Have you been bitten by the mountain bike bug? If so, chances are you’ve been spending countless hours online doing research about what upgrades you can make to your bike. You want it to be faster and more comfortable. It’s amazing how most cyclists are willing to spend thousands of dollars on fancy new parts. But then, they tend to ignore one simple and freeway that will ensure a more pleasant ride – getting the right tire pressure. One way to ensure that you get the tire pressure right is by investing in the best mini bike pump.
Getting the right pressure is important for good performance and a comfortable ride. But if your bike has been sitting idle for quite some time, the tires may slowly leak air; thus, their pressure will decrease. This is why it is important to check the pressure from time to time.
Many of you may probably have a track pump at home to ensure that the tires maintain the ideal pressure. But flat tires are bound to happen to everyone at some point. So you need to be prepared for situations like this. A track pump is too big to carry around with you on your bike rides. As such, you may want to consider getting a mini bike pump instead.
In this blog post, we did a roundup of some of the best mini bike pumps on the market. Check out our chosen list to see which one will best suit your needs and budget.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Bike Pump
Before we share the best mini bike pumps and reviews of each product, there are some things to consider during your search. A pump is a basic, mandatory need for every biker so it’s essential that you purchase only the best-suited for your needs and budget.
What Pressure You Need
Before making a purchase, you should know that pressure gauge you’re looking for. Some pumps can go up to 260psi, but you shouldn’t need one more than 40psi, so don’t waste your money on a product that you won’t make the most of. If you do require a high-pressure gauge, search for a brand that caters specifically to intense mountain biking.
Volume You Require
Similar to the above factor, the volume you require depends on the brand of your bike, which is why not all bikers can share their mini bike pump amongst others. If you purchase a high-volume pump, this will take fewer strokes to fully pump your tires, although this means that it likely won’t deliver a high maximum pressure.
Range of Gauge
There are limited mini bike pumps on the market that are equipped with a gauge. Of the few that are, they’re generally fairly difficult to read and don’t always offer a suitable range of pressure that your bike needs. Generally speaking, gauges are accurate in the middle range. Therefore, if you need to inflate a tire between 20 and 23psi, search for a gauge with the lowest pressure accuracy.
If you’re willing to spend more on a mini bike pump, a digital gauge is your most efficient and accurate option. Although it’s not essential to pumping up your tires, it will provide an exact reading every time.
How Does a Bike Pump Work?
A bike pump is an interesting product that every biker needs. Essentially, the floor pump acts as an air piston and the long metal element between the base and handle is where the air is held before it’s released. As you pull the handle toward you, the air is sucked in from the atmosphere and the piston then fills with air. As you push the handle back, the air is then released from the piston out of the valve. Finally, the air then pushes out of the hose to release into the tire.
Bike pumps also have different valve types – mainly Prest and Schrader. These valve types match the valve on your bike tube, so you should always check the recommended type with your manufacturer’s guide. As you connect the pump valve to the tire valve, it’ll remain secure by locking into place. This means that the air inside the pump is pushed into the tube rather than escape into the atmosphere. The best mini bike pump will have a pressure gauge connected to it so that you can read the pressure in your tube and pump so that you end up with the pressure level you’re looking for.
How to Correctly Use a Bike Pump
If you find that you’re strolling along having a leisurely bike ride and then experience a tire, you’ll need a repair kit. In that repair kit should be a mini bike pump to add air to your tires so you can safely reach your destination. But, there’s no use in owning a pump if you don’t know how to operate it.
Begin by spinning the wheel so that the value is facing the bottom and remove the cap. Open up the nut until it stops (or clicks). You then need to direct the pump with the tire valve. If there’s an open and close valve on your pump, keep it closed. If there isn’t, you’ll have to hold the opening on the valve to prevent any current air escaping.
Then, use your hand to apply pressure on the end of the pump while you hold the end in place. Follow by pulling the pump piston out before you begin pumping. The smaller the pump, the longer this process will take, so remain patient. Your wrist might even begin to ache after a short amount of time, but hang in there. If you need to take a short break, make sure the open valve is secure so no air leaks out.
The best way to keep yourself motivated and improve your pumping skills is to create a rhythm and stick to it. Remaining at a consistent speed with the same amount of pressure throughout ensures that you apply a healthy flow of air. When you’re finished, check the pressure compared to the tire gauge. Have a feel of the tire too. The tire should be firm, but not so much so that there’s zero bounce back. Once you’re satisfied with the end result, open the pump valve, remove the tube and close it.
