As you might know, last time I was in hospital I took my manual wheelchair and my track pump, as I had no idea how long I’d be in there. Tyres do deflate over time, as the CO2 in the air leaks away through the rubber of the innertubes, and I like my tyres rock hard – it reduces rolling resistance and, along with a 4-degree wheel camber, makes steering easier too.
However, the pump proved to be a liability, as it wouldn’t fit in my holdall and neither before or since have I been able to find one small enough**, so I decided I’d go with a CO2 inflator.
**Lezyne list one, but it looks discontinued.
Yes, I can hear what you’re thinking, in the light of what I said about CO2 leaking away, but there’s no viable alternative as both foot pumps and conventional bike pumps are out for physical reasons, but I have plenty of CO2 cartridges.
16g CO2 cartridges can be expensive, I get mine here (scroll down almost to the bottom), in boxes of 30 (I use a lot, for tyres, or in a blower for PC and keyboard dusting, and for blowing accumulated flour off kitchen equipment, and anywhere else where blowing is preferable to poking or scraping, like mini or micro USB ports on portable devices – gently – you want to waft dust and pocket fluff out, not blast it in!). You’ll also find Innovations CO2 inflators there – I bought one, it was crap! It’s no longer offered, but the one that is looks as if it might be useful, but based on my previous experience, I won’t be the one to find out.
So I’ve ordered a Topeak CO2bra CO2 Inflator , and it’ll be here tomorrow, from Evans (which, if you’re not a cyclist, will mean little or nothing). I’ve looked at hundreds of the buggers, literally, and this is the best in terms of ease of use (a priority), and price. The one I currently have is controlled by a knob, which has to be screwed down absurdly tight to shut it off, which is getting beyond me. And then it’s a bugger to open again! This is lever-operated – all you do to shut it off is let go.
The Topeak website provides much more information.
A word of warning. When it comes to CO2 inflators, Amazon UK are pretty clueless – they have little idea which valves they fit and very often make wild guesses. All they have to do is look at the thing itself, but I accept that could be difficult given the size of the premises, or the person entering the data onto the website could open another tab or window, and take a look at the maker’s website – which is what I wound up doing. Rocket science it’s not!
They also make frequent references to a “French Valve” in their track pump descriptions. I was a cyclist for much of my life, and I’ve never heard of a French Valve**. I assumed it’s a high-pressure Presta valve (confirmed by a quick trip to Google). Car valves are Schrader,** NOT, btw, Schraeder, old-style, low-pressure bike valves are Woods, and the very old-style valve – are they still around? – with a pierced stem sealed by rubber tubing, is a Dunlop, but they’re the same as Woods in terms of fitting.
**Named after their inventor, August Schrader.
I suspected that Amazon UK cribbed their info from the US site, but no, they use “Presta” just like the UK, except for Amazon. They probably copied and translated it from a European site. It does account, over the years, for the weirdness of some of Amazon’s product descriptions, if so. I can’t check as I have almost no facility with languages other than English – a little culinary French and Italian, enough German not to starve or go thirsty, and that’s about it – no idea what track pump might be in any other language.
Is it too much to ask, guys, that your British site originates its own text in British English? It’s not like you can’t afford it…
Oh – turns out I’m wrong, I can read German. Badly (in the sixties I worked in shipping, and we had to be able to read the consular and commercial document in most European languages, but mainly French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish). Just had a look at Amazon’s German site. Searching for track pump turns up just 5 of them with names in English, but no help except that my German is better than I thought it would be. Still not good enough to find more as I have no idea of the German name, But hang on, the Oxford Dictionary online translates to German – back in a minute.
Right, no joy translating tack pump, but these things are also known as floor pumps (because they stand on the floor, not because the floor’s flat), and workshop pumps, both of which came up blank, then, finally, I recalled what one, in passing, had been labelled in German – standpumpe – and there I had it. But not the French valve – Germans, too, use Presta.
So I have no idea where Amazon UK got it – probably from a 70-year-old catalogue. One thing I have discovered, though, is that there is no hard evidence for the inventor of the Presta valve being French. In fact, there is no hard evidence about its origin at all.