Topeak's Gravel 2Stage Mini Pump gets gravel-size tyres up to workable pressure reasonably easily and quickly, but you do have to pay a bit extra for the two-stage feature. It has two settings, one delivering a higher volume of air, the other more suited for a higher pressure. The aluminium pump fits nicely into a jersey pocket too, but there are a lot of very good pumps out there, as our best bike pumps and CO2 inflators and best cycling mini pumps guides show.
> Buy now: Topeak 2Stage Mini Pump for £37.13 from ebay
Both the barrel and the head of Topeak's Gravel 2Stage pump are made from aluminium, giving me confidence that it will last a long time.
It only works with Presta valves though, and I'd have definitely preferred Schrader compatibility. You might ask why, as nobody in their right mind would use Schrader valves. To which I would answer that in the world of BMX racing, Schrader valves appear to be the norm. All four BMX race bikes in our household have Schraders, though I do accept I'm an outlier here.
The head secures directly onto the Presta valve and locks on with an aluminium lever. The barrel has a lock position to keep it in the short position, with a quarter twist unlocking it, and I found it all pretty straightforward.
On to the two-stage bit then: at the bottom of the barrel, there's a rubber knob that you twist between a high-pressure (HP) and high-volume (HV) setting. According to Topeak, the HV setting delivers 71cc per stroke, and the HP setting 25cc. The idea is that you fill a bigger-volume tyre more quickly by pumping in HV mode until the effort becomes too hard, and then you top up to the required pressure in HP mode.
Strokes and pressure
That works reasonably well. I tried a variety of 700C tyres, from a 25mm Schwalbe One to a 43mm Panaracer Gravel King SK. For the sake of completeness, I also tried a tubed tyre, a 37mm Continental Sport Contact.
My conclusion is that you have to swap from HV to HP mode after around 50-75 strokes, when the pumping effort becomes a bit too much. Another 200-250 strokes then gets bigger-volume tyres up to workable pressure. At this point again, pumping becomes a bit harder. It's not impossible to put in more, but this is where I reached the sort of tyre pressure I'm happy with, so I couldn't really see the point in adding more.
> Puncture repair: learn how to fix a tube
For a 35mm Schwalbe G-One Speed, 50HV + 250HP gave me 50psi. The 43mm Panaracer Gravel King SK needed the same number of strokes to get up to 40psi, while the 25mm Schwalbe One needed 50HV + 150HP to get up to 60psi. These are all tubeless. The 37mm Sport Contact tube tyre required 75HV + 200HP to get to 53psi.
For reference, these are the pressures I would put in with a floor pump at home. If I was out on the road and didn't have a gauge, I would have called it good earlier to finish the ride.
While it's all well and good counting strokes in the workshop, I reckon it's worth taking all this with a pinch of salt. As this pump has 'gravel' in its name, I'm going to assume that, like me, you're running tubeless tyres. Which means that hopefully the beads haven't popped and you're inflating after the tyre's either sealed by itself or with the aid of a worm. If the beads have popped, you're going to need a CO2 inflator as the HV setting isn't high volume enough to pop the beads back on again.
> How do you choose the right tubeless tyre pressure?
Topeak reckons the pump will deliver a maximum pressure of 90psi (6 bar). While I'm willing to believe this is theoretically possible if you're trying to prove a point, you certainly won't need to go to the gym for an arm workout after. While it’s possible to put in higher pressures than described above, 90psi is ambitious, and if you ride with tyre pressures much higher than I do, this might not be the pump for you.
Any mini pump is a balance between size (and weight) and usability. A flexible hose makes a pump easier to use but does increase weight, and Presta and Schrader compatibility would be ideal – but again it's an extra bit that needs to be designed in. A bigger pump will inflate a tyre more quickly but will take up more space.
I think Topeak has got it just about right with its Gravel 2Stage. It's a simple design, it doesn't weigh much and it gets your tyres up to workable pressures without too much fuss. In terms of size, it's clearly designed to fit into a jersey pocket but will equally disappear into a top tube bag or frame bag without taking up much space.
It also comes with a side mount bracket that lets you attach it under, or instead of, a bottle cage, if you don't want it taking up space in your jersey or bag. The pump attaches to the bracket securely and a Velcro strap ensures the pump will still be there after a bumpy descent.
Value and rivals
You don't have to pay £36.99 to buy a decent pump, though if you're keen on a two-stage design, this is cheaper than Crankbrothers' Sterling With Gauge that didn't convince Steve when he tested it. That costs £44.99 and, as the name suggests, it does include a gauge.
The Blackburn Mammoth 2stage is designed for bigger tyres and retails for £34.99. It is also compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves.
You can easily spend a lot more, though. Liam reviewed Lezyne's CNC Tubeless Drive mini pump for our sister site off.road.cc. This costs £87, but you're also getting a CO2 inflator and tubeless repair kit as part of the package.
If you want to spend a bit less, Topeak's Mini Dual pump, which Liam also reviewed, is worth looking at. It costs just £17, and while it's not a two-stage design, it does inflate on both the in- and out-strokes.
Topeak's Gravel 2Stage mini pump strikes a good balance between size and performance. The two-stage High-Volume/High-Pressure design reduces the number of strokes you need to get bigger-volume tyres up to workable pressure.
It's still not the quickest at inflating tyres, and is not the best at higher pressures either, but it does fit in a jersey pocket. It worked well for me and would earn a place in my gravel setup. Cost-wise, it's not the cheapest, but compares well against other two-stage pumps.
Strikes a good balance between size and getting bigger-volume tyres up to workable pressure efficiently
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Make and model: Topeak Gravel 2Stage mini pump
Size tested: 18.4 x 3.6 x 2.8 cm/7.2 x 1.4 x 1.1in
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?
"The Gravel 2Stage mini pump features an innovative 2Stage pressure selector that lets you choose high volume or high pressure to quickly fill your gravel bike tire effortlessly. Compact size easily fits into a jersey pocket."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
HEAD: Presta valve with thumb lock & integrated dust cap
CAPACITY: 90 psi/6 bar; Stage 1: 0-60 psi, Stage 2: 60-90 psi
VOLUME PER STROKE: Stage 1 - High Volume (71cc), Stage 2 - High Pressure (24.8cc)
SIZE: 18.4 x 3.6 x 2.8 cm/7.2 x 1.4 x 1.1in
WEIGHT: 101g/3.56 oz
ADDED FEATURE: Side mount bracket
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Around 100g is about par for a pump that works.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Gravel 2Stage pumps up tyres in typical gravel widths to workable pressure reasonably easily and quickly, while still fitting into a jersey pocket.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's well made and the two-stage concept works.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's compatible with Presta valves only, and getting tyres up to the advertised pressures needs a Herculean effort.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Blackburn does a two-stage pump a couple of pounds cheaper than the Topeak; the Crankbrothers Sterling, on the other hand, is a bit more expensive at £44.99. That said, you don't necessarily need a two-stage pump; Topeak makes a dual-action pump at less than half the price. The full review has more details.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted to inflate bigger tyres more efficiently and needed a small pump.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The pump does what it's designed to – for a relatively small pump it's pretty efficient at getting bigger volume tyres up to pressure. As usual, the quoted maximum pressure is ambitious, but I got the tyres I tested up to my preferred pressures without much fuss or excessive force, though not especially quickly. The price is about right compared to similar products and the aluminium construction promises durability. While this is a solid performer, I can't say I'd urge you to go and buy one now; you can pay less for decent non-two-stage pumps that aren't that much slower at inflating bigger tyres.
Age: 44 Height: 1.78m Weight: 77kg
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift
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