The Birzman Velocity mini-pump does as good a job as a mini-pump can of putting air in your tyres and has a few clever features that make it easy to live with.
Birzman is a Taiwanese manufacturer with a well-deserved reputation for making bike tools and accessories that are nice-looking, high-performing and fairly priced. This Velocity mini-pump pretty much fits the mould. It clips neatly to your bike, pumps up your tyres quickly, and has some novel features to make it especially easy to use, although there is one design oddity that may not suit some cyclists.
The most important job for a pump is of course to put air in the tyres. Although the Velocity measures just 230mm long with a barrel about 18mm across, it packs a punch, taking an acceptable (for a mini-pump of this size) 200 thrusts to get a 700x23 tyre up to around 60psi, then another 100 to get it up to just under 90psi.
This pump is made of aluminium, giving a reassuringly solid feel and a pumping action that's smooth and positive, with no sign of no escaping air.
To fit to your bike, the Velocity comes with a tough plastic holder that bolts under your bottle cage in the usual way. The pump clips into the holder firmly, and a thick rubber band provides extra security should you hit a particularly bumpy patch of road. One end of the rubber band is permanently fixed to the holder, so you can never lose it.
So far, so good. But there's more, pump fans.
The Velocity has a flexible hose (or 'adaptor') to connect the pump to the valve on your inner tube. You don't have to screw the hose into the pump, because it's permanently fixed inside the pump when not in use. All you need is a quick thrust on the pump to get the hose in position before attaching it to the valve.
And if that's not excitement enough, the Velocity also has the 'Snap-It' valve fixing that features on many Birzman pumps. Instead of screwing this fitting on to the valve, you simply push it on and (via a clever sliding lock-ring) it stays firmly in place as you pump up your tyres.
Not having to screw hose-to-pump or adaptor-to-valve isn't going to change the world, or even the way you ride your bike, but if these features make fixing a flat at the side of the road even slightly quicker and easier, then they make this pump well worth consideration next time you're perusing the cycling accessory department.
Despite all these plus-points, there is one oddity with this Velocity pump. The permanent hose is fixed inside the shaft of the pump at the handle end, which means you have to use it 'upside down'. This has no impact on the amount of air going into your tyre, nor on the actual pumping action of your arms, but it feels weird at first and takes a bit of getting used to.
More importantly, cyclists with large hands may find the handle too small, such that the palm of the hand overlaps the edge of the handle and may get pinched by the shaft of the pump on the downward thrust. Moving your hand into a lower and safer position is easy enough, but you don't get quite the same good grip on the handle, which makes it harder when you're trying to force in that last few psi to get your tyres up to pressure. A slightly bigger handle would solve this problem, without affecting the looks or functionality of the rest of the pump.
On cost, the Birzman Velocity mini-pump retails at £29.99 - although is likely to be discounted at your LBS or the usual on-line stores. Of course, there are mini-pumps that cost a third of this price, and they'll usually do a fine job of pumping up your tyres in emergency situations, even if it takes longer (because air escapes) or they're not as durable (because they're made of plastic). However, pumps of similar style, size and quality from other brands such as Lezyne, Topeak and Crank Brothers are mainly in the £20 to £30 price-range, making the Birzman Velocity fairly priced, although not a bargain.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Velocity Mini Pump
Size tested: silver
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This product is a pump to fit on your bike, for use when repairing punctures or topping up pressure when out on a ride. (While it's easily sturdy enough to survive frequent use, for workshop conditions you're usually better off with a track pump.) The distributors/manufacturers website says:
"The Velocity is a stylish aluminium mini pump that handles high pressure with ease and with its superior design and function, is the pump to have with you on the road."
the website then highlights the pump's key features as follows:
"1. QR Extendable Hose
2. Features a Snap-It Valve adaptor which combines aluminium and composite matrix to make it aesthetically functional
3. Fast and easy valve engagment of any Presta Valve
4. 90-160psi pressure rating, perfect for the Road
5. CNC finished body ensures precision and durability of metal parts
6. ALC Aluminium Construction - Strong, light-weight and durable
7. Stable Aluminium Alloy base with a high polished premium finish
8. Colour Options: Grey, Blue, Green, Red, Silver"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The website goes on to highlight the pump's two new features:
"The unique SNAP-IT is the ultimate secure valve connection. It opens up allowing fast and easy valve engagement of any Presta valve. Once engaged two threaded bits clamp the valve securely on each side preventing blow off under high pressure. Made from aluminum and composite matrix."
"The QR Extendable Hose is built into the handle and extends for easy use. Pump the handle once and it shoots in place."
The pump can also be used for schrader valves, by removing the Snap-It fitting and screwing the adaptor to the valve in the usual way.
Construction seems very good. The aluminium body gives a reassuringly solid feel and smooth pumping action and positive. The hose and seals seem good, as there's no sign of no escaping air.
This pump performs its key tasks (fitting to your bike, and pumping up your tyres) very well, but the upside down pump action and small handle will be a problem for some cyclists.
Birzman stuff has a reputation for very good build-quality.
Made mainly from aluminium, this pump is a good compromise between ultra-light and ultra-strong.
This pump weighs 106g (plus 12g for the holder), which isn't the lightest pump out there, but it's a fair weight for something this strong.
Full recommended retail price is £29.99 which is fair compared to pumps of similar style, size and quality from other brands such as Lezyne, Topeak and Crank Brothers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Velocity performs its key tasks (fitting to your bike, and pumping up your tyres) very well, but the upside down pump action and small handle will be a problem for some cyclists.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Smooth pump action, quality feel, neat looks.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly. I'm impressed by performance and clever features, but the handle size lets it down for me.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but I'd suggest they tried it first.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Overall, this pump performs its key tasks (fitting to your bike, and pumping up your tyres) very well, and the integral hose and snap-it valve fixing are excellent innovative features, and on that basis it would score 9. But the upside-down pump action and small handle will be a problem for some cyclists, and the price (although fair) is not a bargain, which means a couple of points docked, giving an overall score of 7.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding - aka rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)