With the rapid advancements in mountain bike tire technology, it is important that the other items in your toolkit be up to par. While you may think all floor pumps are the same, that is definitely not the case. The Joe Blow Floor Pump has become popular not only because it is durable and well built, but it produces almost as much air pressure as an air compressor. In this review, our customer tries one out and is hooked. Check it out!
If you’ve been away from riding a mountain bike in the last 10 or so years, the single largest advance in MTB technology has probably been the widespread adoption of tubeless tires. Seal a rim with some tape or a special rim strip, toss a little bit of liquid latex inside the tire, blast the tire onto the rim with an air compressor, and you’re on your way to enjoying lower air pressures for a smoother ride, eliminating pinch flats, and enjoying better traction in 10 minutes or less.
‘But wait!’, you say. ‘I don’t have an air compressor!’ or ‘I can’t use an air compressor in my basement/living room/apartment kitchen because air compressors are loud and my baby/neighbors/significant other enjoy sleep!’ Well, your experience is going to be slightly different. Today’s reinforced tire sidewalls are stiffer than those of yesteryear to handle the lower air pressures and keep the air inside the tire, sans-tube. Rims are designed to hook onto the bead or have molded ramps and shelves to keep your tire firmly planted when things go sideways. Despite your massive upper arm strength and copious amounts of soapy water lube (and, if you’re like me, curse words), your old floor pump might not put out enough high-velocity air to get your tire bead seated, locked, and ready for action.
Topeak recognizes that not everyone has access to an air compressor, and they’ve created the Joe Blow Booster Floor Pump. The pump, which also functions as a standard floor pump, has a secondary aluminum air chamber that you pressurize with the pump handle up to 160psi, burying the needle on the high-contrast, easy to read pressure gauge. Once you put the DX3 SmartHead over your Presta or Schrader valve and lock it into position and flip the single-handed valve, your floor-pump-turned-stealthy-air-compressor releases all of that pressurized air into your tire, instantly seating the tire bead and inflating your tubeless tire. The DX3 SmartHead has an air release button on it so you can easily fine tune your pressure if you’ve been a little too generous on inflation. Once you remove the pump head and add your desired amount of tubeless sealant, you’re ready to ride.
I’ve used the Topeak Joe Blow Booster to mount several tires this week, and have found the process to be straightforward and painless. On my hookless carbon rims, even Maxxis DoubleDown cased tires snap into place with a satisfying “pop” and were ready to go with one blast of air. On Stan’s Arch S1 rims, however, that DoubleDown casing took two compressor sessions to seat properly, despite ample lubrication with soapy water. The good news is that recharging the Joe Blow Booster back up to 160psi takes less than 30 seconds and nobody outside my basement was even aware I was working on my bike — a far cry from last Fall’s futile attempt to hand-pump that Aggressor Double Down onto my Nobl rims. That night, some words were said that I can’t take back.
If you’re looking for a practical, lightweight, silent replacement for an air compressor or the trip to a gas station to borrow theirs, the Topeak Joe Blow Booster is an excellent choice for the basement mechanic who needs a no-fuss way to mount stubborn tubeless tires in addition to being an excellent all-around floor pump. I’ll be using this pump almost daily on my fleet, and even better, it will be a no-brainer choice to toss in the trunk on MTB road trips.