A good-looking, well made pump with a light action, but could do with a more solid-feeling handle.
Big, stable steel base
Durable aluminium barrel
Reaches 100psi with minimum effort
Chuck works well
Plastic handle feels a bit lightweight compared to the rest of the construction
By Simon Smythe
The Specialized Air Tool HP is a handsome-looking piece of kit, standing out from the crowd in its ‘Ion’ hi-viz colour way (it’s also available in silver) with a large steel base that curves forwards to combat rocking in that direction with sandpaper grips stuck to each side of the footplate.
It stands 65cm off the ground, a seemingly standard height that allows you to get your weight over the handle without doing your back in. However, as we shall see, the Specialized doesn't really need to be leant on t00 much to hit the sort of pressures a road bike user will be aiming at.
The Air Tool has ‘auto-selecting SwitchHitter II technology’, which means the chuck goes onto either a Presta or a Schrader valve without any user intervention. On the Presta valve we tested it with, we got an immediately airtight and secure seal. Pulling the chuck off the valve is an equally neat operation with minimal air lost – just what's in the hose.
The gauge is a fairly standard 7cm in diameter, is easy to read and has a useful marker that you can leave pointing to your target pressure for extra speed and accuracy.
Talking of speed, Specialized says the Air Tool “requires 30 per cent less effort than traditional floor pumps to reach 100psi in a 700C tyre. That’s hard for us to quantify, but it took us 30 easy-feeling strokes to reach 100psi.
The Specialized Air Tool HP isn't the cheapest track pump around, but with its aluminium barrel and steel base it's made of good quality materials that will last a long time. It’s a pity the plastic handle, which is comfortable to hold and nice and wide at 25.5cm, feels lightweight and flimsy compared to the rest of the pump’s metal construction, but this doesn't have any effect at all on the Specialized Air Tool's ability to deliver a smooth and powerful tubeful of air.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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