Finding The Best Mini Bike Pump
Lezyne Sport Drive HP Pump
The pump barrel and shaft are made of aluminum, as well as the ends of the hose. The handle and end caps are made of plastic. The Sport Drive HP has a shaft that measures 23mm in diameter and a handle about 30mm. It looks like a conventional mini bike pump, but it gets your tires up to high pressure. In fact, it delivers a maximum inflation pressure of 120 psi.
The hose is double-ended and is compatible with both Schrader and Presta valves. It also comes with a mounting bracket for easy pump storage. Overall, it is a beautifully-engineered and highly-efficient pump that can easily inflate tires to riding pressures with fewer strokes.
Crankbrothers Sterling Long Frame Pump
The Crankbrothers Sterling pump features an aluminum barrel. The construction is solid. You can feel the quality in your hand. The aluminum body was designed to keep its weight to a reasonable 141g. Thanks to its dual piston design, users have the option to switch between a large volume (1 to 40 psi) or high pressure (40 to 100 psi). This can be done by simply twisting the dial on the base. Another highlight includes the universal head that fits either a Presta or a Schrader valve.
Blackburn Airstik SL Pump
The Blackburn Airstik SL Pump has a lightweight aluminum shaft and barrel. Weighing only 60g and measuring about 16cm long, it is the smallest and lightest among Blackburn’s pumps. But don’t let it fool you into thinking that it will only deliver a limited amount of air. In fact, it is capable of delivering a maximum pressure of 160 psi. It also features a dual chamber, which is designed to move 37% more air than similar-sized pumps. The inner shaft of the pump works as an air chamber, which results in an increased air volume per stroke.
As compared to the other pumps on the list, the Airstik SL has a Presta-specific head and has a maximum pressure of 160 psi. It also features a specific dual chamber. It can help you inflate a flat tire, and you don’t need to have arms like Popeye to make it happen.
Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump
This mini bike pump comes with a folding out handle, a hose, and foot peg. It may be small, but it is capable of pumping up tires at roughly twice the time of a traditional track pump. It lets you enjoy all the benefits of a truck pump, even when you’re out on the trails.
The Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump has a durable aluminum body that ensures that your pump survives a skip across the tarmac, even after dropping it out of your back pocket during a bike ride. The pump weighs about 247g, which is about 100g heavier as compared to the other mini pumps on the list. But considering how well it operates, the weight and size can’t be considered as a downfall.
GT Attack Mini Bike Pump
The Attack Mini Pump may be small enough to fit into a jersey pocket, but it does have awesome pumping performance. In fact, it has a claimed maximum pressure of 120 psi. The hose works with most valves, so you can use it on different bike tires. It is also extractable, so it easily stores away when not in use.
This high-pressure mini bike pump is an excellent tool to bring along whether you’re on the go or out on the trail. It makes the task of inflating your tires quick and easy.
Lezyne Micro Floor Drive High Volume Pump
This mini bike pump has a maximum capacity of 90 psi and weighs 150 grams. It features a 24-inch hose that easily reaches most valve stems and a comfortable machine handle for proper control. This feature means you can use the pump on the ground without inconveniencing yourself. The floor pump works with Presta and Schrader valves; thus, making it an excellent choice for both mountain and road bikes.
We love that this mini pump comes with a foot peg that folds up when you’re not using the barrel. The chuck is also reversible and versatile to work with an array of tire brands. As a bonus feature, you can also use this pump on other inflatable objects and not just tires.
The Winning Mini Bike Pump
From this incredible choice, how do you decide the best mini bike pump to purchase? If we had to narrow down this article to merely one product, the winner would be the Topeak Road Morph G Mini Pump.
The Topeak Morph is an easy fold-out pump with a handle that offers good leverage. This mini pump is also equipped with an extendable hose with a locking lever. Inside the pump, there’s an in-line pressure gauge to keep track of the amount of air in your tires. Its design is compact enough that you can conveniently keep it on your bike or in a backpack while traveling. It’s not small enough to store in your pocket, but the ideal size to connect to your bike without it causing any inconvenience.
Admittedly, unlike any other mini pump, the Mini Morph will take twice as long to pump your tires compared to a full-sized bike pump. But, it sure does put some power behind its effort when in action. Specifically, the barrel is wide for a pump of this size, which means you can acquire a decent amount of air per stroke.
Have any of the other mini bike pumps caught your attention? We’d love to hear your thoughts; share some feedback and opinions in the comments.