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Tag Archives: Inflator

I Hope I Don’t Get One Tonight

A flat tire.  What a buzzkill!

Most cyclists are prepared for a flat.  All cyclists hope that they don’t get one.  The odds are against us though.  Flat tires are inevitable.  It is not a case of “if,” but “when.”

On rare occasions inner tubes have manufacturing defects.  This causes tubes to split along a seam, or tear at the junction with the valve.  There is not much you can do to prevent inner tube failures.

A self-inflicted inner tube failure is the pinch flat, also known as a snake bite.

Puncture Pinch Flat

A pinch flat most commonly occurs when you run over something that causes the tire to deform enough that the inner tube is squashed against the wheel rim.  This puts two small holes in the inner tube, at the pinch points.

I said ‘self inflicted’ because pinch flats are much more likely to occur with under-inflated tires.  Bike tires leak over time.  You will need to add more air from time-to-time to maintain the proper pressure.  Run your tires too soft, and you will be snake bit.

I have been guilty of doing this.  I like to run my tires at between 80psi and 90psi.  Softer tires means a more comfortable ride.  I have let my tires get too soft, with predictable results.

In most cases flats happen because you ran over something sharp.  Roads are littered with sharp objects.

Bits of glass, either from broken bottles or shattered windscreens, are usually visible.  If you see it in time, you can avoid running over glass.  Unless you are riding at night, which is when I picked up this chunk.

Puncture Glass

Small stones are less visible.  It is worth examining your tires after every ride to remove any sharp stones stuck in the tread.  Before they work their way through the tire and into the inner tube.

Puncture Flint 2

Then there are the pointy things which are invisible while you are riding.  So small that a thorough search is often needed before you find the offending object, embedded in your tire.

The majority of my flats are caused by staples or Michelin wire.  Those fine bits of steel wire on the right come from steel-belted radial tires, which were invented by Monsieur Michelin.  Hence the name.

Given that most flat tires are caused by essentially invisible road debris. there is little you can do to avoid them.  Even “puncture proof” tires are not 100% resistant to being pierced by staples, Michelin wire and the like.

So learn how to repair a flat tire, and carry tire levers, a spare tube, and a pump or CO2 inflator on your rides.

And be thankful that we don’t have these in Malaysia.

Puncture Goathead Thorns

Pump It Up

At the Shah Alam Enduride 2015, Marvin, Justin and I came upon two people with flat tires.  Not unusual.  What was more unusual was that neither was carrying a pump.

This post is about my chosen tire inflation devices.  What I carry with me, and what I have at home.

I used to carry CO2 canisters and a chuck, either in a jersey pocket, or more often in a saddle bag.  Much like this set from Genuine Innovations.

Genuine Innovations Chuck

This combination got the job done, but at the risk of freezing a thumb and perhaps a finger or two in the process.

I graduated to an inflator like this one, also from Genuine Innovations.

Genuine Innovations Ultraflate

This type of inflator protects hands from getting frozen, and also has a large trigger that is easier to use that the ‘press to inflate’ chuck.  The disadvantage is the additional bulk.

I was happy with my inflator and CO2 cartridges until I moved to the Netherlands.  I read an article about the wastefulness of discarding empty CO2 canisters.  The Netherlands has a strong recycling ethic, and the combination of the two convinced me to switch to a hand pump.

I read some reviews, and Lezyne pumps got good scores.  So I looked at their website, and made my choice.  A medium sized Lezyne Pressure Drive.

Pressure Drive

I chose the Pressure Drive because it can inflate a tire to 120psi / 8.3 bar.  It also comes with a hose that has a threaded Presta valve connection on one end, and a Schrader valve connection on the other.  I also like the flexible hose because it puts less stress on the valve stem while pumping up a tire than a direct-connect pump does.  The threaded connector is easier to attach to a valve than a hose that attaches with a lever.

Pressure Drive Hose

The medium sized Pressure Drive is 216mm long, and it fits in a clamp that attaches to the frame together with a bottle cage.

Pressure Drive Bracket


The Pressure Drive works very well on the road.  So well that I have given away my CO2 canisters and collection of inflators.

But it does take some effort to inflate a tire to 90psi / 6.2 bar and above.  So for home use I bought a Lezyne Classic Floor Drive.

Classic Floor Drive

The Floor Drive will inflate a tire up to 220psi / 15bar, although I don’t fill my tires beyond 90 psi.

The Floor Drive comes with a large gauge, so it is easy to tell when you have achieved your desired tire pressure.

Classic Floor Drive Gauge

It also has a threaded Flip-Thread Chuck that fits both Presta and Schrader valves.

Floor Drive Chuck


I am very pleased with my Pressure Drive and Floor Drive pumps.  I am sure they will continue to serve me well for a long time to come.