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Mini-pumps don't have to be as good as track pumps or frame-fit pumps; they just have to be better than walking. The Zéfal Air Profil XL has that much going for it. But it doesn't compete on portability with the truly tiny mini-pumps or on performance with the floor-pump style minis.
Let's look at portability first. The Air Profil XL is 234mm long and weighs 108g, plus another 10g if you use the bracket that attaches to bottle cage mounts rather than sticking it in a back pocket. That's a little smaller than my Topeak Mini Morph (260mm, 152g), which is the smallest pump I don't hate using, and which I routinely carry in my back pocket. It's considerably bigger than a Blackburn AirStik SL (155mm, 58g), the smallest pump that I have used.
To test performance, I inflated a 700x23 road tyre. The Air Profil XL pump barrel telescopes as you pump to shift more air per stroke. The supposed maximum is 130psi. I got to only 50psi after 100 strokes, and when I gave up after 200 because my arms were hurting, I'd reached 75psi. Stroke-for-stroke, that's better than the AirStik SL, as you'd expect, but I've managed 90psi with a brand new AirStik SL. That took 300 shorter strokes.
The Air Profil XL is not really in the same league as the Mini Morph, which achieved 73psi after 100 strokes and 109psi when I gave up after 170 strokes. What's more, the Mini Morph was much easier to use: it has a fold-out foot, a fold out handle, and you press down onto the floor rather than against your other hand, halving the energy required.
Like the Mini Morph, the Air Profil XL has a lever to lock the pump head onto the valve. This stops air leaking out by accident. I thought the handle might fold out into a T-shape but it doesn't, so it gets more uncomfortable the more pressure you put into the tyre. The pump head will do Schrader valves as well as Presta; you need to disassemble the pump head first. When the handle slides down onto the pump body, a thin rubber collar holds it in place. Zéfal claim this will keep mud out too.
The pump barrel, piston and locking lever are aluminium rather than plastic, so ought to last a while. However, there was a lot of play in the piston from the first time I used it, so I've got doubts about its long-term durability.
The plastic frame mount fixes underneath a bottle cage. The pump is held in place with a velcro strap.
Will get you home but pumping is hard, high pressures are unreachable, and it isn't all that tiny
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Make and model: Zefal Air Profil Xl
Size tested: Black - 130psi
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?
Zéfal say: The Air Profil XL is a telescopic mini-pump which can easily reach high pressures.
I beg to differ.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Barrel : Telescopic in aluminium
Colours : Silver or Mat Black
Connection : Reversible Presta / Schrader
Handle : Thermoplastic
Stem : Aluminium
Thumblock : Aluminium
Metal parts, but the wobbly piston doesn't inspire confidence.
Typical mini-pump performance.
As with construction: metal parts, but the wobbly piston doesn't inspire confidence.
It's fairly light, but not exceptionally so for a mini-pump.
Not very, but no worse than many mini-pumps.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It put 75psi into my road tyre - enough to get home on.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lever to lock onto the pump head.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I was unable to get my tyre to its recommended pressure.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
It's no worse than many other mini-pumps, but for another £10 you can get a Topeak Mini Morph. That's what I'd do.
Age: 45 Height: 1.78m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track. Or Whyte M109
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,