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Blackburn Comes Through with new Air Tower 2 Pump

Blackburn Air Tower 2My faith in the good folks at Blackburn has been restored. I wrote June 13 about how the hose on my Blackburn TPS-2 floor pump had blown out while helping another rider.

Initially I said that I expected an email reply in minutes to my message to Blackburn because the company had been so responsive in the past. When several days had gone by with no reply from Blackburn, I ended up calling the company, which acknowledged that they were behind in their email.

When Agent Courtney heard which model I had, she said that replacement parts were no longer available and that they would send me a comparable pump in “seven to 10 days.”

To my pleasant surprise, a big box showed up today – four days later – with a brand new Blackburn AirTower 2 in it. That’s good customer service: under promise and over deliver.

The Blackburn Air Tower 2 has some nice features

Here’s the official feature description from the Blackburn website:

Redesigned from the ground up for 2008 for improved performance and reliability. A stout steel barrel and welded steel base provides unsurpassed stiffness and stability, and the ergonomic T-handle now features storage drawers on the ends. The presta/Schrader head is now more durable and rebuildable.

Available in Blood Red and Silver
Max Pressure: 140 psi / 9.75 bar
Barrel Material: Steel
Weight: 3.8 lbs / 1.7 kg

Head has been redesigned

Pump head DSC_2091The old TPS-2 head was T-shaped, with a Presta fitting on one side and a Schrader on the other. You turned a selector knob to determine which way the air would flow. I wore out one head and Blackburn provided me a rebuild kit.

Blackburn Air Tower 2 Pump headThe new model has a single head with two holes in it. The smaller is for Presta valves. You lock it in by pulling up on a handle, which seems counter-intuitive. It seems more natural to press the handle down, in the direction of the valve, when you are trying to attach it.

In real life, it’s not bad. I tried it on both types of valves and it worked the first time on both. Snapping the handle down when you’re done causes the valve to blow off with little loss of air.

Some Amazon reviewers complained that it didn’t work properly with Presta valves, but I didn’t have a problem. Either the head problem has been fixed or it was pilot error. I’ll let you know if something changes.

I wish the gauge was on the top

Blackburn Air Tower 2 Pressure gaugeI wish the pressure gauge was at the top of the pump instead of the bottom, but the numbers are bright and there’s a handy-dandy indicator you can set to help you find the right pressure while you’re pumping.

I can’t compare the two pumps directly since the hose doesn’t work on my old one, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the TPS-2 as I remember it seemed to fill the tire slightly faster. Maybe this one is designed to pump less air, but at a higher pressure.

The website description says the maximum pressure is 140 psi, but the gauge goes to 160 psi and the instruction sheet attached to the pump says 160 psi / 11 bar.

Extra inflators a nice touch

Extra Inflators come with Blackburn Air Tower 2If you have kids, you know how many things there are to blow up: balls, rafts, pool toys, etc.

The Air tower 2’s handle comes with two slide-out inserts. One of them is empty for whatever you want to put in it; the other contains a raft inflator and a ball needle inflator. To sweeten the deal, they clip into the holder so they won’t get lost (as easily).


8 comments to Blackburn Comes Through with new Air Tower 2 Pump

  • I still have my original Blackburn air pump which is what you used to have. I’ll bring it over, you can deflate your tire and see how many strokes it takes to fill the tire with both pumps.

    No, I will not do the pumping for you.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    • Thanks for the offer, but I only rotate the air in my tires seasonally.

      Want my old pump for spare parts? If not, I’ll probably see if Wayne wants it.

      If I remember right, I think I bought it from him originally. There was a problem with the first pump and he swapped it out and then fixed it for use as a shop pump.

      If that’s the case, then I’ve gotten two new pumps and a repair kit out of my original investment. Too bad I couldn’t have done as well on my car.

  • Steven Elinson

    Ken,

    Glad they came through for you. I hope I never get the chance to use to your new pump!!!!

    Thanks again!!!

    Steven

  • Steven,

    I taped your picture on the side of the pump.

    There’s no danger of me slipping up and letting you use it again.

  • G’day

    Glad to hear that Blackburn has come to the party. I hope you get a good life out the new pump.

    Regards
    Andrew

  • On the “head problem vs pilot error” question – it’s a combination of each. The head has a bit of a design flaw, so a presta valve needs to be shoved, hard, way into the pump in order to seal off the schraeder hole and keep all the air from rushing out of the tire (no fun at all when you’re “topping off” a non-flat tire). Some people have complained that certain tubes’ valves just can’t do it. There’s also nothing in the instructions about dealing with this problem, so a minor hassle becomes a huge frustration. I found the solution on-line, but NOT at the Blackburn site, so more points off for them. Once it’s working, though, it’s a fine pump.

  • Dan,

    I’m happy with it so far. I’ve been lucky not to have needed it much of late.

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