The Great Debate: Pump or Chuck

The Great Debate: Pump or Chuck

by / / 146 posts

I’ve said it once before, but it bears repeating now: adherence to Rule #29 carries with it the ultimate mission of the aspiring Velominatus, which is to geek out endlessly over the minimum amount of gear which yields maximum security in the event of a mechanical incident while riding.

The goal here is twofold. First, with no European Posterior Man Satchel dangling off the back of your bike like an elephant’s nutsack, pocket real estate is at a premium; filling them up with unneeded tools seems wasteful. Second, sagging pockets are as distressing as an EPMS, so care must be taken to ensure the pockets stay as light as possible.

Minimalist multi tool, lightweight inner tube or tubbie goo, and tire levers are all obvious choices; one is left only to endeavor to find the lightest model of each which still functions reliably (a lifetime can be devoted to this task). But that leaves us with the delicate matter of how we choose to resupply the air which provides a simple yet critical element to repairing the most common mechanical of all, the flat tire. The question in this case is, of course, whether to choose a chuck and cartouche c-oh-duex or minipump. Ignoring the obvious utility of being able to challenge someone to a mini-pump duel in the event of irreconcilable difference of opinion on critical matters of La Vie Velominatus, both means of air resupply have their merits.

Dictum 1 above has historically put me in the camp of using a chuck and two C02 cartridges. (One cartouche is not enough, I am much too clumsy to depend on my ability not to bugger the first one up.) First of all, the Lezyne Trigger Drive appeals to my sense of aesthetics; it’s small, nicely crafted, feels great in the hand and can provide hours of fidgeting should it find its way into my pants pocket. I can’t get excited about any particular C02 cartridge, but they are small and simple and I have an inherent appreciation for anything with a thread on it.

Dictum 2, however, does give me some pause; the ensamble is anything but a featherweight. Enter my Lezyne Carbon Roadlite, which was given to me when Lezyne came onboard as Air and Tool Supplier for Keepers Tour 2012. Initially, the pump only accompanied me on wet rides (C02 has a tendency to cause some freezing when discharged in cold, wet weather – very unpleasant). But before long, it began to creep into my thick noggin that the little devil hardly weighs a thing and is more than small enough to fit in my pocket without protruding out of the top, which is most unsightly and considered entirely unacceptable. Today, I find myself reaching for the pump more often than I do the chuck as it lightens my kit a bit, allowing me to consume an additional ale or two without contributing to any overall rider-kit-bike weight gains.

I find myself wondering where others fall in the Great Debate; which path do you walk, Pump or Chuck?

// Accessories and Gear

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    @unversio

    I think they dooo error.,, they don’t show an Elite Moro d’Elite either. I guess cyclingdirt has a “sponsored” list.

    holy Merckx! That is sex. And I love Elite cages. What does that run?

  2. What’s the ruling on glossy cages on a matte black bike?

  3. @unversio

    @scaler911

    @mxlmax

    @scaler911 Road ID wristband?

    Well, of course. But that doesn’t go in my pocket. One thing I did forget is my mini-med kit with a epi pen and IM/IV Benedryl. I get stung by a honey bee and I’ll die (like for real die).

    Stung! That brings up another topic “” insect nets in the helmet vents. Made it thru this summer without, but will order them to go in the KASK next season.

    This has been a weird week. Got stung by a bee/wasp at the 64km mark today. Hurt like hell for a half hour then subsided. Fortunately I’m not allergic – plenty of wee buggers have entered the helmet over the years, but never been stung before. Another crap thing this week was a rear puncture that happened 16kms out on Tuesday. I rarely puncture (maybe one a year) and I could swear both spare tubes were good. Nope. Both failed leaving me to hitch home. Got two rides by big guys in pick up trucks. Driver #2 asked if I was a serial killer. I answered in the negative, telling him that I didn’t think serial killers dressed like this – gesturing to my lycra, diadoras, jersey, helmet and shaved legs. He thought that was pretty funny. In a week where Phil Liggett and Cllint Eastwood dropped out off my top 1000 list of guys I respected, it was nice to have met someone who restored some faith in human goodness as we actually drove past his house to get to mine 6 miles away..

  4. @RedRanger Ebay 51.00 with free shipping. Could be a 71.00 cage though.

