There are many schools of thought about where you should keep a bike pump when you’re out cycling. On the one hand, plenty of folks swear by having it in a backpack (if they’re mountain biking) or a back pocket of their jersey (if they’re out on a road bike).
Both of these methods are great, but for me, they’re just one more thing that I have to remember when I’m going out for a cycle. And I hate it when I forget to take a pump out with me, because then I know I’ll be guaranteed to get a flat tire.
So, for me, keeping the pump fitted to my bike is really the best option, as that way I know it will always be there when I need it. And I can concentrate on remembering the snacks (nom nom) and the drinks (slurp slurp). I decided to do some research online to see what the best methods are for stashing a bike pump on your frame and I’ve found some great solutions which will hold it really securely. I’ve also checked out a few of the common questions that people have about bike pumps and have answers for you. Let’s take a look.
Where to mount pump on road bike
What you’re looking for in choosing a place to store your bike pump is a length of frame tubing that is longer than your pump. Also, where the pump won’t get in the way of any moving parts on either the bike (such as the pedals) or you (such as your feet). This will tend to narrow it down to three locations:
- The downtube (which goes from the handlebars down to the pedals)
- The seat tube (which goes from the saddle down to the pedals)
- The crossbar (which goes from the handlebars to the saddle)
Have a look at your bike and identify these three areas. You might find that there are reasons why you can’t use this particular location on your bike. For example, the crossbar may have exposed cables running its length. Or you may not have a seat tube at all – full suspension mountain bikes don’t have these so they can free up space for the back wheel suspension.
Alternatively, the downtube or seat tube may have a water bottle cage fixed to it – although this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker as there are pump mounts that can be fitted next to a bottle cage (see a great option below).
On my road bike, I usually have two water bottle cages fitted (downtube and seat tube) and find that the location which works best for me is to have the pump stored on the crossbar.
How to choose a bike pump
When it comes to choosing a bike pump you have three main options:
- Floor pump
- CO2 tire inflator
- Portable bike pump
Floor pumps, like this one, are the best and fastest method of keeping your tires inflated. They’re super-efficient as you can pump with both hands at once and they push a massive amount of air into your tire with each stroke (meaning that it takes less arm work to inflate a tire). The downside is that they’re not exactly the most portable piece of kit.
If you’ve got the funds then I’d definitely recommend getting one of these for use at home. But (and this is a big but) you’ll also need to make sure that you have a portable pump to take out with you on your bike rides. Floor pumps are awesome, however, they can’t inflate a flat tire when you’re 20 miles away from home.
I recently got myself a CO2 tire inflator (like this one) and I’m a huge fan.
Very light and very compact, so they’re easy to stash in a pocket or saddlebag. They use CO2 cartridges (which are available cheaply online) and each cartridge can inflate 1-2 tires from flat in a few seconds. No elbow grease required! The only downside to them is that you need to make sure you have a stock of cartridges. That’s fine if you’re heading out for a day ride. If I’m going for a multi-day tour then I will tend to take a hand pump with me instead, as this works out lighter than taking lots of cartridges.
If I’m going for a portable bike pump then I will tend to go for a mini-pump like this one.
It’s a fantastic piece of kit that is light and comes with plenty of useful features including the extendable air hose and head system for getting to those hard-to-reach tire valves.
It also works with both of the standard bike tire valves (Presta and Schrader). This pump also comes with a mounting kit included for fitting your pump to your bike.
How much does a bike pump cost?
Expect to pay around $25-35 for a good quality portable bike pump. This will be light enough to carry with noticing the extra weight and durable enough to keep your tires regularly topped up. You can get pumps for less than this obviously, but I’ve found (through bitter experience) that these tend to take longer to inflate tires and generally break down after not too many uses.
When you’re a long way away from home, with a flat tire, you will not regret buying a good bike pump. Trust me.
How to mount a bike pump to the frame?
Okay, here are the best ways I’ve found of securing your portable pump to your bike. There are three options for you:
- Trusty and versatile reusable zip ties
- Next-to-your-bottle-cage pump mount
- Anywhere-you-want pump mounting straps
Much like duct tape, zip ties are one of those household items that have so many different uses.
Yes, you can use them for tidying away cables, or even for securing escaping bad guys. But, for me, the best use for them is to fit your air pump to your bike. Look out for ties like these which are re-usable. Most zip ties are one-shot meaning that they’re difficult (though not impossible to open once you’ve zipped them up) these ones are different as you can press the tab on the locking mechanism to open them up.
I used zip ties like these on a recent mountain bike tour that I did where they were ideal for securing a whole variety of kit to my bike. They held everything nice and firmly because of that rubber grip and were easy to secure and release even when caked with mud. They’re also a great option because you can store things anywhere on your bike where you can lash a zip tie.
The mini pump that I highlighted earlier on came with its own mounting bracket. Like this one from MonkeyJack, it uses the same fixings as your water bottle cage and sits side by side with it.
That’s great because it means that other areas of your bike frame are kept clear for storing other kit. I was initially worried that my shins would bash the pump as I pedaled, but that hasn’t been an issue and there is plenty of clearance. You’ll notice that this mounting clip includes a rubber strap that hooks over the pump and holds it solidly to the clip without rattling or shaking.
This is a great quality piece of cycling kit from Zefal.
This features a universal pump bracket that will work with most, if not all, types of portable bike pump with the Velcro strap lashing the pump on securely. One of the reasons why I like these straps so much is the sheer versatility of them as they can be used on so many different places on your bike. Another is that they’re sold in pairs – twice the utility from one packet.
Methods of attaching a bike pump
I’d recommend never going out for a bike ride without taking a pump with you, because it’s a fact of life that you’ll be guaranteed to get a puncture or a flat miles away from home or the nearest bike repair shop. So, get yourself a good quality mini pump and secure it to your bike with one of these tried and tested methods. That way it’s one less thing to think about before your ride (and worry about when you’re on your bike ride without it).