SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
The Fumpa Pump is a compact and portable electric pump capable of achieving high pressures with virtually no effort. Given the asking price, we'd like to see some further refinements. However, it’s a viable option for busy mechanics, doing pit service at a race meet, or indeed, riders with arthritis, or other condition that makes a track pump impractical.
Pros: Ultra efficient, beautiful build quality, reversible head compact.
Cons: Pricey, loud, charge indicator needs revision, tops out at 125psi.
Essentially this is a portable, battery powered compressor with a gauge, designed to inflate 6 flaccid tyres from a single, full charge. Measuring 42x73x87mm its smaller than most. Not that I'd be popping it in a pannier- it has a presta only, mini sibling for roadside rescues.
Inside the exquisitely finished CNC machined aluminium alloy housing, we have a "patented compressor design".
Power to the compressor is via brushless motor technology and a lithium-polymer battery, which is recharged by the ubiquitous micro USB cable. Now, the red anodised alloy casing isn't just a pretty face. It serves to protect the internals. Not only against accidental knocks/vibration but ensures a thermostatically stable environment. A heat-sink, in other words.
The reversible (Presta/Schrader) head is also CNC machined, the hose joint will rotate 360 degrees and an integral digital pressure sensor measures in PSI, kPA and Bar. Then, as you'd hope, there's a sensibly proportioned power button. There are additional pin type heads for footballs, paddling pools etc. Spares for the head are also readily available, which is good news, when rubber inserts finally perish.
Now Fumpa say it will inflate a 700x23c from flaccid to 100psi in 25 seconds, which is a helpful ball-park and useful for traditional road riders/race mechanics. However, we (along with many others run a fairly varied fleet, with equally varied tyre sizes/sections. For those of you worried about blowing a tyre to smithereens, with consummate ease...Fear not, the top mounted switch will only deliver air, while its depressed. Let go, and it stops.
Zero to hero charging requires around 3.5 hours. That's from the mains, although in emergency, you'll get a 30% charge in 15 minutes. Now, the first point of confusion starts here. Having connected everything, the charge light goes red and stays that way. First time round, I left ours overnight and was dismayed to discover the charge light hadn't turned green, or gone out. I was convinced we'd got a faulty sample.
A wander round the web confirmed it doesn't, which for me, is a design fault. Staying with this a
moment, I have since discovered the motor and battery are designed to run at 12V, not the 5V standard with USB. The charging current necessitates a power conversion circuit.
This in turn generates heat, which needs expelling, to prevent the unit over-heating. A fan, or huge heat sink could get round this but it'd also mean the unit would be bigger, probably bulkier too. Makes sense but still doesn't excuse the charge indicator. On a more positive note, when the battery finally cashes in it's chips, Fumpa will replace-gratis.
Fully juiced, press the button and connect the appropriate valve head, scroll through to your desired measure of pressure and watch the gauge. Its that simple. It's also very loud, once it gets going! Comes with the portable compressor territory- the mini type that plug into your car's fag-lighter are pretty vocal, too. Not for a break-of-dawn blast. Unless being shunned by your neighbours is a welcome bonus!
Ok, so aside from the benchmark 700x23, I've gone for 700x32, 700x35, 700x38, 26x2.0, and 14x1.75. This covers touring, cross, commuting and e bike/utility. I've also cross referenced pressures with a standalone digital gauge. My Blackburn Piston 4 Track Pump is my default and still impresses me with it's efficiency.
To some extent, this depends on your yardstick. Arguably, 120psi is sufficient for most needs, save for some tubulars. That said; there are those who've argued at this price, they'd expect 160 psi.
My Blackburn Piston 4 will raise a flaccid 700x23 to 160psi in 37 strokes and around thirty seconds. 700x35 to 90psi in 38 strokes, a 700x38 to 70 psi in 48 strokes and a 26x2.0 to 70 psi in 55 strokes and 58 seconds.
By contrast, the Fumpa required zero effort and 22 seconds to reach 125psi (127psi, cross referenced my long serving SKS digital gauge). Next came the 700x35 Schwalbe Marathon GT . The Fumpa raised it from flaccid to 85psi in 27 seconds. Bigger section tyres didn't present a major challenge either.
The 38mm Soma Shikoro 0 to 85 psi in 27 seconds and Vee Tire Co Zilent 2 from 0-70 in 21 seconds. I had just finished bringing a 14x1.75 trailer tyre from 0-45psi (28 seconds) when the thermal cut out kicked in.
The valve head was in singe territory too, by this point. I had been trying to emulate the scenario faced by a team mechanic at a cyclo cross meet, tackling the tyres one after the other.
Things had cooled sufficiently after five minutes (air temperature 6 degrees). By the time I'd topped up another 700x34 (30-80psi), the lithium polymer cell was exhausted, and I reverted to the track pump.
Be sure the Fumpa switched off before putting it away too, since leaving it on standby will mean it'll be pancake flat come the morning. Something to consider, when loading the car, or making pre-race preparations.
Fully juiced, I was able to achieve 100psi in a 700x25c six times before it was spent again. In line with Fumpa's claims. It'll tackle big section MTB rubber too, although its slower. 1m 8 seconds (0-70psi) for a 26x2.0 Schwalbe Marathon Mondial.
Ok, I can hear many of you shaking your heads and muttering about a decent track pump being ready to go, whenever, wherever. In some respects, I concur. However, the Fumpa will literally fit in the palm of your hand, it’s also really easy to use in confined spaces. It’s also come in handy, when seating some stubborn tyres, , before going over to the track pump. That said; It's not up to the job of tubeless systems.
The Blackburn Piston 4 has a very long hose, meaning I can often inflate bikes hanging from hooks. Nonetheless, topping up (rather than flaccid to full) is a lot more convenient with the Fumpa, not to mention packing it into a suitcase, or kit bag, for a weekend away.
There's no getting way from the fact that the lion's share of £140 is a sizeable investment. Nor is the Fumpa going to render track pumps redundant. A quick wander round the web and you'll find all kinds of compressors giving change from £50.
However, they're not bike specific, nowhere near the Fumpa's build quality and weigh nearer a kilo-three times the Fumpa. For my needs, a decent track pump coupled with its mini sibling (designed for presta valves) which tip the scales at a wedge pack/bike packing realistic 185g is a more suitable pairing for my needs. However, race mechanics, or people with variable impairments e.g. arthritis, may find the Fumpa a godsend.
The Fumpa pump is a sizeable investment. For me at least, one requiring a few minor tweaks to justify the asking price. In its present guise, it won't be rendering my track pump redundant. However, it’s well worth a look if (a) you need a small, quick and very portable compressor for inflating/topping up a fleet of bikes, or (b) you have a physical impairment, which makes a track pump uncomfortable/impractical.
Verdict: 3/5 Effortless, accurate Inflation, but at a price.
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 2019
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH