There's a huge range of mini-pumps out there, but the Birzman Horizons stands out in the crowd, combining contemporary design with a few old-school attributes that work surprisingly well.
First - the dimensions. At 250mm end-to-end, it's not as small as some mini-pumps, but any shorter and the pumping efficiency would be severely reduced. As it is, I needed around 250 thrusts to get a 23x700 tyre up to 100psi - about three times more than with a full-sized pump - although this is an issue with all mini-pumps, not just this Birzman.
But it's not just about size. How fast you get your tyre up also depends on the quality of the pump, and that's where this Birzman Horizons scores high. Made from aluminium, it's well-built, with a nice solid feel and no sloppiness in the moving parts. This means all the air in the barrel goes into the tyre, and doesn't escape along the way. The pay-off here is a slightly heavier mini-pump than others on the market - it weighs in at 154g - but that's a price worth paying if you want quality and reliability.
The pump attaches to a valve via a short flexible rubber hose which screws into the end of the pump. At first I though this was a bit old-fashioned. (I was reminded of my classic old Blumels pump I still have in the shed: almost two-foot-long, matt aluminium, four plastic rings of red, white and blue near the end for grip, and a hose - or adaptor, as we called them then - covered in woven fabric that never stayed tight.) Despite occasional bouts of nostalgia, I prefer pumps with a direct push-on fit these days, but the Birzman hose might have me changing my mind. All the threaded parts seem precision engineered, meaning tight fittings and no air-loss when pumping.
The hose has what Birzman calls a 'dual action chuck', which is basically a fitting for Schrader valves, with an adaptor for Presta valves screwed into it. This makes the end of the hose a bit bulky. A hose for just Presta valves would be neater and lighter, although to be fair the large 'chuck' is good for grip when you're screwing it on with cold fingers.
When not is use, the hose slips inside the pump handle and is held in place by a rubber clip. Again, this seems a bit on the bulky side, but it does mean zero chance of the hose working loose and flying out when you ride your bike over a cattle grid.
At the other end of the pump is a little rubber flap to cover the hole where the hose screws in. This is to keep the dirt out when the pump is attached to the bike - a nice little touch, and a good example of Birzman's attention to detail.
The attachment method is the conventional clip that bolts under your bottle-cage, with the addition of a small velcro strap for extra security. Once again, they're taking no chances.
The pump we're testing is all silver, with the rubber bits in black. The pump's shaft is in Birzman's trademark lime-green. Also printed here a small motto: 'Broaden your horizons - be boundless'. Hmm... cod philosophy - just what you need when fixing a puncture at the side of the road.
The Horizons mini-pump retails at £27.99. A lot for a mini-pump, but fair for an item of this quality.
A very well made piece of kit, with a sense of style and some nice practical features.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Horizons Pump Presta/Schrader
Size tested: Silver
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Birzman website says: 'the new Horizons pump utilises a high-spec flexible valve retainer to save weight... [and] two-way technology to achieve high pressures fast, whilst the incorporated high-spec valve adaptor ensures fragile Presta valves cannot be damaged during over-zealous inflation (unlike direct fitting pumps)."
Personally, I've never damaged a valve with a direct push-on pump, but if this is something you've experienced, then the Horizon's hose will mean you get your tyre up to pressure with no harm.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The pump's maximum pressure is 110 psi - not enough for some high-performance tyres, but certainly enough to get you home or round the rest of a sportive course after a blow-out.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,