We've had some pretty fancy pumps for review at road.cc in recent years; lots of gleaming CNC-machined aluminium and cunning valve heads from the likes of Lezyne and Birzman. For those who aren't swayed by bling but instead want something tough enough for years of heavy workshop use, the new SKS Airmenius might be just the ticket. It's very expensive, mind.
SKS has a big range of nine (count 'em) track pumps, and has been selling the bombproof Rennkompressor pump for decades. It's long been the choice for pro mechanics and serious workshops.
The Airmenius is the top-of-the-range pump, retailing for a smidge under £90. For that you get an unusually long barrel (575mm of stroke), which means fewer strokes to get your tyres up to pressure, and higher pressures with comparatively less effort. There's a large and very clear pressure gauge at the bottom, which reads up to 180psi (just over 12 bar), as though anyone needed to put that much air in their tyres, plus a really solid die-cast base and cork handles. Oh, and it's made in Germany: not something you can expect with many cheaper alternatives.
The head is a flip lever one, with two push-fit ports for Schrader and Presta (or Dunlop) valves. There are a couple of screws so that you can get access to replace the rubber seals when necessary. The head is all made of plastic, but it's a solid, weighty affair that looks like it should last a long time. It also unscrews from the hose so can be replaced when it finally gives up.
I've been using a couple of clever heads on pumps from Lezyne and Birzman recently, and I particularly like the Snap It head from Birzman. The SKS head takes a second or two longer to connect and remove, but it seals ten times out of ten. I have a suspicion it will probably carry on sealing for longer too.
Probably the most distinctive feature of the Airmenius is the generous length of the stroke (no sniggering at the back, please). The same physics applies here as with the mini-pump you carry in your jersey: the longer it is, the easier you can reach high pressures. Hitting the 120psi that I generally run on my road bike was ridiculously easy, requiring fewer strokes and less force than with just about any other pump I've used.
If you're Quintana-sized, you might find it awkward to fully extend the pump, as your hands will be up around your chin (the handle is 1.3m from the ground at maximum height). I'm 6ft 3in and I found it comfortable to use (helped by nice chunky cork handles and a solid base). I did find at full extension that the piston would sometimes jam in the lower section if I didn't keep things properly in line. Wider-spaced bushing inside the telescopic parts would be an improvement here.
The shaft of the pump is aluminium and tear-drop profiled. I couldn't really work out why, as the rest of the pump isn't especially aero. If that price is a bit too much for you, it's worth looking at one of the wide range of cheaper priced options in the SKS range.
This is a tall, heavy pump which would be a great choice for a workshop. It's been built to last (in Germany) and delivers high pressures in fewer strokes than most pumps thanks to an unusually long barrel. Very expensive, but it should last for a very long time. Recommended, unless you're on the short side.
Fast action, beefily-constructed pro workshop pump, recommended for everyone but more petite mechanics.
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Make and model: SKS Airmenius floor pump
Size tested: Black, 28in, 180psi
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 new Eurobike award winning Airmenius combines high-quality materials in a professional floor pump. The highlights of the pump are the comfortable cork grips, the very easy to read 100mm pressure gauge and the solid aluminium die cast foot. The long aluminium trapezoidal barrel enables easy pressure build up in the tyre. The SKS multi valve head fits all valve types easily.
This is a pump that could last for a cycling lifetime. I'd give it a 10 if it didn't occasionally jam when at full extension.
Unusually long barrel means you get your tyres to pressure faster. Makes short work of even very high pressures. Might be too long for the shorter cyclist.
There are no shortage of mechanics who'll tell you they've been using their SKS pumps for years. These things are built in Germany to last.
Well, it's heavy. Is that good or bad?
I got on well with the cork handles and found it generally comfortable to use.
It's a very expensive track pump. It's also a very good track pump that you are unlikely to need to replace. Draw your own conclusions here. You could get 18 Lidl track pumps for the same price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The long stroke suited me - gets tyres up to pressure fast.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a lot.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? If I were running a workshop.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 35 Height: 6 Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.