Crankbrothers’ product line aims to
blend elegant design with top-notch
functionality. Their new $50 Sterling
pumps can be found at the top of their
mini-pump food chain.
Sterling family of pumps gives riders the option of two different pump
lengths, and each is offered with or
without an integrated pressure gauge.
The “LG” means that this pump is the
long version with the gauge included.
The Sterling’s body is constructed of
CNC-machined, 6061 aluminum with
laser etching for aesthetics and, in the
case of the knurled handle, ergonomics
The Sterling features two different
pump settings that can be changed on
the fly, depending on what size tire
you are pumping up. You can either
pump for high volume and low pressure or low volume and high pressure
at any given time with a maximum
pressure rating of 100 psi. The pump’s
universal head fits both Schrader and
Presta valves without switching internal components, and it has a standard-locking flip lever. A relatively large
pressure gauge sits right below the
pump head with markings up to 100
psi in 5 psi increments.
The Sterling LG is 10.9 inches
long and weighs 7 ounces. It also comes with a five-year warranty from
Field test results:
Let’s face it, no
one really ever wants to have to use a
mini pump on the trail. Unless you are
fine-tuning your tires by a few psi here
and there, if your pump is out of the
pack, you’re bummed about your flat
tire. At that point, the last thing you
want is to struggle with a lackluster
Crankbrothers has always offered
tools and pumps with an impressive fit and finish, and the top-of-the-line
Sterling LG is a shining example. The
pump is sturdy in hand, and while it’s
a bit longer than some of its competitors, we appreciated the larger size’s
ease of operation. Pen-sized pumps are great for packing light, but much
less enjoyable when you actually need
to use them. If you are tight on space,
check out the Sterling SG or S for more
While lacking a gauge has never been
a deal-breaker for us when it comes to
mini pumps, we do appreciate them—if
not for getting your tire to the exact,
desired pressure, at least for the mental
boost they provide by showing you that
you are indeed making progress.
The Sterling’s high/low mode is certainly handy. One setting handles 0–40
psi—essentially every mountain bike—and the other is used for 40–100 psi.
The change is easy to make with
less than a half turn of a switch built
into the bottom of the pump. While
mountain bikers will only need one
setting, riders who also dabble in the
road world will appreciate having one
pump that can do it all.
The traditional, fixed pump-head
design certainly works well and feels
sturdy enough; however, we’ve also
grown to like the short hoses that
some pumps are offering to protect
the valve and give the rider a bit more
leeway when pumping away.
Durability-wise, the Sterling LG has
been flawless. We’ve used some mini
pumps that seem to give up the ghost
quickly because of internal seal issues,
but despite plenty of use, thanks to
under-prepared riding buddies, the
Sterling has been solid.
There are a lot of mini pumps out
there, and the Sterling LG isn’t the ideal pump for every situation. Its size hurts portability, but if
you ride with a hydration pack, this
shouldn’t be an issue. If you have the
space, the Sterling LG is a great trail-side companion.