Don’t Forget to Service Your Bicycle Pump

Cartoon of cyclist pumping up a bicycle tire.

When I replace the sealant in my tubeless tires, I find it is also a good time to service my bicycle pump. Like most touring cyclist, I prefer the reliability of a pump over C02 cartridges because I just never know how many CO2 cartridges I’ll need. For example, while cycling coast to coast across America, I set a personal record with four flat tires in one day. With a good reliable bicycle pump, I can inflate unlimited tires and never run out of air.

However, without regular service, my pump might not work when I need it, especially after not being used over the winter. The seal on the plunger tends to dry out resulting in air leakage inside the pump. Simply servicing my pump in the spring helps to prevent this problem.

Bicycle Pump Servicing

Servicing a pump is simple. Disassemble the pump and remove the plunger. Clean the inside barrel and the plunger with a silicon spray like WD-40 spray lubricant. I don’t use petroleum-based products in fear that it will damage any rubber seals. Finally, I apply a generous amount of silicone lubricating grease to the seal. After reassembling the pump I test it to make sure it works properly and hopefully I’m good until next season.

Ken Whittaker