We found Birzman’s killer floor pumps a while back and made a point of visiting them at Eurobike. Much to TSA’s delight, I traveled home with a virtual shop’s worth of tools in my suitcase for review.
I’ve been using them heavily since returning from the tradeshows and will do a full long term test down the road. First impressions are very good though. Having the right tool for the job not only makes it soooooo much easier, it also makes it a helluva lot quicker. Above is the complete oversized wrench set. Four base pieces handle ISIS and Shimano external bottom brackets, pedals and other 15mm bolts and a freakin’ fantastic chainwhip. On the right is a handle extension that slides onto the back of each tool for extra leverage. Sissy bars never looked or felt so good.
The chainwhip’s loose piece has a small clip that holds it to the wrench when not in use. The handles are soft without being mushy and provide a great grip. And this is just the beginning…
For just about everything else you’d need a wrench or socket for, there’s the half-inch ratchet set. It includes a cartridge BB tool, three cassette/freehub removal/spinner tools for Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo parts, an extension piece and two large allen keys. The handle itself is solid, quite heavy, so you know it’s good. The rounded finger grooves make it very comfortable to hold. Between this set’s cassette removal bit with the center pin and their chainwhip, I’ve never been able to pull a cogset off quicker. The tabs on the case flip down…which doesn’t sound like much until you’re paws are covered in grease and you can just pop them open with your elbow. It’s a little thing, but it makes the experience just a little better.
These aren’t the only two chainbreakers they make, but they were my favorites. The large one is quite oversized, making it easy to grab and turn. It made short work of a Shimano DynaSys chain swap. The silver bit that slots inside the links is spring loaded and slides to accommodate any width chain.
The small one is miniscule and could easily fit in a jersey pocket or seat bag, and it’s light enough that you wouldn’t notice it.
They have a range of multitools, too. Tested here are the 10-tool carbon Cicada (top) and an 12-tool version of the Feexman/E-Version. Both include a chain breaker, and the Cicada’s has an oversized handle that pops onto the threaded pin pusher part for storage. Pop it off, rotate it 90 degrees and thread it into action. All allen keys have hollow cores, so they’re good for more than just bike parts….or for leading a life of crime.
The Cicada comes in at 94g on our scale, the other at 104g. Both are easy to use, though you do pretty much have to pop the chain breaker’s lever off the Cicada in order to easily flip out the tools. My one concern with that is the durability of the plastic ring inside that “pops” around the pin pusher…how long will it last with repeated removal and usage? We’ll see.
Their pumps use a Snap-It valve head that simply pushes onto the valve stem and grabs it securely. Inside the head are alligator-jaw like clamps that grab around the threads on the valve stem and hold the pump head on. To release, simply pull the outer ring off the stem and it opens the jaws to slide off quickly and easily. I brought one of the mini pumps home and it’s pure, unadulterated awesome. Works like magic.
But, you’ll need threaded valve stems. At least the small threads near the Presta head. Smooth valves and extensions won’t work, unfortunately. And they don’t fit Schrader valves.
That thing in the center (above) is a flexible threaded CO2 inflator hose that also uses the Snap-It head. Some of the floor pumps have L-shaped heads or adapters.
Word is Birzman’s coming to the US, soon. They were floating around Interbike talking to reps and distributors, so be on the lookout.