Motorcycle Tire Pump Comparo: The Top 7 Pumps for Your XLADV Motorcycle
Portable air compressors have come a long way and now there are quite a few that are purpose-built just for us motorcyclists. Some have even been purpose-built for XLADV motorcycles as you're about to see. Thankfully we have a plethora of products to choose from and I'd say perhaps too many given some out there are obvious ripoffs of earlier innovators' designs. I've left those pumps out on purpose so if you see it here, you'll know you're likely to get an original and be supporting real XLADV motorcycle riders.
I did learn quite a bit from some of the makers of these pumps so let me give you the 411:
- Yes most components are made in China but they've come a long way and are the best you'll find. Many are still assembled here in the US and are American small businesses you can trust.
- Most any pump will have heat issues. They're great for your own bike but most require a cool down period before you start to inflate a second tire.
- Most any pump is going to trip BMW's canbus system and will require a hard wiring to the battery for best results. They start fine but will trip once the pump is under load.
- A lot of the lower priced pumps work great but have shown poor reliability and are prone to breaking if dropped on a hard surface.
- All these pumps should be kept out of the dirt. A best practice is to hang off a peg or place on a mat or case the pump comes in.
- All will inflate your tire to about 40 psi in about 6-9 minutes.
I can't really say which is the best pump out there; that's something you're going to have to figure out for yourself. But, I did think it would be fun to break these pumps down into sub-segments for a few well known ADV archetypes: The Starbucks Rider, The Hardcore ADV-Enduro Rider, and The Budget Conscious Rider.
The Starbucks Rider
You strike quite the figure in that genuine whale foreskin suit and that $30k top of the line behemoth XXLADV bike as you sip your latte and give knowing winks and finger-guns at your local coffee shop. Okay, so that's a bit over the top. Just a bit of fun! This type of rider really doesn't mind what a pump costs; they just want the best and will go with what they saw someone else have in their aluminum box style panniers.
CyclePump from BestRest Products - $115.00
The CyclePump seems to be a popular pump ("30,000+ sold") and at $115 it's the most expensive in this comparison. I had a first generation version of this pump and did not have a good experience with it. But to their credit, they've continuously improved their product with a new chuck design, new housing mounts, subtle improvements in the compressor, and now rubber armored end caps. Despite the high price point, this pump does not come with a light or pressure gauge and is the heaviest and largest pump (XXLADV) in this comparison.
(photo by Noah Horak; used w/permission)
The Hardcore ADV Enduro Rider
This rider is going purely on function and will spend a dollar if it means they're ensured of reliability when it counts. They don't care about plastic housing or maybe lights or gauges; they just need something that's purpose-built and going to work when they need it to.
ADV Designs Micro Tire Pump - $79.99
The Micro Tire Pump is the product that started it all for ADV Designs. They set out to build the best motorcycle pump and tested many of the cheaper pumps finding that 50% of them failed! They found the best compressor motor available (used by a few others as well) and went for a function over form approach. Sure, it may look like it's from the former Soviet bloc but it's very popular and works well. They also won Overland's editor's choice for best value back in '08 and comes with a 1 year warranty.
Motopumps Mini Pro Inflator - $69.99
Motopumps is another product created by a motorcyclist frustrated by three flats in 6 weeks costing him $380 in towing! He saw there weren't any good motorcycle pumps out there and set out to make his own; also using the best components: campbell pump; teflon coated pistons; metal gears; high air flow and more efficient (more air/less amp draw). The Mini Pro also comes with a 5 year warranty! They have a new Air Shot pump ($59.95) that is even smaller and lighter.
The Budget Conscious Rider
This rider is more likely to have a milk crate top box and a homemade camp stove made from an aluminum can. They get the most adventure value out of their dollar not because they are "cheap" but because they derive satisfaction out of seeing what they can accomplish for the absolute lowest amount of money. This rider's pump is going to be very affordable as well as very small and not necessarily have all the bells and whistles.
I've seen many of these pumps out there and they seem to get the job done very well. It's made from heat resistant plastic that is claimed to not overheat. What's cool is even at a low end price it still comes with a built-in gauge and led light!
Slime Power Sport - $30.10
This may be the most ubiquitous pump as it seems to be everywhere. Lots of people have it, but it's known to be a bit fragile to dropping and is also known to overheat and require a 20 minute cool down cycle after 9 minutes of use.
I happen to have used this little guy (the smallest and lightest) for two years now with no trouble at all. Like the Stop N Go, it also comes with a built-in gauge and led light. It also works with my Micro-Start XP10 battery as well!
AirMan Tour - $25.95
The AirMan is another one you tend to see a lot of motorcyclists carry. I like the built in gauge as well as a deflate button.
So which of these pumps do you think works best for you? If you have experience you want to share we'd love to have you write your own product review here.
Pump Comparo Chart: