SKS MINI-PUMP SHOOTOUT Delivers above-
average value and
Save your hard-
What size pump do you really need?
Size: 7.1 inches with a narrow body
Weight: 90 grams ( 3. 2 ounces)
Hits and misses: The Airboy XL delivers exactly what
the name would have you believe. It looks like the designer
simply hit the “enlarge” button on the computer drawing of
the original Airboy. The pump does deliver more air more
quickly, but this is still a minimalist’s pump. It’s lightweight,
small and easily carried in a jersey pocket, but plan on
pumping for a while. For cross-country racers, where time
matters when fixing a flat, we’d still recommend a CO2.
Inflation speed: You can do it, but it takes some
gumption. Suits the needs of roadies better than mountain
Overall rating: ★★★✩✩
Ideal rider: Weight-conscious trail riders
Size: 6. 7 inches with a very narrow body
62 grams ( 2. 5 ounces)
Hits and misses: This sneaky little pump can easily be
stored anywhere, including tiny seat bags or jersey pockets, without being the least bit noticeable. It’s an excellent
pump to have in an emergency, but most knobby-tired
riders will want something bigger when their riding buddies
are waiting for them to air their tires trailside. In fact, we
gave up when after 300 pumps we’d only hit 12 psi. If a
fellow rider comes by while you’re using this thing, you’d
be crazy not to ask a favor and borrow a bigger pump.
Inflation speed: You’ll be racing the sunset to hit a
rideable pressure. We actually gave up and used something more suitable.
Overall rating: ★✩✩✩✩
Ideal rider: Roadies
SKS is a German company that’s been building bike products
for the lion’s share of a century—since 1932. Their pumps have
long been a favorite of the Mountain Bike Action testing crew,
both in our garages and out on the trails. Their promise of “made
in Germany with pride” is one that we’ve come to trust, especially
when other low-end “value” pumps can be notoriously finicky and
leave you stranded on the trails. Simply put, every pump eventu-
ally fails, but the SKS pumps we’ve used have lasted many, many
years before finally kicking the bucket. If you’ve ever had a floor
pump fail the night before a big ride, or a mini pump fail on the
trail when you really needed it, you know the real value of this life-
line. We’re believers in the product already, but because SKS offers
such an extensive line of mini pumps for everyone—from the
gram-counter roadie to the fat bike-riding adventurer—many riders
find themselves wondering which pump will suit their riding style
best. We rounded up the best pumps from their lineup to compare
them and answer the question, which style of mini pump should
you be riding with?
We compared these pumps
head to head in a test that took
into consideration their size,
weight and the number of pumps
required to inflate a 27.5-inch tire
to a rideable 30 psi.
Our intern had positively ripped
triceps after this experiment.