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  1. #1
    Diaskeuast
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    Sub-zero tire pumps

    Some of you Susitna 100 and Invitational veterans have surely found a reliable cold-weather pump, so I'm looking for advice to avoid a repeat of last night's problem, which occurred when the temp was about 15 below zero.

    One of the riders in our group had an Endomorph that was getting too soft, so I offered him my Crank Brothers Power Pump. When I turned the head to show him how to lock it onto his valve stem, the frozen rubber valve seal couldn't flex so it blew right through the plastic ring that threads onto the pump head as shown in these photos.

    A metal ring might have been enough to prevent the blowout, but I suspect the rubber seal was so stiff that I wouldn't have been able to lock the pump onto the stem anyway. What kind of pumps are you guys using in this kind of cold weather?
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    Last edited by Big Karma; 01-28-2008 at 01:16 PM.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

  2. #2
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    I use that pump. Actually the cheaper full plastic version without the gauge.
    Like just water and cameras you just have to keep it close to your body.
    If its stiff and cold you'll know as soon as you try to turn the head. I just give it a good long warm blow with my breath and that rubber responds quickly.
    I like the thought of you standing around a broken pump and a flat Endomorph in the dark at -15 thinking "Hmmm, what do I do next? I think I'll just start drinking".

  3. #3
    GIT-R-DONE!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger
    If its stiff and cold you'll know as soon as you try to turn the head. I just give it a good long warm blow with my breath and that rubber responds quickly.
    OMG

    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger
    I use that pump. Actually the cheaper full plastic version without the gauge
    Like this one? This is the second one that has broken on me with in the span of a week. Thank god for REI.
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    Checking Out The Big Phenomenon

  4. #4
    Diaskeuast
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger
    I like the thought of you standing around a broken pump and a flat Endomorph in the dark at -15 thinking "Hmmm, what do I do next? I think I'll just start drinking".
    Well, DUH! Why do you think I carry a flask on winter rides? It reduces stress whenever I break something I can't fix (or ride a very powdery Blue Dot with Manny).

    I repaired the pump today with a metal ring that should be a lot stronger. Next time, I'll, uh, try that whole "blowing-on-the-head-to-see-if-the-rubber-responds" thing.

    What happens on the trail stays on the trail.

    I hope.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

  5. #5
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    after being the one with the low Endomorph, I tried all my mini pumps @ home to see which worked best. They all worked about the same, and of course great @ +65 in the house.

    The problem that I see with the pump not working in the cold is that the seals shrink and cannot pump air.

    My conclusion was the same, keep the pump warm, in a jacket or pogies. I went out last night, and tried again to inflate a low tire. Worked great since I had kept it warm in my jacket.

  6. #6
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    I carry one of those with the disposable co2 cartridges. Maybe I should try a little field test.

  7. #7
    Diaskeuast
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff1962
    I carry one of those with the disposable co2 cartridges. Maybe I should try a little field test.
    You carry that on your Pugsley? If it works, let us know what kind of tire pressure you can get in an Endomorph with a cartridge.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

  8. #8
    bi-winning
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff1962
    I carry one of those with the disposable co2 cartridges. Maybe I should try a little field test.
    That may freeze your tube and cause it to crack and fail. Remember how cold the cartridge is after inflating, even on a hot summer day?
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  9. #9
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    I figure it will take more than one cartridge . So I am going to get some extras for my test. As soon as I get it done this week i will post something.

  10. #10
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    I've used a few mini pumps over the last 19 years of winter riding and all worked ok. The bike shop guys at Beaver Sports recommended a Topeak Mini BX Master Blaster a few years ago and it's a great winter pump, best I've ever used. Has a "O" ring around the shaft which fits tight underneath the pump head and keeps out dirt-snow-ice-moisture. It works fine down to -40F and colder but like all pumps I've used it requires some pumping to warm up the seals at temps below zero F. 30 seconds of pumping is about all it ever takes to warm the seals. It sounds as if keeping it next to your body works but I sweat so much I wouldn't want the pump to get moisturized. Now I'm using a tiny Barbier (sp?) cark one carbon fiber that fits in my small handlebar bag and weighs next to nothing. It takes a few more strokes but I'm not in a hurry when biking. The Barbier has a one size fits all head and works fine. On all my other pumps they had the standard presta-flip-schrader set up. With those pumps I would unscrew the ring a little as it seemed to help the seal when it was colder (zero F and down), sometimes it required loosening the ring and then tighening it once it was on the tire valve. The colder it gets, those little details become more important

  11. #11
    Bill M
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    Chainsaw File

    I just bought 2 new Mountain Morph pumps for Kathi and I. Anything below 0 and you couldn't get the rubber insert on the stem with the cap completely off. I tried a drill bit but it just screwed in spreading the rubber. I used my chainsaw file and it worked fine. Just for good measure I lubed the inside of the insert with Carmex so it wouldn't get chapped. Tried both pumps today and they worked great at -25.

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