This article is part of the Fat-bike 101 series and is intended to help new fat-bike owners, and potential fat-bike owners, with some of the questions they may have about fat-bikes. In addition, it is a chance for experienced riders to add comments to help our new brethren enjoy all that fat-biking offers. Consider these articles as conversation starters, not exhaustive explanations!
Why are we discussing pumps specifically for fat-bikes? Well, you are going to get a flat at some point so carrying a tube and a pump is a good way to solve that problem plus there a couple of details that are more specifically fat-bike specific.
That is a lot of air in those things!
The first issue that you will deal with when trying to air up your fat-bike tire on the beach, in the snow or on the trail is that they hold A LOT of air. Most frame-style pumps simply don’t move that much air so if you have a little pinner road bike pump it could take you 400-500 strokes of that little guy to get your pressure up. So, unless you are training for the whack-a-lympics, get the largest volume cylinder you can find and that you’d carry on every ride because you know if you don’t take it on that one ride, that is when you’ll need it.
Don’t break that valve!
The second issue you will face is that even with a larger volume pump cylinder you’ll still need a couple of hundred strokes to fill a 3.8″ fat-bike tire to 15psi and if you have your pump directly attached to the valve all that wiggling around can break your Presta valve. That is why we prefer pumps that have the pump head attached to a hose so you won’t wiggle the valve while you pump and break it off.
Two come to mind (pictured above) because they have a hose on them and have a larger cylinder volume that most other frame pumps.
- Favorite – Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV (HV is for High Volume. You won’t need the HP, that is for High Pressure.) This pump retails for about $44.95.
- Really Good – Topeak Mountain Morph (Not the Road Morph or the Mini Morph!) Retail is in the $37.95 range.
The main reason I like the Lezyne the most is that the hose actually screws on to the Presta valve on your tube and makes a very secure and leakproof connection so you aren’t wasting any of those pump strokes. That said I used Mt. Morphs for years and it is a great pump.
I am sure there are other pumps of this style out there so if you have a favorite, let us know!
If you are an experienced fat-biker please consider leaving a comment below to help newbies get maximum enjoyment from their ride.
If you have a topic you’d like for us to open up a dialog on, please send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to cover it.
I did a test between the Lezyne alloy drive HV (has a pull out hose) and the micro floor drive HV. I remember a difference of 100 pumps between the two. The floor drive was about 350 pumps to 8psi I think and the alloy was about 450 pumps. The big difference was my arm was sore after using the alloy drive and I didn’t even notice using the floor drive because I could set it on the ground and use the foot peg.
I have the mountain morph, absolutely love it. What provoked me to purchase this pump was tearing a valve off with a dinky roadie pump while in Moab. The foot peg and t-handle are nice features as well.
I’ve got both. I’m currently using the Lezyne for the same reasons as explained above I.e. The screw on chuck and the longer hose is definately a benefit. However, the Mountain Morph is far more comfortable to use owing to its larger handle. I also think that the body is of a slightly better design/build quality as my Lezyne isn’t standing the test of time half as well. The pump action just isn’t as smooth somehow and there is a lot of play in the handle (although I’m yet to see a reduction in performance). The ultimate pump would be the Mountain Morph body with the Lezyne hose.
I have used the Genuine Innovations Monster Air CO2 Cartridges (45 grams). Got a few pinch flats until I dialed in the pressure on my Big Fat Larry’s. One cartridge will fill one tire. I still carry a pump and patches. I haven’t found them locally but available on line. Cartridge is somewhat expensive and a little heavy but it gets you up and riding quickly.
I had been considering the Morph but since going tubeless a few months ago, flats are a very distant memory. My experience with fat tires (Husker Dues, Nates & Dillengers) has been that they seem much more prone to flatting than skinny tires probably due to larger surface area and thinner casings. If you want be safe – by all means get a higher volume pump but you will be better off going tubless and can put the money you save toward new toys.
The low-pressure version of the Maier Accu-Gauge is the best gauge available for fatbike use. In fact, for any application under 30psi, it’s the best.
@Nick, how did you get on going tubeless? Can you share any tips? We’ve discussed it amongst a few guys with fat bikes in the uk, but all thought there’d be too much chance of rolling the bead. Thanks.
@David, I set my fatbike up tubeless last october and ran it tubeless throughout the winter, spring and summer without rolling the tire off. I ran pressures down to about 5 in the snow and kept it around 8-10 psi in the summer. The key for me was to build up the shoulder profile of the rim. I had rolling darryl and nates (stock on a mukluk 3) and noticed that once the bead was seated it was pretty tight already. A couple of rounds of gorilla tape and I virtually had to lay the wheel down and stand on the tire to get the tire to un-seat from the bead once set up. The key is to have a really tight fit so test it after you have the rim profile built up before adding sealant.
For the weight wienies out there, I read that the fiberglass tape is lighter than the Gorilla tape AND over time the ‘glass tape will not turn slimy like the other. FYI….
No more updated to this series? 🙁
Hey a useful addition to this bike pump section would be for tire gauges…
I am new to the Fatbike world but notice none of my floor pumps seem very accurate below 1bar and most manufactures give a +/- of .5-1lb . So especially when you are going to super low pressures of 3-5lb in snow. what are you using to record pressure? there doesn’t seem to be many options for low pressure gauges…
I’ve just purchased a Topeak digital pressure gauge for £14 & it been great 🙂
Accu-Gage brand makes accurate analog dial-type tire pressure gauges. I bought the 0-15psi presta valve gauge for use with my fat bike. They also have a version covering 0-30psi, but I figured the 0-15psi would most accurately cover the typical pressures I would be operating at.
The 0-15 psi gauge is the way to go for fatbike tires. However, it’s extremely easy to break these low pressure gauges. Even 16 psi will damage the gauge and result in the needle failing to zero out. I’ve done this to two gauges now, inadvertently. The good thing is that GH Meiser will take the gauge back and fix it for free (with $3 charge for return shipping).
I am new to faties and riding a ’14 Pug. My Topeak SEEMS to be pretty consistent but ordered a Mesiesr 0-30 just to see. I am riding stock build at 7-8 psi on my guage and love it.
Hey—I just bought a Framed Minnesota 2.0 used and its getting a new rigid fork and a tune up. Its my first fat bike and I am really looking forward to riding it. I hadn’t thought about the pump issue so thanks for the info. I will try Co2 since I have it. Any other advice is welcome.
Lezyne now has the Micro Floor Drive XL designed for fattys. (about $60)
We have one coming in for review!
Waiting impatiently for that review 🙂 !
I can squeeze a high end floor pump to make 100 psi; when I came on your website I was expecting to do the same. As i was looking for a frame style pump that would do the same. But my reading of the reviews before my review proved I not found what I wanted/need.
Fat-Bike Tire pressures generall run between 5-15 psi (sometimes lower)