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The Vel AR-Flow Travel Pump is a handy companion to have on any cycling adventure. It's efficient, simple to use and very well made. It's quite a bulky piece of kit for attaching to your frame, though.
Compared with a track pump, there are obviously a lot of compromises to be made to create a pump that you can carry around with you; the AR-Flow does away with a lot of them, though.
At 315mm long, the Vel certainly can't be described as a mini-pump so it's not the type of thing that you'll be bunging in a jersey pocket, but this is the only time its size can be seen as a slight negative.
Vel does supply a bracket that'll mount to any existing water bottle bosses, although when positioned on the down tube there isn't a whole lot of clearance between your feet and the pump.
I carried it with me mostly on gravel rides where it'd easily slot into a large saddle bag or frame bag.
The AR-Flow can be used with both Presta and Schrader valves by way of a reversible head, which is spun round by unscrewing it from the hose and reattaching.
The head attaches to the valve by being screwed on rather relying on a push fit or any kind of lever. I like this; it means you always get a good, secure fit.
The hose is a decent length of 265mm, too.
In use the AR-Flow is pretty efficient. On a 28mm road tyre I reached 45psi after 100 strokes, and 90psi at 200 strokes.
At the higher pressures the handle got a little more difficult to push, but this is where the small fold-out foot comes into play. It helps you get a little more purchase on the pump.
The only thing I would say is that the handle has a notch machined out of it to accept the pump head when it is not in use. When pumping hard it can start to dig into your hand a bit, which isn't the most comfortable sensation.
One thing I do like, though, is that the handle doesn't compress all the way down into the barrel, which means there is no chance of trapping your skin on each stroke. There isn't a huge amount of heat build-up anywhere on the pump either.
Overall quality is good, and the CNC machined handle and barrel give it a classy look. The matt black paintjob gives a touch more grip than a shiny painted one or an anodised finish, and there is no slop or anything when the handle is fully extended.
Priced at £40, the Vel sits well against the opposition.
The Lezyne Micro Floor Drive Gauge pump is a couple of quid more at £41.99, but does come with a gauge which is quite helpful.
The similar Unich Mini Floor Pump is cheaper, though, with an RRP of £34.99.
Overall, I found the Vel AR-Flow to be a reliable and efficient piece of kit to carry around with you on those longer treks and adventures, or even in a rucksack for your commute. The quality shines through, and it's not stupidly priced.
Well-made and easy-to-use miniature floor pump that can comfortably achieve high pressures
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel AR-Flow Travel Pump
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?
Vel says, "The Vel AR-Flow brings you the benefits of a full-sized track pump - easier, more comfortable inflation and increased airflow, alongside the practicality of a smaller frame pump, making it the ideal travel companion. It's constructed from durable CNC aluminium and is light and compact enough to fit onto your frame using the supplied bracket and Velcro strap.
'When in use, you'll appreciate the addition of a fold-out foot, increasing stability, as well as the 265mm flexible hose. The head is compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves and is stored inside the handle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CNC aluminium alloy construction
Reversible Presta/Schrader head
Fold-out foot for stability in use
Valve head stows in handle for compactness
Flexible hose: 265mm
Overall height: 315mm
Barrel diameter: Approximately 21.5mm
Barrel height: 240mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It'll work with any size tyre and valve type, and will reach high pressures should you need them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Screw fit head is very secure.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Handle can dig into your hands.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's very similarly priced to the Lezyne and the Unich mentioned in the review.
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
A good all-round, decent quality and performing pump that is priced sensibly compared with its rivals.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!