Specs and Claims

  • Dual Stroke design pumps when pushing and pulling
  • Tough aluminum barrel
  • Ergonomic folding T-handle
  • TwistGrip III locking head for Presta and Schrader
  • Rebuildable internals
  • Maximum Pressure: 160psi (11.2 bar)
  • Material: Aluminum barrel, plastic, rubber
  • Weight: 160 grams
  • Recommended Use: Road biking, mountain biking
  • Manufacturer Warranty: Lifetime
  • Part Number: 2011702
  • UPC: 768686789199

Blackburn Airstik 3

First Impression

The initial impression is that the pump is well built and heavier than what one would expect. It has this handgun feel to it. Packaging is not bad so it can be proudly displayed in the store or presented as a gift. Other than that it’s just a bicycle pump so it doesn’t invoke any strong emotions. Although the red accents with anodized aluminum parts are a neat touch.

Performance

Airstik’s distinguishing feature is called “Dual Stroke” which allows it to pump on both push and pull strokes. Despite it I didn’t notice any dramatic performance improvement, pumping completely flat mountain bike tire with a small hand pump is still a chore. It took me 400 strokes to pump 26×2.5 tubeless Continental Digga to rideable 30 PSI. This was the worst case scenario, but even half of that is a long intimate process.

The resistance while pumping fat tire remained low until the very end, but even then wasn’t very hard. To test 160PSI claim I hooked Blackburn to my shock pump via piece of modified Schrader valve. Airstik 3 managed to push the needle past 200PSI. Naturally I though about using it as emergency shock pump but that idea was short lived because tire pump refused fix on the short shock’s valve.

Convenience

Airstik 3 is as convenient as small pump can be. T-handle is ergonomically shaped and easy to hold. It snaps in the position and has enough gap to the pump’s body that it doesn’t pinch your fingers. Metal barrel gets warm during pumping but not to the extent when it would bother.

Build

Unlike previous versions of the product, Airstik 3 is made of aluminum where it matters the most. It can take some abuse and should last for years. TwistGrip III locking mechanism has a soft rubber insert which will wear out sooner than other parts, but it can be purchased in a service kit together with all o-rings and caps for about $4 (part #2013594).

Buzz

There are numerous reviews of the previous versions of this pump and good half of them are pretty negative. Some users reported reliability issues, some had higher expectations and some were plain technically impaired. Since then Blackburn improved reliability in Airstik 3 by beefing it up with metals. Other issues may persist. While I would agree that this is not a prefect pump, it is definitively not a dismal failure.

Warranty

Product comes with lifetime warranty and reasonable fine print. Online reports describe rather painless exchange process.

Conclusion

Blackburn Airstik 3 is a decent mini pump to have around though a bit heavy. You may want to stick with CO2 if you’ve upgraded to carbon seat post to shave 50 grams. Performance is average, you will have to be very lucky to lock a tubeless tire on the rim, but it will work fine for adding air or with tubes. Dual Stroke design is more of a gimmick, but it makes some difference at lower pressures. The pump is built well and looks good. It is reasonably priced and especially good value if purchased off a deal site. Overall I’d go with 4 out of 5.

PS: Regularly test your emergency equipment before venturing on your rides. There are multiple reports of people discovering that their pump is not working while miles away from trail head. I heard of a guy (embarrassed look) who carried a tube in his backpack for years and then when he needed it the valve wouldn’t fit through the rim.

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