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SKS Rennkompressor NXT

6
£130.00

VERDICT:

6
10
Very nicely made from retro materials, but the ergonomics are poor – the design should be better at this price
Goes to very high pressures
Solid build
Impressive looks
Inherently unstable
Awkward at high pressures
Hard-to-read gauge
Heavy
Weight: 
1,450g

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The SKS Rennkompressor NXT has an old-school style – maybe it should be LST instead of NXT – and a substantial build that feels good for the high price. Unfortunately, the fancy metal and wooden parts are arguably outperformed by cheaper plastic ones, and the retro design extends to the ergonomics – it's like they haven't really been considered. For better options, check out our guide to the best track pumps.

Alongside this SKS pump I've been reviewing a £37 Topeak JoeBlow (full review to come). You might think that simultaneously testing a £130 pump like this alongside a £37 one would be bad news for the cheap pump, but in fact, it hasn't really helped the Rennkompressor. There are a string of small complaints I really shouldn't be able to level against a premium design, and they all start to mount up.

2024 SKS Rennkompressor NXT - footplate.jpg

Firstly, the feet fold for easy transport/storage, but while they lock up out of the way, they don't lock down. Give this pump a nudge and it falls over. It also means you need to stand on both its feet to keep it steady at high pressures – stand on just one and it can hinge side to side. That's annoying because the feet are directly under the handle, with no flare back towards your body. You're forced to stand so close your hands are scraping up and down your chest and legs. It's a cramped position.

2024 SKS Rennkompressor NXT - footplate folded.jpg

While your lower half needs to be bolt upright, your top half wants to lean forward as the gauge is hard to read – it only has numerals every 50psi, and the little 5psi divisions between are crowded. Every other line is longer, at least, but only by millimetres; I found myself peering to carefully count lines rather than just being able to read it at a glance.

2024 SKS Rennkompressor NXT - footplate and gauge.jpg

You could set the rotating tell-tale arrow to your target pressure first, of course, but that ends well short of the printed scale and is that famous hi-viz combination of jet black against jet black. And I thought the camo grey one on the Topeak JoeBlow Roadie EX was a poor decision. Oh, and talking of grey, if you're using bar instead of psi, that scale is printed in a nice dull battleship colour that's about as eye-catching as fog. At least the needle is orange.

You could always go for the Rennkompressor NXT Digital with its big glowing numbers instead, but that's £20 more at £150.

> How to choose the best bike tyre pressure – balancing speed, comfort and grip

The handle unscrews (easily, thanks to a large plastic collar) to leave the whole pump genuinely slim and easy to transport, but if this pump is about portability, why use so much metal? It weighs 1,450g, when a plastic-based (but metal-chambered) alternative can weigh around a third less.

2024 SKS Rennkompressor NXT - shaft.jpg

Also, our test pump lost a 2x1cm chunk of aluminium wall from the base while in the loving care of a courier, and while this (thankfully) didn't affect its operation at all, it does demonstrate that metal isn't an inherently 'better' choice than plastic. Harder materials can also be more brittle. The cheaper, plastic-bottomed track pump alongside the Rennkompressor in the same package, as an example, arrived undamaged.

Still, this certainly looks and feels premium. Take the handle; it's a lovely thing, attractively carved from beech, and it's smoothly rounded. It's also unyielding and noticeably less comfortable at high pressures than a broad and less rigid plastic one.

Is there anything I do like? The chuck. It's solid, incredibly crisply built and pretty easy to use. It has separate holes for Presta and Schrader, and while that seems unnecessary when many combine the two into one, it works just fine. The long hose (120cm) is good too, especially if you plan to blow something up to the full 230psi this is apparently good for. It's nice to be as far away as possible.

2024 SKS Rennkompressor NXT - pump head.jpg

I don't have anything I'm prepared to take beyond 160psi for fear of becoming death, destroyer of worlds, but it will get a 28mm tyre (on a 21mm ID rim) to 100psi in 36 strokes. That's 45-50 seconds of pumping, though it does start to need quite a shove from around 90psi – something the awkward stance doesn't help with. That only gets more noticeable once you're pushing against 150psi-plus.

Value

While £130 is high for a basic track pump, the substantial build and 'premium' materials go some way towards justifying it. But you could argue that today's plastics have surpassed metal and wood in these applications, which means they're no longer premium so much as old fashioned. But that's up to you.

Typically, you can expect some extra features for £100+, such as the integrated bike stand of the £119.99 Topeak Transformer eUP Floor Pump, or the tubeless-blasting abilities of the £150 Lezyne Pressure Over Drive.

On the other hand, it's not always the case – and the SKS is a fair chunk cheaper than the wooden-handled ego-booster that is the Silca Terra Floor Pump. That one's £180 and really ought to come with a free cravat.

