Zefal's Air Profil FC03 mini pump is a small yet mighty model for riders who puncture infrequently or go the CO2 rescue route but still want a user-friendly contingency option. Genuinely capable of raising road rubber beyond 100psi, it has some nice touches and is certainly competitive with others at this price point.
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As you might expect from this end of the market, CNC machined aluminium rules the roost and it parks unobtrusively on bottle mounts or wedge packs. A small point perhaps, but the composite bracket is a better fit than most, which pretty much eliminates chatter, let alone ejection over washboard tarmac/dirt roads. That said, the nylon straps are advisable along really poorly surfaced sections. Jersey pockets aren't the most practical hosts, because of its size, which may be a turn-off for some.
The silver anodised handle features a knurled ring for improved purchase, while the shapely barrel comes in either this fetching red or black. The reversible threaded Presta/Schrader valve head and hose is secreted behind a snug-fitting rubberised end cap, which does a decent job of keeping slimy road spray and debris from getting channelled inside. Traditionally, one of the major gripes with mini/micro pumps was the risk of shearing willowy Presta valves clean off when furiously ramming home the pressure; hence the widespread introduction of hose-type systems.
Zefal calls its reversible head the Z-Turn, and swapping between the two types is genuinely intuitive, with no fiddly bits to lose. There is some nominal pressure loss during the uncoupling phase, though we're talking 2-3psi from a 700x23/25, 6 or so from a big section 38/42mm slick.
Obviously, this system only works with threaded valves, so check your spare tube(s) before heading out on a big ride, where several punctures could deplete your CO2 cartridge stash.
Despite its diminutive dimensions, the Air Profil is surprisingly smooth, although like most of this breed, it's not particularly efficient. A swift push-pull action is crucial; 700x25/6mm road rubber was raised from flat to 108psi in 440 strokes – around 4 minutes. Bigger 700x32s took 510 to hit 85psi. Lactic acid burning my biceps, the piston came close to locking out as the final 15psi loomed, but even by this stage the barrel never became uncomfortably warm.
A tube wall rupture while testing some 42mm Maxxis Roamer tyres proved the ideal opportunity to assess its prowess with bigger section tyres. Despite the tyre's large volume, I managed 30psi in 75 strokes (90 seconds), though beyond 45psi and my right bicep was screaming; 530 strokes and 6 minutes later, I had them to 70psi – within 5 of their maximum.
> Check out our guide to the best pumps and CO2 inflators
By mini pump standards, the Air Profil packs a mighty punch and could be just the ticket if you puncture infrequently but want something that will do the business when required. Admittedly, I've never hit the heady 116psi, but performance is better than some I've used costing a tenner or so more. Personally, I'd buy the Zefal and buy a batch of butyl with the change.
Well made mini pump with realistic clout for road tyres, but a little large for jersey pockets
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Make and model: Zefal Air Profil FC03
Size tested: Length 180mm/7in
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?
Zefal says: "Having been specifically designed for road bikes, the Air Profil FC03 can easily achieve high pressures. Thanks to the Z-Turn flexible and intuitive connection, it becomes easy to inflate your tyres. The Air Profil FC03 is made from aluminium making it light and durable. Available in 2 colours."
I would broadly agree, it's well engineered and will genuinely crack 100psi without locking out – good by mini pump standards.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Colors: Black - 8450 / Red - 8451
Weight: 100 g
Mounting: Mounting clip (ref. 8459)
Length: 180 mm / 7in
Pressure: 8 bar / 116 psi
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Well engineered and relatively pleasant to use.
Rate the product for performance:
Will genuinely deliver 108psi inside narrower section road tyres without locking out and within 5 minutes, but I never achieved the heady 116psi heights.
Rate the product for durability:
Nicely made and feels very solid.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Smooth and dependable action right up to 100psi, but you can really feel the lactic acid burning by this stage.
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, by genre standards, the Zefal is pleasant to use and will genuinely achieve the sort of pressures demanded by narrow section road tyres. Past 100psi and it was threatening to lock out, but I've consistently managed 100psi plus and there's enough power for bigger volume (700x32-42mm) tyres too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nicely finished, good quality materials and credible performance with narrow section road tyres, plus a decent frame fit bracket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief and by genre standards.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Quite possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Well worth a closer look.
Use this box to explain your score
It's a nicely made mini pump that does its job well, packing a surprising punch relative to its size.
Age: 42 Height: 1m 81cm Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
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