Review: Blackburn Core Slim Mini-Pump
Blackburn describes the Core Slim mini pump as ‘Slim, trim and wickedly powerful’. It’s certainly the first two, and it’s powerful enough to be genuinely useful, although it’s not quite as quick to inflate a tyre as its size might suggest.
With an all-alloy construction, the Core Slim pump feels like a good quality unit, and like much of Blackburn’s range it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. The Presta-only screw-on head is attached to an extendable hose about 15cm long, which makes pumping without putting any stress on the valve a lot easier.
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If you’re running tubeless and fixing a hole with sealant or a tubeless repair noodle, the pump has a handy tubeless valve core tool built in so you can add more sealant before you start pumping without unseating the tyre. It’s really good, too: it’s actually the best valve core tool I own.
Start pumping and there’s no leakage from the head, and the pump feels solid. It takes a while: I used the Core Slim to inflate a 28mm Mavic tubeless tyre and 250 strokes got me to about 65psi, which would be plenty to roll home on if you had a mid-ride incident.
I normally run the tyres at 85psi, and it took me another 150 strokes to get there, by which time my forearms were starting to burn a bit. The matt finish of the pump is pretty easy to grip but the hollow top of the pump – where the head locates – leaves a narrow rim which digs into your hand after a while.
Blackburn rates the pump to 120psi, which is more than I’d put into any tyre. I tested it on a 25mm tyre up to 100psi and it got there, but it gets to be a bit of a struggle near the end and the pump gets reasonably warm.
> How to choose the right tyre pressure
For £29.99 you get the pump and a decent plastic mount that sits under a bottle cage. The pump itself has a rubber stopper to keep rattles to a minimum and it’s silent on the bike. As far as value goes it’s reasonably expensive for a mini-pump but it’s well made and comes backed up by a lifetime warranty.
> Buyer’s Guide: 6 of the best mini-pumps
It’s possibly not as complete an on-bike solution as the £32.99 Topeak Race Rocket HP, which will inflate both Presta and Schrader valves and uses a telescopic body to keep the size to a minimum. Not is it as quick to inflate as the Topeak Pocket Rocket, which is a tenner cheaper but doesn’t have a hose. But it’s very good, and will especially be of interest if you’re running tubeless and want the ability to add sealant for mid-ride repairs.
Good quality Presta-only mini-pump, especially for riders running tubeless tyres
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Make and model: Blackburn Core Slim Mini-Pump
Size tested: Up to 120 PSI
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?
Slim, Trim, and Wickedly Powerful
The pull-out hose puts less stress on the valve. Our presta-only thread-on head sits on a short pull out hose to give more options on which position you pump from. Nervous about unthreading that valve when removing the pump? Enter one of the Core Slim’s awesome features: the Presta Valve Tool. Simply unthread the tool from the back of the pump and tighten your valve prior to threading the hose on. With a narrower and slightly longer body than the Core pump, the Core Slim is a great choice for inflating higher pressure 700c tires.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
DIMENSIONS 4.3 x 1.5 x 12.3 in
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Nicely made, and backed up by a lifetime warranty.
Rate the product for performance:
Good, but takes a bit longer than you might expect.
Rate the product for durability:
Feels like it’s built to last, good tolerances in the barrel, all-alloy construction.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
There are lighter mini pumps out there but it’s hardly heavy.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Okay for a while but the handle starts to bite a bit at higher pressures.
Rate the product for value:
Higher end of mini pumps, but feels like a good quality bit of kit.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It’s a reliable mid-ride pump that’ll get you going again.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good quality, decent length hose, valve core tool is neat.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not the quickest to inflate, handle bites into your hand after a while.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Within £5 of a number of other good pumps, including the Topeak Pocket Rocket, Topeak RaceRocket HP and Birzman Swift.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It’s a very good emergency pump, especially if you’re running tubeless and want the option of removing a valve core.
I usually ride: whatever I’m testing… My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I’ve been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track