Saturday, August 16, 2008
Schwinn Airdriver 1100 bike pump review
Mass-market store bike pumps are almost all optimized for mountain bikes. This means that they have relatively large barrels giving a high volume of air, at the expense of not being able to reach very high pressures. These also typically have "regular" Schrader valves, rather than the Presta valves typical of modern road bikes (but rare at mass market stores). To get a pump that will work well for road tires, you usually have to go to a bike store and pay $40+. The Schwinn Airdriver 1100 was about $15 at Meijers. It is the only pump I've seen at a mass market store that will work well for road bikes. Claims to be rated at 160 PSI, and comes equipped for both Schrader and Presta valves--In fact, they give two options for Presta. There is an adapter that stores in the release lever for occasional use, or for dedicated Presta use you can unscrew the gasket retainer and reverse the rubber gasket and plastic valve pin. The threads are very fine and plastic--it takes concentration to avoid cross-threading these, so I'd leave it in Schrader mode and use the adapter if you need it for both types. The lever is aluminum, and feels more solid than most inexpensive pumps. The head also comes with a basketball needle and a pool toy inflater--you would be pumping forever for a pool toy of any size. It appears that the basketball adapter is permanent, and there is a valve arrangement, but I couldn't get it to work, and wound up breaking the needle. No instructions, so maybe that is just an overly complicated storage space. The pressure gauge is raised a bit, although it should be either higher or have a better scale design. The gauge isn't easy to read fine graduations, although it does come with an adjustable arrow you can use to point to the pressure you want. I'd like about 8 inches more hose, but there is enough. The base is a little bit flimsy, but adequate. I'll probably reinforce mine with epoxy. As much as I'm complaining, this pump is a bargain if you have road bikes--it is less than half the price of other pumps that can reach road bike pressures, and nearly as good. The flimsiness of the base is the only major concern I have.