Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things I want to like...

I've wanted to start this for quite some time. "Things I Like" - self-explanatory. "Things I Don't Like" again, very self-explanatory. And "Things I Want To Like" - this category contains things that I want to like but due to various circumstances fail in my expectation or in their ability to work/please/last.

Because this thing's in my face every day, I'm starting with the Park Tools PFP-4 floor pump. I want to like this pump because it's tall (trust me, that's a big deal), the gauge is up at the top (another big deal with my failing eyesight), and it's the only pump that is guaranteed for shop use.

I've had it for about 6 months or so and have had to replace the presta valve grommet, the gauge needle is stuck at 20psi, and the thing just plain feels like crap when attempting to inflate tires. The pump's central plunger pushes air through the center chamber, like a standard pump, but then the air comes up the sides around the center chamber and then through the gauge and out the hose. Think of a cylinder within a cylinder. The net effect of this is that it feels like air is going into the tires in a delayed sequence. Pushing on the main handle causes air to fill the outer chamber which finally comes out the hose. Kind of like watching ill-timed voices in an old Godzilla movie.

I guess I'm the only one I can blame in this purchase since I bought a Park mechanic's floor pump when I was at Haro and that thing worked like poo too. As the bearded lady can testify, that thing saw more air time in the air than air time on a valve stem. But I was lured by the "only pump guaranteed for shop use" line. Well, I guess I'll be taking Park up on that guarantee. I wonder if I can get credit on some kind of tool - which they are actually quite good at producing.

If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's that Park should focus on hand tools and leave pumps to the pump people, like Silca. My Silca track pump is over 20 years old and works as good today as it did when I bought it. After all, there's something to be said for maintaining your company's focus on what you do well.

(What's playing: Cavendish won the sprint, so it's on to MPR's The Current and Yeasayer Sunrise)


Guitar Ted said...

You know, there must be something about pumps that everyone is trying to re-invent. I have a Silca floor pump from 1992 and it has been sorely abused, bu still works to this day. What's more, you can repair it yourself quite easily.

Whatever pump manufacturers are doing, they can't seem to match the functionality and durability of Silca's classics. Weird.

kittytrail said...

Mark, don't forget the SKS Rennkompressor!
Much like the Silca, it's built of good ol' european steel tube in Europe by people who care and is almost impossible to destroy, is rebuildable with a less than five bucks kit and some grease.

nothing beats those two for durability, price, quality and usability.

Add an Hirame head and you're good to go.

Disclaimer: i do own a couple of them each(Silca & SKS).