First Impressions: Blackburn Chamber HV Pump

Have you ever tried inflating a car tire with a bicycle pump? For plus- and fat-bike riders, that’s about what it feels like when you use a pump designed for high-pressure, low-volume tires. Sure, you can do it, but it definitely ain’t fun. Thanks to Blackburn’s Chamber HV floor pump ($79.99 MSRP), airing up your mountain or fat-bike tires doesn’t have to feel like arm day at the gym.

Image courtesy of Blackburn Design

While many floor pumps boast pressures up to 150 psi (and sometimes higher), the HV takes the opposite approach. Maxing out at 50 psi, Blackburn’s Chamber trades high pressure for high volume. The pump’s large diameter barrel (44 mm) helps moves more air per-stroke than pumps designed for skinny, high-pressure tires. By comparison, most floor pumps have barrels in the 30-32 mm range. The combination of the HV’s oversized barrel and extra-long 53 cm shaft means you spend less time–and less effort–inflating high-volume tires.

Equipped with Blackburn’s Anyvalve™ pump head, the Chamber HV is compatible with Presta, Schraeder, and Dunlop valves. Our household rolls exclusively on Presta valves, so I didn’t test the Anyvalve’s Dunlop and Schraeder compatibility. On Presta valves, the Blackburn head was a bit finicky at first, but once the rubber grommet broke in, operation was much easier. The bleeder button proved especially handy for dialing in the exact pressure, as it lets out only a small amount of air when pressed.

If you’ve ever had a hard time reading your pump’s gauge, you’ll love the Chamber HV’s large, easy-to-read dial. Featuring a max rating of 50 psi/3.4 bar, the 100 mm gauge is marked in both imperial (psi) and metric (bar) units. In my testing, the HV’s gauge consistently read within one psi of my standalone analog and digital gauges. Is a one psi difference accurate enough? It depends on your particular application. A rider on 100-mm-wide tires running 10 psi will notice a one-pound difference more than someone running 38 mm tires at 45 psi. Compared to the other pumps in my collection, the Chamber proved to be extremely precise, delivering very consistent results in the 10-25 psi range over the course of my testing.

Because of its high volume capabilities, Blackburn’s HV became a regular fixture at our weekly group MTB rides. Earning a permanent place in the cargo area of my car, the Chamber survived all the knocks and scrapes that accompanied the summer and fall riding seasons. Whether it was topping off a slow leak or quickly inflating a tubeless tire, the Chamber took it all in stride. After six months of heavy use, my sample pump’s graphics show a little wear and tear, but the gauge and internals are still working smoothly. If you’re wondering whether Blackburn’s Chamber HV can be used to seat tubeless tires, the answer is, it depends. You’ll probably need a compressor or CO2 cartridge for loose-fitting or super-high-volume tires, but the HV works noticeably better than pumps designed for skinny tires.

If most of your bikes roll on mountain, plus, or fat tires, the Chamber HV is a worthy investment. But if your stable also includes cross and gravel rigs, you’ll find that getting those tires up to 40-50 psi requires a bit more effort (but fewer strokes). That’s simple physics, though, and not a dig at the HV (there’s no free lunch when it comes to floor pumps). Blackburn gets props for the Chamber’s easy-to-read gauge and extra-long (120 cm) hose, but I’d also like to see them offer a dedicated fat/plus model that tops out at, say, 30-35 psi.

Disclosure: Blackburn Design provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

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