- Blackburn Air Stik CF
It seems there isn’t anything that can’t be rolled or shaped from carbon fibre these days. Frames, wheels, stems, handlebars, saddles, seat posts, forks, cranks, derailleurs, and now even the humble minipump. The latest Air Stik gets wrapped in carbon fibre for a modest weight saving, but more importantly the extra kudos of having a carbon pump.
Blackburn has been making accessories like pumps, racks, lights, cages and tools for the last 30 years, and their experience clearly shows in the Air Stik minipump. Blackburn was the first company to launch a dual stroke minipump, and the Air Stik CF is the company's latest such dual stroke pump. Dual stroke means, quite simply, that as well as air going into the tube on the push stroke, air also goes in as you extend the pump again. Very clever, and it means inflation times are a lot quicker than a traditional style pump.
Besides looking great all in black and with the carbon shaft, it's a very ergonomic pump. The shaped and contoured handle folds out to form an L-shape, and sticky rubber on the sides aid grip. The head has the same sticky rubber and an oversize aluminium lock lever has a firm and solid action. This all adds up to it being a comfortable pump to use, which is handy as with many mini pumps, you can be there for a while. That’s normally the case, but we were pleasantly surprised how quickly we could get air into the tyres in an enough-to-get-home situation. Mini pumps don't often see a lot of use - they're an emergency backup to get you home - so you don't expect track pump-like performance. This said, the Air Stik impressed us with the speed and efficiency, and the comfort makes it all the more easier. The maximum claimed inflation is 160psi, should you need it.
And should you have any problems with your Blackburn pump, the company will send you a new one, no questions asked – though we’ve been chucking ours around and its stood up fine so far.
Positives: More carbon, looks great, 5g weight saving, tough, comfortable
Negatives: Only 5g weight saving
This is essentially for the cyclist who must have everything in carbon, as the 5g weight saving isn't that much, but if you have to have a carbon mini pump… It's perfectly adequate in getting you home, it's comfortable to operate and easily fits in a jersey pocket.