Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Frame & Mini Pumps

Thursday May 14, 2020

We tested every pump in our review to the same exacting standard. We ran each pump through the following controlled and repeatable tests several times to rate pumping performance:

Road Bike Tire Inflation

We used each pump to inflate a 25c Continental Grand Prix 4000, using a Presta Valve Butyl tube with all air removed before each test. We checked the pressure at 200 strokes using a Topeak Smart Gauge.

Ability to Hit 90psi

We tested each pump on its ability to hit 90 psi in a 25c Continental Grand Prix 4000. We recorded the approximate number of strokes required to achieve 90 psi.

Mountain Bike Tire Inflation

Using a Topeak Smart Gauge we took the pressure of a 27.5" x 2.3" Maxxis DHF tire after 300 strokes.

A Topeak Smart Gauge D2 digital presssure gauge was used to check...
A Topeak Smart Gauge D2 digital presssure gauge was used to check and verify tire pressure during testing.
Photo: Curtis Smith

The pump tests are designed to measure a product's ability to achieve a safe riding pressure in a road tire — 90psi is sufficient for most riders to avoid a pinch flat following inflation — and to efficiently provide the volume necessary to inflate a mountain bike tire.

The pump performance testing also gave us ample opportunity to test head design and valve seals. After thousands of strokes and elbow tendonitis from long hours inflating tires, we have completed the most exhaustive mini and frame pump review available.

The pumps were also tested in real world riding conditions. They spent months in our jerseys, hydration packs, and on our frames. We looked for signs of deterioration from the elements and assessed them for more nuanced issues such as annoying rattles or noises while riding. Our award-winning products are deserving of their titles.