  5. I hold this article responsible for the puncture and exploded tyre I got on Sunday. I did enjoy sitting in the sun waiting for my rescuer.

  6. @RedRanger

    What’s the ruling on glossy cages on a matte black bike?

    BLACKBURN CAMBER CF BOTTLE CAGE MATTE BLACK

  7. @RedRanger I did have an Elite Moro d’Elite (red) and the tab failed and broke — no apparent reason. It was 3 weeks old.

    I mounted the previous (white) cage version back on. Used it for 2.5 years.

  8. @RedRanger these bad boys sit aboard the matt black/naked carbon of the TF3 & I’m happy with the look.

  9. @Mikael Liddy

    @RedRanger these bad boys sit aboard the matt black/naked carbon of the TF3 & I’m happy with the look.

    looks good but I’m not gonna put a another bike companies cage on my C’Dale. Plus I’m looking for black and white only since that’s how I’m setting my bike up.

  10. Carbon cages are really way down te line anyway.

  11. @RedRanger entirely understandable, was more in response to say the shiny/matte combo can work. I was lucky enough to have mine tossed in with the purchase.

  12. @wiscot

    @unversio

    @scaler911

    @mxlmax

    @scaler911 Road ID wristband?

    Well, of course. But that doesn’t go in my pocket. One thing I did forget is my mini-med kit with a epi pen and IM/IV Benedryl. I get stung by a honey bee and I’ll die (like for real die).

    Stung! That brings up another topic “” insect nets in the helmet vents. Made it thru this summer without, but will order them to go in the KASK next season.

    This has been a weird week. Got stung by a bee/wasp at the 64km mark today. Hurt like hell for a half hour then subsided. Fortunately I’m not allergic – plenty of wee buggers have entered the helmet over the years, but never been stung before. Another crap thing this week was a rear puncture that happened 16kms out on Tuesday. I rarely puncture (maybe one a year) and I could swear both spare tubes were good. Nope. Both failed leaving me to hitch home. Got two rides by big guys in pick up trucks. Driver #2 asked if I was a serial killer. I answered in the negative, telling him that I didn’t think serial killers dressed like this – gesturing to my lycra, diadoras, jersey, helmet and shaved legs. He thought that was pretty funny. In a week where Phil Liggett and Cllint Eastwood dropped out off my top 1000 list of guys I respected, it was nice to have met someone who restored some faith in human goodness as we actually drove past his house to get to mine 6 miles away..

    Last summer my buddy, who’s not allergic to bees, go stung on his “hood” (you know the one that hides under your bibs). Said he almost got run over while wildly flailing at his crotch, screaming like a toddler. While I nodded in sympathy as he told me the story, I kinda laughed on the inside. I’m going to hell aren’t I?

  13. @scaler911 There’s a special type of comedy hell that you go to, for laghing at shit that’s funny, but you know you shouldn’t laugh at. Watching Adam Sandler movies is as bad as it gets.

    You’re definitely going to that place, and now so am I. that’s fucking funny!

  14. @Mikael Liddy

    @RedRanger entirely understandable, was more in response to say the shiny/matte combo can work. I was lucky enough to have mine tossed in with the purchase.

    ah, I missed that part

  15. @the Engine

    I gather from the narrative arc of your post that the  “self adhesive patch” is some sort of transdermal testosterone delivery device?

    @scaler911

    Insofar as a beesting could be fatal to you I think you are entitled to laugh your ass off about that one.

  16. @Nate

    @the Engine

    I gather from the narrative arc of your post that the  “self adhesive patch” is some sort of transdermal testosterone delivery device?

    @scaler911

    Insofar as a beesting could be fatal to you I think you are entitled to laugh your ass off about that one.

    At my age the self adhesive patches are a godsend

  17. Mini pump for me.  I’ve yet to try a CO2 cartridge – call me Amish…

    I am guilty on sporting the European Posterior Man Satchel at times.  Especially off road, since a 29er tube is too annoying to carry in a jersey pocket.

    I was actually semi-stranded the other day, flat 29er in the woods, very old mini-pump DOA.  That Lezyne mini pump looks damn cool.  I gotta check one out…

  18. I have a Lezyne mini pump that has thankfully only been used once in the last 3000km.  

    However, I am chuck curious – i’ll probably switch over at some point.   

