SKS based out of Germany are specialists when it comes to pumps. Famous for their Rennon floor pump, they produce pretty much every other type of pump you can imagine.
Are pumps that important? Well considering we all roll around on two inflated rings we would say yes. If your riding trail most of us carry three things, firstly a spare tube, secondly a way to inflate our tyres and thirdly a multi tool to adjust everything on the bike.
It is important when we are mountain biking that we manage the risk of making that air escape from our tyres mid-ride as we bounce off rocks and roots down the trail. If we do push it too far and we need to inflate quickly without carrying a huge floor pump around with us we need a good trail pump. The last time we were in this situation when we urgently needed to inflate with a trail pump was at 3000 metres on the top of a mountain in Switzerland, an efficient pump then was really important, unfortunately that day the pump we had was not really working so it took a while to inflate and a lot of swearing.
SKS Germany who specialise in pumps of all shapes and sizes has provided us with a full selection from their range so we can test and try all the different variations and combinations that are possible. We are going to test the selection of SKS hand pumps we have over the next months and try and come up with our favourite version.
In the meantime here is what we have to try and our first in the hand observations and opinions about them, we will be putting them all to a proper trail test shortly.
A simple light weight hand pump that will fit in a a connector on a bike frame. Nothing snazzy about this pump, it feels like a fairly normal pump.
The Rookie 29er
Very Similar to the Rookie, but aimed at 29er riders as it has a higher volume air chamber and has a few more finishing touches that make it feel a bit better quality, it feels like it will inflate faster than the standard rookie.
This double action pump (inflates in both directions of the stroke) feels and looks like something out of a James Bond movie. Sleek and low profile with no external details, it transforms into a proper quality pump. Made of lightweight Alumiminum, the handle pops off and slots into the shaft, with a recessed valve system on a flexible tube with dual choice of valve for schrader or presto. All in all a pretty cool pump.
The name gives a clue to how this pump works. Its a double tubed extendable pump that pulls out and gives a longer stroke. With a polished aluminium shaft and dual valve head with a fold out handle this pump feels pretty good in the hand and folds away small.
This is very similar to the T-Zoom model but with a pressure gauge and instead of dual valve head you need to swap the insert round to fit the other valve type. We love the pressure gauge, often it’s hard to know what pressure you are at on the trail. This thing solves that problem it seems without adding too much weight or bulk. Once we have had some time with it we will compare how well it works next to a floor pump gauge.
There are people out their who don’t like to pump, but the main problem with canisters is they are not infinite and can run out. With this thing that is not a problem, when the gas can is finished top up the tyre with a few pumps on the pump body. Neat idea that we really like and probably is ideal for the Enduro racers out there. We will be trying this first to see how we get on with it.
This is the gas can inflation control valve. Screw the gas can in and press the button. up goes the tyre. No chance to pump with this like the Airboy, but it’s small very light weight and great quality . The SKS gas cans come with a rubber coating to avoid freezing your hands to the bottle, the Valve it’s self is high quality. We also have a really cool place we can put this on our bikes that we learned from curtis Keene, and we will be showing later when we test it.
MSP (Mountain Suspension Pump)
This is a very good quality suspension pump that is made of aluminium comes in a special case and oozes quality. The key features of this pump is the screw on flexible tube and a few screw parts on the tube that allows the user to minimise air loss from the suspension system when connecting and disconnecting, thus maintaining as close to precise pressure as required. This is defiantly a professional item. Better quality than anything else that comes with suspension. The pump acton feels smooth and precise ideal for tuning suspension precisely. The gauge is also high quality.
With all these pumps to try we think it will be possible to find the perfect pump for our bag. Once we have had some trail time with all these we will report back with some more in-depth comparative tests.