The Vel Air Flow Track Pump is a really nice quality product, with an ergonomic wooden handle, solid base, big clear pressure gauge and a smooth pump action making it a cinch to inflate your tyres. The only niggle is that the air release button is awkwardly placed on the dual valve head – and the high price.
Vel has a really nice range of accessories that have clearly been designed to look good. And in the case of this track pump at least, the function matches the aesthetics.
The track pump has a metal barrel and three-leg base, with enough weight that it is rock-solid during use but is no chore to move around and sling in the back of the car. The wooden handle is comfortable in use and preferable to metal handles in my experience. It also adds a certain touch of class.
A really long hose makes life easy, too, and it simply clips back into a holder near the base once it's been looped over the handle. The head is compatible with Presta and Schrader valves and is a push-on design, similar to those we've seen from the likes of Birzman and Lezyne. It makes attaching the head to the valve a doddle.
The annoying downside with the head design is the placement of the air bleed valve button on the back. It's far to easy to inadvertently press the button when you're attaching the head to the valve, meaning you lose air pressure before you've even started pumping. After a couple of uses, you remember it's there and account for it, but relocating it to the side might avoid this small issue.
Or getting rid of it completely...
Bleed valves can be handy if you want to drop a bit of air without removing the valve head from the valve, but I nearly always inflate to the desired pressure. Like when filling the car with petrol, I've got pretty good at stopping dead on the required amount, so I'm personally of the opinion that the bleed valve isn't all that essential. You may feel differently, of course.
Once you're stroking away, a very large pressure gauge at the base is easily legible, and it takes no time at all to hit 80psi, my go-to pressure these days for riding my rough local roads full of potholes. The pressure gauge goes all the way to 200psi, but just like my car speedo indicates it'll go to 160mph, I've never explored the upper limits. Because why would you, for regular road cycling?
As for accuracy, I've tested it against a couple of other track pumps and can report no massive discrepancy.
The Vel Air Flow Track Pump has a lot going for it. I like the quality of construction and the wooden handle, plus the large dial and stable base and long hose, but I could live without the bleed valve on the otherwise easy-to-use valve head. It's just a shame it's so pricey, as £65 puts it firmly at the top-end of what you can expect to pay for a track pump, and there's nothing special here that really marks it out from the competition.
The equally (and very similar looking) high-quality Birzman Maha Apogee is a tenner less, the Lezyne Sport Floor Drive comes in £20 cheaper, or there are the Zefal Profile Max FP60 and Topeak Joe Blow Sport pumps for nearly half the price.
All of which makes it hard to recommend the Vel Air Flow Track Pump unless you remove price from the equation. I'd buy one of the cheaper track pumps and pocket the change.
A lovely high-quality pump but annoyingly placed bleed valve button and high price are hard to overlook
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel Flow Air Trk Pump
Size tested: n/a
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?
Vel says, "Premium alloy track pump with fast grip head and classic wooden handle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Intended for road, gravel, MTB and hybrid use
Presta and Schrader compatible fast grip head
Stable resin base
It's quite a bit more expensive than other similarly high-quality track pumps.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Does a good job of inflating tyres.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Solid construction, easy tyre inflation, big clear gauge.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bleed valve button is too easy to accidentally press.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
As well made as this pump is, and as lovely as it is to use (apart from the annoyingly placed bleed valve button), its overall score is limited by the fact that you can get pumps just as good for a lot less cash.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.