  19. Lezyne Road Drive here, attached to the frame using a Lezyne CNC bottle cage with integrated mount: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=46298

    I’d consider switching to CO2 for group rides, where the speed is helpful and spaces are moochable, should the need arise but for solo rides it’ll always be a pump.

  20. Having once been unlucky enough to get 3 punctures on very bitterly cold and soggy winter ride and having only 2 tubes I have learnt the hard way.  I was forced to admit defeat and call upon my support vehicle (aka the wife) to come up pick up my frozen soggy arse the lanes of hampshire.

    Since then I always carry 2 tubes plus a set of parker adhesive patches which work a treat and take up no space at all.  The only down side is if its wet but i’m sure you can stick a patch on under your rain jacket.

    Planet x phart mini Pump all the way, my wrists are now stronger than steel yet I have not gone blind.  co2 is for the lazy and the weak.

  21. I feel completely degraded now!  I have to “come out” and declare myself to be a fully functioning and proud “Man Satchel” user.  This stems from a desire to compress and compact the maximum amount of kit in to the minimum space and I have a regular battle with the zip of my “little willy”

    I know this is going to make me very very unpopular.  To seriously challenge any Velominati rule is tant amount to velosuicide (maybe that should go in the lexicon!).  However I am currently packing 1. Blackburn Toolminator 2 which is tiny tiny tiny! 2. 2 innner tubes, 3. Self Adhesive Park Tool Patches 4. A Tire Boot 5. 2 very old but brilliant unbranded tyre levers.  And a very old Blackburn mini pump that can easily get to 100psi but probably needs giving to the kids in exchange for a groovy polished aluminium slut pump (made by a certain manufacturer that insists everything must be bright, silver and made of metal….god help us if Lezyne ever start making bib shorts!)

    There is absolutely no whiff of compressed air anywhere near my bike (well obviously the contents of the tyres/tubes aside) my view is that if struck by lightening on a ride these canisters could very well represent a health hazard in the subsequent explosion.  People have pointed out that it would be lighter to carry these and maybe not have an entire bike shop tool set compressed in to my man bag…..but…..I just can’t help the fear of being stranded 40 miles from home all out of canisters after my second, third or even sixth puncture and having to call my wife for a pick up!  It has happened once and it will NEVER be allowed to happen again!

    I can only offer a sincere apology for letting the side down and I guess if you are going to “man bag up” then there is no other way to go than Italian style…

    I guess I will await putting in the stocks for people to throw their old pumps and satchel bags at me :(

  22. @Deakus I completely get the desire to pack as much as possible into your willy, but please could you not keep such perversions to yourself.

    By the look of it, a willy of that size would fit neatly into a jersey pocket where it need not offend anyone.

  23. @Chris The SciCon Elan 210 Carbonium Black is very slim. I use it only in the jersey pocket and keeps sweat off. And now that I will be taking the valve and CO2 out of the picture, I will want a smaller bag/wallet. And a Roadlite pump.

  24. @unversio

    Not trying to start trouble, but could benefit from those out there that have preferred carbon cages.

    Found my way to Blackburn and had a great online direct purchase experience. I was sold on this “Red” and it’s design.

  25. @itburns That’s rather pretty but I’m still lusting after @Steampunk‘s Cannondale Immix cages. Pure, simple beauty.

  26. Wanna make a buttload of bucks? Figure out how to manufacture a AA battery powered pump. Seems to me that it could be the size of a cartouche. A single AA battery should pack enough wallop to pump to 120psi maybe a couple times. If not a spare AA should suffice.

    It’s not that I object to the pump that makes me chuck; it is just that it takes for fucking ever to get to ridable pressures. The chuck is screw, mount, depress, whoosh, go. And my most recent chuck purchase came with a little sleeve to put around the cartouche to insulate them little fingers.

  27. Nice one, Frank! Ugh, the pump sticking out the top o’ the pocket is very unsettling, for a number of reasons.

    I walk both paths. Lezye chuck + one canister in my pocket, then a Lezyne pump under my ST bottle cage. I know, I know. But those pumps are awesome and look so good I don’t mind. And, if you get the color right, they really blend into your bike. AND since I’ve seen a certain someone who resides in HI has one on is DT I’m feeling better with my indiscretions. Ha, even managed to sneak one in when sharing a photo and went unnoticed!

