No one ever wants to spend money on a pump - they need to. Life would be so much better is tyres didn't lose pressure and flats had become a thing of the past, maybe in the future things will have gotten so clever that we could sit on our bikes and the tyres would automatically set the correct pressure required. But with the onset of SRAM eTap, Shimano Di2 and Rotor's hydraulic group sets maybe pumping up your tyres is one of the last mechanical things left people are happy to do themselves. Then again as I sit typing this I remember that even some people find that too hard!
So we want to make using a pump easy and lets face it, it shouldn't be hard, many people I see day to day don't want to spend money on a pump. Pumping up tyres is a chore and you would rather spend your money on a coffee and cake half way around your ride at your happy watering hole. After looking at what was available I took a punt on the Birzman Maha Apogee III track pump, it's a bit of a long name. As I look at the specs and read how its valve attachment has won a prestigious design award I can't help but feel a sense of smugness come over me as I admire its stylish looks and upon picking it up and feeling its weight thinking "ooo that's well worth the £55 price tag".
£55 is a chunk of money to spend on a pump when an OK one will only set you back £25 but would it last as long? The Birzman has proven to be robust over the last year, I have worn out the rubber O ring in the head but these are a cheap spare part and the Birzman web site has a nice video that shows you how to replace it. The hose is long, great when the bike's in a work stand, the base, barrel and wooden handle are also very solid. The gauge is large and with the contrasting numbers very easy to read even if you have already removed your glasses for the ride.
One small niggle I have is the 5 degree slope Birzman advertise as being revolutionary is not noticeable in use, the pump I have at work without the slope feels the same. But the biggest problem seems to be the head itself, after reading the instructions and watching a small video on the practical use of it all seemed crystal clear to me. Although when on a club trip to France other people used the pump and seemed to find it tricky and on occasion I have found it not to be as easy as I would like. The hardest valves to get it to work on seem to have been smooth valve extenders used on some carbon wheels, normal valves are a doddle whether Schrader or Presta.
Once the valve is locked on pumping to your required PSI couldn't be easier and if you inflate too much the small pressure release button on the head allows you to simply remove the amount required. Im sure there has to be an equation that shows more money spent on a pump equates to less time pumping and so more time riding!
Some of the updated Birzman pumps come with a new angled head which I can only assume is to help with disc wheels and maybe buggy wheels where getting the old inline valve in may have been a problem. All in all I have found this a good pump and with it's good looks the partner won't mind it being in the house, or so I have found.