The Birzman Pump Up Tubeless Tyre Pump falls between workshop tools and backpack-friendly road-trip options for tubeless maintenance. Rated to a stupefying 220psi, it's beautifully executed – but sometimes minimalism has its drawbacks...
If you're rolling tubeless tyres, it's likely you need a tubeless inflator tank. If you've opted for one of the increasingly popular 'systems approach' setups, where you're procuring rim and tyre from the same manufacturer, you may be able to get away with a track pump thanks to joined-up design thinking at the rim-tyre bead interface. But for many people, a tank is needed to get that inrush of air to seat the tyre. (You use a track pump to 'charge' the tank, ie fill it with air, ready to inflate your tubeless tyres.)
Birzman's entry in the inflator tank stakes is beautifully done. The Pump Up looks like a thermos on steroids, the brushed aluminium barrel and CNC-machined head both things of artisanal beauty. An integral carrying handle allows it to be transported or hung from a hook, while the overall size is bag-friendly for travel.
It doesn't have a stand of any sort, other than the handle, so is prone to toppling over when in use, unlike the Beto Air Tank.
Dave really liked the £50 Airshot inflator which maxes out at 130psi but weighs about half as much as the Birzman – definitely a consideration if you're flying with your bike.
The Airshot also wins on the faff front – it features a replacement valve core as part of the head, so you can get maximum airflow after removing the actual valve core. On difficult setups the extra air inrush you get after removing the valve core can make the difference between success and failure, and it's here that Birzman has surprised me in not allowing for any sort of mechanism to thread into or clamp around an empty Presta valve body the way Airshot has. That's not to say I'm a Schrader-for-president fan – both designs have their pros and cons – just that the vast majority of tubeless setups are Presta, and that's where you'd think the focus should be in a single-headed design.
The workshop-grade and also £50 Beto Air Tank also makes Presta-valveless inflation easy by using a traditional track pump head that clamps onto the Presta valve body, leaving your hands free. With the Birzman, after removing the valve core you need to hold the head onto the valve body – it's threaded for either a Schrader valve or a Presta valve core, but not the oft-needed 'third option' of the Presta body.
Given that the operation of the Pump Up to release air is to hold the head steady while rotating the gold 'switch' a small part of a turn, having three or possibly four hands at this point to also steady the wheel would be helpful.
Birzman could rectify this by including a simple adapter that threads into a Presta valve body and presents a Schrader head for the pump to screw onto, thereby preventing it from falling off unless held in place. You can make one of these 'faux-valves' yourself by removing the brass core from a Presta valve and threading the core body into a Presta-Schrader adapter – but for the 99p or whatever, it's a faff that Birzman should have thought through to optimise performance when deciding on a 'one head' design. Minimalist, but not clever in this case.
Charged to about 180psi (the most my ageing floor pump will do), the Pump Up repeatedly inflated a 25mm tyre on a carbon rim with one bead seated and the other only partly broken – as you may do just to check/top up sealant. This was with the valve core in place, a real test for throughput. Pressure equalised at a hefty 95psi.
Breaking one bead all the way around then failed the same inflation test, necessitating preparing the tyre by hand, carefully pulling the loose bead as close to the rim wall as possible while not unseating the other bead. Once this was done the tyre snapped into place no problem. Bearing in mind this 25mm tyre+carbon rim combo was the hardest tubeless setup I've ever done, the fact that any non-compressor inflator managed to get the tyre seated is an achievement. I recall a fair bit of swearing getting this setup done using the lower-pressure Beto tank.
Seating a 2.35in Schwalbe Magic Mary mountain bike tyre on a non-tubeless-ready rim was a doddle – even with both beads loose it went up without a hitch.
Likewise, setting up my go-to Schwalbe One 28mm tyres on a 17mm Alex rim was not a problem. This is my reference wheelset/tyre combo these last three years of tubeless reviewing, and they went up first try even with both beads loose.
The Pump Up has the highest maximum pressure rating I've seen on a tubeless inflator – 220psi compared with the Beto's 160 and the Airshot's 130. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison, but common sense would dictate that all other things being equal, 220psi is going to give you a better chance of seating a difficult bead than 130psi for the same volume of air. Of course there are other issues such as the bore of the hose/head, but looking at the design I imagine it's actually the Presta valve body's 3mm internal diameter that will be the limiting factor, not the tubeless inflator's hose/head design.
Many of Birzman's own track pumps go to 220psi, but most across the industry max out at 160. With wider tyres becoming the accepted norm, pressures north of 100psi are increasingly rare requirements – unless you need to charge up a tubeless inflator, that is.
So the Pump Up is a bit of a mixed bag. The dual-threaded head doesn't allow for secure coreless Presta inflation, and it's twice the weight of the similar-priced Airshot (but half the weight and size of the Beto Air Tank). It looks and feels fabulous and is rated to a nuclear-option maximum pressure that could well be the difference between a successful first-time setup and tubeless tears before bedtime. Overall, it's a good option to have, depending on your needs. If you're rolling the devil's own combo of tyre and rim, it may be a godsend.
A good option if you absolutely need super-high pressure for your tubeless work and have a pump to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Pump Up Tubeless Tyre Pump
Size tested: 12.3 x 8.1 x 36cm, Volume - 1.2 L
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?
It's for someone needing super-high pressure inflation paired with light-ish weight and small size.
- Stores 1.2L of air up to 220psi.
- Compatible with all existing floor pumps.
- Threaded valve head for use with both Presta and Schrader.
- Rotational switch on head to control for immediate air release.
- Sleek cylindrical shape of great portability.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Head Threaded (Presta / Schrader)
Barrel CNC machined aluminium / High polymer
Capacity 220 psi / 15 bar (Max)
Size 12.3 x 8.1 x 36cm
Volume 1.2 L
Argh, that head, what a faff. Otherwise good.
It feels like it will last a lifetime.
Compared to the Airshot it's heavy, to the Beto Air Tank it's light.
Costs about the same as its closest competitors.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well enough, but a few tricks were needed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Build quality, looks and feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The faff of the head, stability.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Pretty well – RRP is the same as logical competitotrs.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes-ish
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Only if they had really difficult setups needing really high pressure.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Falling somewhere between the industrial strength and stability of the Beto Air tank and the lightweight and cunning design of the Airshot, the Pump Up only impresses on the build and pressure fronts, which may be reason enough to forgive the faff of the single-head design.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is: Velocite Selene
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.