    I carry both. Usually opt for the air to work on the right northerly Gun.

    And on the topic of tools…ripped a tire last week while riding cross. Didn’t have the refill thing, couldn’t get it to hold any air, didn’t feel like putting in a tube (latex around the V-jersey, I don’t think so.) and thus the sag wagon was called. The VMH was in the ‘hood and since we’d recently put my only desired wedding gift on the car, a new flop down bike carrier, I was pumped to try it out

  28. @eightzero

    Wanna make a buttload of bucks? Figure out how to manufacture a AA battery powered pump. Seems to me that it could be the size of a cartouche. A single AA battery should pack enough wallop to pump to 120psi maybe a couple times. If not a spare AA should suffice.

    It’s not that I object to the pump that makes me chuck; it is just that it takes for fucking ever to get to ridable pressures. The chuck is screw, mount, depress, whoosh, go. And my most recent chuck purchase came with a little sleeve to put around the cartouche to insulate them little fingers.

    The Lezyne pumps get pretty darn high pretty darn fast.

    Something I’ve done, if needing an extra cartouche sleeve – an old tube cut and wrapped around, secured with electrical tape. Not rocket appliances, but does the trick.

  29. @michael

    I think you guys aren’t thinking about this the right way.  Pump in the winter to keep me warm, chuck in the summer to keep me cool.

    agreed.  plus in the summer is when all the local club/group rides are.  in the winter, i’m out there alone or with just one or two others.  not to say i’m relying on other people in the summer, but there’s a bit more safety in numbers; nothing wrong with borrowing a cartridge from a ride-mate, should you encounter some extremely rare situation where you’ve burned through your two.

  30. @flyfly

    A multitool isn’t an obvious choice for me. You should check your bike before the ride. Or carry with you also a spare chain, just in case.

    never understood the “no multitool, you should maintain your machine properly” argument.  of course i maintain my machine.  but of course, i’ve also broken a rear-shifter out of nowhere, 35km’s from home.  a multitool was quite handy at securing the rear derailleur into a reasonable gear to get home (with ~700m of climbing in-between).  i’ve also been taken down by some wet leaves before and had a crooked shifter and saddle.  etc, etc, etc…  again, multitool came in quite handy.

    fact is: issues happen.  yes, a flat tire is the most likely of them.  but it’s not the only one.

  31. @chiasticon

    @flyfly

    A multitool isn’t an obvious choice for me. You should check your bike before the ride. Or carry with you also a spare chain, just in case.

    never understood the “no multitool, you should maintain your machine properly” argument.  of course i maintain my machine.  but of course, i’ve also broken a rear-shifter out of nowhere, 35km’s from home.  a multitool was quite handy at securing the rear derailleur into a reasonable gear to get home (with ~700m of climbing in-between).  i’ve also been taken down by some wet leaves before and had a crooked shifter and saddle.  etc, etc, etc…  again, multitool came in quite handy.

    fact is: issues happen.  yes, a flat tire is the most likely of them.  but it’s not the only one.

    Or your dropouts come loose, or a cleat gets slack – I’ve had the tension spring on my rear shifter snap and had to shorten the chain to get home. Check everything as much as you like – shit still happens.

  32. @chiasticon

    @flyfly

    A multitool isn’t an obvious choice for me. You should check your bike before the ride. Or carry with you also a spare chain, just in case.

    never understood the “no multitool, you should maintain your machine properly” argument.  of course i maintain my machine.  but of course, i’ve also broken a rear-shifter out of nowhere, 35km’s from home.  a multitool was quite handy at securing the rear derailleur into a reasonable gear to get home (with ~700m of climbing in-between).  i’ve also been taken down by some wet leaves before and had a crooked shifter and saddle.  etc, etc, etc…  again, multitool came in quite handy.

    fact is: issues happen.  yes, a flat tire is the most likely of them.  but it’s not the only one.

    Agreed – I’m actually more likely carry a multi-tool than a spare tube. Tubes are bulky and 99% of the time a patch will do the job. Multi-tools are tiny and when you need one nothing else will do.

