Having a way to inflate a flat tire on a ride is an essential part of being a self-sufficient, and safe, cyclist. As we have written before, that can either be in the form of a hand pump, or with the use of CO2. And while there are situations where both have their strengths, if you choose to use a hand pump, it’s important to find one that you can use safely, easily and confidently. For all three criteria, we like the Topeak RaceRocket HP.
The RaceRocket HP is designed for road use, which is important to consider if you are looking for a mountain bike pump. Mountain bike tires require a lot of air volume at low pressure, which means one of these smaller road pumps can take annoyingly long to fully inflate your tire. But for road bikes, and commuters, this will work great.
The pump is relatively small, about an inch longer than a pen with a diameter about that of a nickel, and comes in at only 82 grams. If you aren’t someone who counts your grams, just know this pump is light enough that you’ll hardly notice it, even if you carry it in your pocket rather than attach it to your bike with the bottle rack screw mounts.
The RaceRocket HP is also capable of getting tire pressure up to an impressive 160 PSI, so you will be able to get that floor pump stiffness in your tire, even if it takes a considerable amount of pumping. The pumping action works by sliding an inner chamber out of the metal exterior, and sliding the two tubes together.
Many new cyclists change a tire, proud of their work, only to realize when they are ready to get back on their ride that they bent the valve core of their tube, creating a slow leak that makes their brand new tube worthless. The RaceRocket solves this with a clever addition that we love. Rather than having a pump head that is attached to the end of the pump body perpendicularly, this pump uses a flexible hose. When you pop the rubber cap off the end of the pump, you can unscrew the pump head and extend it four inches out of the pump body. The pump head comes out of the very end of the flexible tube. This allows you to attach your pump head to the valve stem and pump without worrying about how much your hands gesticulate as you pump, especially as you get tired. The rubber can move and wiggle, without doing damage to your tubes.
The pump also makes this process easier with a “Smarthead” thread lock that screws on to your valve core, meaning the head is not going to slip off the tube as it wiggles. And the system works with both Schrader (like on your car tires) and Presta (skinny cycling style) valves.
The rubberized grip handle makes it easy to pump without slipping, even in hot or damp weather, and the flexible tube screws into the pump body when you are not using it to be sure it doesn’t slip out. The pump won’t extend either, so long as you don’t store it upside down!
Overall, we love this compact, easy to use and effective hand pump. It’s a great option for your road commute or weekend ride.
$38; 3 colors; topeak.com