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Airace Speed F2 mini floor pump

8
£32.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Floor pump that's small enough to carry on the bike: light, neat, effective, well-made and fairly priced
Weight: 
170g

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Airace is a Taiwan-based company manufacturing a range of cycling tools and accessories, including this Speed F2 Mini Floor Pump. As the name suggests, it's a floor pump that's small enough to carry. It's light, neat and effective, and worth considering if you don't get on with conventional minipumps, C02 canisters, or any pump with a direct push-on valve fitting.

From the very start, it's important to note that the Speed F2 is a floor pump that's designed to be carried on the bike, so it shouldn't be compared directly with workshop floor-pumps, nor with conventional minipumps that usually fix alongside a bottle cage or slip in a back pocket, nor indeed with good old fashioned full-length frame-fitting pumps.

In essence, the Airace Speed F2 takes elements from all of these various pump types and, although there's obviously some compromise, the end result is a very handy piece of kit. It will be useful for commuters, tourists, adventure cyclists, tandem riders or anyone riding a bike with larger-sized tyres. And it's especially handy if you don't want to carry a bundle of canisters or fiddle around with a minuscule pump that takes all day to get your tyre up to a decent riding pressure.

The overall size of the pump is 32cm long, with the barrel about 2.4cm wide (3.2cm at the widest point – the valve connector). It appears to be very well engineered and has a nice confidence-inspiring solid feel. The body and shaft are of shiny aluminium, with hard plastic components to connect at the pumping and inflating ends.

At the top of the pump, a metal handle unfolds on a plastic support to make a hand grip attached to the outer body. When pumping, the outer body goes up and down while the inner shaft stays put – so the reverse action to most pumps, but no different in practice.

A heavy wire foot pad folds down from the base of the pump, after unclipping from small raised pips on the barrel that hold it in place, and rests on the floor.

The inflating hose is inside the shaft of the pump; it's released by gently pressing two studs in the base of the shaft. It's 24cm long, which is plenty long enough to reach from pump to valve, although you need to position the wheel with the valve at the bottom.

Interestingly, the inflating hose consists of three sections which telescope down to fit inside the shaft – a 14cm central solid section with a shorter flexible section at either end. This solid section is another reason the valve needs to be at the bottom of the wheel when you're pumping.

At the end of the inflating hose is the valve connector with an inner section that can be adjusted to fit both main valve types - Schrader and Presta (plus 'Dunlop' valves, which are the old type we used to call 'Woods'). The connector is held in place with a positive locking lever.

It can be a slight fiddle getting the valve connector onto the valve itself thanks to the aforementioned solid central section of hose, but it's not a deal-breaker.

There's no pressure gauge on this model. There is one the Speed F2 G, but that costs around £12 more.

With a foot on the footrest, I found it best to kneel down to operate the pump. Using one hand is fine as the tyre starts to fill with air, but two hands are useful to maintain sufficient force on the pump as the pressure builds up inside the tyre. The handle is small though, so it's one hand on top of the other.

Testing first on a skinny 700 x 20 tyre, it took 100 thrusts to achieve 85 psi and a further 50 thrusts to reach 110 psi. In contrast, I then tested it on a fat 700 x 32 tyre, where it took 150 thrusts to reach 70 psi and further 50 thrusts to reach 85psi.

It was still an effort to get the fat tyres up to pressure, but the Airace Speed F2 was a lot easier than a conventional full-length frame-fitting pump (and much quicker than a normal mini pump). The two handed technique, with the pump resting firmly on the ground, also meant doing the job safely, with no chance of damage to the valve.

For carrying this pump on your bike, a clip is provided which bolts onto the bottle cage bosses in your frame. But this means pump clip OR bottle cage. You can't have both, as the clip does not extend to the side of the bottle as on many types of minipump carrier.

Alternatively, you can fit the pump clip to another part of your bike's frame with the adjustable (and removable) plastic ties provided with the pump. These ties are long, so oversized tubes are no problem. Even the drainpipe- sized horizontal bottom tube on a tandem proved no problem, and that is indeed our test pump's new home.

