Get Pumped: Inflation Shootout
article & images by Nick Salazar
Nov 13, 2014
Last month, I wrote a rather lengthy review about the new Silca lineup of inflation products. It was my first real in-depth piece specifically about inflation, and only TriRig's second inflation-related article since we reviewed the Birzman Zacoo Maha. Today, we dive into the deep end. This review will be a comprehensive shootout and guide, to help athletes better understand the world of available options for pump heads and the valves around which they close.
Why go to such depths for such a small part of the riding experience? Because, quite simply, most available options suck. They either fail to seal reliably, wear too quickly, aren't disc-compatible, aren't easily rebuildable/repairable, or all of the above. Most athletes simply accept this as a fact of life, and make to with whatever they have. To me, that's unacceptable. With careful equipment selection, you can get perfect performance out of your pumping solution. Removing that little headache from the cycling experience - and truly sorting out your tire inflation - is just one of those Zen things that I think can improve your life. And to be clear, I'm not going to discuss all of the available options on the market. Just the ones I think are the best. This will still be a pretty detailed look at the top-tier pump heads, what valve extensions they work best with, and why they're on this list.
There are five pump heads in this review, and there's a lot to take in with each one. Below is a summary of their various characteristics:
|Silca 17-4 Head||Birzman Snap-It||Kuwahara Hirame||KCNC Presta Head||Silca HIRO|
|Engagement Type||Push-on||Threaded Lock||Pressure Lock||Pressure Lock||Pressure Lock|
|Valve Compatibility||Threaded, Barbed, Straight||Threaded only||Threaded, Barbed, Straight||Threaded, Straight||Threaded, Barbed, Straight|
|Gasket Type/Material||Durable Synthetic||None (O-Ring)||Natural Rubber||Natural Rubber||Durable Synthetic|
|Gasket Availability||Easily-sourced||Not replaceable||Difficult to source||Difficult to source||Easily-sourced|
|Hose Attachment||Schraeder||Schraeder (short)||Barbed||Barbed w/locking nut||Schraeder|
Got all that? Fear not, we'll delve deeper into these things, and what they mean, on the following page. Hit the jump and let's go!