Can I buy just the end of a bike pump or just the inside of a bike helmet?
September 10, 2012 7:17 AM   Subscribe

I have a 20 year old bike pump and helmet. The pump had a rubber nozzle end that is eaten away. The helmet had some felt that is also crumbling. Can I buy just these bits or do I need whole new equiptment?

My wife is getting into biking and so I dusted off my 20 year old bike and got it going again as best I could. I got new inner tubes and tires and cleaned up the chain and gearing and things seem passable.

My old full size floor stand bike pump doesn't work. Upon further inspection, the rubber where the tube coming out of the pump meets the nozzle has disintegrated. I can easily take this bit off so it seems likely I can buy just that bit and not a whole new pump, but I can't seem to find out how to buy just that bit.

Likewise, my old Giro helmet seems fine, but when I wear it, I get black bits all over me. The styrofoam seems ok but there are these felt bits inside for comfort and they are disintegrating as well. Can I buy just the comfort insides to a bike helmet so I can re-velco them on or do I have to just buy a whole new helmet?
posted by cmm to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
After 20 years, I would definitely buy a new helmet.

A (local?) bike shop would be the place to ask about a new bike pump part.
posted by carter at 7:24 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can get replacement pads for the helmet. There are universal kits, though they may not be exactly the same as what was originally there.

If your bike pump is a particular brand and the company still exists you might be able to call them and ask about a replacement part, otherwise you might be out of luck. Given the age of the pump it could be hard to track down a specific part.
posted by ghharr at 7:25 AM on September 10, 2012

Bike helmets expire like car seats do for kids, as the materials break down in the sunlight and from sitting around, except bike helmets don't have an expiration date stamped on them.

I am not sure what you meant exactly, but the wording of your question implies that your helmet is 20 years old.

Get a new helmet, please.
posted by TinWhistle at 7:26 AM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

A 20 year old bike helmet isn't going to offer much in the way of crash protection. Much better to replace the helmet with something newer that fits way better too. CostCo has pretty inexpensive Giro's with a nice dial-in fit system for around $25.

The pump is likely also just a better replace option too.
posted by fenriq at 7:26 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Regardless of whether it was OK I would still get a new bike helmet. New bike helmets are safer, more comfortable and more aerodynamic than older ones. You can buy felt insides for bike helmets but they fit specific patterns and unless Giro are making an analogous helmet you won't get ones that match up.

I also would be leery of the integrity of an old helmet. The straps age and degrade. The shell can hide hidden cracks from innocuous drops that ruin its integrity. A decent modern helmet is not expensive.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:26 AM on September 10, 2012

I would absolutely get a new helmet. Helmets today offer better protection than before as the understanding of the science of protecting your brain improves.
posted by inturnaround at 7:30 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, to pile on everyone else's answers, you can replace the parts on the helmet, but get a new one; a 20 year old helmet isn't going to offer much protection at all. Having a helmet fitted for you and adjusted properly by a bike shop is incredibly important. Hit that up.

And I'm all for repairing things that are busted instead of buying new, but finding replacement parts are probably going to cost you a bit more than buying a new pump.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:34 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are more than one rubber seal in that pump. It's likely that if you fix one, that will just make the next-most-obvious problem easier to detect. You could spend a lot of time chasing down parts, spend the cost of a new pump on obscure parts and still have a nonfunctional tool. Junk it.

If the helmet is anywhere near 20 years old, junk it too.
posted by jon1270 at 7:36 AM on September 10, 2012

Absolutely rebuy the helmet. Most manufacturers will only guarantee the styrofoam for 5 years, even if it looks like it's in good shape. Twenty years is well beyond the useful life of the plastic and the foam.
posted by bonehead at 7:37 AM on September 10, 2012

Helmets break down after 4-5 years, for safety please buy a new one. They don't have to be very expensive.

You can find a good pump for under $20. I recommend anything with a visible PSI gauge.
posted by loriginedumonde at 7:40 AM on September 10, 2012

For the pump, it may be simplest to cut the rubber hose and put on a new valve head. Hoses are pretty standard sizes, pump heads are cheap and that way you don't have to worry about finding a specific part from a single manufacturer. You will also want a pipe clamp, for a few pennies at a hardware store. Here are a bunch of possibilities: 1 2 3. Almost any of them would do what you want.
posted by bonehead at 7:44 AM on September 10, 2012

Yes, the helmet is 20 years old. I'm getting the feeling I should buy a new one!

Thanks for the help, all.
posted by cmm at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2012

Nthing new helmet. It's not much money to pay for added fit, comfort, and protection.
posted by absquatulate at 7:52 AM on September 10, 2012

With everyone else on the helmet, and agree that you'll probably end up replacing your pump. I've been through a couple of floor pumps, and I now actually just use my on-bike pump, a Topeak Morph G (either the road or mountain version depending on if you have high pressure skinny tires, or low (65PSI or less) pressure big tires).

It's nice to have the big long stroke floor pump, but for an on-bike pump nothing beats the Morph with the gauge. Even the guys with the CO2 canisters put those away when they see me pull out that pump.
posted by straw at 8:35 AM on September 10, 2012

I won't even bother answering the helmet question, as that's been covered plenty upthread. As for the frame pump, what kind is it? I have a Zefal that I have been using since I got my first road bike. A few years ago, I bought a small bag of spare parts through Rivendell, replaced the worn out bits, applied a little grease, and it works good as new.

A full-length frame pump will spank the pants off almost any mini-pump or mid-sized frame pump, and yeah, I'm looking at you, Topeak Morph. Don't get me started on CO2's.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:52 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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