Tool Tuesday :: Genuine Innovations Microflate Nano

Genuine Innovations Microflate Nano $15.99

Every serious cyclist knows it is essential to carry a pump when riding. Walk into any bicycle shop, however, and you’ll find a dizzying array of pumps. Frame pumps, CO2 pumps, mini pumps, dual pumps- how do you know what to choose? This week we’ll look at the Genuine Innovations Microflate Nano CO2. In subsequent weeks we’ll review other types of pumps.

The Microflate Nano is a minimalist pump that is the opposite of a frame pump. It’s small, effortless to use, very quick, and it works on both presta and schrader valves. To use, simply thread a CO2 cartridge into the pump head, put the pump on your valve, unscrew the cartridge 1/4 of a turn, and gas will escape the pump to inflate your tire. This process takes less than a minute and is much easier than trying to inflate your tire with a flimsy frame or mini pump.  The Microflate Nano has been spotted in black, bright yellow, red and pink but the website boasts custom colors.  As always the brighter the better for road and trail side repairs.

Like all products, though, the Microflate Nano has a few drawbacks. For one, it doesn’t have a gauge, unlike many of the mini pumps available. Another drawback is that a CO2 pump isn’t a one-time purchase. Every time you get a flat you’ll need to buy another $3-$6 CO2 cartridge. For anyone who frequently gets flats, these cartridges will certainly add up. Also, since you need one cartridge for each flat tire, you will be out of luck if you get multiple flats during a ride but didn’t bring multiple cartridges.

GBL Last Word: For the minimalist cyclist who wants to spend more time riding and less time fixing their flat tire, the $15 Microflate Nano is the perfect pump to toss in a seat bag or jersey pocket. Though it’s not a one-time purchase, for some its benefits outweigh its drawbacks.

By Katie Arehart-Rose – Boulder, CO 

  • Zane Selvans

    Oh my goodness, I would never recommend this kind of product to anyone. Getting a flat tire should cost you 10 minutes, $0.15, and generate essentially no garbage, not 5 minutes and $10.00 (w/ the replacement tube instead of a patch) and a lump of steel to be disposed of. Plus CO2 is much more soluble in rubber than nitrogen (air), so it tends to diffuse out of the tube much more quickly, meaning you’ve got to re-inflate the tire the next day or week anyway when you go on your next ride. Even from the weight-weenie’s point of view, a decent frame pump (I’ve used the same Mt. Zefal for years) and a patch kit with a dozen patches and a tube of cement won’t weigh all that much more than a spare tube (or two…) and a couple of CO2 cartridges.

    • Sarai Snyder

      Zane – thank you for your these points. While I agree that a patch is the most economical way to go, it does pose other potential problems. It takes quite a bit of practice to master and a lot more time to fix (but a very important skill to learn). There are occasions when taking 20 minutes to fix a flat during a group ride would leave you sitting on the side of the road/trail ALONE. As far as filling a flat with CO2 verses regular air, you should check your tire pressure before every ride either way. Also, consider that mini pumps can be very difficult to use, especially if your upper body strength is on the weaker side. Oh, and since CO2 cartridges are made of steel, they are also recyclable 😉

  • Zane Selvans

    That sounds like such a sad kind of ride to be on, where your friends would just leave you. And I don’t think it’s really that challenging of a skill to learn. Patch five punctures with a little supervision, and I think you can have it down pat. If you know where the hole is, which is often the case, usually the wheel doesn’t even have to come off the bike, nor the tube out of the tire. I agree about the mini pumps though… which is why full sized frame pumps are so wonderful!