We review four of the best ultra-portable CO2 pumps to keep your tyres at premium pressure.
1. SKS AirChamp
This classic fully enclosed inflator has been our back pocket best buddy for several years now. The press-fit nozzle is simple to jam onto valves or extenders and the thumb trigger is easy to use even with winter gloves on. It’ll take threaded or unthreaded cartridges and there’s a safety lock so you can set it up armed to save a couple more seconds on race day. The fact the air cartridge is fully enclosed means there’s no danger of freezing it onto your hands either. There‘s a new slimmer version available now too.
2. Topeak CO2-Bra Race Pod
Topeak products are always well designed. The snap-lock lever clamps tightly onto a valve stem or extender and the hood stops your fingers from getting frozen by the cold gas coming through the nozzle. The tyre levers included are good quality and easy to find if they ping off in the dark and the neoprene cover includes a strap for an inner tube. The complete pack is priced at £32.99 or you can purchase the CO2-bra separately for £24.99, or there’s a conventional Airbooster pod for £29.99.
3. Rav X Master X Mini
The cartridge is hidden very cleverly inside the main body of this pump. The swivelling flip lock head fixes easily onto valves or extenders so it’s deep-wheel compatible and you can then select between the 16g cartridge or the pump via a fire button. While the pump stroke is relatively short on breath the flip-up ‘T’ handle lets you hit high pressures for topping up if the CO2 can falls short or you get a second puncture. A new slimmed down version with press-fit actuation and standard handle should be available by the time you’re reading this.
4. Leyzne Road Drive CFH
Leyzne’s CO2 compatible pump kit isn’t great for race use because the bottle cage side mount won’t please aero addicts and the thread-on CO2 hose won’t work on push-fit extenders for deep-section wheels.The Road Drive pump is one of the few small pumps that’ll get tyres up to proper pressure so you can continue your training ride rather than limping home. If you’re in a hurry then you just screw in the CO2 cartridge and let that do the work. Beware frozen fingers on the bare can though.
This review was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
You’ll find loads more triathlon gear and kit reviews in triradar.com’s Gear section