Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Birzman The Pump with Helix II

8
£84.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Very smooth pump stroke that shifts a lot of air easily, and with a high-quality screw-on head
Smooth pumping action Large, clear gauge
Large, clear gauge
Needs only 14mm of valve visible
Spares available
Swapping Presta to Schrader means unscrewing the head
Hose clip could be better
Hose could be longer
Weight: 
1,760g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Birzman The Pump with Helix II is a high-quality product made to exacting engineering standards. The pumping action is smooth and the head swivels smoothly, though there are a couple of minor niggles on what is generally a very well-thought-out piece of kit.

Check out our best track pumps buyer's guide for other alternatives, or our best bike pumps guide for all sorts of inflating options.

Taiwan's Birzman has a design ethic angled towards minimalist, brushed silver and big numbers – and the Pump With Helix II doesn't disappoint on either of these fronts. The barrel is CNC-machined from aluminium and has a very smooth action: if you lift the handle and let it go, there's so little friction it sinks down under its own weight – not many pumps do that.

The handle is nice and wide, covered in a rubbery smooth material that's very grippy. There's a small indent in the top for the hose to sit in. The gauge is both huge and set with bold gradients, making it easy to spot your target pressure. The Bar measure is in inside the ring in green, with the PSI outside in white, marked in 5psi gradients.

2024 Birzman The Pump with Helix II - foot plate and pressure gauge 1.jpg

The hose is fixed at the base and measures 125cm – making The Pump one for use with bikes on the floor, not in a workstand let alone hanging from a rack in a garage or on a car. For comparison, the Topeak Joe Blow Pro Digital with the hose mounted at the top can reach 67cm higher, getting to valves a good six feet off the ground.

The hose is secured by passing it over the handle and down to a plastic hose clip. This can slide up and down the barrel, and needs tightening with a 2.5mm hex to secure it at the right height to hold the head in place under the tension of the hose stretched over the handle – but I can't help wanting for a proper clip that grabs the hose itself.

2024 Birzman The Pump with Helix II - valve head 1.jpg

The amount of friction is just enough to hold the hose and thereby the handle in place as you lift the pump. But if you sling The Pump in the back of a van, your car boot or in among other stuff in the shed, the head is inevitably going to come loose. It then becomes an untidy mess of sliding handle, flailing hose and existential woe as to why Birzman didn't design a better clip.

The Helix II isn't a universal head – you need to unscrew and rescrew it if you want to jump between Presta, Schrader or even Dunlop valves. There is an argument that universal heads are Jacks of all valves, masters of none – and most of them rely on expanding rubber washers to keep them in place. Ironic then that Birzman's own Apogee head is my reference point for how to do both types in one.

2024 Birzman The Pump with Helix II - valve head 2.jpg

The Helix II head relies on a reversible silver barrel that threads onto either Presta or Schrader, laser-etched as 'P' or 'S', which ensures a rock-solid fit with no leakage. On a Presta the barrel takes three and a half rotations, so it's very well-engaged on the valve core. If you want Dunlop, you leave the silver barrel off altogether. The silver barrel threads onto the gold Dunlop body that then rotates in the hose clamp section. This means the head can swivel smoothly when screwed hard onto any type of valve. There's no bleed valve so if you need to go down again you have to unthread the hose, release air, reattach and pump up carefully to your target.

The barrel requires just 14mm of visible valve body and core together – which is much less than many other universal heads that rely on gripping the threaded side of the valve body. If you are running short valve bodies or have very deep rims, this 14mm-minimum depth may be a major bonus.

2024 Birzman The Pump with Helix II - pressure gauge.jpg

For a 700c 23mm tyre, 13 strokes gets you to 80psi, 20 gets you to 110psi, and 25 to 130psi. There's no notable increased difficulty going past 80psi either, which is down to the smooth action and large handle that spreads pressure on your hands and allows a wider grip for more efficient use of your arm and shoulder muscles.

