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The SKS Airboy Pump is probably one of the smallest mini-pumps I've ever used and although it feels a little flimsy it is surprisingly good at getting plenty of your air in your tyres – provided you aren't in a hurry.
The SKS Airboy just pushes directly onto the valve – Presta only – rather than having any form of lock like flicking a thumb switch to keep it in place, but it performs surprisingly well.
It locates onto the valve with a tight fit so even when the pressures are getting high and you need more force to get the air in, nothing is escaping into the atmosphere.
When fully extended it can feel like there is quite a bit of play between the two hand holds and the main chamber, but that doesn't affect its pumping abilities at all. To be fair, considering the Airboy's small diameter compared to its 280mm fully extended length, that play isn't as bad as it could be.
The two handles are comfortable, and I found them just long enough to fit my hands on without nipping any skin when the two closed together. The little rubber plug at the end opposite the valve provides a bit of a curve to press your finger up against for a little more purchase.
The Airboy is small even when it comes to most mini pumps, so the volume of air it can get into your tyre/tube is never going to be massive.
After 300 strokes into a 25mm tyre I had achieved just over 60psi, but they were a surprisingly easy 300 strokes. The SKS gets a little warm but not to the point where my hands were getting hot or sweaty, and the overall pumping motion remained smooth.
It is rated up to 115psi (8 bar) and while I don't doubt that, you are going to need a lot of time on your hands. I kept going up to about 85psi after another 200ish strokes and that was plenty for me as my arms were starting to ache from holding the pump in the same position.
When it comes to storage, the Airboy's size works in its favour. At 175mm long when closed it'll easily pop in a jersey pocket, though it does come with a bottle cage mount if you want to leave it on the bike.
Priced at £26.99 the SKS is in the right ballpark compared to many mini pumps, although there is some tough opposition.
Mike was recently impressed with the Birzman Mini Apogee which is even shorter when closed than the SKS, and costs £22.99. It will also work on both Presta and Schrader valves.
Liam over on off-road.cc was also impressed with the Truflo MiniMTN High Volume pump at £25, which he says is capable of filling big tyres quickly while still being able to hit high pressures for the likes of gravel bikes too.
Overall, I'd say the SKS is a nifty little pump that's a good choice if weight and space saving are your first priority.
Tiny little pump that delivers decent pressures and is very easy to use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: SKS Airboy Pump
Size tested: 175mm
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?
SKS says, "The Airboy was the first bicycle mini pump SKS produced more than 50 years ago, and the Airboy is back again as the company`s latest premium model, which is the smallest, lightest mini pump SKS ever made. It has a unique dual chamber design, splitting the pump body in the middle allowing outstanding grip and efficiency that defies its ultra-compact size."
The ideal pump for the roadie looking to save weight and space.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Micro size – suitable for carrying in a cycling jersey pocket.
Dual-chamber inflation system for an easy pressure build-up
Large, comfortable grip area on the pump head to avoid hand injury
Compatible with Presta valve only
Maximum pressure: 8 bar / 115 psi
Anodized aluminium compression tube and handle
Supplied with bottle cage mounted frame bracket
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Surprisingly powerful pump considering its size.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Very secure head to valve interaction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Limited to Presta valves only.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The mid-20 pound mark is the usual ballpark for a decent mini-pump and the SKS is only just outside of that. It is up against some tough competition like the two I have mentioned in the review, and many others that we have tested.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, especially if you could find it at a few quid off.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's surprisingly powerful for its diminutive size, but a little bit pricier than others that deliver more air.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!