Pump replacement

Bicycle frame showing placement of tire pump and water bottle

I’ve been having more and more difficulty getting the Topeak pump head to seal well on the valve. I thought it might be the tubeless valves I’ve recently put on Kuroko, but we’ve had the same issue with the Halfakid’s bike, and then Halfakid no Tomo. The pump head will seem to be sealed to the valve, but then no air will get into the tire.

Sometimes it’s clear the tire valve isn’t opening to allow the air in — there’s lots of resistance to the pump and no whoosh of air. Other times the air just whooshes out around the valve instead of going into it.

Then after multiple attempts to get the pump head on the valve correctly, it will start to fill the tire — only to pop off the valve before the job is half done.

I got fed up after bruising the palm of my hand filling up Halfakid no Tomo’s tires at the start of our Otarumi Touge ride last week, and decided to look around for something else. It didn’t take me long to come across the Panaracer Mini Floor Pump. It’s the same maker as the GravelKing tires I recently put on Kuroko, as well as the tire levers I’d bought when I wasn’t happy with the ones included with my Topeak minitool. Panaracer makes tires and not much else — they should make a good pump, right?

Rainy cityscape
A good day for bicycle maintenance

We’d originally planned a two-day ride this weekend, but the forecast turned to rain and we decided to postpone. As I wheeled Kuroko out onto the Workshop in the Sky, I was glad that we’d chosen to heed the forecast. In addition to the rain, it was cold and windy.

Valve adapter on wheel and bicycle tire pump
Secure, two-step operation

The Panaracer pump works differently from the Topeak, and I wanted to make sure it worked well before taking the plunge. After removing the valve cap and opening the valve, I screwed the adapter onto the valve stem. Then I put the pump head on the adapter and closed the lock. I gave the pump a few strokes, and all the air went easily and securely into the tire. Sold!

Adapter storage in pump head lock
Adapter storage in pump head lock lever

When it’s not in use, the adapter fits snugly into a recess in the pump head locking lever, and there’s a tough elastic band to hold it securely. (The pump head also has adapters for Dunlop valves and the usual fittings for filling footballs and beach balls, but I’m not interested in these.)

Bicycle pump on scale
Slim Jim

Bicycle pump on scale
Beefy boy

As usual when I’m replacing parts I compared the weight. The Panaracer was slightly heavier than the Topeak, and it was the same story with the clamps that hold them to the frame. The total difference was a scarcely noticeable 27g.

Two bicycle pumps on black background
New vs old

The Panaracer is slightly shorter overall, with a larger diameter. The handle fit my hand more comfortably, and the stroke was easier. On the downside, there’s no pressure gauge.

Bicycle frame tube showing tire pump bracket
This has to go

Comparisons done, it was time to make the switch. It just took a moment to cut through the glorified zip ties holding the Topeak bracket to Kuroko’s top tube. The Panaracer bracket goes on easily with a single screw. The fit is fairly snug but allows for a bit of wiggle. I might redo it with a piece of old inner tube to prevent any movement or scratching of the paint. As it is, there’s some dirt there showing where the zip ties were previously — I hope it will wash off.

Bicycle frame showing placement of tire pump and water bottle
Checking the water bottle clearance

With the new pump in place, the last step was to check the clearance for the water bottle. No problem!

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