Is your Blackburn frame pump as sh*te as my two?

by comm88   May 2, 2014  

Is it just me, or are these things just utter crap?? I've got two of em - a "carbon" job on my Giant TCR and a metal job on my Trek 2200. Whenever I've punctured - and thankfully it's not that often - these pumps are just, well, utter shite!!!!

In winter, try as I might, I simply could not get air into the brand new tube I'd fitted at all. Had to call for the broom wagon - argh!!!!

Yesterday, I punctured, changed the tube, used the "carbon" stick and simply could not get any real pressure into the tube whatsoever. And when I did, it simply deflated. Eventually, it (or I!) broke off knurled sealing nut rendering the tube useless. And this is not the first time that has happened with these crappy Blackburn sticks. They just don't seem to get purchase on the valve and if you try too hard to do that, you end up breaking the sealing nut off. Grrrrrr

So I used the second tube I always carry. It was a pretty warm sunny day at 19C. Yet, I still could not get enough serious pressure into the tube to enable me to ride the 2 miles home. I tried and tried, but each time, the tube simple "deflated" itself. Try as I might, I could't get the shitty stick to work. So, it was the broom wagon yet again. (Only the second time in 9 years though!!)

Btw, it wasn't the tube - it inflated perfectly back home when I used my track pump on it.

Do you have these same problems too, or am I just useless???? Help very much appreciated!

I'm thinking of switching to a Lezyne CO2 pump and dumping Blackburn altogether. Thoughts?

16 user comments

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What pump models are they?

Do they have the screw adjustment parts or is flip up lever to connect when you put it on the tube?

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posted by Gkam84 [8699 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 21:00

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I have to say, I'm on my third (the screw the end nozzle version).. the first two failed after a couple of years..(I'm a heavy landing MTB rider and frequently have pinch flats, - an average of two a ride so they've always had a fair amount of use)..but in Blackburns' defense, they just replace them..as they did the couple of fault flea (light)s.
Not ideal..but better than anything else I've tried in the 'minipump' class.. Nerd

posted by Sadoldsamurai [9 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 21:27

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They are both frame fitting versions with a hinged cover cap over the Schrader/Presta fitting and an aluminium thumb lock on the other side.

Thnx for looking and for the advice!! I still feel like a klutz!!! Laughing

How hard can it be to make a pump work???? And everybody tells me these are "great pumps"!!!! Really?

posted by comm88 [72 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 22:17

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Ah...double heads? Nightmare.

But are you sure you are locking the lever on right, it should be flush to the pump, insert the value, flick the lever up and with Blackburn, flick it past 90 degrees to lock it in....if you have it at right angles, you will always loose air

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posted by Gkam84 [8699 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 22:26

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I have a Lezyne trigger drive CO2 pump and it fits inside a Lezyne micro caddy saddle bag along with two 16g CO2 canisters, 1 spare tube, patch kit, 10-piece multitool, and tire levers. I can get a 16g canister to inflate a 700x23 tire to ~100 psi. Very easy to use, light & takes up very little space. Also came with a neoprene sleeve to put on the CO2 canister to keep from freezing your hands. Also have a Lezyne micro floor drive pump as a backup which has been working flawlessly for years. Easy to pump tires up to 110 psi and with the flexible hose so no probs with accidentally snapping the tube stem and the foldable foot brace lets you place it on the floor to pump instead of relying solely on wimpy cyclist biceps. Thinking of switching to the road drive hand pump as it's smaller but still has a flexible hose so would fit in a jersey pocket better.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [133 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 22:26

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Yet every "serious cyclist" seems to say don't go to CO2. Que?

I just don't want to be calling the broom wagon every time I go flat!! She does think it's kinda funny tho (in a sad kind of way)! "You ride 000s of miles every year and can't fix a flat ..." It sure flattens your ego!! And takes some of the pride, sheer joy and immense satisfaction out of what you do.

posted by comm88 [72 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 22:48

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I take Co2 out with me, but it is as a back up to my pump. I would never go to it first. If my pump broke, then yes, fire out the Co2. But it is sh*t. It damages the inner tube because of the intense cold. It deflates quicker than pumping it from a pump.

I did have to use Co2 once to get home. Got home, deflated straight away and pumped up with a track pump.

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posted by Gkam84 [8699 posts]
2nd May 2014 - 23:15

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True, you need to re-inflate with a track pump once home anyway as the molecular shape of CO2 diffuses through butyl rubber faster than air (nitrogen & oxygen) leaving you with a flat tire over the next day or two. Most of the non-commuting cyclists here in Portland (racers & cycling clubs) use CO2 though. Never had a prob with/heard anyone complaining tube weakness after using CO2 though.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [133 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 0:28

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Thnx for all the helpful advice. Honestly appreciate it. Somehow, thankfully, I only seem to puncture about 4-5 times a year and mostly manage to stuff enough air into the tube to get back to base. But not so lately. However, I shall strip both my Blackburns down today and see if I can get them to work any better.

