Don’t let its size fool you—the Blackburn Airstik SL mini pump packs some serious performance into an impressively tiny package.
I know. Its just a pump. How can you get excited about a pump? Ideally, it’s an accessory you never have to use, and, even, better, forget you even own. So heck, I guess the question really is, why would you need to get excited about it?
The short answer: You don’t.
Now, as for the long answer: You don’t—which is exactly why the fact that I’m excited by the Airstik is actually kind of a big deal.
While most of the time pumps are simply tucked away and forgotten about, when it comes time to actually call them into service, they get subjected to a vicious double standard. Sure, you want a pump that fits in your palm and weighs less than a tire lever, but you also expect it to inflate your tire in next to no time at all.
That’s a tough order.
Go figure, it’s actually an impossible one. However, Blackburn’s Airstik SL come closer than any other pump I’ve ever used.
Wait a minute…I thought he said he loved this pump? Don’t worry, I do, but let me clarify why I only deemed it worthy of a 7. While the Blackburn puts out an impressive amount of air per stroke regardless of pump size, there are definitely larger pumps that are better suited for winning the speed race.
Compared to other pumps its size though, the Blackburn quite literally blows them away. Independent 3rd-party tests put the Airstick SL’s output at 80 PSI in two minutes for a 700 X 23 tire, an impressive figure for a pump this size—and a conservative figure as well. I’ve gotten tires to inflated to a get-you-home-safe 60 psi in just over a minute of pumping.
The Airstick SL achieves these impressive figures thanks to an smart dual air-chamber design that Blackburn claims pushes 37-percent more air than similar-sized pumps with a single-chamber design (which is to say, just about every other pump this size).
Measuring just 6 1/4″ long and 3/4″ wide, the Airstik SL tips the scales at a measly 58 grams. By comparison, that’s nearly half as light as most of the tubes it’s called on to inflate. In fact, we’d be hard-pressed to think of a pump that’s lighter than the Blackburn. For instance, Lezyne’s lightest pump comes in at a significantly heavier 80 grams.
Where the Blackburn truly shines is in the value category. Offering one of the best mixes of performance, utility and convenience we’ve come across in a pump, the Airstik SL is also a stellar value. With an MSRP of $24.99 it’s also one of the cheapest frame pumps we can think of. Add in the fact that the Blackburn Airstik SL features a fully serviceable design and you have a pump that makes for some pretty stiff competition. Well done Blackburn, well done.