Topeak Gravel 2 Stage Mini Pump
The Topeak Gravel 2 Stage Mini Pump is aimed at gravel audiences and will do a decent job rescuing rides following a flat. Small but sensible dimensions and solid aluminium construction means 90 psi is realistic (albeit with persistence) broadening its horizons to touring and commuting duties.
Pros: Solid Construction, effective on bigger volume tyres, well protected from the elements, fits nicely in a jersey or jacket pocket.
Cons: Tubeless tyres will still need a Co2 cartridge, Presta only fitting, although credible, reaching the highest pressures requires resilience.
Measuring 18.4x3.6x2.8cm it’s a very compact design, easily slipped into a jersey pocket (assuming you didn’t want it riding shot gun on the bottle bosses). The barrel and handle are made from 6061 aluminium alloy, with a rugged and pretty black anodised finish with laser etched graphics.
The Presta head has a snug fitting plug to keep crud out and a thumb lock for good, tear free tenure on valve stems. Staying with this a second, I can appreciate why the Presta only head may alienate some. However, there are adaptors that permit conversion to Schrader.
I have one on this multi tool and another for situations where I might need to use a garage, or similar airline.
From my perspective, this has allowed me to tackle bike and trailer/tagalong tyres with one pump, or indeed help someone else. 90psi (6 bar) is the maximum but this is broken down into two stages.
0-60psi is the high volume, then (as appropriate) switch to high pressure for those between 60 and 90psi.
Volume per stroke in the first stage (high volume) is 71cc, stage 2 (high pressure) is 24.8cc. At the base you’ll see a selector that switches between the two. Regardless of whether you’re rescuing a flaccid, portly 26x2.0, or a slimline 700x25c, start with HV (stage 1) until you start running out of grunt, then flick over to HP (stage 2) to deliver the rest.
This is a similarly well executed resin affair that fits nicely against the frame and is supplied with sensibly proportioned Allen screws and a beefy Velcro strap for tethering the pump. Some bottle cages, especially those with a beefier profile, including the brand’s Modula series may call for longer, aftermarket screws. I went this route with Ursula, although admittedly, this was partly due to me losing one of those supplied with the pump.
Otherwise, and when switching between bikes, it’s been a great fit with winter jerseys, including this gravel-biased Pearson, which has a pump specific pocket.
Test Tyres & Contexts
I have opted for mid pressure, bigger section tyres, which I would reasonably expect a pump of the Gravel 2 Stage Mini Pump to be at its best with. The CST Pika are the only strictly gravel models in the line-up, with a maximum 70psi. Next in line, the 35mm CST Xpedium (review to follow) which run to 75psi.
Ursula’s bigger volume Maxxis Overdrive Excel 26x2.0 (65psi) and my trailer’s Schwalbe Road Cruiser (max 65psi).
On the high-pressure front, I have the 25mm CST Cito (which top out at 125psi but would certainly call Topeak’s 90psi bluff).
Pressures were checked using my faithful standalone SKS Airchecker gauge.
Overall performance has been favourable, although there is some trade off when it comes to prowess, especially at the higher pressures. It has managed 88psi, near as damn it 90 for all but the most pedantic.
However, I was feeling a little heady and my biceps were certainly screaming by this point. Across the board, there’s a definite knack to getting the best from it. HV engaged, a smooth rhythm and 80 strokes (1 minute) and resistance was quite palpable-especially in the 700c tyres.
Scores on the doors then... 300 strokes and approximately 5 minutes raised the Cito to the 88psi. 55 using the High Volume, the remainder, high pressure. At 75psi, the pump was close to locking out-we're talking bicep popping resistance, but we got there.
The 700x32c Pika were raised from flaccid to their 70psi maximum in 320 strokes- 80 high volume, 110 high pressure. The 35mm CST Xpedium were also raised to 75 psi in 350 strokes. 80 high volume, 270 high pressure.
Bigger still, Ursula’s 26x2.0 Maxxis Overdrive Excel made it from pancake flat to 55psi (10 shy of their maximum) in 425 strokes and 6 minutes. Again, by that point it was nigh on locking out, but 50-55psi seems their sweet spot in any case, so a good sign that tubed trail rubber will be in a properly rideable, rather than limp home state with this effort.
A punctured tubeless tyre would, in my view be better tackled with a Co2 inflator, where possible. Some care is also required with long, willowy Presta valves-I managed to bend the valve end when ramming pressure into the Maxxis.
The Schwalbe Road Cruiser fitted to my trailer required the Schrader adaptor was coaxed to the full 65 in 300. Even at the arm popping resistance described, the pump has never felt whippy, let alone like it might blow its guts. As for the mount, this has proved silent and reliable and though hardly exotic, the Velcro strap offers some belt n’ braces additional security.
Both pump and bracket feel reassuringly solid. Aside from the usual greasy road and trail spatter and despite the occasional, accidental drop onto concrete it looks packet fresh. The snug fitting valve plug has kept the grot outside. I’ve tended to give the barrel and handle a quick polish with some Weldtite Rapid Ceramic and the piston periodic shots of Muc Off Silicone Spray, when I’ve been giving bikes a clean but that’s about it.
£36.99 is dearer than the baseline but hardly outlandish. Blackburn Mammoth 2 stage comes in at £34.99 is reckoned capable of 120psi, features a lifetime warranty and dual Presta/Schrader heads.
Specialized Air Tool Switch Comp is considerably cheaper at £21.00 and comes complete with a smart head adapting to both Presta & Schrader valves, integral pressure gauge. Volume per stroke is 48cc but it tops out at 80psi and is 25cm long, which may be a big long for some.
Lezyne Micro Floor Drive HV is essentially a track pump that’s been put through a matter shrinking device. Is beautifully executed too in CNC machined aluminium alloy, has a flip chuck (Presta/Schrader) end with bleed valve and will also manage 90psi.
I still have a version from 2015 still going strong. Steve was also very taken with the HPG version . However, the latest incarnation is a good bit dearer at £55 and 30cm long-216g is also obvious on the bottle bosses, let alone most jersey pockets.
Horses for courses springs to mind. There may be better options if you’re wanting a one does all i.e., tyres at both ends of the pressure spectrum and some may feel short changed features-wise. Nonetheless, when all’s said and done, I reckon Topeak has the balance right. Its sensibly proportioned, solidly made and delivers practical pressures for mid pressure mtb, gravel and bigger section commuting/touring rubber.