The time it has taken to decide on the right pump for our trip is kinda embarrassing.
There are a lot of portable pumps out there, and quite frankly a lot of them aren’t that great.
My initial criteria for a pump was a frame mounted pump for ease of access/not packed away in a pannier, and not taking the space of a water bottle braze on.
On our tour of the West Coast I was using a Topeak Road Masterblaster frame mounted pump which was great, for two reasons:
- it had a long draw (more air per pump)
- fit perfectly (and extremely securely) on the frame
The original plan was to buy one of these pumps, or something similar for our tour and be done with it. However, after some research I quickly realized that there were some problems with the Masterblaster.
- you could not rest the pump on the ground as the end of a presta valve was always in jeopardy of being broken off
- there was no pressure gauge
Therefore the new pump we were looking for would need to meet the following:
- Ground rested pumping
- A hose
- Pressure gauge
- Securely fitted to frame
- Long draw (more air per pump)
The pump which we finally decided on was the Topeak Road Morph pump. The Road Morph is probably the best portable pump I have ever owned. It met all of the criteria for the new pump and has a few nice details to boot.
The Road Morph is a bit larger than your standard mini frame pump, so it may not be right for a short ride (yeah I’m talking to you in the lycra). It starts out as single tube about a foot long and in a snap it transforms into a miniature track pump. There is a fold out tab with a rubber grip on the base for your foot to hold the pump in place during pumping. The pump hose extends, only slightly, but it is noticeable and useful. The pressure gauge is not the most sensitive, as it will not change for several strokes, then suddenly jump. So if you are hoping for accurate pressure measurement, look elsewhere. However, the gauge will take some of the mystery out of what pressure your tires are at. The hose has a sturdy metal clasp which firmly engages the valve end.
The best and simultaneously worst feature of the pump is the fold out handle, which flips 90° to provide a wider base to pump with. The handle does not remain folded out when pressure is being applied, instead the handle swings back in line with the body of the pump. This makes for frustrating and fiddly pumping. You need to press down with the heel of your hand directly above the plunger to avoid the handle folding down on your fingers. This flaw could easily be fixed with a small metal strut which folded out from the handle when engaged.
You can mount the pump to your frame by either attaching it to one of the waterbottle mounting points, or you can fix it with some zip ties (which are even supplied by Topeak)
Overall, the Road Morph is still far better than most other pocket pumps and I would highly recommend it as a pump to take on tour.