Author Topic: hot air, or, pumps I have known


hot air, or, pumps I have known
« on: January 30, 2010 »

Topeak Joe Blow
Sturdy and dependable, this does everything a pump is supposed to do, which is a simple enough brief. If only I could take it with me on the bike.

Wrench Force
Classic form over function mistake. I never use this because the ring which locks onto the valve is too fiddly, and it turns out I don't like pumps which don't have handles which can be adjusted to perpendicularity. Which is A-OK with spellcheck. Also, I hate having to anchor the head [technically, the "blowing end"] with my hand against the tyre. Clearly I'm not a fan of traditional frame pumps.

Topeak Road Morph
This is a nice one. A little foot comes down, and you can anchor the pump against the entire earth. Also has a built-in gauge. Fell out of favour when I stopped attaching things to the bicycle, and it won't fit in my saddle bag, so it now gathers dust.

Topeak Mini Morph
The little version of that. No gauge, and a little too small to use comfortably as a portable floor pump, but this is the one I carry most often.

Topeak Pocket Rocket DX Master Blaster
Until I made this list I didn't realize how many Topeaks I owned. Has my preferred valve connector locking mechanism, but otherwise a small shiny version of the Wrench Force.

Truflo Micro Maxair
Not bad, surprisingly. The handle swivels out, which is unusual for a pump this size.

Topeak Micro Rocket
One Topeak too many.


another roadside attraction
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2010 »
I have no idea how Lezyne is pronounced or spelt, but the prettiness of their Micro Floor Drive nearly hypnotized me into introducing it to all the other pumps in my life. Pity I didn't find it to be more user friendly.

The badger is for scale, a badger being approximately 3 Nokias.


horror vacui
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2011 »
In much the same way that I have searched for the perfect camera bag, I have acquired then retired a surplus of pumps as detailed above. The one I currently take on rides, suspect #4 in the photo lineup, works happily up to a point, then becomes less amiable as pressures rise. And so we come to Jan Baptista van Halmont, a scientist1 who straddled the 16th and 17th centuries and who is sometimes considered to be the founder of pneumatic chemistry:

The very word "gas" he claimed as his own invention, and he perceived that his "gas sylvestre" (carbon dioxide) given off by burning charcoal, was the same as that produced by fermenting must.

Jan Baptista holding early Topeak

Passing over this intriguing connection between the devout2 Belgian and, we'll move along to Otto von Guericke. Taking time out from his gig as mayor of Magdeburg,

he invented a vacuum pump consisting of a piston and an air gun cylinder with two-way flaps designed to pull air out of whatever vessel it was connected to, and used it... to demonstrate the force of air pressure with dramatic experiments. He joined two copper hemispheres and pumped the air out of the enclosure. Then he harnessed a team of eight horses to each hemisphere and showed that they were not able to separate them. When air was again let into the enclosure, they were easily separated. With his experiments Guericke disproved the hypothesis of "horror vacui", that nature abhors a vacuum.3

This influenced broad-shouldered Robert Boyle of Boyle's Law4 fame:

Reading in 1657 of Otto von Guericke's air-pump, he set himself with the assistance of Robert Hooke to devise improvements in its construction, and with the result, the "machina Boyleana" or "Pneumatical Engine", finished in 1659, he began a series of experiments on the properties of air.

Granted, a "Pneumatical Engine" is a far cry from the latest offerings of Lazyne Lucerne Lezyne, but its influential place in the ancestral family tree is not in dispute.

None of which information helps me as I flounder about with one pump after another. Or does it? Enter the C02 (not a dropped footnote) canister:

The main thing to abhor is the cost, but I'm told you can get around that by supplying your own carbon dioxide, and if you don't have any charcoal handy, blowing really really hard.

1 - Halmont is perhaps better known for his willow tree experiment, which established that they will weep if you neglect and scorn them.
2 - Wikipedia: He believed that there is the sensitive soul which is the husk or shell of the immortal mind. Before the Fall the archeus obeyed the immortal mind and was directly controlled by it, but at the Fall men also received the sensitive soul and with it lost immortality, for when it perishes the immortal mind can no longer remain in the body.
3 - The current scientific view is that nature actually loves if not cherishes a vacuum.
4 - David E. Kelley owns the rights to this.