Pumps are essential to bikes, it’s a fact. Tires need air, there’s just no two ways about it. Little CO2 squirts work OK in a pinch, but even then they’re a temporary solution to a chronic problem. Floor pumps are the best, moving lots of air all at once, and using sturdy terra firma as a base for maximum stability. Their downside? You can’t exactly take a floor pump out on the trail. In their place, the hand pump in used.
Bicycle culture has suffered the affliction of these little beasties since the age of skinny tires and top-tube pumps, even though we now have fancy, digital gauged, flexible hosed, shiny, anodized works of art. However, they aren’t always functional art. More often than not, a flat on group ride turns into a game of “which pump won’t break” in an attempt to get the sorry tire back up to pressure.
There have been many attempts at a cure for the hand pump affliction, but none have done more than temporarily abate the symptoms. Eventually, we’re again left at the side of a trail, dripping sweat and simultaneously tearing our pectoral muscles and valve stems trying to put more than 30 PSI in a tire. The Stompump was born of such strife, allegedly brainstormed while fighting a vicious battle with a bad pump on the side of a road in a freezing rain storm.
The Stompump is designed not to improve on current pump designs, but to circumnavigate their shortcomings as much as possible. First and foremost, the Stompump is a foot pump. Instead of using your arm and chest strength to push pressure into your tire, the Stompump allows you to basically just stand on it and use your body weight for compression. Legs are (usually) a lot stronger than arms, so fixing your flat tire with Stompump should be more of a rest than an additional interval workout on your ride. According to Stompump, it only takes about three minutes to fill up a fat bike tire--that might seem like a lot of stomping, but imagine how long it takes to fill one of those up with a little hand pump. Stompump is also rated to 90 PSI, perfect for a gravel or cyclocross bike as well.
Since Stompump spends a lot of time on the ground--right in the thick of things--its creators spent a lot of time making sure their brain child would hold up for years to come. An air filter was added to the intake valve to keep dust and grit out of the inner seals, which might be a first for bike pumps. Going even further, the filter can be disassembled and cleaned easily, and pretty much every part of the pump can be taken apart for maintenance, even on the side of the trail if needed.
The creators of Stompump have also worked to design and manufacture OEM products for companies like Specialized, Sigma and Cervelo, and they also harbor a hobby for robotics, regularly competing (and winning) in the “Battlebots” series of televised robot duels. What do robot battles have to do with a bicycle pump, you ask? Bronco, the Stompump creators’ latest battlebot, makes extensive use of pneumatics in its design. Stompump used battlebot knowhow on their portable pump: The air hose and connection fittings are similar to those used in robotics, which allows for unique features. The connections are similar to an air chuck, so it’s quite easy to disconnect the hose for repair or replacement. This would be useful out on the trail if you were to damage a section of hose, or plug it with sealant by accident. Simply disconnecting the hose, trim the damaged section off and then reinstalling it. Or, grab a different color of hose, of which Stompump offers a few, to go full matchy-matchy with your bike or kit.
Like most hand pumps, the Stompump is designed to attach to your frame, ideally to your bottle cage mounts. Due to its size, it would take the place of your bottle, but in case you want to carry a bottle and a pump, Stompump’s mount can be attached anywhere on your frame. Inside the pump is a small storage compartment, big enough to hold some tire plugs, patches, glue and probably a valve core tool as well. The rubber plug cap is an extremely tight fit, so I would even trust hiding some extra after-ride drink money in there without fear of it fluttering out in the breeze.
On that note, the Stompump is secured to its mount by two means: First and foremost, the pump is slightly compressed against an internal-piston spring when put into the mount, so it does a good job of holding itself in place. Taking things one step further, a velcro strap is fed through the mount and around the pump body.
Currently, Stompump is filling the orders for their Kickstart campaign, but is expecting that pumps will start shipping to everyone else in a month or two. If you’re tired of fighting traditional hand pump designs, or even want a highly portable pump for traveling, the Stompump might be just the ticket. It’s not exactly cheap at $100, but it looks to be $100 well spent.