A “flat-tired” story
There are those times when the smallest of staple wires ruin your daily bike commute to work. As you pedal along the road, you slowly notice that every pedal you make seems to be getting heavier and heavier. The road isn’t even on an incline! A quick glance at one of your tires validates that build up of a dreadful feeling in your gut: You have a flat.
But you’re prepared for this. As someone who has been biking for some time now, you whip out your bike first aid kit — tools, tire levers, rags, and your manual bike pump. You take out the limp interior (for patching later), find (and remove!) the errant cause of the flat, replace with a spare interior, and finally start pumping air into the tire. Takes a while, and because you have a meeting starting in 40 minutes, you don’t have all day to inflate the tire all the way to maximum. You pedal along again to your destination.
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That bike story is typical for a lot of commuters… Until you see that ad on Shopee: “Xiaomi Portable Air Pump”!
You remember your friend Mau telling you to go look for it online. He bought his own portable pump for his electric kick scooter (EKS) which he used a few months ago, when the quarantine restrictions eased up in Manila. You finally gave in as you see a flash deal come your way in the app!
Xiaomi Portable Air Pump Features
The Xiaomi portable air pump allows you to inflate a tire in seconds without having to use a manual tire pump. It has an attached hose at the top with a schrader valve installed. This is a common kind of valve found in bicycle, EKS, and car tires. For those who have the presta kind of valves in their tires, the set also includes an adapter which you can attach so that it’s compatible with inflating those kinds of tires.
The controls look similar to the earliest generation of iPods. The center button is there to start / stop the pump, while the buttons surrounding it are used to increase / decrease the pressure, as well as to select between modes of pressure (psi, bar) and inflating which kind of vehicle.
The price varies, depending on which shop you’re going to buy it from on e-commerce sites. I’d say it probably averages at PHP 1,500? If you’re a regular at these flash sales and the like, you could probably bring the price a lot lower by the time you check out the item (hashtag #AddToCart! :-p )
As mentioned in the previous section, the portable pump can accommodate both schrader and presta valves.
Most tires — for bicycles, EKSes, and cars have the schrader type. Thus, there’s no problem with using the pump for them! Large or small tires, the pump will be able to inflate without much problems. Just make sure that your pump is always charged!
Recharging the unit
You can recharge the portable pump via a micro-USB cable. Its port is located at the bottom-front of the unit, with an adjacent white LED indicator that slowly blinks on and off when charging. It’s a bit weird with the charging light indicator, but well, at least you know it’s charging.
How long does the pump battery last?
This is a tricky one, because it will depend on where you’re going to use it. Naturally, fully inflating bigger tires will take out the charge sooner.
But a quick gauge would be Mau’s experience with his EKS. He shared that one time, he had some tire problems while going home. He needed to fully inflate a tire from 0 to 50 psi because of a small puncture. Then when he started on his journey home, the tire pressure went down by as much as around 15 psi every five minutes! He still managed to reinflate and keep his EKS running by using the pump about 20 times until he got home.
I have yet to try using the portable pump and see up to how many times I can inflate my bike tire before it goes low on battery. Let’s see. But given Mau’s story, I think it’s sufficient enough to help with peace of mind that you’re not going to run out on charge.
Portable pump or traditional hand pump?
The weight might be a considerable factor in choosing whether to bring the Xiaomi pump or the traditional hand pump. The Xiaomi portable air pump weighs 436 grams, while my own telescopic hand pump is at a lighter 136 grams. Not to mention is the difference in dimension between the two. But hey, as commuters, it might be worth bringing if you are after the convenience of being able to easily and speedily inflate bicycle tires!
And of course, carrying a portable pump with you on your EKS or car is definitely priceless during times that you notice the pressure needs some additional psi’s! Just remember to keep it well-charged!
Pump in action
So let’s see the Xiaomi portable air pump in action. Here’s how it looks when inflating a bike tire up to 55 psi. Observe that it automatically stops when the indicated pressure is reached.
The Xiaomi portable air pump can be used to inflate tires of bicycles, electric kick scooters (EKS), and cars. It’s quite a convenient way of inflating tires with less hassle when it comes to the effort of actually pumping air to the tires. However, a bit of a downside is its bulky dimension and weight.
Would you find this useful for your commute, regardless of the vehicle of choice you are using? Hope this review and preview helps!