Specialized Airtool Shock Frame pump review

Effective, but compromised

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £29.99 RRP | USD $45.00

Our review

Well made and works for both low-pressure tire and high-pressure suspension applications, but bulky, and extremely slow to inflate mountain bike tires
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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. 

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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. 

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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/Future Publishing

Product Specifications

Product

Name Airtool Shock Frame Pump (11)
Brand Specialized

Weight (g) 256
Features * Thread-on Schrader head with Presta adapter * From fast inflation mode to high-pressure mode (up to 300psi) in one twist * Swivel hose for easy access to tires or shocks * Durable aluminum barrel * Glueless patches included in handle * Includes mounting bracket