VEL AIR FLOW PUMP
184g (pump) 15g (mount) £44.99
Bringing some of the advantages of the full track pump to the roadside repair, mini-track pumps have been on the market for a number of years now. The VEL Air Flow is a neat and effective example of the genre, though there’s a lot of equally stylish competition out there.
Pros: bigger foot than many, simple securing of chuck.
Cons: not noticeably better than some others at a similar price.
Anodised black CNC alloy looks smart when mounted on your pride and joy. Of course, it can sit in a jersey pocket, but at just under 31.5cm, I prefer to avoid the risk of a leap for liberation – not that it has yet gone for it.
At the base of the barrel the familiar style foot flips out for the ball of the foot. There’s also a slot for the chuck to slip into when holding the hose taught, safe and sound in transit.
This design certainly has advantages over models where the chuck is screwed in for security, in my opinion. Firstly, I find the latter a bit faffy. Secondly, and more pertinent when getting down to the nitty gritty of pumping air, there’s seven centimetres of space for your foot. By comparison, the afore mention Lezyne model offers four.
On the point of size mattering, the hose is 25cm, around half the length of the Lezyne’s. Whilst this could be inconvenient, it has not proved to be a major issue.
The bracket is the familiar plastic and Velcro affair, with holes for mounting on the bottle bosses.
There’s no pressure gauge, available on some models such as Lezyne’s Micro Floor Pump HPG. That is a debating point – not everyone is a fan of built in pressure gauges, fearing a weak point in the structure.
A double headed chuck - for Presta and Schraeder – threaded rather than lockable, is, again, similar to other models.
Those running tubeless or other set-ups with removable valve cores, will beware. Personally, I avoid threaded chucks in those cases, but with care it is not a problem; keep your cores tight. Some have suggested that deeper section rims are a problem when it comes to screwing the chuck far enough onto the valve. That can be an issue with any pump head, in my experience. Selecting longer valves helps.
More of an issue, for me, is fitting chucks of this kind onto small wheels, say on the Brompton or a trailer. In fairness, that is inherent in the genre, not this particular model.
Well, first of all, the bracket has held it safe in place along pot-hole street and forest track. Good to know it’ll be there when summoned by the hiss of air.
When called into action, I’ve got the touring tubes back up to 85psi from zilch in ninety-five oath-less strokes. Pushing higher has seen my puny muscles defeated at around 110psi – even with the air turning blue. On the other hand, a racing colleague managed around 125 before locking out. A pretty good performance, and more than enough to get home or to your friendly local track pump. This is pretty much in line with our experience with other models at this price point.
VEL suggest 160psi as the max pressure, but that’s pretty niche, and I’ve not attempted anything like it.
I like the handle, which felt more comfortable than my Lezyne and Unich models. The piston ran very smoothly, but, in my opinion, not noticeably more so than my comparators. There’s always the age issue to – pump, not pumper.
If looking smart is important to you, then the black finish may or may not suit your favoured colour-scheme. Whilst that is personal taste, keeping things free of the wear and tear of the road surface will, as with any pump mounted on the bottle bosses. In that context it is a decent fit for a rack pack, pannier or trad saddle-bag, but not most wedgepacks, such as VEL’s Waterproof Saddlebag.
The VEL Air Flow TRV Pump is an effective addition to your kit. It looks good, too. Whilst it has got strong competition, the greater foot size may appeal to folk with bigger feet. Nor is that its only virtue. I have seen it discounted on-line, along with its competitors.