Hands-on Gear Review

Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB Review

The ideal pump for a mountain biker looking for a capable, lightweight, low-profile frame, or jersey pocket, pump.
By: Kurt Gensheimer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 15, 2018
Price:  $40 List  |  $35.28 at Amazon - 12% Off
Pros:  Easy to use, threadless valve head, retractable hose, doubles as a front shock pump
Cons:  Hose is short, not as powerful as larger pumps, not for road bikes
Manufacturer:   Birzman
83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Pumping Performance - 30% 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 8
  • Portability - 20% 9
  • Looks and Design - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a lightweight and low profile mountain bike mini-pump with functional good looks, then the Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB is an excellent pick. It delivers impressive pumping performance for its small size and has the added benefit of doubling as a front shock pump in a pinch, a unique feature in the mini-pump segment.

For those in search of top-notch performance, check out the Lezyne Gauge Drive HV, our Editor's Choice. It's a similar looking mini-pump that offers more volume. It's a few inches longer and a little bit heavier.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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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.

The Birzman has a quick connect system and a retractable hose that's easy to set up and start pumping with.
The Birzman has a quick connect system and a retractable hose that's easy to set up and start pumping with.

Pumping Performance


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.

The Velocity Apogee features a threadless valve head for quick connecting.
The Velocity Apogee features a threadless valve head for quick connecting.

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.

The Velocity Apogee is very low profile and does not look bulky when mounted on a bike frame.
The Velocity Apogee is very low profile and does not look bulky when mounted on a bike frame.

Portability


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.

Durability


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.

Best Applications


The Velocity Apogee MTB is best suited to mountain bike use and excels in applications where a low profile and front shock pump capability are priorities. It's also ideal for those who don't want to risk unscrewing the Presta valve core when unthreading a pump hose like on Lezyne models.

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.

Value


At $39.99, 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 is very compact and has a handy telescoping hose.
The Velocity Apogee is very compact and has a handy telescoping hose.

Conclusion


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

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