Technology

The Flextail Tiny bike pump is a solid pump in half the time

Social media algorithms know that I ride my bike almost every day. In my kit there is a city bike, a mountain bike and a gravel bike as well as one or two e-bikes that I test again and again. I am also the family mechanic and therefore responsible for no less than 16 to 18 tires that I have to constantly inflate. So you better believe I became aware of this when Instagram showed me several ads for it Flextail Tiny Bike Bump.

The rechargeable mini pump works with Presta valves (the thin valve) or Schrader valve (the old grease valve) and promises ultra-fast inflation with a maximum pressure of 100 psi (approx. 7 bar) – enough for any bike that doesn’t have elastic Wardrobe requires shoes and helmet.

The origin of the pump is questionable as I see that it appears to be the exact same product sold with the branding as Cyclami, Topper, RrskitAnd Epoom at a variety of prices, some as low as $25. Flextail sells its version for $85 and lists the manufacturer as Huzhou Jingwei Outdoor Products on the packaging and on the device itself. The first pump Flextail sent me couldn’t pump a tire past 19 psi before it died. Flextail sent me another copy that (mostly) meets the requirements.

What isn’t mentioned in the ads I’ve seen is how loud the tiny pump is: 76 dB at arm’s length, in my testing, which is akin to bending over to inspect a running vacuum or garbage disposal. Stopping it on forest trails will raise more eyebrows than seeing a mountain biker in Lycra.

However, the Flextail Tiny Bike Pump works. It is much faster and smaller than the mini hand pumps that drivers usually carry with them when problems arise. At 3.9 ounces (111 grams), it is also slightly heavier than the trusty 3.4 ounces (96 grams) Unich pump that I regularly carry with me. But the Flextail pump also doesn’t put as much strain on your air valve mounts because it doesn’t require long, violent pumping sessions.

The biggest downside to the Flextail pump is that it can only be fully inflated a few times before needing to be recharged. However, this varies depending on the tire size and desired pressure. It will last much longer if you just fill up tires. The tiny 2.59 Wh battery charges in just 25 minutes.

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The Flextail compared to two mini pumps, my trusty Unich pump (above) and a mini floor pump from Pro Bike Tool (below).

In my testing, I was able to inflate a tire to 45 psi in 45 seconds on a city bike with wide 700 x 40c tires and Schrader valves. When I switched to a gravel bike equipped with wider 700x42c tires and Presta valves, I was able to reach 50 psi in 90 seconds before the pump gave up and needed to be recharged. For those keeping count, that’s two real inflation rates per load.

The Flextail Tiny Bike Pump is so small and light that I initially thought it would be ideal for bikepacking trips or even long day rides. But since the tank is only filled twice, I would still like to have a spare hand pump with me in addition to my repair kit and spare hoses. But there was no way my grammar-obsessed brain would allow me to carry two pumps.

If your device is an e-bike with an integrated USB charging port, you are already traveling with a huge power bank on wheels. This makes it easy to recharge the Flextail pump when it runs out because repairing a flat tire on the side of the road didn’t go as planned (it happens!). Just don’t forget your USB-C cable… and maybe a carb bar to snack on while you wait.

If you’re still interested, all I can say is that one of the two Flextail Tiny bike pumps I tested worked as advertised, and I bet you’ll have similar success with other brands that seemingly do the same thing Jingwei Outdoor sell battery powered pump products for much less.

For everyone else: just buy a mini hand pump for a lot less money. They never need to be charged, are too big to lose, and will probably last a lifetime or two.

All photos by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

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