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Blackburn Core Slim Mini-Pump



Good quality Presta-only mini-pump, especially for riders running tubeless tyres
Well made
Good up to 100psi
Built-in tubeless core tool
Takes a while
Not the most comfortable to hold

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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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.

> Find your nearest dealer here

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.

2020 Blackburn Core Slim mini pump - detail 1.jpg

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.

2020 Blackburn Core Slim mini pump - hose.jpg

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.

2020 Blackburn Core Slim mini pump - extended.jpg

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?

Blackburn says:

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

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.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 189cm  Weight: 94kg

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

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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IanEdward | 3 years ago

I'm still a bit baffled by screw on hoses.

Instead of providing integrated valve core tighteners, why not just use a compression/thumb lever type head and eliminate the risk of unscrewing the valve in the first place?

After a couple of trailside disasters I've loctited all my valve cores but that didn't help when I tried to play good Samaritan to someone else...

Welsh boy replied to IanEdward | 3 years ago

What baffles you about a flexible coupling between the  pump (which is held in your hands and tends to move around a bit during use) and a rigid valve (which can snap if bent)?

Sriracha replied to Welsh boy | 3 years ago

I think it's the screw-on that he objects to (on account of the tendency for them to unscrew the valve core) rather than the flexible hose to which it is attached.

Russell Orgazoid replied to Welsh boy | 3 years ago

I've given up on screw on hoses too due to the clear issue raised by IanEdward. I've come unstuck twice by the valve core coming out with the unscrewing of the hose. Compression type.for me now.

I'm also baffled why your narrative was grumpy regarding his sensible remark . He made it quite clear.

IanEdward replied to Welsh boy | 3 years ago

Yep, am 100% behind flex hoses, just think screw on hoses are an inherently poor idea, but maybe there is an issue with thumb lever type heads that I'm oberlooking, bent valve stems perhaps.

hawkinspeter replied to IanEdward | 3 years ago
1 like

I like screw on hoses as you know that the hose has properly sealed with the valve. I haven't encountered the problem with unscrewing the valve core (yet) but I've had issues in the past with worn pump heads not sealing very well on valves with threads on them.

Roger_The_Rabbit replied to IanEdward | 3 years ago
1 like

I'm the opposite and love the screw-on hoses, particularly on the floor pumps. I've had so many issues with the lever type: every now and then I slightly bend the screw of the core when removing it which ends up breaking after many uses. It never happened with the screw-on. 

dave atkinson replied to IanEdward | 3 years ago

this pump has a natty tool included so you can check your valve cores are nice and tight before you start  3

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