If you were short of spare tube space due to cable run or other fittings, you could also use the plastic ties to fit the carrier alongside your bottle cage, but the end result might look a bit bulky.

A Velcro strap is provided to secure the pump to the clip, but this seems hardly necessary as the clip firmly grips the pump.

A final option for commuters and tourists: you could carry this pump inside your pannier bag or full-sized saddlebag, or use the pump loops that feature on many rack bags. (When the pump is not in the clip, you'll need a rubber band around the wire foot pad to hold it in place against the barrel.)

The Airace Speed F2 Mini Floor Pump has a recommended retail of £32, but you can find it anywhere between £20 and £30 at local bike shops and the usual on-line stores. (At the time of writing, one on-line store had it at less than twenty quid.) This price compares well against similar mini floor pumps such as the Topeak Road Morph which goes for about £30 or the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive at about £40 – although that latter pump has more metal parts and a pressure gauge.

All in all, for a mini floor pump that you're going to use only occasionally for road-side puncture repairs, especially on fat tyres, the Airace Speed F2 does a good job at a fair price, and is well worth considering.

Verdict

Floor pump that's small enough to carry on the bike: light, neat, effective, well-made and fairly priced

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Airace Speed F2 mini floor pump

Size tested: n/a

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 mini floor pump, with some of the characteristics of a full workshop floor pump, but small enough to carry on the bike. It's aimed at the rider who wants to put a bit more pressure in tyres at the roadside, without the fear of damaging valves and or the need for endless thrusts on a smaller pump, or the need to carry C02 canisters.

The Airace website highlights the following Product Characteristics:

Alum barrel & T-handle

Extractable hose – protecting tire valve from damage when inflating

Innovative alum Thumb-Lock lever

Fit for Schrader, Presta & Dunlop

Max pressure 120psi (8 bar)

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

There are no other technical details on the Airace website, but if you want to know more about the company itself, this information is provided: 'The main purpose of AIRACE is to develop professional, innovative and varied products which can enrich and convenient every rider's live.

In the past few years, AIRACE has kept devoting energies to innovation of technology and efficiency of process, to provide the most professional bicycle accessories for riders who would like to enjoy the best riding experience. AIRACE enables every single product - no matter the pump, the tool or the wash machine a brand-new life with its unique and outstanding designs. AIRACE is not only a brand of professional bicycle accessories, but a spirit keeping inventing new possibilities for satisfying cycling live.'

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

This pump seems very well constructed throughout, with smooth operation and no loose parts.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Performance is good in that this pump certainly gets a good load of air into a tyre, without danger of valve damage.

A very minor downside: it's a bit fiddly to get the pump set up, but that's the pay-off for a mini floor pump.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

With good solid construction, this pump is likely to be durable, especially if you're only going to use it occasionally for road-side puncture repairs.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

At 171g on the road.cc scales, it's heavy for a mini pump. But this is a mini FLOOR pump, making 171g a fair weight for the effectiveness and extra features provided.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

The pump is comfortable to use, although a very minor niggle might be that the handle is not comfortable on the upstroke, thanks to the slot that enables it to fold.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

At the retail price of around £30, value is fair when compared to similar items, and very good if you can get this pump at discounts which bring it down nearer the £20.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As a handy way to get air in your tyre quickly and easily when repairing flats at the road side, this pump performed very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The price might indicate a low-budget product, but this pump seems well made with some good solid engineering while keeping the weight low.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not really a 'dislike', but very minor niggles are the uncomfortable shape of the handle and the slight difficulty getting the inflator onto the valve thanks to the stiff middle section of hose.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes. especially for a fat-tyred bike or tandem.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they didn't get on with conventional pumps or minipumps.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Overall, the Airace Speed F2 Mini Floor Pump is a very handy item for road-side puncture repairs. It's well made, and goes for a fair price. On that, it would score a definite 9. The only niggles are the uncomfortable shape of the handle and the slight difficulty getting the inflator onto the valve thanks to the stiff middle section of hose. Together these knock off a point, giving an overall score of 8.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 53  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, 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 and rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)

 

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