Tuesday, October 14, 2008

1 Pump....3 Bikes (or the magic expanding pump)

In an industry that sometimes confuses carbon fiber with innovation, it's nice to see some original thinking with a real simple bicycle product that does not involve fiber weaves.

The pump.

My pump usage trajectory has gone something like this: mini-pump, CO2 pump, mini-pump, frame pump. I think like most modern cyclists, we're seduced by the promise of a smaller lighter pump. Hence, the mini. But sometimes, small and light aren't enough, we have to pump our tires in record speed. Hence CO2 pumps. But then maybe one day you get caught on a ride and run out of CO2...back to the mini-pump. Then maybe, a few weeks after you're back to the mini, you wonder what happened to those large beastly frame pumps that went the way of the dinosaur and you start messing with frame pumps.

I started looking for a frame pump a few months ago but got stuck because my frame sizes were all just different enough that ONE frame pump wouldn't work for all three.

Enter the Park Dial Adjust Frame pump or what in Park nomenclature is loving called the PMP-5.

What sets this pump apart from other frame pumps is it's magic-like ability to expand and contract and therefore able to fit in multiple frames.

Here's a look at the magic.

Its most compact setting...

Just like the bean stock!

The "Whoa is that a pump in your pocket?!" setting.

As you can see, the barrel end has a little tab that jogs between notches on the handle. You adjust the rough distance using the tabs and the spring on the valve end takes up the slack.

Easy as pie.

The handle end also has a hole in it for frames that have pump peg braze-ons.

Here it is on three different bikes.

The spring/notch mechanism is simple and effective. I haven't had the pump bounce off a frame even when it's not secured with a strap of some sort.

The pumping action itself, I admit, is a little different from a normal frame pump but it works efficiently to get a tire to proper PSI. When you push the handle in, there's a moment when you compress the whole pump (that's the spring action that tension sets it in the frame). It's not terrible, just different.

As with all modern things, I have my concerns with breakage surrounding the plastic moving parts, namely the plastic notches and the handle that flips out. Time will tell, but I'm sure it will survive given proper care.

The pump fills a tube faster than a mini, but you do have to take caution to not to accidentally snap a valve off. This problem isn't particular to this pump but to long frame pumps in general. It's real easy to pump away and not hold the valve steady, causing you to damage or tear the valve off the tire.

All that said, it's a good pump. If you want a frame pump, but are paranoid about buying the wrong size pump, this is a good one to get.


reverend dick said...

If you brace the pump/valve stem with a hand backed by your knee, you are much less likely to tear the valve stem off. And you have nice leverage against your knee to really pour it on...

Kevin said...

Hi Russ

I enjoy your blog-

I recently bought a Park PMP5-pretty good pump.

You can lock out the "springy-barrel" by pushing the barrel in towards the head of the pump and twisting a quarter turn. Park's website has an illustration on the instructions for use-