valve.

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Old 05-07-14, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
I agree. In fact, I usually carry my full sized pump in the car so that if I drive to a location, I have a proper pump in case I flat anywhere near the car.
Nice idea. I think I'll start doing that.

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Old 05-07-14, 05:44 PM
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There are some good frame pumps that work well. The Zefal pump are good, I like ones the Topeak morphs and Lezyne micro floor drive, these are both mini floor pumps and have a hose, so it is less likely to break the valve stem.
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Old 05-07-14, 06:58 PM
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Zeffal HPx, Topeak Morph, Lezyne are all good. I have the Zeffal and the Morph. I use a Park Tool floor pump in my shop. I like the Morph it fits in a seat bag, or even a back pocket. Buy the Road Morph if you have skinny high pressure tires, the Mountain Morph if you have high volume lower pressure tires.

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Old 05-07-14, 07:37 PM
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I've got a Mini Morph. Same diameter as the Road Morph, I think, but shorter so it takes more strokes to move the same amount of air. It definitely gets pressures into usable range without Herculean effort, but doesn't have a gauge like the Road Morph so you don't know exactly how much pressure you've got. The flip-out foot peg, t-handle, and hose are so much more usable than the few frame pumps I've tried.

Big thumbs-up for the Morph pumps.
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Old 05-07-14, 08:30 PM
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It's probably good to be clear that there is a difference between a frame pump (e.g. Zefal HpX, Park PMP5) and a mini-pump (e.g. Lezyne Road Drive, Topeak Pocket Rocket). A pump like the Topeak Road Morph G falls somewhere in between, but indeed a frame pump is designed to mount inside the frame (they come in sizes for this reason), and a mini pump is designed to use a bracket or strap to secure to the bike if not stuffed in a pocket or bag.

It's much easier to do road tire inflation with a frame pump, though care must be taken not to leverage the valve stem while pumping.
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Old 05-07-14, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MEversbergII
1) How much pressure are frame pumps, in general, "good for"? They lack a strong base to push against, so I suspect they might not be able to get the 100-120 pounds my tyres ask for.

2) Are they typically brutal on Presta valves, specifically the stems? Is there a technique to it, or is it a problem with cheap pumps (a concept I am wholly abandoning)?

3) When detaching, do these usually have issues causing leaks? Or is that another technique and or cheap pump thing?
1. How much pressure any hand pump can produce is dependent on the operator. It comes down to the stroke and diameter of the barrel. Longer pumps take less time to fully inflate your tire and skinnier barrels allow you to inflate your tire harder. The laws of physics can't be violated regardless what material the pump is made of or what pressure the manufacturer says it will attain.
2. Damage to Presta valves is usually a technique issue. In general, you don't want to wiggle the valve stem with every stroke. That's one reason why Road Morphs, which have a hose are so highly regarded. Too bad they're so clunky-looking. When I use a pump that doesn't have a hose, I grip the pump and tire with one hand and brace it against a tree or post of some kind.
3. When unclamping the valve stem try holding the tire vertically with the valve on top and press straight down. Wiggling the valve stem is bad.

You didn't ask but the only good thing about mini pumps is they're easy to carry when you're not using it.
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Old 05-07-14, 09:51 PM
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I have the Road Morph G with a gauge. When our group rides together and there is a flat, my Road Morph is typically the go-to inflation device. It will do 110 psi fairly easily and with a little extra effort, 120 psi.

I keep my old Mountain Morph on my other bike. Same results with it.
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Old 05-07-14, 09:59 PM
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If you can get past the editorializing , there's some good technique advice for frame pumps here: The Silca Impero pump (Jobst Brandt)
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Old 05-07-14, 10:27 PM
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Alright, I'm out and out sold on the Road Morph G - it will be on my next "Bike stuff" buy!

M.
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Old 05-08-14, 05:11 AM
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I have a $50 Amazon gift card and need everything but bar ends (hybrid) still for a bike. I have read repeatably the recommendation for the Road Morph so I have the one in my Amazon cart awaiting pay day for additional funds to buy everything else.

I'm running 700x32 at 85 psi max, so would the road or mountain bike version be the one to get for me?
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Old 05-08-14, 07:27 AM
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You're already sold, but I'm voting for Road Morph too. I've had like 3 other mini pumps and I bought them because they were small, but they were crap to use. Would have taken 30 minutes to get the tire to rideable pressure, and came apart easily. I haven't had to use the Road Morph on an actual flat yet, but trying it out at home it's very easy to get it up to rideable pressure. The disadvantage is that it's large for a frame pump, but what's the use of getting a small pump if it doesn't do the job?
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Old 05-08-14, 07:46 AM
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OP....I know it's not a frame pump, but have you considered CO2 inflators?
I have one that just screws onto the CO2 cartridge, then you perss it onto the valve stem (will work with presta or schraeder), a quick twist of the valve and the tire is inflated to riding pressure (about 90 psi I think for a 700x25c tire) in about 2 seconds.
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Old 05-08-14, 08:01 AM
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I do have one (and three cartridges), living in my trunk bag with a spare tube and tyre levers (patch kit appears to be MIA...need to order a new one, probably dropped it somewhere). It is pretty handy, but I have this feeling if I go on a long ride, the number of cartridges I will end up needing will be n+1 - whether I bring one or 16. I do have a shraeder/presta adapter in the kit too, just in case.

With warmer weather coming, I intend to start taking myself out on longer rides, as I've significantly shortened my commute since starting here and would like to get long on it again.

M.
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