|There are many things you can't do without when it comes to mountain biking and one of those things is air. Whether it's in your lungs or your tires it’s a must otherwise you aren't going anywhere. It's usually a good idea to check your tires air pressure before every ride and to do it with a pump that has an air pressure gauge on it so you know you are at the right pressure before you hit the trail. And yes air pressure actually makes a difference in how your bike performs.
Sure you can use your mini pump but then you have to go by feel rather than knowing the actual pressure plus it takes much more time to pump up the tire. So always try and use a floor pump with an accurate gauge on it to fill your tires before leaving the house or at least bring one with you to use before hitting the trail.
Topeak has been making floor pumps and other biking accessories for years and they have several floor pump models to choose from. In fact it seems that they too many models to choose from because most of them pretty much do the same thing with the addition of a couple different features, PSI levels or different materials that the pumps are made out of. Such models include the Turbo, Elite, X.O., Sprint, Sport and the list goes on.
We decided to go with a JoeBlow Pro because you know, it has the word Pro in it. Actually we assumed it would be a nicer model made with better materials that would stand up to some abuse so we figured why not shell out the extra few bucks (or 40). This pump would be replacing an old standard JoeBlow floor pump which provided many years of use and abuse but finally gave out. When you put the head on the valve stem it would let air out of the tire as you were putting it in.
There are quite a few differences between the old and the new pump suck as its height, gauge placement and the materials used to make the pump so overall it looks and feels like a higher quality pump. But looks aren't everything you know. It really comes down to how the pump will perform and how long it will last before its time for a new one.
The first thing we did was compare the air pressure reading on the new pump to the old one to see if there was a difference and they read the pressure exactly the same. Then again the gauge on the new pump looks to be the same as the old pump. Next we compared the pressure to a digital tire gauge and found the pump read about 2 lbs. less than what the digital tire gauge read. We used the same brand digital gauge on the original Joe Blow yellow pump awhile back and had similar results.
The JoeBlow Pro comes with what they call the SmartHead which will auto detect what kind of valve stem you are putting it on so you don't have to use the two sided type. It will work with Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves. It does work pretty well but we found that it's a little hard to get a grip on the pump head while trying to pull up the lever at the same time to make the connection. The more you use it the easier it gets though. When it comes to using it on a Schrader valve stem it wasn't that easy to get it on properly to start pumping up the tires so that's something to think about if you use Schrader valve stems. We just hope that this head stays smart for many years and doesn't start to forget what it's doing! We will say the extra long hose is a nice feature especially if you want to fill your tires while the bike is on a bike stand.
One cool feature that this pump has is what they call the air release button which lets you fine tune how much air pressure is in the tire. So if you fill it up too high you can press the button to release a small amount of air at a time kind of like a shock pump. This might be more of a bike nerd feature but we still kind of like it and it works pretty well.
Other features of the JoeBlow Pro include its oversize handle for easy pumping and it is very easy to pump and feels smooth and the aluminum base with rubber padding keeps your feet in place. The barrel is made out of polished aluminum and the pump comes in just under 3 lbs. It's definitely nicer than the one it replaced but at $100 you can get one of the cheaper models and get the same performance, it just might not look as pretty and have the word Pro on it.