Zefal HPX Classic pump, available in four sizes, £19.99
Even though many modern tyres are more puncture resistant than ever, even though workshop pumps are now so reasonably priced that the majority have got one at home to get their tyres rock hard with ease, even though many bike frames will not readily accept them, the demand for a quality frame fit pump remains high.
I think it must be thanks to my memory of the days when the risk of punctures was higher that I still insist in having a good quality well made frame fit pump that I can take with me on a ride and that is both reliable and capable of 100 plus PSI. I dare say others have experienced the same anxiety at some stage when grovelling home alone on a cold wet night, having suffered a puncture in the middle of nowhere, hoping that this will not be the occasion when, whilst struggling with the last few pushes of the handle to get to maximum pressure, disaster strikes; when, suddenly, the air backfires into the barrel with such force it catapults the end of it over a hedge, leaving the rider stranded by the roadside with bottom lip quivering. [Tell us more – Ed.]
I recall one such occasion when, immediately after I had boasted that I was just so skilled in the pumping up department that I did not need one of these new fancy mini pumps, it all went wrong, leaving me sheepishly clutching the exploded remains of my beautiful colour-coordinated Silca frame fit pump after it had done exactly as described above! On this occasion the friend to whom I had just been boasting reluctantly allowed me, the Destroyer of Pumps, to use his new pride and joy; a Zefal HPX 2 frame fit pump. Moments later I had a revelation. I knew instantly that my life would never be the same, a life long anxiety was about to diminish, nightmares would fade to a distant memory and I could cancel my next counselling session at the Priory and go for a ride through Drawing Pin Alley instead.
This pump is amazing. It can be adapted to either Presta or Schrader and, once pushed onto the valve, a lever locks it in place. 100 psi plus becomes achievable with ease, pressures seldom obtainable with older pumps. How so? Well, as soon as you pick it up you can feel that it is an extremely well made piece of kit with a solid and well-engineered feel to it. Secondly, on top of the handle you will see two settings: ‘X’ for when located on the bike, allowing the pump to pushed down under tension to a smaller size just like a more traditional pump and for the same reason, enabling it to fit inside the diamond pattern of the frame, the spring tension then holding it in place.
The second setting is the ‘HP’ high pressure setting, it is this feature that was new to me. It transforms the pump; no longer does it feel spring-like, everything becomes far more solid and accurate, never do you feel that the air will be forced back into the slim alloy barrel. The whole task can be done without any struggle and drama. In the last few moments, just as you reach the maximum pressure, you never feel that it could all go horribly wrong and leave you stranded; this pump really was, and is, a revelation.