At the other end of the tyre spectrum, on my borderline-monster-truck 29 x 3in off-road tyre it took 45 easy strokes to get to 25psi, and there was no wild jumping around of the gauge during pumping so it was easy to sneak up on the target pressure.

2024 Birzman The Pump with Helix II - foot plate and pressure gauge 2.jpg

The 55cm stroke is pretty long and this shows in the amount of air the pump can shift per stroke. Birzman has done a good job of balancing the barrel diameter to ensure at the bottom of the stroke as pressures head north of 100psi, that it's still easy-ish to push.

2024 Birzman The Pump with Helix II - shaft.jpg

The act of unscrewing the barrel releases a fair bit of air: if you're at 90psi, the pressure after unscrewing the head is about 3-4psi lower – as measured with an SKS digital checker – as the valve core reacts to the removal of the barrel and seals itself. So if you were aiming for a certain pressure, go 3-4psi higher and you should be good.

Value

At £85 The Pump with Helix II is not cheap – but it's a mid-range price for what is a high-end pump.

At a lower price John rated the £55 Cannondale Precise Floor Pump highly. It has a universal head and finicky bleed valve, but on the maths doesn't shift quite as much air per stroke as the Birzman.

George liked the £80 Truflo Classictrax Floor Pump, with a quick-release head and bleed valve, it's a good alternative option to The Pump. Certainly the lever-style release will be faster to use and possibly lose less air when releasing.

Birzman sells both the head and gauge as spare parts, if you need to repair and your two-year warranty has expired.

Conclusion

The Birzman The Pump with Helix II is a high-quality pump capable of easily getting to high pressures, with absolute certainty that the head will stay attached to the valve core, long or short. You need to be onboard with a threaded head rather than a lever-type head, but otherwise the hose clip is the only annoying departure from what is a great design.

Verdict

Very smooth pump stroke that shifts a lot of air easily, and with a high-quality screw-on head

road.cc test report

Make and model: Birzman The Pump with Helix II

Size tested: One size

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 a pump for people wanting to inflate tyres to pretty high pressures quickly with minimal effort.

Birzman says:

Floor pump with High Polymer tapered & padded handle and a Steel / High Polymer base.

Featuring a 160psi / 11bar gauge and straightforward 'Helix' threaded valve head compatible with Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves.

The Helix head is equipped with a swivel, enabling the adaptor to rotate freely when threading onto or unthreading from the valves.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Head: Helix (Presta / Schrader / Dunlop)

Handle: High Polymer / TPR (tapered & padded)

Barrel: CNC machined aluminium

Base: Steel / High Polymer

Capacity: 160 psi / 11 bar

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

The build quality is typical birzman – ie high.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Easy and efficient way to get your tyres to high pressure.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The steel/alloy construction speaks to good durability. It feels strong, and spare parts also available.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

1760g for an all-metal pump with this level of performance is admirable.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

It's very comfortable to use, even at pressures over 130psi.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

£85 is good for such a smooth, quality pump.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's very smooth and quick to use, but there's no release valve and you lose about 4-5psi when you disconnect, so you need to pay attention.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The smooth pumping action and wide, soft grip.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The clip holding the hose is pretty annoying.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The £85 RRP is mid-range for a high-quality pump and you may be able to get it for less.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Pump is indeed very good, only let down by the hose clip and lack of a bleed button. And I'd have also preferred a slightly longer hose.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 183cm  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe  My best bike is: Nah bro that's it

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, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L

Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.

Add new comment

2 comments

Avatar
matthewn5 | 1 month ago
2 likes

And sooner or later, without fail, screw chucks unscrew the valve inner and give you a right headache. Just don't go there - either with track pumps or mini pumps. A QR pump head is always better.

Avatar
Prosper0 | 1 month ago
2 likes

Screw chucks are simply horrible to use in real life. Don't bother, stick with quick release levers. I have a posh Leyzene pump with screw chuck and I regret the purchase. It takes ages to connect the pump, 3 and a half rotations on and 3 and a half off is actually quite a lot with cold hands on a fiddly little knurled screw in the morning, and over time its gets stiffer to twist. Just don't. 

Latest Comments