Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Product Debate: Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump vs. Genuine Innovations Ultraflate CO2 Tire Inflator

     One and done or consistently reusable? Supreme speed or slow but steady? Hit or miss or beneficial reliability? These are a few of the questions that you may be asking yourself while seeking the perfect inflation device to carry along on your next ride. Look no further for the final answer.

Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump
Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump

     The Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump packs extreme reliability and durability into one concise package. This mini-pump encapsulates simplicity while remaining focused on the essential concept of rapid inflation. Through including two separate inflation modes, which transition through the flip of a switch, repairing a flat tire comes quicker than ever before. The "Low" mode focuses on increasing the volume of the tube/tire combination as quickly as possible while the "High" mode targets elevating tire pressure. For roadside repairs and trailside repairs, the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump will get the job done.
"Low" Mode

"High" Mode
     Unfortunately, the Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump does have a couple of negatives worth mentioning. The slight physique of the Airstik is both a blessing and a curse in disguise. At a mere 85 grams, this inflation device is hardly noticeable in your back pocket. However, descending mountain bike trails allows for the inevitable possibility of the Airstik ejecting. During testing, this did occur. Second, the Airstik's simplicity does not provide for a flexible head that would attach to the valve stem. Therefore, it is highly important to keep the Airstik perpendicular to a valve stem throughout the inflation period. Otherwise, breaking a valve stem is likely to occur. The negatives of the Airstik are worth keeping in mind but they are not a deal breaker.

Genuine Innovations Ultraflate CO2 Tire Inflator
Genuine Innovations Ultraflate CO2 Tire Inflator
     The Genuine Innovations Ultraflate is a complex beast to handle. Positives of the Ultraflate include simple operation, outstanding inflation speed, and proven durability. The Ultraflate is widely compatible with small, large, threaded, and non-threaded CO2 cartridges. The CO2 boost of the Ultraflate allows for complete inflation, all in a matter of seconds. Also, the hard shell design of the Ultraflate ensures protection against a chilling CO2 cartridge and the elements. Components that separate the Ultraflate also hold it back.
     The major downside of the Ultraflate is its one and done nature. The device can only envelope one CO2 cartridge at a time. Therefore, unless a rider is planning to bring additional cartridges, a two flat ride will leave the need for major assistance. Ultimately, a CO2 device is ideal for racing scenarios where time and speed are of the essence but they are a slight liability while training. Risking peace of mind for speed is a fine line to straddle.

The Decision
     The Blackburn Airstik 2 Stage Mini-Pump and the Genuine Innovations Ultraflate CO2 Tire Inflator both excel but in different environments. The Airstik is a safer choice for training where reliability is a necessity and speed is not. The Ultraflate dominates the Airstik in race scenarios where time is of the essence. Both inflation devices are highly advanced and worth considering for a compact inflation device. For more information on the Airstik, visit here. For more information on the Ultraflate, visit here. Thank you for reading.