When I started testing this pump, I wasn’t convinced that it was a necessary addition to the tool ‘kit’ packed away in the corner of my garage. Why? I’d survived for years without anything more than a $10 Planet Bike pump that I purchased during the late ’90s and it had done the job just fine. However, over the last few months, I’ve come to appreciate the usefulness of a floor pump, and I’ve used it to inflate my kid’s soccer ball, add air to a leaky car tire, and, most importantly, I’ve used it to keep a closer eye on the air pressure in the tires of my bike.
The Axiom Propel-Air DLX floor pump isn’t the cheapest pump on the market but it’s nowhere near the priciest out there and it provides decent value for the asking price. MSRP for the pump is around $35 cad and, for your money, you get a decent package that should cover the ‘inflation needs’ of most mountain bikers.
There are a lot of things to like about the Propel-Air floor pump, the most important being that the pump won’t fall apart under normal use — I used this thing a number of times per week for over six months and there were no real ‘mechanicals’ that hindered performance during that time.
I could inflate most mountain bike tires up to about 60 psi without any difficulty and had few problems connecting the pump head to either Presta or Schraeder-equipped tubes (Axiom’s AdaptAir head allows you to connect to both valve types without any adjustments). It was easy to tell when I was close to my target pressure by looking at the gauge that is mounted to the top of the pump barrel.
Also, I appreciated the little things that were included with the Propel-Air: it comes with a couple of different needles for inflating types of non-bike things (like basketballs or car tires); the 120cm (3.5 ft) hose gives you plenty of room to maneuver without needing to move the actual pump; the pump head has a bleed valve that allows you to ‘fine tune’ your tire’s pressure adjustments.
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There aren’t too many things in this world that are perfect and the Axiom Propel-Air DLX Gauge doesn’t buck the trend. Overall, the pump is well constructed, but it does suffer from a minor case of the ‘wobblies’, something I attribute to the shape of the pump’s feet / base, which didn’t want to stay put under my own feet — it’s not a big deal but I did notice the pump swaying a bit on occasion.
Also, the clasp that holds on to the pump’s hose broke a couple of months ago, so I no longer have the ability to affix the hose neatly to the barrel for storage.
And while I appreciated the location and readability of the air pressure gauge, I found that the PSI readings were ‘inflated’ by about 5 psi. I got around this by over-inflating my tires and then using another, more accurate gauge to dial in the air pressure to my target level.
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There are plenty of floor pumps out there that work well and, depending on your budget, you can surely find something that works well for you. For all of you gearheads out there, something chi-chi like the Pedro Super Prestige Pump might be more up your alley than the workmanlike Axiom Propel-Air DLX floor pump, but I really doubt you gain a whole lot of performance for the extra $30.
The Axiom pump did the job for all of my bike-related tasks and, while it isn’t perfect (or made entirely out of carbon fibre), it’s a solid choice for someone looking for a pump that works well and should stand the test of time.
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