While a track pump that doubles as a bike stand sounds like a gimmick from the pages of a mail order gadget catalogue, the Topeak Transformer RX happens to be that rarest of beasts; a gimmick that’s actually really very useful.
Despite my initial hesitation, it’s a concept that’s won me over. If you’ve ever been struggling to get your bike into working order in the car park before a ride, then it’s a bit of a lifesaver. Obviously, having a proper track pump is much better than trying to get up to pressure with a mini pump and it’s here Topeak’s mass of experience pays off.
When folded up, it’s small and neat enough to chuck in the back of your car and forget about Jon Woodhouse / Immediate Media
Despite the slimline body, it moves a decent volume of air and the fold out foot stirrup at the bottom and folding handle are easy and secure to use. Add in a neat if tiny gauge that’s surprisingly accurate by track pump standards and you’re onto a winner. The hose is plenty long — more on that later — and the valve head works well, though you do need to take it apart to switch from Presta to Schraeder valves.
The retractable hose has enough length to allow you to pump your tyres up while hanging your bike in the stand Jon Woodhouse / Immediate Media
However, the real party trick is that the pump has a pair of fold out feet. Slide them down the body of the pump and then lock them into place with a lever and you’ve got a reasonably secure base. You then lift the rear triangle of your bike into the height adjustable, fold out, rubber-lined hooks and hey presto, you’ve got a workstand.
Happily Topeak has made sure that the hose is long enough so you can inflate your tyres while still using the pump. Someone has actually had a good hard think about it all.
The rear triangle of your bike hangs in adjustable rubber-coated hooks Jon Woodhouse / Immediate Media
Okay, it doesn’t like really uneven surfaces but it copes with most unsurfaced trail centre car parks just fine, even when using it with hefty e-bikes. If you’ve got a weird singlepiece rear swingarm design you’re bang out of luck however.
Because you can adjust the hooks to keep the rear wheel clear of the ground, it’s just about possible to spin the wheel and cranks enough to tweak gears and lube the chain, though the former is pushing your luck somewhat. Either way, it’s much better than messing about on the floor or risking your car’s paintwork by leaning your wheel against the bumper.
There’s a comfy fold out T handle and very dinky pressure gauge Jon Woodhouse / Immediate Media
Without having used it, I was ready to deride the Transformer RX as a solution in search of a problem; a TV dinner tray for the cycling world. Turns out it’s actually a cure for many of the car boot based pre-ride faffing woes that plague so many rides. It’s a regular fixture in my car boot and it’s staying there, no matter how many weird looks I get when using it.