Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB Review
Cons: Hose is short, not as powerful as larger pumps, not for road bikes
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Our Analysis and Test Results
For the gram counters and weight weenies out there, nervous about adding weight to their bikes, the Velocity Apogee MTB is a stellar choice. It delivers the best balance of lightweight, low-profile appearance and pumping performance. It also doubles as a shock pump.
Considering its very compact size and svelte weight, the Velocity Apogee MTB is quite a capable pump. We were able to reach 26 psi in 300 pumps on a 27.5 x 2.3-inch tire. Although this isn't as high of a pressure as some other pumps could achieve with that level of exertion, the Birzman is an excellent balance of compact size and capable MTB pumping performance. We wish the hose was a little longer, as it made for slightly awkward pumping ergonomics. See how it compares to the field below.
It doesn't do road tires though. Although Birzman rates the pump to 90psi, we didn't even bother going past 100 pumps because of how difficult it became. At 100 pumps on a 700C x 25mm tire, we reached 44 psi. We do not recommend the Birzman as a road pump for this reason. Instead, we recommend the Lezyne Road Drive and the Topeak Race Rocket HP for high-pressure inflation.
What makes the Birzman unique from most other mini-pumps is its Air-Lock valve capability, allowing it to double as a pump for the front suspension, i.e., the fork. Birzman does not recommend use on a rear shock. Very few mini-pumps on the market have this capability. Although it lacks a pressure gauge, the Birzman can be handy in a pinch when fork pressure needs to be adjusted based on sag and not actual pressure.
As a shock pump, performance was roughly double that of a standard Rock Shox high-pressure shock pump. The Birzman was able to bring a 2018 Fox 36 Elite 150mm travel suspension fork up to 80 psi in only 65 strokes, while it took the Rock Shox shock pump 200 strokes.
Ease of Use
The Velocity Apogee MTB is very easy to use thanks to an integrated retractable hose that shoots out from the body of the pump with just one pump. It scored well for this reason.
The Snap-It Apogee head fitting features a unique sleeve that slides up and down to switch between Presta and Schrader valve settings. Just pull out the retractable hose, choose the proper valve setting, and you're good to go.
Of all the performance evaluation criteria, the Velocity Apogee MTB ranks highest in portability.
This seven-inch pump is very compact, and can easily fit into a jersey pocket or a small hip pack. Regardless of what type of mountain bike frame you have, the Birzman can fit easily with a low-profile appearance. And thanks to its lightweight, only 136 grams, you'll barely know the Birzman is there, whether on your body or bike.
Looks and Design
The Birzman is very similar in looks to the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive Digital HVG in that it features CNC machined aluminum construction and high-quality rubber seal covers.
It has a very high-quality appearance. And, thanks to its compact size, it can fit easily on any mountain bike without taking up much real estate.
The Birzman's CNC machined aluminum construction makes for a durable look and durable performance. Both ends of the pump feature rubber seal covers to keep out grit and grime. Unlike the Lezyne pumps, the Birzman does not have any threaded fittings to attach the hose to the body, eliminating the risk of cross-threading or stripping threads.
Our only wish is that there was some way to put a seal over the outer head and body of the pump so that mud, grit, and grime can't settle onto the shaft when you mount the pump on the bike. A quick wipe down before operating resolves that issue.
This would be a great mini-pump for an XC hardtail and riders who don't want to carry a hydration pack, as the pump can fit in a jersey pocket or mount on the bike without looking bulky.
The Birzman is a solid value, especially considering its compact size, capable pumping performance, versatility as a shock pump and high-quality construction.
The Velocity Apogee MTB is an excellent mountain bike mini-pump. If pure pumping power is not the top priority, and you are in search of a compact, durable, attractive and versatile pump that can fit in a jersey pocket, we highly recommend the Birzman.
— Kurt Gensheimer