TOPEAK PUMPS/CO2 INFLATORS
Epic rides are just that -- epic. If you scrounge through our "What's New" section you can read about the trip we took to the Alps to watch le Tour in 2003. It was epic indeed. Day 1 was something like 110 miles with 4 Alpine passes and near-certainty by the end of the day that we'd be stuck sleeping on the side of the road thanks to our over-ambitious itinerary and sheer ignorance about the fact that real cols can take upwards of 2 hours to climb. And our second day nearly stopped before it started. We were slated to ride from Grenoble to the top of Alpe d'Huez to watch the mountaintop finish there, but 15 miles into the ride -- alongside the longest traffic jam we'd ever seen -- we got a gunshot-loud rear puncture on the interminable false flat that leads from the remnants of civilization into the harshest riding terrain on earth. We had only one spare tube, but worse was the fact that we'd repaired every roadside puncture in the last decade with handy, dandy CO2 cartridges. Since we flew to France we couldn't bring along CO2. Instead we carried one of these -- a Topeak Master Blaster frame pump. It was sheer terror for us: Would we rip the valve off our only spare thanks to all the leverage we'd be putting on the valve? Would we nuke a rotator cuff given the reputedly small stroke volume of a frame pump?
Rather, it took us only about an extra 30 seconds to air our spare rock hard in comparison to what it would've taken with a CO2. The valve? It was fine. Our shoulder prognosis? No problem, not at all. Given the length of the Masterblaster's barrel, it brought our tire up to good pressure with surprisingly few strokes -- a beauty of the fact that this is a real frame pump, not one of those mountain biking mini-pump jobbies. Long barrel = generous stroke volume. In short, the Master Blaster is the bomb. We got to the top of l'Alpe with abundant time for a 4 course lunch and a 20 Euro bottle of Evian before Iban Mayo passed us by resplendent in his orange Euskatel jersey, a full minute ahead of the remnants of the peloton.
The Master Blaster comes in 4 sizes -- choose the right size based on your frame size: Small for 43-49cm, Medium for 49cm-54cm, Large for 54cm-59cm, XL for 59cm+. It comes with an integrated seal and dust cap. It has a padded pump head with an internal handle lock for a solid grip. The barrel is aluminum to keep it in the sub-250g. It was there for us in our moment of need. This is the pump you want.