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Blackburn Core CO2’Fer Mini Pump

8
£36.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Easy to use, reliable pump with integrated CO2
Easy to use
Durable
Integrated CO2 head and valve core remover
A little pricey
Slow to inflate a skinny road tyre
Weight: 
102g

The Blackburn Core CO2'Fer Mini Pump makes inflating wide tyres on endurance, 'allroad', cyclo-cross and gravel bikes as easy as it gets, with the bonus of a very neatly integrated CO2 inflator that is handy when you're in a serious rush to get back on the move. It's a really nice pump to use, and though a little pricey it's a great investment.

Take it from me, you really shouldn't skimp on a decent pump. Being stranded by the side of the road flailing away with a pathetically incapable pump isn't something you want to experience. Trust me, I've been there. Many times. The Core pump is nothing like that experience – it's very nice to use and inflates a tyre reliably with no fuss or drama.

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The Core is a solidly made mini-pump with its USP being a CO2 inflator integrated into the head. It is simple to use either manually or with a canister attached and saves having to remember to carry a CO2 nozzle in your saddle pack.

Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump detauls7.JPG

To use the pump, you extend the head to reveal a short flexible hose, remove the CO2 head, and use the knurled nut to lock onto a Presta valve, then pump away. That short section of hose might seem insignificant, but it reduces any risk of damaging the valve and gives you more freedom to pump as frantically as you can manage. It makes pumping the tyre up very easy.

Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump detauls4.JPG

Blackburn bills the Core as a 'mid-size barrel diameter' designed for mountain bike, cyclo-cross and gravel bikes. It might not be the first choice for a skinny road tyre, but with road bikes regularly breaching 30mm width tyres, it's not totally out of its depth when faced with a slick tyre. I've been using it for road and gravel rides where having one pump is easier than different dedicated ones.

Blackburn says it's rated up to 120psi, though you might be there for some time. For a 44mm 700C gravel tyre it took 150 strokes to get up to 30psi, which is fine, but progress was slower on a 28mm wide road tyre: 200 stokes only got me to 40psi, and 400 to 80psi, by which point you might get bored. That's the reality of small pumps.

Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump - extended.jpg

While it does take a while to inflate a narrower tyre, the pump action is consistently light, making it an easy task with no heat or pressure build-up. You don't need strong arms to reach high pressures with this pump – good news for those of us not endowed with massive biceps.

> Buyer's Guide: 16 of the best pumps and CO2 inflators

If you can't be done with the faff of manual pumping, you can call on the integrated CO2 inflator. Instead of carrying around a separate CO2 inflator (the nozzle that attaches to the canister), you simply twist the head off the pump and it screws directly onto a canister. It's that simple. You can regulate the flow of gas as you need as well, and save any remainder for the rest of the ride.

Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump - valve head.jpg
Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump detauls3.JPG

Another neat detail is the one that gives the pump its name: a valve core remover is hidden in the removable end cap on the bottom of the pump. That's a bonus for tubeless tyres, where sometimes removing the valve core is needed for adding sealant or initial tyre installation.

Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump - detail.jpg

What's not so good if you're a Schrader kind of person is that the Core is only compatible with Presta valves, so you'll need to think about using an adapter. The only Schraders I use are on my car.

At 22cm long, the Core slips neatly into a jersey pocket or you can use the supplied frame mount. It fits under the bottle cage and holds a CO2 canister on one side, the pump on the other. The mount is curved, it doesn't fit so flush on flatter tube profiles. You get a single 16g cartridge included so you might want to buy a couple of spares – just make sure they are the threaded type.

Blackburn Core C02'Fer Mini Pump.jpg

The pump is nice to use with good ergonomics and feels solid in use. It doesn't bend and flex at all, like some cheaper pumps can. It feels high quality, made with good materials, and the design and attention to detail is first class. The flexible hose means you can be as vigorous as you like with the pump, there's no risk of damaging the valve.

There are probably better options if you just want to inflate high-pressure road tyres, but if you want one pump for use across road and gravel disciplines, that's reliable, with the option of whacking on a CO2 canister, the Core is highly recommended.

Value

At £37 retail, it's on the pricey side, but you are getting a CO2 inflator and 16g canister, which makes the price easier to swallow. That said, the Bontrager Air Rush CO2 is £24.99, and also comes with two 16g canisters.

The Birzman Infinite Apogee Road with CO2 is the same price as the Blackburn and includes a pair of gas canisters, but it's a bit long for jersey pocket storage and the Snap-It Apogee head isn't quite as satisfactory to use.

> Buyer's Guide: 6 of the best mini pumps

If having a pump that's compatible with Schrader valves is more important than having an integrated CO2 inflator, the Topeak RaceRocket HP is worth a look: it's £32.99 and works well.

Conclusion

The Blackburn offers easy inflation and a super-neat integrated CO2 inflator, and despite the reasonably high price it's a very good choice if you're on the hunt for a new pump this year. It's hard to fault.

Verdict

Easy to use, reliable pump with integrated CO2

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Blackburn Core CO2'Fer Mini Pump

Size tested: Max 120psi

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?

Blackburn says: "The Core CO2'Fer is an excellent stand-alone mini-pump that adds the versatility of an integrated CO2 inflator and the peace of mind of a Presta valve tool, ensuring nothing goes wrong when all you need is an inflated tire. A remote inflation hose takes unwanted stress off the tire valve."

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

Blackburn lists:

Weight 159 grams

CO2 CARTRIDGE

INCLUDES 16G CO2 CARTRIDGE

CONTENTS

COMPATIBLE WITH MOST THREADED CARTRIDGES

INSTALLATION

INCLUDES RUBBER STRAP TO SECURE CO2 TO PUMP

PSI

RATED TO 120 PSI/8.3 BAR MAX

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very solidly made, doesn't bend and twist under even the most vigorous pumping.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

The light action and smooth stroke mean it's a pleasant pumping experience.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Over several months, durability looks to be excellent.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

It's about as comfortable as it gets with such a small pump.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

It may seem pricey, but when you factor in the excellent performance and the integrated CO2, it's not so bad. It costs the same as the Birzman Infinite Apogee Road with CO2, and is a little more than the Topeak RaceRocket HP, though that doesn't come with a CO2 inflator or cartridges. It is £10 more than the Bontrager Air Rush CO2, though.

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

It gets tyres inflated nicely. Better suited to wider tyres, though.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's nice and easy to use.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Takes a while to get a road tyre inflated to a decent pressure.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I'm struggling to find fault with this pump: it offers great performance with a neatly integrated CO2 canister, is reliable and durable, and makes inflating tyres as painless as it gets with a mini pump. It's a little expensive, perhaps, but otherwise excellent.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

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