Having read your comments, I am now very unsure about the CO2 option ...

posted by comm88 [72 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 11:55

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I broke my 30 year old Zefal HPX during a tumble on the ice this year.

Zefal sent spares parts for just a few euros, back to full working order and does 8 bar easily.

If it ever gets stolen (as it seems to be everlasting) I would buy zefal again, it wasn't cheap back in the day, but the technology to make a decent hand held pump obviously exists....or has been forgotten.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [490 posts]
3rd May 2014 - 20:40

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Funnily enough, I was looking at pumps in an LBS today, but only because I've got a gift voucher to spend and I couldn't think of any other gear I need. I have a Blackburn Super Airstik purchased about 13 years ago, and the only improvement I'd want is for it to have a little length of hose as has now become popular for hand-pumps again. Otherwise, I can't fault it. I lent it to someone a couple of years ago who managed somehow to de-seat a seal inside it, but a couple of pounds on a readily-available rebuild kit brought it back to as good as new. I can't see it falling apart anytime soon, so I think this gift voucher might be the only way I can justify a new pump with a little hose...

posted by CapriciousZephyr [27 posts]
4th May 2014 - 21:25

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CO2 every time. Quick, easy, inflates to 100psi, never had issues with damaged inner tubes due to cold. Just re-inflate with the track pump when you get home. Never managed to get more than 50psi into a tyre with a portable pump, and always ended up knackered and sweaty.

posted by tomisitt [32 posts]
5th May 2014 - 22:13

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I don't get people who can be bothered with hand pumping a road side flat. In fact, I don't get anyone who can be bothered with manually inflating a tire with anything other than a track pump.

CO2 cans are really cheap and I use them at most a couple of times a year. The pump is smaller and easier to carry too. If I have a roadside puncture I want it fixed quick as possible so I can get back to enjoying my ride. For the very few coins this costs, seems like a complete no-brainer to me. If you're concerned about the CO2 leaking out the tube faster, at least it gets you home quicker so you can re-inflate it with the track pump.

posted by giobox [241 posts]
6th May 2014 - 2:46

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giobox wrote:
I don't get people who can be bothered with hand pumping a road side flat. In fact, I don't get anyone who can be bothered with manually inflating a tire with anything other than a track pump.

CO2 cans are really cheap and I use them at most a couple of times a year. The pump is smaller and easier to carry too. If I have a roadside puncture I want it fixed quick as possible so I can get back to enjoying my ride. For the very few coins this costs, seems like a complete no-brainer to me. If you're concerned about the CO2 leaking out the tube faster, at least it gets you home quicker so you can re-inflate it with the track pump.

Track pump at home, Lezyne HP Drive on the bike(s). Why ?

The Lezyne is small, light (130g).

It delivers high enough pressure for the 700x23/25s although takes time on the MTB tubes.

It's cheap.

I can't forget to swap the bottles or run out when out on a run - I just pump more.

I can pootle out on the mountain bike with slightly higher pressures, lower them for mucking about and then top up if absolutely necessary before going home (rarely) - without going through cans of CO2 each time.

It's well sealed and well made - i'm not afraid of it breaking anytime soon.

It has screw in heads for Presta and Schrader, so good for going out with the tag-a-long or trailer.

All in all, it's a good all round option for me. Sure, it's not as quick as CO2 (and i've nothing really against CO2 in particular) but i'm surprised you don't get any of it.

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posted by fukawitribe [297 posts]
6th May 2014 - 8:37

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as above - Lezyne HP for out on the road, track pump at home. Lezyne does everything you need, just a bit slower than CO2.

BUT. I do carry CO2 when I am commuting, but not on longer training rides... for speed and safety reasons. Hardly ever use it, but on the few occasions when I have been in an absolutely vile part of Manchester repairing a puncture on a rather nice-looking bike at night, I'm happier to get up and moving again asap.

posted by andyp [807 posts]
6th May 2014 - 10:42

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I'm really starting to like this little Lezyne HP!!! Still not happy with my Blackburn stix. Neither did a perfect job yesterday - again - even after cleaning em both down. But it is pretty joyless when you're 30m out and trying in the pouring rain, sleet, snow, driving wind - or even in the sunshine - to get enough air into a tube so you can simply get on. I like the idea of going back to flexible hoses! Never busted a sealing knurled nut using one in the dim and distant past, as I remember!!

Thnx again to everyone who has proffered their sage and considered advice. I know what you mean about puncturing in dodgy places!! You just want something that does the job right and in record time - reliably.

posted by comm88 [72 posts]
6th May 2014 - 11:09

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