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!
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