September 18, 2010
It's hard to beat the efficiency, and nostalgic look, of a frame pump mounted under the top tube of a touring bike. Unfortunately, if you have multiple bikes, such as touring and mountain bike, a frame pump may not fit on both frames, making a pocket sized pump a more economical option.
Blackburn's AirStik 2Stage pump is listed under their road bike category with a max psi of 160. There are a few key features that I have really been excited about with this pump. First and foremost, it can switch between high volume and high pressure modes. What this means is that for tires with low pressure, such as mountain bikes, you can use the high volume setting to push in larger amounts of air for each stroke. For road and touring bikes, you can set the pump to high volume until it gets harder to pump air into the tire, and then swap over to a high pressure, which eases the pumping motion and allows you to hit pressures in the 70-120 psi range with far less effort.
Despite its small stature, and feathery 168 gram weight, the pump has a very durable feel to it, and stands up well to abuse. As for the pump head, it handles both presta and schrader valves, and latches tightly onto the valve stem, so you don't have to hold onto it while pumping up your tire.
Blackburn does a good job of making mini-pumps that actually fit entirely in a rear jersey pocket, making it difficult to pop out if you are riding over some bumpy terrain. If you want some added security, this pump includes a cage mount that attaches to your water bottle mounts. At $25, it's certainly well priced for a durable and efficient pump that can hold its own against frame pumps.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.
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Have you actually used it? Can you comment on its performance? My experience is that it's not efficient at all in the high pressure mode. It can take literally hundreds of strokes to fill a 25c racing tire. Not something you want to do in the dark and in the rain. This little pump looks better than it works, in practice.