SKS has done a decent job saving the foot pump from room 101
Mention the words ‘foot pump’ and I’m guessing it’ll conjure up visions of a rattly, sprung-loaded contraption that was always falling over or walking along the pavement as you tried to inflate the tyres on your old Raleigh Burner.
Every household had one, and every household hated it with a passion. Poor design aside, as a concept it had legs – unfortunately they were flimsy and unstable. Because it was on the floor, you could stand up straight and use your powerful leg muscles to do the hard work, easing the strain on your back and arms. SKS knows this, and has gone back to the drawing board to try and design a version that actually stands up to regular use. The result is the chunky, well-built Airstep. Broad shouldered with small rubber pads where it touches the ground, the Airstep doesn’t fall over, even when you stamp on the foot bar. There’s loads of leverage and a really smooth action, so it takes very little effort to operate. And it’s much more ergonomic than a track/floor pump, because you’re not bending over with every stroke.
The pump itself is high volume/low pressure, so it suits both cars and mountain bikes, forcing a big blast of air into the tyre as you push down on the foot bar. That said, it took 65 strokes to inflate a 29×2.4 tyre to 30psi (more than we’d ever run), compared to 50 strokes for our old, but trusty Topeak JoeBlow Twin Turbo track pump. The gauge is big and very accurate, but it’s easier to read the pressure in Bar than PSI, which is annoying. What it won’t do is deal with high pressures, such as charging a tubeless inflator, as the max pressure is 102psi.
The Airflow is really neatly packaged, with a strong clip to keep the pump collapsed for storage, and the coiled hose and dual valve chuck clip into the body. While the hose is long enough to reach a bike in a workstand, being coiled means it acts like a spring and wants to pull the chuck off the valve under tension. As such, we found it worked better when the wheel was on the floor and the valve at the bottom.
SKS has done a decent job saving the foot pump from room 101. It functions perfectly well, is compact enough to store in the car or garage, and is less strain to operate than a track pump, but £65 is a lot of money when it doesn’t replace a track pump and tubeless inflator in your workshop arsenal.