The Birzman Sheath Apogee Hand Pump works well, combining the best of both worlds to get you back on the road should the puncture fairy strike. This CNC aluminium pump comes with Birzman's excellent Snap-It Apogee head and a CO2 adaptor (and two 16g canisters), as well as a mountable bracket to store everything on your bike.
The Sheath Apogee is an updated model from Birzman's popular line of hand pumps. Integrating both rapid CO2 inflation with the fine-tuning adjustment of a mini-pump, it provides a combination of quick inflation should you flat, along with peace of mind that you'll be able to deal with a second puncture if you're unlucky.
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When you first pick the pump up, you notice instantly how well built it is. The CNC machined aluminium body is sleek in design and the extendable hose allows for easier pumping. The Snap-It Apogee head has a twist and lock-on mechanism for either a Presta or Schrader valve, useful if you have bikes with both or ride with others who do and can help out if needs be.
The hose is secured within the body of the pump, sealed in place by a rubber cover that keeps things watertight. This should increase the lifespan of the mini-pump, especially during dire conditions. During my time testing the pump in the middle of winter, I didn't find any additional wear or internal rusting.
Additionally, the pump and CO2 cartridges come with a mountable bracket which means you don't have to store them in a jersey pocket.
The pump is on the smaller side – just under 20cm – and Birzman reckons it can hit 160psi, but in my experience it's tricky to reach pressures above 70-80psi without a lot of persistence. There's no pressure gauge on the pump itself, either, so it's a little tricky to hit a precise pressure.
Alternatively, if frantically pumping away at the side of the road isn't your thing, the Snap-It Apogee head is detachable and doubles up as a CO2 adaptor, allowing rapid inflation of the tyre.
Birzman has a video showing it in action, here.
You have to attach the adaptor to the valve before screwing in the CO2 cartridge, which is a bit fiddly. There's a neoprene sheath to protect your hands from the cold discharge if you aren't wearing gloves. You modulate the airflow simply by turning the cartridge clockwise to close the valve, anticlockwise to open the valve and release CO2.
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At £39.99 it is on the expensive side – £3 more than both its Infinite Apogee Road CO2 sibling and Blackburn's similar Core CO2'Fer, which includes a valve core remover but is Presta-only.
All three are beaten on price by Bontrager's excellent Air Rush Road CO2 pump, which is £24.99 (now with just one CO2 canister, not two).
Overall, this setup offered by Birzman is good for dealing with any valve type, speedily if necessary, and though it's a little expensive, it works well and the build quality is high.
Sturdy and easy to use, for quick or multiple inflation
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Make and model: Birzman Sheath Apogee Hand Pump
Size tested: 19.5 x 4.2 x 2.6cm.
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?
Birzman says, "All-in-one inflation solution for riders in search of the instant power of CO2 with controlled accuracy in a pump."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Snap-It Apogee (Presta / Schrader) / Compatible with CO2 cartridges
CNC machined aluminium
19.5 x 4.2 x 2.6cm
2 x 16g cartridges & 1 neoprene grip
160 psi / 11 bar
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Features a well-built CNC machined aluminium body with a sturdy extendable hose and detachable head.
Rate the product for performance:
Performs well, both as a CO2 inflator and a mini-pump.
Rate the product for durability:
All good so far. With the rubber cap, no grit or water can enter the pump mechanism.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
At 120g for the pump alone, and 259g for the set, it's not overly heavy.
Rate the product for value:
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well. There is nothing worse than fiddling around by the roadside with a substandard pump. The CO2 adaptor works well too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Featuring both a pump and a CO2 adaptor it means you will never come up short if you happen to experience a double puncture.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are cheaper pumps out there but with the Birzman Sheath Apogee Hand Pump you get your money's worth with additional features and a very study, reliable mini-pump.
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
It's well made and provides both quick inflation and peace of mind. It's a bit pricey, but it's a good option.
Age: 20 Height: 6 ft 2 in Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: Giant TCR My best bike is: Giant Trinty
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, club rides, the occasional bit of track
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