Author Topic: Rechargeable bicycle pump  (Read 408 times)

Andre Jute

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Rechargeable bicycle pump
« on: November 18, 2019, 06:51:48 AM »
This is a small rechargeable electrical compressor, intended for the toolkit of a car, but in a bicycle format (long and round!) with bicycle applications with the addition of a single adapter which costs maybe 50c and which most cyclists already have.

To see it, go to this Lidl leaflet in the link below, drag the sidebar marker to the bottom, scroll back up about a quarter of the way until you come to p26, where you'll find a red panel headed "Ultimate Speed Portable Compressor" on a generally red-illustrated page:

https://media.lidl-flyer.com/11c48ae3-013e-11ea-b196-005056ab0fb6/LIDL-NI-LEAFLET-WK46-NOV-2019--MON-11th---SUN-17th-01.pdf?_ga=2.79201232.534090344.1574050956-1490117915.1574050956

The Ultimate Speed Portable Compressor consists of a tube with a recharging inlet at one end and a torch at the other, with in the middle of the torch a socket for screwing in the high pressure hose. The hose itself is kept under a black press-in cover on the other side of the tube from the visible control panel. Also in this storage compartment three other adaptors, including for a Dunlop valve, which may of interest to some cyclists. The high pressure hose has a permanently attached standard car-type junction at its free end. To make the thing useful with Presta valves requires an adaptor that is not supplied. I have one anyway in my on-bike toolkit, for inflating tyres at service stations, and any LBS can supply one from stock for pennies.

Inside the tool there are a compressor and a battery rated 12.8V 500mA, plus presumably an electronic panel which is not visible through any of the vents. Whether the battery is big enough to reach the dizzy heights of 6.4Ah you must judge for yourself; I don't consider it likely. The manual says one can use the compressor for five minutes at a time; there is also software to cut it out if it overheats. After that it should rest 15 minutes to cool down.

Also in the box, too big for the storage compartment, are a walwart recharger with a ludicrously optimistic rating inscribed on it, and a car cigarette lighter recharger.

As I said, there's a built-in torch with a constant mode, a slow flicker and a fast flash. It's light is white but the red plastic to the sides of the lamp is red and translucent and so it can be used as a warning lamp.

It arrived with half a full charge. I charged it fully, then left it sit for another several hours with the green light shining on the charger to be certain it trickled full. Then I inflated a 60mm Big Apple, which I first deflated to 1 bar, to 2.40 bars. This took a couple of minutes -- 2 or 3; I didn't time it precisely. This reduced the charge to 2 spots out of 4, so I think topping off two fat balloons should be no problem, and  filling them from scratch may also be possible but may require a 15m break between the two tyres because just topping up one tyre from unusable to slightly too hard (to allow for air loss when removing the coupler) already heated the metal couplers to too uncomfortable to touch.

There's a warning in the manual that the readout isn't calibrated but I would check inflation of my tyres anyway with a proven, calibrated digital gauge I carry on the bike. As we shall see, I thought it proved pretty accurate when compared to my calibrated gauge.

There's a red LCD readout -- a good idea as it doesn't kill one's night vision -- which reports in pounds per square inch, bars, kilograms per square meter, selected by cycling the on switch. There is no off switch because the software closes the tool down after 30 seconds of inactivity, and the compressor has its own separate on-off switch (it's the biggest red button), like a toggle, or it will switch itself off after reaching the pre-selected pressure. Beside the on switch there are plus and minus buttons to select the desired inflation; default at switch-on is 2.65 bar. The final button is for the torch, on/three modes/off being accessed by repeated presses. Irritatingly, the buttons have so little resistance that when you turn the tool over to access the storage compartment, it is easy to switch on either the lamp or the compressor or both.

The main body is about 10in long and 2in and a bit in diameter, and the tool weighs about as much as my hefty leather-covered full page to a day for a full year desk diary, that is, heavy.

Also, the tool is anti-socially loud, Rakehtakkahtakkah, like an hydraulic road breaking sledge hammer.

It's a bit crudely made, too, if you care about that sort of thing; I do like my tools to be aesthetically satisfying as long as it doesn't detract from their functionality. It's guaranteed for 3 years.

So why did I lay out the cash, which amounts to 33 Euro? I didn't, actually. A member of my family was in Lidl, saw it, wondered whether I would like it, didn't phone because I was sleeping, and just bought it. Would I have bought it myself after feeling the weight? I don't think so, but I'm keeping it rather than sending it back for a refund, and I do believe some of the fellows with electrified bikes may wish to check into Lidl and make up their own minds.

For those of you who progress solely under leg-power, I think it is too heavy. I am no kind of a weight weenie, but there's a limit.

The great advantage for me is that the tool, in its own supplied baggie, can lie in the side pocket of my rack top bag, or even in the permanently fitted pannier basket, and save bending over the bike with a manual pump -- and generally not over my big bike (two flats in ten years...) but more likely over the much smaller bike of one of the lady pedalpals. And, even if I decide not to carry it on the bike, it will see considerable use at home once a month as I check my tyres. The 2.40 bar preset, after a puff of air escaped as the coupling was unscrewed, delivered 2.38bar, which is close enough.

Recommended for those who bend over the bike only with difficulty, for those with motors, and for those who will use it in the home toolkit. Others may wish to wait for the next or next after that iteration which is likely to be lighter and perhaps not as loud.