  33. @scaler911

    Last summer my buddy, who’s not allergic to bees, go stung on his “hood” (you know the one that hides under your bibs). Said he almost got run over while wildly flailing at his crotch, screaming like a toddler. While I nodded in sympathy as he told me the story, I kinda laughed on the inside. I’m going to hell aren’t I?

    No, that is just good old fashioned comedy, it does not mean you’re going to hell.

    A much younger Frank once took a whiz on a ground bee’s nest; I didn’t see it and didn’t know it was there and it dawned on me very slowly what was happening as one after another started to sting me in my most sensitive area. All I can say is there are a lot of bees called to action when their nest is being peed on. And when called to action, they do their work with admirable determination.

  34. OK, my bad. I have a tiny tool that never ever gets use, so I began to leave it at home.

    Truth is, if you want to be cautious, there’s PLENTY of stuff to bring with you. Even alone, I think I always can get help from people where I ride (around and above Grenoble).

    A pump, a spare tube, two levers, a folded bill, and a big smile when I knock the door of the good people who inhabit the mountains.

    And if my saddle is down, I’ll come home en danseuse.

  35. @Flyfly

    “I have a tiny tool that never ever gets use, so I began to leave it at home.”

    Don’t get me wrong

  36. You lot really need to Rule #5.

    It’s all talk. Old school is where it’s at. I carry an inner tube, levers (as my girly hands can’t get the tyres off otherwise), mini pump and puncture repair kit. If you get more than one puncture, you sit at the side of the road in the pouring rain and fix it. Even if you get 6 punctures, you’ll be fine, whereas you guys with your fancy CO2 canisters will be crying down the payphone for the missus to come and pick you up from the gutter, because no you don’t carry a phone either, despite most of the worlds payphones having vanished due to the advent of mobile technology. Although walking miles to find a payphone in your socks (so as not to ruin your cleats) is kinda Rule #5, it certainly isn’t Pro…

  37. @the Engine

    @chiasticon

    @flyfly

    A multitool isn’t an obvious choice for me. You should check your bike before the ride. Or carry with you also a spare chain, just in case.

    never understood the “no multitool, you should maintain your machine properly” argument.  of course i maintain my machine.  but of course, i’ve also broken a rear-shifter out of nowhere, 35km’s from home.  a multitool was quite handy at securing the rear derailleur into a reasonable gear to get home (with ~700m of climbing in-between).  i’ve also been taken down by some wet leaves before and had a crooked shifter and saddle.  etc, etc, etc…  again, multitool came in quite handy.

    fact is: issues happen.  yes, a flat tire is the most likely of them.  but it’s not the only one.

    Or your dropouts come loose, or a cleat gets slack – I’ve had the tension spring on my rear shifter snap and had to shorten the chain to get home. Check everything as much as you like – shit still happens.

    Had this exact scenario, when I had an off recently due to ignorance about chain wear. The chain dumped on a climb, and didn’t unclip in time. When I got up, the seat was about 5 degrees off. Lezyne V5 saved the ride. That it is called a V5 should be enough for anyone.

  38. Purchased a Lezyne Pressure Drive (Black) 120psi maximum. Good to carry during winter base miles. Maybe back to CO2 in the Spring.

  39. Local bike shop handed me this FREE just for asking about pumps versus CO2. Blackburn Airstik SL (7in)

    – Aluminum barrel and shaft
    – Rebuildable internals
    – Presta-specific head
    – Cage mount included
    – 58 grams
    – Max pressure 160psi

  40. @mxlmax

    Have to love that price.  I’m going to ask about more things than usual next time I’m in the LBS.

  41. @mxlmax

    so what’s your review?  does it live up to those specs?  what psi were you able to get into the tube?  how many pumps did it take?  did you rip a valve off?  is it suitable for cyclists with weak, tyrannosaurus rex-like arms?

    been curious about this pump for a while (as well as the two-stage variant) but reviews are all over the map.  and i trust the opinion of a velominatus over that of your average amazon reviewer, so i’m curious what your take is.

  42. @chiasticon I will have to have the Blackburn “field test” in the lovely indoors before I hit the road with it. It was FREE, but that does not mean that I intend to use it — or prefer it. We will see (soon).

