Car drivers have it so easy. Flat tire? No problem, whip out the spare and motor on. As motorcyclists we may enjoy more freedom overall, but in the event of a flat or puncture, self-reliance requires more skill and ingenuity since we can’t carry a spare (unless you ride a Ural!).
Assuming you are able to plug or patch a puncture by the side of the road, the next tricky bit is inflating the tire. A handful of CO2 cartridges will usually pump it up enough to ride to the next gas station, but it’s a fiddly process. You also have to replace the empties, and CO2 cartridges cannot be taken on airplanes.
As long as you’ve got a little space somewhere, a better solution is to carry your own 12-volt pump. Models made for motorcycles like the Motopumps Mini Pro are typically smaller and lighter than those sold for cars.
The Mini Pro’s hard ABS-plastic case measures 2 x 4.75 x 5.75 inches, it weighs 18 ounces and is capable of inflating a motorcycle, powersports, car or bicycle tire to 50 psi. It draws less than 5 amps, and has a 6.5-foot connection cord with a standard SAE plug, so it can be connected to your bike’s existing battery-charging pigtail. The pump also comes with a 3.5-foot cigarette/BMW plug to SAE cord that gives it 10 feet of total reach to a power outlet with at least 5 amps on tap. Stepping up to the Deluxe kit tested here also nets you two battery pigtails with 15-amp fuses, one with terminal rings and one with clamps, and a nice neoprene zippered case in which to store everything.
The Mini Pro’s power cord, cigarette plug extension and its coiled inflation hose all store neatly within the pump case, and sports adapters for balls and air mattresses are included that clip into the back of the pump. The brass Zero-Loss fitting on the inflation hose screws onto Schrader valves quickly and easily with little or no air loss, and the Mini Pro has a built-in, LED-backlit pressure gauge that I found to be quite accurate. The LED-backlit gauge, as well as a built-in LED worklight, eliminates the need for a flashlight at night.
The Mini Pro’s metal geared, fan-cooled, high-efficiency motor is roughly as loud as a hand-held vacuum—Motopumps says 69 dB. In testing, it took 2 minutes and 40 seconds to bring a flat 100/90-19 tire up to 34 psi, and 7 minutes to inflate a flat 150/70-17 to 37 psi. That’s above par for these small inflators, and there’s no maximum run time, so you can inflate a car or trailer tire with it. If you connect it to an existing SAE battery pigtail, make sure it has at least a 5-amp fuse installed when using the pump—a smaller fuse will blow since the pump draws 4.75 amps (and be sure to change the fuse back to the smaller one if your charger or other device calls for it).
Quick, light, rugged and convenient, the Mini Pro is an essential piece of kit for a traveling motorcyclist. The Deluxe package retails for $79.95; standard is $69.95.
For more information:
Call (607) 533-9985 or visit motopumps.com.