Specialized Airtool Shock Frame pump£29.99

Effective, but compromised

BikeRadar score3/5

Specialized's dual-purpose Airtool Shock Frame Pump conveniently does the work of two separate inflators: twist the locking handle one way for high-pressure, low-volume suspension work; twist and unlock it the other way for low-pressure, high-volume mountain bike tire duties. 

The built-in gauge offers good enough resolution to be useful on the trail in either situation and the no-leak head works with Presta valves with the simple thread-on adapter that's included in the package along with a bottle cage mount.

Adding to the Airtool's utility is a hollow handle that has enough room for a proper patch kit (and by "proper", we mean one that actually works – you know, with real glue and stuff) while the mostly aluminum construction is reassuringly sturdy.

It's reasonably light at 256g – roughly 40g less than a Lezyne mini-pump and a dedicated suspension pump combined – and the US$45 price tag is cheaper than buying both items separately, but be prepared to accept a few compromises in trade. For one, the Airtool isn't all that small at about 30cm from end-to-end. In fact, it's bulky enough that we occasionally had issues tucking into a handful of hydration pack compartments.

And yet despite that size, Specialized only manage to eke out a 105mm-long stroke – just one-third of the total length. This wasn't a huge issue for most of the suspension pressure adjustments we made trailside during testing but it made for positively glacial inflations of wider mountain bike tires, particularly when starting from scratch.

Much as we like the peace of mind of always having a patch kit on hand, we'd prefer Specialized abandon the convenient hollow handle in favor of a more conventional overlapping configuration that could potentially add as much as 75mm to the stroke or conversely, shorten the overall length by the same amount. 

As it stands, the Airtool is frustrating enough in high-volume mode that we still made sure to leave the house with a CO2 cartridge and inflator, thus negating the weight savings. Even so, the Airtool is a decent option as an all-in-one backup or for mountain bikers who put a premium on reducing the clutter in their packs – just be prepared to finish your ride a little later than usual if you get a flat.

The clever design is actually two pumps built concentrically within each other.  twisting the handle one way engages the large-diameter barrel while twisting the other way switches to the small-diameter one: the clever design is actually two pumps built concentrically within each other.  twisting the handle one way engages the large-diameter barrel while twisting the other way switches to the small-diameter one

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Age: 40
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 70kg / 154lb
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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