Attractive; very compact. Popular for two pumping modes: extended for high volume or shorter for high pressure. Universal valve compatible with Presta and Schrader valves. Includes repair kit and bracket for mounting to bike. Responsive customer service.
Nearly impossible to reach 120 psi as claimed.
Unique and favored among cyclists for its threaded valve connector that screws on for airtight connection. Little air loss when removing or attaching to valve stem, especially important with thin tires. Very lightweight. Built-in pressure gauge.
Takes twice as many strokes, too much upper body strength to inflate tire for some.
Despite the low price, this aluminum alloy bike pump has decent volume and solid construction. Customers have very few issues with it, noting its comfortable design and smooth pumping motion. The ability to use it as a floor/hand is convenient, and the 3-in-1 nozzle works well for a variety of tasks beyond inflating bike tires.
The pressure gauge is difficult to read and not always reliable, but the handful of other features make up for this shortcoming.
Though it takes several strokes to completely fill tires, its ability to pump in both directions is useful, and it has a readable gauge. Customers praise this pump for its solid construction and the company’s excellent customer service. The one-year warranty offers peace of mind.
It takes several strokes to inflate tires, and the gauge struggles to read below 30 psi.
With the built-in gauge, bike bell, mounting kit, and repair tools, there’s a lot to love about this low-priced pump. The gauge is dependable and easy to read, and customers like this pump for its construction and lightweight design. The repair tools are a nice added touch.
A few people have reported issues getting the pump to inflate their tires properly.
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A mini bike pump is an essential tool for any cyclist to take on the road. While it shouldn’t be your primary pump, a mini pump is a great way to give your tires some extra air in a pinch.
As the name implies, mini bike pumps are considerably smaller than floor pumps and are designed to be compact and convenient to carry. Some models may be mounted directly to your bike frame, so you don’t have to worry about carrying them in your pocket or bag. There are two common valve types among tires: Schrader and Presta valves. Many mini pumps are only compatible with one valve type, but some may have dual nozzles to connect to both valves. The size of a pump often determines its volume and how many strokes it will take to fill your tires.
In short, this little tool may be one of the most important gadgets you bring with you when you ride. To learn more about the different types of pumps available, continue reading our buying guide.
Before you begin your hunt for a mini bike pump, take a look at your bike to determine what type of valve your tires have and what PSI they require.
Getting the wrong pump will spell disaster. But finding a compatible mini pump to fit your valves is as simple as determining your valve type and purchasing a pump that will do the job. There are two types of tire valves:
Schrader valves are larger and offer a more secure connection. They are most common on mountain bikes, which have tires with lower psi ratings.
Take note of the maximum psi (pounds per square inch) of a mini bike pump, as their smaller size often results in less power. Road bike tires typically require pressure of up to 130 psi, while mountain bike tires require up to 50 psi.
If your mini bike pump isn’t capable of filling your tires to the appropriate psi, it won’t be of much help to you. However, purchasing a 180 psi pump may be overkill and may even cause you to overinflate your tires.
You can often mount a bike pump on the frame and still have room for a bottle cage.
Though the purpose of all mini bike pumps is the same, they can function quite differently. You should consider the size, weight, materials, and inflation method of a mini bike pump before you make a decision.
The volume of a bike pump is the amount of air stored in the canister and pushed into the tire with each pump. As a result, a higher-volume pump requires fewer strokes to fully inflate a tire.
More is more when it comes to volume, and many mini bike pumps are described as “high volume” by the manufacturers. The exact volume is typically not listed, and a higher volume may mean a larger and heavier pump.
Inexpensive bike pumps are primarily made of plastic, which makes them less durable but also lighter in weight.
Mid-range to expensive bike pumps are usually made of metal, often aluminum alloy, which allows for more pressure and more efficient pumping. Some pumps may even be made of carbon fiber, which is lightweight and highly durable.
A larger pump offers more volume but can also be more difficult to carry. Small pumps are easier to bring along, but they often lack the power and volume of larger mini pumps. At the end of the day, the main function of a mini pump is to be a tool you can easily carry and use to inflate your tires, so finding a balance is important.
A similar balance is needed for weight as well, since a heavier pump is often more powerful, but it’s that much more weight to carry while you ride.
A mini bike pump with a retractable hose gives you more flexibility as you pump up your tires, since you can reach the valve from more angles than a standard pump. In addition, a flexible hose provides a buffer between your movement and the valve, decreasing the chances of disconnecting the nozzle from the valve.
Some mini bike pumps may have small pedals that fold out from the shaft, allowing you to use the pump as a floor pump. This can make much quicker work of inflating your tires.
If you don’t have a spare pocket or bag to keep your pump in, consider a model that comes with mounting equipment. These generally require few tools to install and go directly on your frame, so you can easily access your mini pump when you need it.
Though this feature is rare in mini bike pumps, a gauge tells you the approximate psi of your tires, so you can inflate them sufficiently.
The larger a mini bike pump is, the more efficiently it will work, requiring fewer pumps so you can get on the road quicker.
While dual-headed mini bike pumps are good for finding a pump compatible with your valves, it is unlikely you will use both heads unless you ride multiple bikes.
Inexpensive: Basic mini bike pumps for $5 to $15 are usually made of plastic and generally have low volumes. While they may work for mountain bikes, they often lack the pressure for road bike tires.
Mid-range: For $15 to $25, you can find mini bike pumps made of plastic or metal, and some pumps in this range include gauges and dual heads for Schrader or Presta valves. Some pumps in this range may include equipment for frame mounting.
Expensive: The priciest mini bike pumps cost from $25 to $40 and are usually made of metal or the far lighter carbon fiber. Many pumps in this range have built-in gauges, and most can be mounted to the frame.
A mini bike pump should not usually be your primary pump, as they take far longer to inflate your tires than a regular floor pump. What they excel at is a quick pump while you’re on the road when your tires are feeling mushy.
With Presta valves, the locking nut must be unscrewed for the valve to accept air. Don’t worry about the nut falling off — just make sure it’s unscrewed enough that air is released when you tap on the valve.
Your tire should have the appropriate psi printed on its side.
Make sure your pump is firmly connected to the valve. This usually means screwing the pump onto the valve or flipping a switch that clamps the nozzle in place. This step prevents air from escaping and ensures that you fill your tires as efficiently as possible.
For a reliable carbon fiber pump, there’s the Topeak Micro Rocket CB MasterBlaster Carbon Fiber Bike Pump. Customers love the sleek design and extremely compact size of this pump, though they do note that it takes quite a while to pump tires up to the advertised 160 psi. Another model that stands out is the Topeak Mountain Morph Bike Pump, which can be used as a floor pump despite its small frame-mountable design. The high volume of this aluminum pump makes it great for quickly bringing your tires back up to full. Customers note that this is a perfect pump for fat-tire bikes because of its high volume.
Q. How often should you check tire pressure or inflate tires?
A. Ideally, you should check the tire pressure before every ride and inflate your tires appropriately. You may not need to inflate them every time.
Q. Is it bad to overinflate tires?
A. Yes. You should always stick to the recommended psi. Overinflated tires are harder and less likely to roll over small bumps smoothly. In addition, they run a risk of bursting, just as severely underinflated tires can become flat if they hit a bump. In general, it is better to have slightly underinflated tires than overinflated tires.
Q. I lost the cap for my valve. Will I lose air?
A. The valve creates its own seal without the help of a cap. However, without a cap, there is a greater likelihood that dirt and debris will enter and damage the valve, which may lead to the need for a valve.
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