I'm partial to Blackburn pumps, myself. Currently I'm using the TP-5 ($100; www.blackburndesign.com), an incredibly powerful, ruggedly built pump. It has an interesting two-stage design that inflates very flat tires to 30 to 40 pounds in just a few strokes, then by pushing a button atop the pump you switch to high-pressure mode for getting road tires above 100 psi. True, that complexity increases the chance of breakdown. And I've had some problems with the Blackburn reversible head wearing down and no longer gripping the valve (especially those on Michelin tubes), but it's a part that's easily replaced.
One other pump that I haven't used, but that looks very well made, is the Park PFP-2 pump (available from online dealers like Nashbar for $65; www.nashbar.com). It has a rugged metal housing, and an alloy head that I would guess is more durable than the plastic one on my Blackburn pump.
More essential biking goods can be found in Outside's 2004 Buyer's Guide.
Filed To: Bikes and Biking