BTwin Mini air compressor  £49.99

7/10

Good alternative to a track pump, if a bit noisy

Weight 882g   Contact  www.decathlon.co.uk

by John Stevenson   February 11, 2014  

The BTwin Mini air compressor is exactly what it says on the tin - a compact motorised air pump that will get your tyres up to pressure with no effort from you.

For your fifty quid you get a unit shaped like the grip of a ray gun that houses the compressor and a nickel-metal hydride battery; a mains adapter; a car adapter; and a hose with a built-in gauge. A Schrader valve head with a locking lever connects to your inner tube and you get an adapter for presta valves.

It's dead easy to use. Charge it up, attach it to the valve and flick the switch. When it reaches your desired pressure, turn it off. Job done.

It's quite noisy. Not enough to have us reaching for ear protection, but enough that I avoided using it in confined spaces.

I did a simple A versus B test with my trusty SKS Rennkompressor track pump. The track pump took 30 seconds to get a 23mm tyre to 7 bar (105psi), pumping at a fairly leisurely pace. The BTwin compressor took a minute and five seconds, so a little over twice as long.

BTwin say it will reach 150psi, and that claim's reasonable if you have the patience. It's certainly easier to get to these high pressures with the BTwin compressor than with some track pumps.

I then wanted to know how many tyres I could expect to inflate from one charge, so I repeatedly inflated my 23mm tyre to 7 bar. The Mini compressor was getting noticeably warm after six repeats. On the seventh it got to about 5 bar before running out of gas.

It took a bit under six hours to recharge, as claimed in the instructions and indicated by the red LED on the switch-mode charger turning green. That charger, incidentally, has a two-pin French plug, so you'll need an adapter; Decathlon should really sell the compressor with a multi-plug charger.

Oddly, if you leave the compressor on charge overnight, the LED turns red again. No biggie, if it's had six hours it'll be charged. Peculiar, though.

You can't run the compressor off the charger, but you can use it from the car adapter, so if you need to inflate a number of tyres in the field, that's the way to go. However, Decathlon recommends you only use it for 10 minutes at a time, then let it rest for 15 minutes, so you're not going to get a whole pro team back on the road with this.

It's all very straightforward to use, to the point where my 11-year-old workshop assistant mastered it with very minimal tuition. I hope that means her tyres will get inflated a bit more often now.

Lighter riders, especially diminutive women, often struggle with track pumps because they don't have the weight to get up to high pressures. The BTwin compressor will be great for them, as well as for those of us who are just too lazy to use the trackpump.

But I couldn't help wishing for a few tweaks that would hake it from 'good' to 'great'. For starters, the hose is a bit short. Another six inches would be handy, just to make it easier to get to your valve, and to orient the gauge for easy reading.

Having a separate adapter for presta valves is a recipe for problems; it's bound to get lost sooner or later. It'd be far better to have a self-adapting chuck like Topeak's SmartHead.

Then of course you start thinking about what functions the deluxe version should have. An electronic gauge rather than a dial so you can get super-accurate pressures. A preset function so that electronic gauge can turn off the pump when your desired pressure is reached. A bubble attachment for kids' parties. Okay, not that last one. Maybe not.

You're no doubt asking why would you bother with something that's noisier and takes longer to use than a similarly-priced track pump. That's a fair question. If you're happy with a track pump, stick with it, but if you or a member of your family struggles with a track pump for whatever reason, the BTwin Mini air compressor is a nifty gadget that's well worth a look.

Verdict

Good alternative to a track pump, if a bit noisy.

road.cc test report

Make and model: BTwin Mini air compressor

Size tested: 150psi/10bar

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Decathlon says it's for: "recreational or regular cyclists who want to pump their tyres using an electric compressor. Effortless inflation."

Decathlon lists the benefits as:

Ease of use: Effortless inflation

Compatibility: Presta / Shrader for bike / motorbike / car tyres

Battery life: 10 to 15 minutes with continuous inflation

Nuff said really. If you can't be bothered pumping your tyres up by hand, or you find getting high pressures a struggle, this is for you.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

For your fifty quid you get the compressor unit itself; a mains charger; a car power supply adapter and a hose with a built in pressure gauge.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

It's slow compared to a decent track pump, but it's also relentless, which means anyone can use it.

Decathlon offers a two-year guarantee, and the construction seems decent. It almost certainly won't stand being kicked around a workshop floor, but that's why pro workshops buy SKS Rennkompressors. For home use it should be fine.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
4/10

It's pretty loud.

£50 will get you a pretty good track pump, but you'll still have to do the work yourself.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Can't fault it - it inflates tyres.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Getting tyres up to pressure without effort; being easy enough to use that an 11-year-old could master it with minimal tuition.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The noise. The slightly-too-short hose.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 5ft 11in  Weight: 85kg

I usually ride: Scapin Style  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding,

 

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Shame this isn't a bit better for the price but it's good to have an alternative available now that Bosch has discontinued their Bosch PAG 12V Cordless Air Pump

Another alternative is the US-sourced Craftsman. I've imported one and it works quite well. It has a digital gauge on the back where you preset a pressure and it turns off when it reaches it. I've not checked it for absolute accuracy, but functionally it's fine. The second link is to a presta conversion option.

It uses a "system" of Lithium batteries which must be purchased separately and that's an issue because there are postal and shipping restrictions on such batteries. (e.g only in the cargo hold IN the tool - spares only of "reasonable size and quantities" in hand baggage only).

The US 110V chargers would need a transformer to work here, but there is also a 12V charger which works fine if you have a car to plug into).

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-c3-19.2-volt-cordless-inflator/p-00911586...

http://www.thetallcyclist.com/2012/11/the-craftsman-cordless-inflator/

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [88 posts]
11th February 2014 - 10:06

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I use the compressor on the Jump starter I have for the car. I've got a brass, push-on presta adapter I bought from SJS which is about the size of a small fist and weighs about 100gm, so it is difficult to lose.

I have got a track pump (Crivit Sport, £5.99 from Lidl), but I'm far too much of a lazy-git/geriatric-old-fart to pump up tyres by hand if I don't have to. Yep, I carry a CO2 pump on the bike! Laughing

This sound like my kind of Jobbie, all I need now is to save fifty quid out of my pension to pay for it!

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [97 posts]
11th February 2014 - 12:02

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Sorry I use the track pump as a bit of a warm up, albeit a very small warm up, before going out for a ride this would leave me with cold muscle groups Wink

Also WTF is the price tag Surprise

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [446 posts]
11th February 2014 - 12:16

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I'd be tempted by this but the lack of proper Presta support puts me off. With 29er, 650b and 700c wheels all coming with Presta valves now, soon it will only be BSOs and old MTBs that need Schrader...

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [644 posts]
11th February 2014 - 12:45

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Kind of seems worthless at that price point AND it takes longer than a normal pump

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
11th February 2014 - 18:24

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