  43. 4:45 am, 3.5 miles into my ride found me by the side of a dark and deserted Wisconsin highway, thinking about this article.  I had hit a decent sized rock “just so,” and my rear tube blew apart (I have a bright light, but when you’re going at the speed of awesome, sometimes you don’t see those suckers until it’s too late).  After changing out the tube, I went to screw my chuck onto the CO2 cannister, only to watch in horror as it immediately began spitting out gas.  I furiously attempted to close the valve on the chuck but it just spun uselessly–I realized with horror that it was fucked.  By the time I got it on the stem there was nothing left.  And that was my only cannister.  Since I was in the middle of nowhere and it was 4:45 in the morning, calling the wife and waking the kids was not an option.  I had no choice but to ride slowly home on the flat at 10 kph, picking my way around gravel and bumps in the road.  Thank goodness I wasn’t further away.

    I had a bontrage air rush or something like that.  Guy at the LBS said it was bombproof.  Got it 3 months ago and used it only twice, and it is already broken.  I still prefer using a chuck for its speed, especially on dark cold mornings, but after this morning I’ll definitely be doubling up in case disaster strikes again.

  44. @unversio How is the Lezyne Pressure Drive, can I ask? Did you get the medium or small? I was considering the medium but obvs need to check it won’t poke out of jersey pocket etc. Got to keep the mouse in the house, as they say.

  45. @blackpooltower I will verify the size (think it is 9 inches). Honestly I keep grabbing the old items and have not switched. I planned on using it thru the winter. I will start using it this Saturday and let you know how it goes. I like most everything about it though. Wanting to find a sleeve to keep sweat from messing with the shell. It did come with a mount for the frame, but I am resisting that.

  46. @unversio Thanks! Be great to know if it’s worth the $

  47. @blackpooltower

    @unversio How is the Lezyne Pressure Drive, can I ask? Did you get the medium or small? I was considering the medium but obvs need to check it won’t poke out of jersey pocket etc. Got to keep the mouse in the house, as they say.

    i don’t mind the pump-sticking-out look. namely, because the Lezyne road drive medium is too long to not stick out of any jersey pocket. it’s so good, i don’t really care if people can see i’m carrying it.  besides, it’s not like i’m strapping it to my bike or anything:

  48. @chiasticon Ha! I think we’re filing that under “deliberately provocative”.

  49. So I have been riding for years and have only experienced one on the road flat and I was only 100 yards from my house.  Well yesterday I was leaving work (via cycle) and had just dawned my kit when someone asked me what was in my pocket. I pulled out my setup which included a tube, chuck, patches, tire levers, and single CO2 for him to view.  Well I departed and as I should have known 20 minutes into my ride I had a flat.  My first time using a chuck and all went well, I live in a desert no freezing problems here, and I made it home no problem.

    Here in lies my problem….I only have the one CO2 cartridge that came with my chuck.  So I went into work the next morning feeling slightly naked with #5 in mind and all went well.  While at work, I work in the field, I thought I would drop by my local shop and stock up on some CO2…. to my dismay a sign hung in the window…. closed for the 17th and 18th for interbike convention in Las Vegas.  Good for them!  The shop respected their guys enough to leave no man behind!  Bad for me as I was now going to have to apply #5 once again.

    Needless to say I have been researching mini pumps to cure my ales and here I am.

    Pump for me!

  50. As usual, much appreciated attention that has been paid to one of my favorite subjects…bicycle pumps. I have always(45 years now) carried a REAL frame fit pump and am asked regularly to loan it on a ride to those carrying gas, mini pumps, or no air delivering device whatsoever. I want to ride and keep on riding. Thus, standard 32 hole, 3x, french made rims, and medium grade, user serviceable hubs. I’m done with tubulars now since ’88, and every custom frame I’ve had built( needless to say Ti or steel, no plastic bikes thanks) has installed a pump peg (no straps please), or it gets shipped right back to the builder who forgot it to be re-brazed, and re-painted. All I ask is that if you ask to use my pump, you let me ask you if you know how to use it, or let me pump your tire myself so that I may continue down the road. And don’t leave your inner tube or CO2 cartridges on the side of road. Thank you.

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