It may seem like an odd question coming from the spandex clad rider standing next to you at the track; but try and pump a disc wheel up without one and you’ll quickly learn the meaning. The disc adapter, affectionately called the, “hash pipe,” is probably one of the most under-rated and ill-remembered pieces of equipment in the track cyclists’ arsenal. The adapter ranges in complexity from the simple little brass piece from which its nickname is derived, to the more complex pump heads that lock on to the tire valve, the most recent being Silca’s Hiro2. There are pros and cons to each but, in most cases, it’s hard to find information either way. For instance, I love the Hirame pump head I’ve been using for the last decade (so much so I make sure people know how to use my pump before I let them use it) but I may not have such a loving relationship had all of my wheels used Zipp valve extenders (which aren’t compatible).
Wheels like this older Zipp disc have exceptionally small openings making it difficult to pump without the right adapter.
To help you digest the information I’ve broken down the most relevant details in the table that follows but ultimately the most important thing to consider is whether or not the pump head you’re looking at will fit in the disc you’re using. The best way to answer that is to break out a tape measure or calipers and measure the distance between the end of the valve core and the top of the valve opening on the wheel. Compare that measurement with the height of the disc adapter, if the space is larger than the height of the adapter then you’re good to go. If it’s not you risk damaging your valve core as you pump up your tire…which may be a risk you’re willing to take, but it’d be pretty frustrating to break the valve core right before a race.
So break out those calipers and let’s get pumping!
|Adapter||Adapter Height||Price||Threaded Valve/Core Extenders
(Silca, FFWD, etc.)
|Non-Threaded Valve/Core Extenders
(Zipp, Vittoria, etc.)
Forward 90° Disc Adapter
|15.97mm||$14.99||Yes||Yes||· Fits virtually all disc wheels
· Light and easy to stow
|· Requires 2nd person to achieve high pressure|
|27.94mm||$15.99||Yes||Yes||· Comes with extra seals
· Fits on virtually all valves
|· Proprietary, for use with Lezyne pumps only
· Not nearly as universal as it should be given its simplicity
|37.2mm||$23.99||Yes||No||· Locking mechanism allows for hands free operation
· Not proprietary to Lezyne pumps
· Integrated hose clamp for cleaner installation
|· A bit clunky; not easy to get leverage on the locking mechanism in tight spaces
· Doesn’t work on non-threaded valves
· Doesn’t work on Lezyne pumps without modifying hose
|27.02-28.10mm||$76.00||Yes||No||· Locking lever allows for hands-free operation
· Locking mechanism has good feel, it’s easy to tell when it has a tight seal
· Parts are replaceable
|· Hose clamp is needed
· Doesn’t fit well in tight spaces
· Replacement parts are hard to find
|23.75-23.88mm||$40.99||Yes||Yes||· Replacement parts are easy to source
· Made in the USA
· Easily installs on Silca pumps
|· Schraeder adapter needed
· Hands free operation not possible (despite claims)
· Relatively tall adapter height makes for poor versatility
|24.48-25.02mm||$136.99||Yes||Yes||· Locking lever for hands-free operation
· Replacement parts are easy to source
· Made in the USA
· Adapter height is still relatively tall
· Locking mechanism is easy to use but tension doesn’t easily indicate a solid seal
· Schraeder adapter needed
All in all there were two standouts: Silca’s Hiro 2 and, the tried and true, Fast Forward 90 Degree Disc Adapter. For the money, the Fast Forward adapter is hard to beat. It fits on pretty much any disc, and in some cases is the only adapter that’ll fit. It’s also compatible with most Presta pump heads (minus of course Lezyne’s) and it’s small enough it stows pretty easily in your gear bag.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Hiro 2; everything about this adapter screams bling. From the materials and aesthetic to the locking lever. If you’ve already got a Silca or Lezyne pump, this adapter will screw in nicely to the newer hose/Schrader valve. If not, you can always get the Locking Schraeder Valve to pair it with any other pump. The locking lever allows for hands free operation, or rather it allows you to keep both hands on the pump instead of trying to hold he adapter on at the same time as pumping. I like the positive feedback I get on the Hirame’s locking lever a little more (it’s really easy to tell if you’ve compressed the washer enough as you’re locking it on to the valve) but it’s so much easier to get the replacement parts for the Hiro 2. Somewhat selfishly I also wish the adapter height was a little lower so it would fit my older Zipp disc but I realize that it’ll fit most current discs so it is actually more versatile than it’s progenitor.
If you’re looking to treat yourself or travel solo to other tracks, the Hiro 2 is a great choice. Otherwise get the good ole’ hash pipe. At least then when you’re asked if you’ve got one, you can smugly say, “yes”…that is right before you help pump someone’s tires up.