Size matters, we all know that especially when it comes to things we'd consider carrying on a motorcycle. The smaller and lighter the better. So it is with the Slime Power Sport Inflator. This product was named "Innovation of the Month" by Motorcycle Consumer News in the August 2006 issue. It just might be one of the smallest air compressors you've ever seen that was practical for filling a motorcycle tire. Available from Amazon.com for under $30, or you may find it in auto parts or cycle stores.
As shown above the kit includes a heavy duty case that measures 6 x 6 x 2.25 inches, the compressor itself measures approximately 4 x 4.5 x 2 inches. The kit includes a trio of connectors including a 'bolt to the battery' connector, alligator clips and a cigar lighter male plug. One of those will no doubt work for any motorcycle or auto application you'd have. Also included, a handy dandy half size (but accurate) pressure gauge. The connectors all plug into an eight foot long main cord that holds a fuse. (see text below)
So, you're asking yourself....self, how does this palm sized critter work? Well, prepare to be surprised.
What You'll Need
1- Slime Power Sport Tire Inflator (compressor)
The instructions say the compressor will work on any 10 amp circuit which is probably what your bike is fused for. I wanted to find out exactly what the current draw was so connected the inflator to an ammeter and discovered it is actually pulling just a hair under 5 amps. That means with a typical 15 amp or larger battery you have no worries about not being able to start the bike after you've aired up a flat tire. That's one concern answered. Curiously the included fuse is 15 amps. I'd rather have the line fuse pop before a bike fuse should there be any problem so will be replacing that with a 7.5 amp fuse.
Next item in the instructions note the compressor should never be operated more than 8 minutes to prevent excessive heat buildup and possible destruction to the inflator (not to mention additional global warming and terrible guilt on your part). So the next obvious question to be answered. Can this little compressor actually fill a large motorcycle tire (mine are 150-80-16) in eight minutes or less or will you have to wait through a 20 minute cool down then start again? Let's find out.
I connected the compressor to the tire and turned it on as I started a stop watch. The instructions tell you to put the pump on the ground and not hold it in your hand but even after several minutes the case was still fairly cool to the touch. What was hot, even "you're gonna get a blister bub" hot was the hose end where it screws into the compressor. There is a bright red warning tag telling you not to touch the bare metal because it is hot. Please believe the tag.
After 7 minutes I measured the temperature of the compressor through vent openings in the case (ok, this isn't exactly Consumer reports science) using an infrared thermometer shown at left. The temperature was 129 degrees F on an 80 degree day. I have no idea at what point the piston would begin seizing up and don't plan to find out but thought some might want to know how hot the cylinder actually gets after all the warnings in the instructions. The outer case was still just warm to the touch.
At exactly 8 minutes I turned the compressor off, disconnected it from the now full looking tire and checked the pressure with a digital gauge (left). Did the little pump get the job done? You bet! 46.5 pounds, six and a half pounds more than I normally keep in that tire. I then double checked with the pressure gauge that comes with the kit, it was within one pound of the digital gauge. Close enough.
Verdict. You probably won't want to fill an air mattress or pool toys with this pump but for general around the garage motorcycle, bicycle car tire inflation and on the road emergency use the Slime Power Sport Inflator is well worth carrying in a saddlebag or trunk.