Still, if you just want to blow up your tyres and don't care how déclassé plastic makes you look to the members of your local country club, you have plenty of options, such as the 9/10-scoring Cannondale Precise Floor Pump (a 'road.cc Recommends' badge winner) at £55, or the aforementioned £36.99 Topeak, the JoeBlow Roadie EX.

Overall

Is this a bad pump? No. It's very solidly built and capable of shoving a lot of air into a tyre in fairly short order, and the overall quality feels high. The design of both the gauge and the folding feet could be improved, though, and those – along with the very rigid handle – make it less pleasing to use than it could be, and arguably should be, given its premium price and nature.

A bigger issue still is that pumps for half or even a third of the Rennkompressor's price can match it for performance, beat it for ergonomics and give it a damn good run for longevity. Despite some impressive aspects, the Rennkompressor NXT just doesn't offer any real benefits for the premium.

Verdict

Very nicely made from retro materials, but the ergonomics are poor – the design should be better at this price

road.cc test report

Make and model: SKS Rennkompressor NXT

Size tested: One Size

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?

SKS says: "The RENNKOMPRESSOR NXT combines the basic elements of the legendary original with the demands of the modern world. The upgraded version ensures more volume when inflating tyres with its taller steel tube. The rubberised, non-slip cast aluminium base ensures the stability of the pump. The tyre pressure (up to 16 bar) can be read perfectly on the large pressure gauge. An upgrade to a digital version is optional. The folding, plastic-coated metal feet can be easily snapped into place for transport."

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

SKS lists these features and details:

* Precision pressure gauge

* Solid metal tube

* Rubberised, non-slip aluminium base

* Folding snap-in feet

* Removable beech wood handle

* With an MV EASY MULTI VALVE valve head

* Made in Germany

color: black

hose length: 1200 mm

valve: AV, SV, DV

output max: 16 bar / 230 PSI

height: 730 mm

cylinder inner: metal

foot: metal

handhold: wood

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

It feels very solid, and in normal use probably would be, though the aluminium base on ours took significant damage from an impact that left a plastic pump next to it unscathed. Function is unimpaired, mind you – this feels like it'll last.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
5/10

The handle is very rigid and not the best shape for high pressures, while the stabilising feet lie directly underneath it, making for a cramped position – and you have to stand on both feet as they hinge freely otherwise.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

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

The chuck attaches easily and securely, and it moves a fair bit of air per stroke. In that sense it blows up tyres well. It's more awkward and less comfortable to use than many, however, and the gauge is hard to read.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Very solid chuck, capable of very high pressures, classic looks.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The old-fashioned handle is not actually as comfy as many plastic ones, the folding feet make it unstable, the gauge is hard to read, and it's expensive.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's up there at the premium end for a track pump.

Did you enjoy using the product? No, I found it awkward.

Would you consider buying the product? No, there are better pumps that cost less.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's pretty good overall. It's very well made and feels like it'll shove air into things for years to come. But while it's stylish, it's not that well designed for actual use. The folding feet and busy pressure scale make life awkward, while the rigid wooden handle does a better job of signifying luxury than actually providing it.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

Add new comment

5 comments

Avatar
lesterama | 1 month ago
3 likes

I've had an SKS for 35 years. Fantastic track pump for getting proper track pressures. I think I prefer mine to this latest version, though.

Avatar
EM69 replied to lesterama | 1 month ago
2 likes
lesterama wrote:

I've had an SKS for 35 years. Fantastic track pump for getting proper track pressures. I think I prefer mine to this latest version, though.

me too, original is superb

Avatar
I love my bike replied to lesterama | 1 month ago
0 likes

The original is not perfect, so an improved version would be welcome, but this doesn't seem to be it  2

  • The original wood handle it heavy & makes pump unstable - could be hollowed out (even post purchase using a pillar drill).
  • Thr original plastic feet covers are flimsy & always seem likely to fall off.
  • The original gauge isn't that large or easy to read. Could be replaced?
  • The original valve (like this one) doesn't work reliably on completely flat tubes, but can be replaced.
  • The acorn nut to hold the handle is rather 'agricultural'. This looks better.
Avatar
john_smith replied to lesterama | 1 month ago
3 likes

Same here, give or take a year or two. It's built like a tank and better than anything I've come across since. Mine came with one of those push-on connectors, which didn't work well at all (it kept blowing off), so I took it straight back to the shop, and they fitted one of the lever-type connectors instead, which has worked flawlessly ever since.

Avatar
TheScotsman replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
2 likes

Ditto. Bought my original because it was very highly rated on here due to the build & the fact that every part was replaceable, so it would apparently last a lifetime.

After buying endless replacement rubber washers to replace the ones that wore away quickly so the push-on head would keep blowing off, I replaced the head with a Topeak lock-on one which has worked flawlessly now for years without ever needing any rubber washers replaced to maintain a good seal & grip.

I love it, though I do wish the feet were better designed to stop it just toppling over unless you're standing on both of them.

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