Friday, 25 March 2011

Pump It - Louder - Pump it.

Even before I bought my bike (I’ll explain the logic in a bit) I bought a pump. Crickey, what a nightmare that was, you would think the choice of such an item would be fairly simple – bigger it is the easier it is to use but the less able you are to transport it. So I just assumed it was a question of size / ease of use, with a little does it look cool thrown in for good measure – well to be honest it was mostly about looks when I started down this trail initially.

So in my childhood there were two type of pumps (three including shoes as trainers will still called pumps by some people back then). One for bikes with car tyre values and another (usually a little longer and thinner) for those racer bikes. Nowadays though the choice is massive – and will someone please tell me, when did spending £35 on a pump become a rational decision?

Anyway being a Mambo – cost was not a concern – I wanted cool and I wanted something that could blow up both my kid’s tyres as those on my bike (when I bought it). I only decided I needed this pump when I went to the local bike store to get a pump to blow up the kids rugby and football balls. I thought to myself why the hell not get a decent pump – I can inflate the kids bike properly (and to the correct pressure) and I will keep this pump to myself, not letting grubby children’s hands near it. Actually I have nothing against grubby hands but I do have a thing about things I buy ending up in the lawnmower, after the kids have left them in the garden when they were bored of using them as light sabres.

So I bought a simple pump for the rugby and footballs and a fancy one for the bikes – this one would be daddies and not to be used without asking first. So having spent about £25 on a pump (can't remember which one now) I took it home and decided to get the boys bikes sorted – could I get it to work – could I hell! So rather sheepishly I took it back to the shop and asked the person there to explain how to use it (I thought I was missing some new trick special to these fancy pumps) but the person in the shop could not get it to work either – it would just not fit over the valve and seal. Now call me mad, but for that price I would expect it to work. So after fumbling for the receipt (normally I throw these away as I walk out the shop door) and finding it – total miracle, I changed the pump for something better I hoped (cost £26). I figured I must have been a cheapskate, after all why should something that only cost £26 actually be able to pump a bit of air? So I bought a better one, not as gentle on the eye but I figured the other must have been too much about looks and not enough about doing its job.

That evening back at home, I proudly show the new pump – my kids bikes really need air now, as it all escaped as I was trying to fit the previous pump. Did the new pump work – did it hell, but this time I was confident of the fact that this was another dud (to top it off some silly button it had on it to switch between high and low pressure also broke). Next lunchtime I find myself back in the shop – I show them the pump and bless them even though it was broken they took it without argument (though I did notice the pump that I had brought back the other day was back on the shelves).

Fool me once shame on you fool me twice and shame on me (how did Bush get that wrong in a speech) – so by his rational, I am really not sure what I should think if the third pump failed – besides people were starting to laugh at work as I ferried pumps in various states of disrepair to a from the shop every lunchtime.  This time, I choose a pump totally on functionality and what is more I tested it on different valves at the shop and not until it worked without flaw did I pass hard earned cash.

So what is the lesson from this missive – when buying a pump try before you buy! We all know cycling equipment is overpriced for what it is, but I really do take exception when you pay that over inflated price and then the item doesn't work, I might as well go and buy a ton of bricks that is calling itself art.

For those with a care this is the pump I bought that actually worked without a flaw the Topeak Turbo Morph Pump

I give it a Mambo Score of 10/10 - this is because it actually works (oh and the pressure guage is worth it's weight in gold).

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