We cyclists spend a lot of time pedalling our bikes primarily with the largest muscle groups in the body, but inflate our tyres with the use of comparatively spindly arms and lower back. The Airstep’s modern take on the classic foot pump seeks to rectify this with a design approved by SQlab, which majors in performance-based ergonomics.
Unlike the skinny, metal-framed, Schrader-only car-foot pumps that inhabited so many garages, the Airstep has a wide, chunky plastic base with small rubber feet to stop it from creeping along the ground during use. Its sprung step is aluminium with raised SKS logos providing anti-slip sole grip, and there’s a 60mm diameter pressure gauge built-in.
A large sliding switch locks and unlocks the step allowing it to rise to its starting position, the head unclips from the top cover, and the slim spiral hose lifts from the storage well surrounding the gauge. The Airstep weighs 1.41kg and comes with a simple L-shaped wall bracket to save on floor clutter.
The gauge reads to the Airstep’s 102psi/7-bar maximum pressure, which in today’s large tyre volume landscape should be enough for almost every bike, but won’t fully charge a tubeless tyre seating air canister, as they can require 160psi.
The multi-valve head has separate snug-fitting Presta and Schrader ports and a locking lever but no bleed valve. The curly hose stretches about 170cm vertically from the floor and can be used for a bike on a stand, but the hose’s springiness makes its operational height less.
The high-volume, low-pressure cylinder inflated a 28mm tyre to 80psi in 53 strokes, compared to 32 for a Topeak JoeBlow Pro DX track pump. But the bending action required for each stroke made the Topeak track pump’s relative effort feel more intense, whereas the Airstep’s simple, short-travel action was no more taxing than walking.
The gauge is fairly easy to read when not pumping, but the small, grey, psi scale is harder to read than the dominant white bar scale.
The Airstep is no cheaper than many excellent track pumps but it is compact and easy to store. It’ll save your back from repetitive bending and its smooth action does reduce the effort required to inflate tyres.