Review: a Must-Have Mini Pump by Planet Bike

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And it’s a shiny blue/gun-metal gray color, oooOOooo, aaaAAAAaahh.

Hey bike commuters new and old, crunchy and green, or bright and shiny! For anyone out there who has had to change a flat on the go between work and home, check out this must-have flexible mini pump from Planet Bike: the Air Smith Mini Comp.

At the beginning of summer, RL hooked me up with a “welcome back to the U.S. of A.” Planet Bike care package including mad blinky lights and the Air Smith Comp. Now, although I am typically a fan of hitching a ride on the bus, walking my bike back towards my house, or flagging down strangers with a truck bed (don’t tell my Grandma) anytime I get a flat tire on my bike commute, sometimes you just gotta have a portable bike pump. A floor pump is usually my preference for any flat tire repair kit, but you can’t ride around town looking like this, now can you?

So, if you’re looking to add another staple to your commuter saddlebag/toolkit, check out the specs below on this clever stroke of PB genius:

Planet Bike Air Smith Mini Comp

  • Rotating valve head and hose makes it easy to use.
  • Retractable hose protects tire valve and allows for a powerful and comfortable pumping position.
  • Stow-a-way adaptor converts Air Smith to presta mode.
  • Using adaptor head with compressor is helpful if you have tubeless tires and need to reset the bead.
  • Stashes easily in a jersey pocket or backpack and mounts to your bike with included bracke
  • Composite handles
  • Includes mounting bracket

SKU #1037

$16.99

Those guys at PB have done it again. It may not seem like it, but that little flexi-hose at the nozzle makes this compact pump a must-have for commuting. “Why?” you ask, “Please, Mir, tell me it’s the bestest in the westest?!” Okay, I’ll tell you, but only because you asked so nicely…

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See that little shadow in the corner? Yeah that’s me. SPLADOW! Check out this rad mini-pump with flexi-nozzle action!

After you have given your flat tube a good 50-100 pumps (or 49-99 pumps), the flexibility of the hose allows you to spaz out as much as possible without accidentally disconnecting the nozzle from the presta/schrader valve. And let me tell you, am I some kind of spaz. Pumping up a flat tube enough to get me to my destination with this guy went from pain in the ass (translation: skitching with strangers would be preferable) to not so bad (translation: not worth a potential kidnapping).

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Anyway, not every roundabout comes with a tune-up station like this one in Asheville, so hold on to your pumps, bike commuters, you better have a flat tire solution on you at all times! It turned out, in the second to last week of our summer class, I got a nasty flat riding down the steep hill near my house. Since the bus in Asheville is less than rapid and nowhere near convenient, I hoofed it back up the hill, only to realize there was no floor pump in sight. Luckily, I had the Air Smith Mini Comp and a spare tube.

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Here is a pic I took when I changed the flat at home, pumped up the tube enough to get me down to the gas station and the 25 cent air compressor machine on my Asheville Bianchenstein.

The flexible nozzle would also be helpful if you just needed to pump up your tires if they were a little low. The rotating valve head also limits spaz-related disconnections mid-pump. And for its size, the Air Smith Mini Comp doesn’t wear you down to the point of annoyance, but is pretty reasonable for those of us who don’t carry CO2 cartridges at all times. The pump is lightweight yet durable, and, like many PB products, comes with a mount if you’re opposed to stashing it in your backpack.

As for the Bianchenstein, we made it down to the gas station for the air compressor with only minutes to spare and rode in to work on time.

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Hey, a cycle ladies gotta do what a cycle ladies gotta do… when she has a flat tire and no floor pump in the house in Asheville, NC. Thank you, Planet Bike, for getting my back tire back in business!

Overall: This bike pump is a must-have for any commuter toolkit. If you don’t wanna get stranded like Dave Matthews, for less than $17, get yourself a Planet Bike Air Smith Mini Comp and get back on the road! This pump will forever be in my backpack from now on.

 

 


10 Comments

  1. Ghost Rider September 10, 2013 7:46 pm 

    I am really digging this trend of mini-pumps with separate hoses. In my haste and frustration of pumping eleventy billion times, I’ve actually broken off the valve stem of a couple of Presta tubes with other pumps (and you’re DEFINITELY walking home then…with tail between legs).

    I’d love to see a similar pump with the option of using it as a CO2 inflator. Any ideas on that?

  2. Mir.I.Am September 10, 2013 7:57 pm 

    It’s a dream, Ghost Rider. I love this pump!

    And I’m glad someone else has confirmed it takes eleventy billion pumps on a compact bike pump to get some decent inflation. For awhile, I just thought I was super-spaz-mo with wimpy Daria arms.

    As for the CO2 inflator with a flexi-hose/nozzle, I’d suggest you talk to Chris Folmer at Planet Bike!

  3. Karl Atkins September 10, 2013 8:33 pm 

    Cool thanks for the info. Lucky I never had a flat yet on my commute.

  4. Anthony (Aguacate) Pagnotta September 10, 2013 8:35 pm 

    Hey Miriam, I seen your post from facebook, I like reading your articles. This pump is a great idea, I commend the creators, well thought out.

    Keep writing, you’re very funny. Stay in touch and I hope we work with one another again sometime soon.

  5. Raiyn September 12, 2013 12:00 am 

    Sorry, but I’m going to say it: I HATE the screw on style hoses. I’ve hated them since the early 80’s when my old hand-me-down frame pump had one. Hoses are great, but chuck design has come a LONG way in the last 30 some odd years.

    Also, am I the only one that habitually keeps a Presta / Schrader adapter on one of my valve stems at all times even though my pumps either adjust automatically or are quickly changed?

  6. Ghost Rider September 12, 2013 3:21 am 

    I’d much rather a chuck on a separate hose than a screw-on interface, for sure.

    And I too keep an adapter screwed onto one valve stem on almost every bike I own…you never know when you might need it!

  7. Raiyn September 12, 2013 5:01 am 

    Glad to see I’m not the only “belt & braces” kind of guy around here.

  8. JohnnyK September 16, 2013 7:30 am 

    here is the one I use http://bontrager.com/model/08340 and have used it for a couple of years now. It will service either Presta or Schrader valve stems without an additional adapter to keep track of and comes with a bracket that you can attach to a water bottle cage mounts to carry on your bike. The thing I like about it most is that it pumps more like a full size floor pump instead of a mini since it has a foot peg for you to keep the pump steady and gives you good leverage. I have pumped up tires to over 100 psi without breaking a sweat. Anyway I am not affiliated with the manufacture in any way and I don’t endorse all their stuff but this one thing I have been very happy with so far. However, next week my thoughts here may change :)

  9. listenermark September 16, 2013 8:03 pm 

    I dig the Topeak Road Morph G. The foot peg is genius, it works fine with presta valves, and the gauge keeps you honest.

  10. Raiyn September 16, 2013 11:57 pm 

    @ JohnnyK & listenermark
    In all fairness, those pumps cost more than double what the Air Smith goes for. Not that they’re bad pumps, but apples to apples………

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