By Vernon Felton
Specialized Air Tool MTB Floor Pump
The Air Tool has been a mainstay of the Specialized floor pump line for years now. This iteration is one of several specialized models that include high-pressure road models, pimped out versions of the floor pump for that rider who has to have shiny, aluminum handles (the $120 Air Tool Pro version) and budget models (the $40 Sport model) for the cash-strapped types amongst us.
The version you see here possesses the bulk of the important features and offers the best bang for your buck. Key features include:
• A large 3-inch pressure gauge that displays a 70 psi range (the high-pressure road models have, naturally, a wider range)
• Wide, aluminum barrel that pushes large quantities of air in relatively few strokes
• Wide handle with pressure relief valve
• Auto-selecting “SwitchHitter II” pump head that automatically fits both Presta and Schrader valves
Specialized claims that the Air Tool MTB pushes so much air that you can seat tubeless tires with it. I found myself capable of doing that half of the time I attempted it, but was impressed that my success rate was even that high with a floor pump. If seating tubeless tires is your top concern, I’m going to recommend you pick up one of those $50 pancake-style air compressors at Harbor Freight. For every other inflating job, the Air Tower excels. It takes relatively few strokes to bring tires up to snuff and the Air Tower ticks off the rest of the important boxes in any floor pump’s “to-do list”.
The Air Tower is supremely stable, thanks to its wide base. Nice. The large, easy-to-read gauge makes hitting that crucial PSI that much easier–even in the early-morning gloom of your garage. The pump also has a nice sturdy feel to it and ranks right up there with some of the better shop pumps on the market. The Air Tower doesn’t possess that massively overbuilt feel of an old Silca track pump or SKS’s Rennkompressor (those are the kinds of floor pumps you can pass down to your grandkids), but it should hold up to several years of knocking around.