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Every cyclist knows you can’t do without a pump. You may have a floor pump to inflate your tires before you leave. But, you must have a portable one to deal with any hitches along the road until you get back to your comfort zone.

A hand pump is a bike pump fit for MTBs. It comes in handy in times of emergencies. For, you can use it to make those quick top-ups by the roadside. Other types include track, CO2 inflators, and electric pumps.

In this guide, we concentrate on the hand pump as a go-to gadget for a quick tire fix. For starters, do you need a hand pump in the first place? Here are the details:

Uses of a Hand Pump

A hand pump has the following unique attributes that make it ideal for the road:

  • It has a lightweight and compact frame. In turn, this pump is easy to carry in your backpack or hang it to your bike’s frame.
  • It’ll get you out of sticky situations when help is beyond reach.
  • The pumps attach directly or use a minute flexible hose. This way, it creates a comfortable posture for pumping your bike.
  • These pumps rarely include gauges, which is one of the most expensive components. Hence, they retail at an affordable price.

What are the Key Features of a Hand Pump?

A mini bike pump (hand pump) helps to put the required amount of air into the bike’s tire. It uses a hand-operated piston to draw the air into the wheel through a one-way valve. It is a small gear that is operated with one hand at a time. Hence, as a hand tool, it ought to have a robust construction that is ergonomic for ease of use. But, a superior construction goes beyond the basic inflation needs. It should have the following extra traits:

Frame:

A hand pump with a robust construction should neither fiddle a lot nor make a rattling sound when you use it. Instead, it should have a strong and stable metal base. Aluminum or steel materials are quite sturdy for the frame. Plus, bamboo handles look classic and offer a firm grip. Second, the handle should have ample grip. More so, if you intend to pump more than one tire at once.

Valving:

Most mountain bikers prefer the Presta valve for its robustness.  Indeed, it is a long, slim metallic valve with tapers at its top end. This valve can resist very high air pressures.

Next, the Schrader valve is typical of kids’ bikes. And, the Dunlop valve is standard in Asian and European countries. Are you heading to these countries? You’ll need to buy an adapter for your Dunlop valve.

Pump Heads:

A mountain bike’s hand pump ought to have a versatile pump head. Here, you can choose between a twin, swappable, and an adjustable pump head.

A twin pump head uses dual ports, that is, for a Presta valve and a Schrader valve. It’s an ideal choice when riding in the company of kids. Second, a hand pump with a swappable head can inflate any of the valving. But, you’ll need to reverse the internals before you do the swap. This switch takes a few seconds. Third, a hand pump with an adjustable head has automated features for the change. It can detect and adjust to either a Schrader or a Presta valve on its own.

Functionality:

Reading the gauge on the best hand pump for mountain bikes should be straightforward. Hence, opt for hand pumps that use big gauges with fluorescent backgrounds. Also, its gauge markings should be in small increments for precise pressure dialing. Such checks will alert you of the slightest drop in pressure.

Multi-purpose hand pumps come in handy when handling many bikes. They allow for both high volume inflation on MTBs and high pressure for skinny road wheels. Besides, they retail with an extendable telescope to ease the switch.

A lightweight hand pump is convenient for traveling. So, when you go out of the country, you want a gear that is compatible with parts and components on sale in those regions. Plus, your ideal hand pump should be easy to adapt to other types of bikes, including BMX bikes.

Opt for hand pumps with oversized pistons. For, they help you meet the pressure you want with minimal strokes.

Accessories:

A hand pump can have the following accessories:

  • A flexible air hose:
    This hose helps in reaching tight areas.
  • A fold-out footpeg:
    This peg stabilizes the pump when using it.
  • Velcro straps to secure the pump:
    These straps also hold the mounting kit to the bike.
  • A repair kit to deal with punctures in minutes
  • A bike frame mount for ease of movement
  • A dust shield or cover:
    It keeps dirt and debris of the hand pump’s mouth.

Brand and Price

The best hand pump for mountain bikes is by reliable brands. In turn, they give you great value for your money. Below is a list of the top 2 recommended hand pump brands for MTBs:

  • Pro Bike
    A-Pro Bike hand pump is an inexpensive tool that scores high on performance. This hand pump includes a hose and a pressure gauge. It is suitable for all types of bikes. Furthermore, you can use it to inflate other objects like balls. Yet, this hand pump lacks in the dual pressure and volume pumping capability.
  • Vibrelli
    The Vibrelli hand pumps rank high on affordability. The  bargain price is partly because these pumps do not include a gauge. Still, they are a Rapid T-valve that is compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves. Its dual design allows for both pressure and volume pumping. Plus, it is a compact design that fits well in a backpack.

Conclusion

A mini bike pump for MTB is an indispensable tool for every cyclist. Hence, cyclists should know what to look for in the best of the best in such gadgets. The hand pump should be compact, ergonomic, and lightweight. Besides, it has to be durable and retail at an affordable price to meet such a criterion. Use this guide to sieve through the many hand pump brands as you search for your ideal gear.

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