You don’t have to have a lot of equipment to enjoy cycling, but one thing you must have is a reliable floor pump. When you buy a pump you had better purchase a good one because you are going to be using it a lot. Bicycle tires need topped off every week, and even more often if you put on a lot of miles. I’ve owned three floor pumps in the past ten years. The first two were cheap and broke in less than a year, and my third pump, a Topeak Joe Blow Max, works but has several shortcomings that make it less than desirable. For the past month I’ve been using a Genuine Innovations Top Dog Legend that was sent to me for review and I am certain it will be the last floor pump I ever own.
The biggest difference between the Top Dog Legend and the other pumps I’ve used is the “smart head” that automatically adjusts to either Presta and Schrader valves. Just put the head over the tire valve and once you click the lever on the head it stays put, even at high pressures (the pump can go all the way up to 160 PSI).
My biggest complaint with the Topeak Joe Blow Max pump was that it would not work properly with short stemmed Presta valves (like I have on both of my road bikes). In addition, when using the Joe Blow Max to inflate a tire above 90 PSI it would often close the Presta valve and make it impossible to inflate the tire. Topeak makes a lot of great products for cyclists, but their floor pump just isn’t one of them. The Top Dog Legend has worked flawlessly on both short and regular Presta valves, as well as Schrader valves.
The Top Dog Legend is taller than the other pumps I’ve owned (it’s over 30 inches tall) and has a brushed aluminum barrel. It has a large easy to read gauge mounted near the top of the unit and this makes it very easy to read (you will appreciate this feature more as you get older). As you will notice in the photograph, this pump also has a solid base (the logo for this pump is on the other side, but I wanted you to see exactly where the gauge sits).
Compared to the other pumps I’ve used this one seems effortless—I was able to inflate the tires on my road bike to 120 PSI in far fewer strokes and with less effort than with the other pumps I’ve used (I guess this is because of the taller barrel on the pump). Another advantage of this pump is that the hose is 48 inches long which means you can inflate the tires while your bike is still on a rack or floor stand (the hose on most floor pumps is only around 36 inches long).
While preparing this review I stopped at the local sporting goods store to see the floor pumps they had in stock—they had eight pumps available (all the same make and model). When I started looking at the pumps I noticed that the lever on the head of the pump was missing from two of them. Either the pumps were defective when they were shipped or they could not survive being examined by potential buyers! Either way, those pumps would not last long once you put them to use. Genuine Innovations offers a lifetime warranty on their products (see their Website for details), but since these pumps are extremely well made I doubt if you will ever need it.
It is customary for product reviewers to find at least one thing to complain about in every review they write (this supposedly shows their independence). If this is the standard then I guess I’ve failed—I can’t find anything to complain about with this pump! It is a quality product in every sense of the word.
The Top Dog Legend retails for $70 and if your local bike shop does not carry it they can probably order it for you. You can also purchase this pump directly from Genuine Innovations.