Not your run-of-the-mill shock pump, the Zefal Z looks quirky and doesn't quite nail the basics.
A good shock pump is an essential tool for all air-sprung mountain bikes. In the good old days, when you bought a suspension fork, you used to get a shock pump in the box. I’m not sure when that stopped, but it’s often an added expense now. If there’s a positive spin on that, you don’t get a cheap one that ends up in the bin after a few months – you can invest in a really good one that lasts. One worth a gander is the distinctive Z Shock from Zefal. It has a slightly different shape than most with a big grip at the head that reminds me of one of those ergonomic pens. It’s surprisingly comfortable, but unfortunately the handle is not as ergonomic. Most shock pumps have a sort of big flat button on the end, this one is just a conventional barrel shape, so when pushing hard it’s uncomfortable.
Getting the pump threaded onto the valve is easy though, because it has a counter-rotating head, so you can hold one part and turn the other. This also has a knurled section to help grip, but this could be longer and feature a deeper knurl. The hose swivels 360º, which is handy when working at an odd angle around the rear shock, and it also comes with a release valve for fine tuning pressure.
The Z Shock is an analogue pump and uses a conventional gauge, which goes up to a whopping 400psi. This is great for setting higher shock pressures, but unfortunately the gradients are pretty small, so setting fork pressures, which are typically around 80-95psi, is hit and miss. On the positive side there’s no battery to run out, and in my experience analogue pumps are slightly more robust.
The Z Shock is well made, has a sturdy grip and is great for setting shock pressures, but it’s not the do it all tool I want and I’ve rated it accordingly.