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Fabric Nanobar mini-pump



Really well-made, good looking pocket pump that functions well – if slowly
Lovely build
Great materials
Flexible hose
Premium feel
Fiddly to attach to Presta valves
Small volume

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Fabric Nanobar is a beautifully built alloy-bodied mini-pump with some genuinely useful features and a lovely smooth action. It's a great size for jersey pockets, though it still comes with a frame mount, but it shifts such a small amount of air that you'll probably give up way before its theoretical 120psi max. It's a little fiddly to attach, too.

Call me a nerd, but the Nanobar is a lovely looking thing and, better still, the brushed aluminium casing feels good too – almost soft to the touch, with a useful amount of grip. The head is that very tough, slightly flexy plastic that's nigh-on impossible to break, while the threads you rely on for valve sealing are machined into aluminium inserts. Importantly, it's built to last, not just look good. The shaft is metal too, and whatever bushes or seals lurk inside do a great job of keeping the tubes sliding parallel without binding or jamming.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The pumping action is very smooth – but it's also short. With just 10cm of extension, and a valve that only pumps on the compression stroke, it takes an awful lot of effort to move any meaningful amount of air.

2020 Fabric Nanobar mini pump - extended.jpg

Fabric says this can take tyres up to 120psi, but raising one of my 28mm Continental tyres from flat to a rideable (if squishy) 55psi takes a solid five minutes of pumping. Getting it to my preferred 90psi takes another five minutes, and by then the pump is getting pretty warm, the 75mm front section is getting hard to grip, and I am getting too tired to ride anywhere. For comparison, the 18cm Topeak Roadie DA takes 3.5 minutes to take the same tyre to 55psi.

> Speed, grip, comfort: how to choose your tyre pressure

The Nanobar's plastic head pops from the body to extend a little 6cm hose, and that flex definitely helps with keeping it seated while you're pumping. The convertible head works very neatly too, with one (tiny) proviso – you have to unscrew and pull out the plunger on the back to use Presta valves. If you're a roadie you're probably using these rather than Schrader, meaning you have to do this every time. If you leave it in Presta mode the plunger is free to stick out, rattle and ingest dirt.

2020 Fabric Nanobar mini pump - valve head detail.jpg

Another tiny annoyance: the metal barrels spin inside the plastic head to allow you to screw it to the valve, which is good, but there's a lot of resistance and it's a rather gluey-feeling operation. It's not a huge issue – though it can fool you into thinking it's sealed on tight when it's actually leaking air – but neither is it a plus point when your hands are numb and wet.

2020 Fabric Nanobar mini pump - valve head detail 2.jpg

At just over 18cm long it's just right for disappearing into a jersey pocket, and that lovely metal build isn't actually heavier than most plastic or plastic/metal mixes. It also sits securely in the included frame mount, which comes with a silicone strap, stainless steel bolts and a suitably swoopy matt-black design.

One of the Nanobar's biggest problems is the sheer amount of pumps available, especially those – such as Topeak's £33 RaceRocket HP – which are lighter, faster and slightly easier to use. Many don't have the looks of the Nanobar, if that matters, but then again Birzman's tiny £23 Mini Apogee is also alloy, weighs just 79g and is no less effective than the Fabric. And call me a nerd again, but it looks really nice.

> Buyer’s Guide: 7 of the best mini-pumps

The Fabric Nanobar mini-pump has the high quality to back up its high style, and is a pleasingly tactile thing just to hold and admire. It's slightly less pleasing to use, unfortunately, and that's mostly down to its sheer lack of puff. For emergency use and reliable posing the Nanobar is a winner, but its performance isn't as impressive as others out there.


Really well-made, good looking pocket pump that functions well – if slowly

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Make and model: Fabric Nanobar mini-pump

Size tested: 18cm, 120psi max

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?

Fabric says: "The Nanobar offers a winning combination of portability and power, delivering 120psi inflation from a 180mm body."

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

Fabric lists these specs:

Extendable hose & head system

Protects valves & easy to use

Ultra compact & lightweight

Over-handle design

For high pressure tyres

Length: 180mm

Capacity: 20cc

Pressure: 120psi / 8.3bar

Body: Aluminium

Head: Retractable

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Beautifully built.

Rate the product for performance:

It works perfectly, if slowly.

Rate the product for durability:

Build and material choices promise a long life.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

On par for a mini pump, and barely heavier than plastic options.

Rate the product for value:

It's at the upper end of the £20-£30 average, but it's really nice quality.

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

Inflates tyres just fine, but takes a while and a lot of effort.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Premium look and feel.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Takes ages to inflate a tyre and is a little faffy with Presta valves.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

Build quality is excellent and it looks lovely, but it is quite slow to inflate a tyre compared with other mini-pumps.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

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