One thing that I learned very quickly, the hard way, when I started bike commuting is you have to carry a pump. I thought I could get away with not taking one with me every ride. I also thought the same thing when I got my mountain bike and was going for a “quick” ride during lunch one day (that was a long walk back to the office).
In the world of mini-pumps there’s many options. I knew my pump would mostly get hauled around on the daily bike commute so I needed something that wouldn’t take a year to pump a tire, it had to be burly to stand up to the daily abuse of commuting, and it needed to have a gauge. I searched around and found the Crank Brothers Alloy Power Pump w/gauge. I chose this particular pump because out of Crank Brothers line of mini pumps it was the one that best fit my needs.
Crank Brothers Alloy Power Pump w/Gauge Features
- Maximum Pressure: 130psi (9 bar)
- Valves: Presta & Schraeder
- Material: 6061-T6 aluminum
- Air switch: high volumn / high pressure
- Mounting Bracket: included
- Weight: 173g
- Price: $38
Crank Brothers Alloy Power Pump w/Gauge Review
This was the first mini pump that I have purchased and I have only ever used one other (another Crank Brothers model) so keep that in mind. In terms of my needs: burly, ability to pump up a tire in less than a day, and have a gauge, the Alloy Power Pump has met my expectations. I’ve been hauling mine around for about 2 years now and so far the name and some paint have rubbed off the handle. It definitely holds up to the rigors to daily use.
I’ve handled both metal and plastic pumps before and I like metal. Yeah it may weight a little but I think the metal is definitely more durable. The Alloy Power Pump does feature a twistable head with a Presta adaptor on one side and a Schraeder adapter on the other. Just a simple twist and you can pump up either valve.
Probably my favorite feature is the adjustable air switch. Located at the base of the handle there’s a dial you can turn to one of two positions. The first position is ‘high volume’. You use this when first pumping up the tire and you want to get a lot of air in with each pump. The second position is ‘high pressure’. When the going gets tough just turn the dial and you start pumping less air with each pump but it comes in at a higher pressure. With mini pumps without this feature getting a road tire above 30 psi is a rough, I couldn’t do it. With the air switch it’s no problem.
I chose the Alloy Power Pump because of the longer handle. This has it’s pros and cons. The pros are you get more air in with each pump, thus taking less time and less work to fill up your tire. The cons are it’s longer and weighs more. The pump either has to strap to the bike (mounting bracket included) or go in a pack. It doesn’t fit very well into a jersey pocket and it definitely won’t fit into a saddle bag.
Second favorite feature is the gauge. I had a floor pump once without a gauge. Nothing quite like the ‘squeeze test’ to see if your tires have enough air. The gauge takes all the guess work out. Plus when I’m using a mini pump I like to know how much longer it’s going to be to get the right pressure.
The Alloy Power Pump is well made. It’s been strapped to a number of bikes, been thrown in the bottom of panniers for a year, dropped on the road a few times, and the thing keeps chugging. I haven’t broken anything on it and it still works like brand new.
My main gripe with the pump is the mounting bracket. It mounts via a couple of zipties. While I love zipties, the big drawback is what to do if you have multiple bikes. I don’t always ride with a pack or panniers. Nor do I always ride with a jersey. I’m not one to buy a pump for each bike so switching from bike to bike is a pain. A velcro strap for attaching to the bike would be killer. What I do like about the mounting bracket is it’s also a protective cover for the gauge and pump head.
- Burly, has stood up to 2 years of abuse
- Air switch
- Longer pump action
- Mounting bracket only attaches with zipties making multiple bike attachment a pain
- Weight (if you’re counting that)
- Takes more effort than a CO2 inflater
The Crank Brothers Alloy Power Pump w/gauge is burly, durable, and great to use. In the world of mini pumps it stands near the top.