The Fumpa Pump is simultaneously an incredibly useful machine that could be the future of bicycle pumps, and a completely frivolous, expensive chunk of luxury stupidity. Bar a few niggles it’s practical and convenient, but it doesn’t do anything a track pump – or a 12V compressor – doesn’t do (for a lot less money).
The Fumpa pump is essentially a lithium-ion powered compressor for filling tyres up to a maximum of 120psi, via either a Presta or Schrader valve. It’s relatively small (42x73x87mm), weighs 370g and is rechargeable via a micro-USB cable. That sleek, modern cuboid design makes it easy to hold, use and store.
It's quick and easy to use. Slide the switch to 'on,' hold the head onto the valve and press the button under the digital display. Done. If you want to know how quick it is, I timed these tubeless tyres from flat:
- 27.5" Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5” with Cushcore (31mm rim) – 21 secs to 19psi
- 27.5" Specialized BLK DMND Butcher 2.6” (30mm rim) – 26 secs to 19psi
- 700c Kenda Flintridge 40c (24mm rim) – 26 secs to 30psi
As you can see, these aren’t shabby times at all; faster than I’d achieve than with a large volume track pump, and with considerably less effort. It’s worth noting that these tyres were already up on the rim, though – my attempts to seat a bead failed, as the Fumpa Pump couldn’t push air into the tyre fast enough to overwhelm the leaks.
Another downside is the noise. It's loud enough to hear from outside when you're inside with the windows and door shut. Oh, and it gets hot too. Up to about 30 seconds of use just gets it warm, but keep pumping and the valve head you're holding gets pretty toasty. Fumpa says the pump has a thermal cutout to prevent overheating, but all this heat and noise suggest the thing isn't very efficient at turning electrical current into airflow.
As it gets hot it also wildly overestimates the pressure in the tyre by at least 60psi, which isn't very helpful. In fact, the Fumpa overestimates the whole time air is actually pumping, whatever the temperature. It's high by around 2-3psi from cold, so getting an accurate reading means constantly stopping the pump (it's always accurate with no airflow).
It’s not a massive deal, considering the Fumpa combines two devices and negates the need for a separate gauge, but at £150 you might expect better.
There are other irritations. There's no automatic shutdown, and if you forget to switch it off you rapidly lose charge, which can obviously spoil the whole thing. Also, the head won't clamp or screw onto the valve, the way pretty much every other pump does, so you have to hold it (no matter how hot it gets...). Oh, and our valve head came loose from the tube, though retightening seems to have fixed that.
The Fumpa can inflate around 10 large-volume 27.5" trail tyres before the battery dies. A full recharge takes about four hours, but measuring this, too, is a faff. There's no easy indicator, so you're forced to disconnect the charger, switch on the Fumpa, then wait for the display to flash up ‘Bat’ and then – you hope – ‘100’. Obviously this number is the percentage of charge.
Despite all this, the Fumpa pump is seriously handy. It combines a no-effort pump with a precise pressure gauge, all in a small package that makes it perfect for travel. It's been entirely reliable for the three month test, and I used it every time I rode during that time.
I’ve struggled with this review more than any review in a long while. It took me ages to decide what I really thought of the Fumpa pump. As a device it’s small, quick to use, reliable and genuinely handy, despite its flaws... but as a test unit, my use of it is also free.
As a £150 purchase, those flaws are considerably more important, and it really doesn't help that the Fumpa pump is fundamentally surplus to requirements to start with. Add in that it's not quite powerful enough to seat tubeless tyres (so you still need a track pump), it's easy to accidentally drain the battery (so now you've got a flat tyre and a flat pump...) and that the valve head works like the ones on a garage forecourt (so now you've got arm pump) and the numbers really don't add up.
With more efficient / less hot and noisy innards, a better valve head and a refined user experience, the Fumpa pump would be... still completely unnecessary. But it would also be even more useful, attractive and satisfying than it is now.
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