Bontrager Air Support Review
Cons: Clunky pump action, mediocre pumping performance
Our Analysis and Test Results
After going through our rigorous testing procedures, the Bontrager Air Support ended up near the lower end of the list. It does have some great features, but it falls behind when it comes time to get the job done. It did not perform as well as high-pressure specific road bike pumps or as well as high volume specific mountain bike pumps. It also is not the most spectacular when it comes to extra features, innovation, or design.
Pumping performance is not a strong suit for the Air Support. Right out of the box, there was a clunky feeling in the piston while pumping. During our road tire test, it just stopped increasing psi at around 200 strokes at a maximum of 50 psi. For the 27.5" x 3" mountain bike tire test it took all 300 strokes to get to 25 psi. It will get you enough psi to get off the road or off the trail, but if the goal is to keep riding for the rest of the day, then it would be a good idea to go with a frame pump that will perform better when needed.
One of the best performing mini pumps that we have reviewed is the Topeak Road Morph G which can get a road bike tire up to 125 psi in 200 strokes and can still be mounted to the frame.
Ease of Use
The pump head on the Air Support is a standard locking lever style, but with an integrated valve female that works for both Presta and Schrader valves. This sounds great on paper, but when it came time to test the pump in the field, it fell in the middle of performance between the two valves. For Schrader valves, it was difficult to seal because the female was so small, whereas for Presta valves the head would leak air unless the pump was perfectly perpendicular to the wheel because the female was too big.
For a pump that does not come with a flex hose or a pressure gauge, a better option is our Best Buy Award winner the Topeak Peakini 2 which is more affordable and has a much higher level of performance.
The Air Support is stronger in the portability category. Weighing 122 grams, it is fairly light, and with a length of 21cm, it is one of the more compact pumps in our review. It has a cylinder that is small in diameter and is small enough to fit in a jersey. While mounted on a bike frame it stays out of the way of pedaling and the mount sandwiches between a water bottle cage and the frame, so you don't have to sacrifice any hydration for a frame pump.
In comparison, some pumps are close to the same length that are lighter and that work better for those who are worried about shaving every last gram. The Lezyne Road Drive is 23.5 cm and only weighs 97 grams.
Looks and Design
When it comes to looks and design the Air Support is pretty average. It is a nice looking pump and it does have some excellent features. Bontrager thought to add a sliding rubber gasket on the barrel that holds the pump closed when it's in your jersey, on your frame, or in your pack. It's mostly made out of aluminum, which has a nice aesthetic.
Another aluminum body pump that does a much better job of pumping, and comes with a flex hose with an inline gauge is the Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump with Gauge.
The Air Support is a strong pump. The aluminum body withstood any dropping, tossing, or shaking around that we threw at it. It also has a strong frame mount that would likely hold onto the pump even in the event that the rubber strap that secures it came undone. One of the Air Support's most durable features is that the locking lever on the head is made out of aluminum as well. Usually, these are made out of plastic.
A weakness in the durability category is that it doesn't have a way of protecting the head. Our Best Buy Winner, the Topeak Peakini 2, has a rubber dust guard to keep the pump head free of debris.
The Air Support does not offer the most amount of value. Our current Best Buy Award winner the Peakini 2 is cheaper and outperforms it while offering a similar style. If you don't mind spending a few dollars more, our previous Best Buy Award winner the Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump with Gauge offers more durability, a flex hose, and a gauge.
The Bontrager Air Support did not live up to OutdoorGearLab standards. It scored somewhat well in a few categories, but if it doesn't perform its primary job, we cannot recommend it to our readers.
— Ross Patton
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