Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
A Maxi Mini
- Compact size, only 6-inches long/155mm
- Light, durable 6063 aluminum construction
- Barrel knurling so your hands don’t slip
- Pull-out flexible hose w/cap to keep out dirt
- Reversible Presta/Schrader screw-on head
- Comes with frame mount
- Includes rustproof stainless mounting bolts
- Muc-off signature hot pink detailing
- As with all minis, it takes a lot of pumping to get to a rideable pressure
Weight: 97/81 grams (with/without mount)
How obtained: Sample from the company
Availability: Retailers, from Muc-Off and online
RBR sponsor: no
Tiny pumps like Muc-Off’s AirMach are handy for flat repairs or airing up a soft tire when you’re out riding. And their best trick is that at only 6 inches long, they can be carried in any pack, pocket or even hidden away inside some frames with built-in compartments such as my Trek Checkpoint SL 5 gravel bike’s.
If you need it, the AirMach does come with a durable nylon frame mount that rides underneath and next to the bottle cage and uses those mounting holes in the frame. The pump snaps into the mount and an oversize elastic pull tab locks the pump in place.
These elastic pump “keepers” have failed on some other mounts I’ve used and that’s usually the end of trusting the mount since if you hit one big bump you can lose your pump. Muc-Off has addressed this with what feels like a far more robust rubber.
I was also happy to see that the AirMach includes stainless steel mounting bolts and a couple of bonus nuts for them. The nuts aren’t needed for putting on the mount but they might come in handy for other accessories since they’re the ubiquitous 5mm thread and they’re stainless too.
Thanks to its stout inch-diameter 6063 aluminum construction the AirMach feels solid in your hands and has a smooth air-tight pumping action. A really nice touch that improves the grip are knurled sections on the barrel and the plunger.
In the Nots list above I mentioned that it takes a lot of strokes to get tires up to a rideable pressure. To be more exact, on my 700 x 25c Schwalbe tire it took me 150 pumps to get to 45 psi. Based on its steady output with each stroke (Muc-Off says its 32.21 CC per), I bet if you kept pumping you could achieve Muc-Off’s promised 110 maximum psi. But the days of pumping tires that hard or over for most of us so I did not test it.
Pull-out Hose with a Screw-on Head
On the air delivery end of the pump there’s a pull-out rubber hose that extends 3.75 inches/95mm. The hose stays inside the pump until you pull to release it.
For attaching the pump to the valve, there’s a reversible CNC-machined screw-on aluminum head that’s compatible with Presta and Schrader valves. Screw-on heads have an advantage over clamp-on ones in that they will work on even very short valves. If the valve went down into the tire as it lost air, all you have to do is catch one thread with the head and keep turning and the head will pull the valve up and tighten onto it. Plus, the screw-on head can’t slip off the way the clamp-on ones can.
The slight disadvantage is that because the screw-on head screws both onto the pump’s hose and onto the valve, you might find that it comes loose at one of these connections while you’re pumping and wiggling the hose around. If that happens it starts to lose air. But all that’s needed is tightening both connections firmly with your hands for leak-free pumping.
Once you know that can happen, you’ll tighten it sufficiently every time you use the pump and it will consistently deliver the air to the tire. There’s even a little rubber cap on the pump for sealing the head so no dirt can get inside and foul it.
What about Smooth Presta Valves?
If you happen to run tubes with smooth valves (non-threaded), in order to screw the AirMach on you need a standard Presta to Schrader valve adapter. That adapter goes on the smooth Presta valve’s threaded tip, and you can then screw on the AirMach’s Schrader end to the adapter and pump away.
With its quality construction, powerful smooth pumping action, easy-to-use head and convenient compact size Muc-Off’s AirMach is a mighty inflator sure to save the day should you or your friends need air out on the road or trail.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. A pro mechanic & cycling writer for more than 40 years, he’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Tune in to Jim’s popular YouTube channel for wheel building & bike repair how-to’s. Jim’s also known for his cycling streak that ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.