As a reasonably prolific solo long-distance touring rider, you rapidly realise that counting on yourself when in big trouble is a matter of how prepared you are. The more prep you do, the less the probability of getting back in trouble. So while I as a rule have a couple of spares and tools in my own bags, the actual fact of the problem is, I’ve rarely needed to utilize them.
But riding a large number of kilometres by yourself signifies that air is essential and not simply to breathe. So, an air compressor, puncture kit and tyre pressure gauge were rapid additions to my essentials. And because each goes on motorcycles, most of these must be as compact and lightweight as possible.
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The hottest air compressor available to buy appears to be this, the Mi Portable Electric Air Compressor, to provide it its full handle. I’ll just call this the MPEAC for the others of the article. We received an assessment unit a couple of days ago and I’ve played around with it, even re-inflating a neighbour’s motorcycle’s tyres from zero up to recommended pressure. Let’s look closer.
What Is It
An air compressor is a tiny machine that pressurises air. For our application, it uses the pressure to fill tyres, and can even be used in combination with adaptors for basketballs, soccer balls, etc. The MPEAC’s compressor is powered by a 2000mAH battery you could charge over USB, a charger isn’t included however the cable is. Additionally you get adaptors for bicycle tyre valves and the pin adaptor you will need for balls in the package.
The compressor unit itself is a nice-looking black plastic rectangle with vents on both sides for heat that compressors generate and an exceptionally iPod-like combo of a screen with large white letters and a ‘rotary dial’ which includes four buttons and a central on-off switch. In the bottom can be an LED that’s white when above 50 percent charge, orange between 50 and 20, and red below 20. At the top may be the short rubber tube with the screw-on valve that you’ll hook up to the tyre’s valve. Pulling the tube out of your receptacle turns the MPEAC on and plugging it back turns it off.
There is a tiny LED light at the top that you can start with the ‘dial’ to illuminate the region if required. The dial obviously had plus and minus buttons to create pressures and four presets which change pressure and units to match bicycles, cars, motorcycles (strangely with a scooter icon) and balls. Pressure is reported in Bar or PSI so when you hook up these devices to a tyre and transform it in, the MPEAC will report the existing tyre pressure. You can set the intended pressure and it comes with an auto take off. The accuracy of the measurement is 2PSI plus or minus.
What Works Well
It’s a good-looking device and at approximately 500g, it is not the lightest device in the marketplace nonetheless it isn’t unduly bulky either. Portable compressors should never be lightning quick and the MPEAC is no different. It took slightly below 13 minutes to have a 180-section rear tyre from no air at all (thanks lockdown) to its recommended 36PSI, which is reasonable. Topping up my bike, both tyres, 6PSI below recommended, took about 4-5 minutes each, that i think is acceptable.
Connecting the MPEAC to the tyre is straightforward — the screw-on cap is well-made and I lost hardly any air when releasing the tube, which is great. A lot of the other units I’ve used usually lose 1-2 PSI as the tube is released as the mechanism isn’t this well-made.
The MPEAC also appears to heat up significantly less than my other units and it appears to be somewhat quieter aswell although given what it really is for, neither of both should be parameters to generate a purchase decision.
Since I normally charge overnight before a tour, I don’t possess a number regarding how fast these devices charges but as you will notice, the battery features heavily on the negatives of the merchandise for me.
What Could be Improved
For a device that’s said to be backup equipment within an emergency, I believe the three-step battery state indication isn’t enough. I’d definitely prefer to know whether my device is fully charged or not instantly. While charging that is communicated by the LED which pulses while charging and is a reliable white at full. But following this, there is absolutely no way to know just how much charge has dropped by as you utilize it. In my own case, using these devices for approximately 25 minutes (two top-ups and one zero to 36PST inflation), dropped the charge below 50 percent. Again, I have no idea if that was 49 percent or 21 percent.
The tube can be a matter of concern. It appears well made however the lock-like form factor signifies that the tube will surely come in contact with pressure damage inside luggage once packed. This might worry me. And these tubes are part of how devices like these browse the pressure in the tyre to determine where in fact the take off is. I’ve had a tube pinched on another device that raised its pressure read (so rather than reporting 26PSI, for example, it falsely registers 48PSI) count so high that I possibly could never override it and obtain it to fill a tyre again.
The presets are just useful if your automobile happens to utilize the pressure pre-programmed in. It generally does not remember any adjustments you make and for the reason that sense, the preset button appears to work more as a means of changing units than making inflating tyres far more convenient.
But my biggest grouse, and the key reason why I’d probably hesitate to recommend this outright for you, is that the MPEAC will not support go through charging. This means it can’t be used to inflate tyres although it charges. So either you bring a charged device or you wait privately of the highway as the battery power juices it up, which is pretty silly. I’ve used air compressors with in-built batteries in addition to without them and I find that the vehicle’s battery may be the most reliable way to obtain power, backed-up since it is by your vehicle’s engine.
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My Rs 990 ResQTech equivalent is slightly larger to pack down, but because it uses the bike for power, it could inflate a complete fleet provided that I don’t overheat these devices. The MPEAC claims 5 bike or car tyres on a charge but with my experience (and having less battery indications or charge times) I’d not trust it implicitly. I certainly wouldn’t normally bypass the parking lot deflating tyres fully and re-inflating them to learn. But, realistically, the probabilities that you will go out of air completely on five tyres simultaneously is improbable, which means this is more of a documentation issue when compared to a use issue.
The MPEAC is Rs 2,299 on store.mi.com. It appears to become a crowd-funded device and you can’t rock up to Amazon to get one, as if you could in america for instance, which is sort of strange. My initial review on Instagram immediately produced a flood of interest accompanied by angst — it had been mostly unavailable and several who had already payed for it were now looking forward to shipped units to attain them. On the availability front, the merchandise will be available for sale on Mi.com, Flipkart and Mi Home stores starting 25th August, 2020.
Alone, the MPEAC is a neat little device which does almost all of what it promises. That is definitely the most attractive of the devices you can purchase today and perhaps (hopefully temporarily) also the hardest to get.
My suggestion is always to see what’s out there, and there are many generic products out there. Thankfully, lightweight compressors aren’t a fresh category or a fresh invention so most of them work effectively. The MPEAC is quite nice to use but I’d check around before I chosen it.