Pinkbike Product Picks

Aug 3, 2012
by Richard Cunningham  
SKS Aircon 6.0 Floor Pump

SKS is a substantial-sized German manufacturer that offers a wide range of high-quality cycling pumps, both large and small. The Aircon 6.0 stands head and shoulders above the teaming masses of floor pumps available because it moves a massive volume of air with each stroke of its 25-inch-high, 1.5-inch barrel. SKS actually makes the Aircon 6.0, so there is visible evidence of quality workmanship. The plastic footboard is rugged and angled to fit your feet, while the V-shaped handle actually feels more ergonomic than the typical straight handles one sees most often. The pressure gauge is large and easily read, and there are hose anchors on the seal head to securely stow the pump when not in use, as well as a slot that fits a tab on the air chuck to hang the hose at the ready while you are working. The seal head automatically adapts to Presta or Schrader valves and the hose is long enough to reach wheels while the bike is elevated in a work-stand. SKS states that the Aircon 6.0 is designed for mountain bikes and thus, it is designed to move a lot of air at lower pressures. The maximum pressure that is recommended for the pump is about 85psi. SKS stocks replacement parts for the seals and air chuck. Expect to pay around $45 USD for the Aircon 6.0.
SKS Germany

Hero image - SKS Aircon 6.0 Floor pump

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesI first ran into the SKS Aircon 6.0 pump at Magura's media camp where the mechanics there were fighting over it as they prepared tubeless wheels for the test bikes there. I gave it a try and was elated to discover that I could inflate a jumbo-sized tire in about ten strokes of the orange monster-pump. Later, the moment of truth arrived as there were no mechanics to be found and I needed to mount a new tubeless tire. I removed the Presta valve stem, slipped the Multivalve air-chuck on and gave the Aircon a healthy pump. Woah! The tire nearly jumped onto the rim - as if it was frightened of the towering SKS floor pump. Later, when my own Aircon arrived for this review, I duplicated the results with equal success. Tubeless users will find that the boosted air volume that the Aircon 6.0 delivers can be the tipping point for a successful inflation - rather than a retreat to the nearest available air compressor. The downside of the Aircon is that it will not achieve pressures high enough to inflate a road bike tire unless you weight over three hundred pounds and can bench press your weight. Also, the air chuck's flip-lever is a bit stiff when the pump is new - loosen the threaded cap or risk snapping your Presta valve stems in half while attempting to close the lever. I'm not giving mine back. - RC

Michelin Wild Grip'R Advanced - 2.3" Tire

Michelin reinvented its most aggressive multi-condition tire with a new rubber compound called Gum-X and a number of improvements in the tread design and casing. Michelin redesigned the tread with stepped blocks and rearranged the locations to provide better mud shedding characteristics. The tread is a dual-compound design, with softer edging rubber and a harder, more durable crown compound. Michelin custom tunes the Wild Grip'R tread depending upon the casing size, as well as the intended use. For instance, the 54-millimeter XC tires use a harder, 64/59 hardness combination, the All-mountain/trail version uses a 59/55 combination, while the 58-millimeter DH/enduro casing is shod with a super-sticky, 54-durometer compound throughout. Michelin makes the Wildgrip'R in both UST and Tubeless Ready options. The UST casing is made from 60 thread-per-inch material, while the lighter weight Tubeless Ready tires are constructed from 110tpi material. Weights begin at 490 grams for the 2.0 inch Advanced and grow to a whopping 950 grams for the double-reinforced 2.35-inch DH/enduro version that we reviewed here. Prices range from $69 for the Wild Grip'R Advanced, to $45 USD for the standard Wildgrip'R models.

Michelin WIldgrip r tire

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWe tested Michelin's new and improved Wild Grip'R Advanced 2.35-inch tires in widely varying conditions around Morzine, France ranging from slimy mud and roots, super-steep loamy skid-fests and on hard-packed bike park DH trails that the area is famous for. After two days of lift shuttling and trail riding, the Michelin tires held up well, with some big-skid scuffing of the crown tread and a some obvious abrasion on the edging blocks, but both front and rear Wild Grip'Rs had most of their life still stuck to the tire and waiting for the next round. Cornering is trustworthy and predictable at realistic pressures (32/30psi), with lots of straight-line braking grip on tap - even when depending solely on the rear stopper. We ran the tires tubeless and experienced no flats, cuts or burping issues. On their claims that the Wild Grip'R is an all-terrain design, we can wholeheartedly agree, and we had a number of chances to evaluate their mud-shedding ability - which also turned out well. If the new Wild Grip'R Advanced is an indication of good things to come - Michelin is back in the game. - RC

Kali Maraka XC Helmet

Kali Protectives is most known for its downhill and Moto helmets and its protective gear, but the designers there never rest, so when they turn their attention to cross-country, the outcome is bound to turn heads. The Maraga XC helmet incorporates many of the features that put Kali on the Moto and DH map, like an in-molded shell that allows impacts to pass seamlessly into the shock-absorbing EPS foam layers, and Kali's Composite Fusion Plus Shell that intersperses a lower-density foam near the head with a higher density outer layer. The rear of the Maraka XC uses a carbon fiber skeleton to keep the foam intact in a severe impact, while the front vents are ringed with 'SuperVents - molded plastic reinforcements that dissipate energy from the vent edges into the helmet proper. Even the internal padding is tricked out - with a linked polymer foam that reportedly dissipate energy at less than two millimeters thick. At only 250 grams with its breakaway visor, the Maraka XC is quite lightweight, and its 25 vents keep its wearer cool. The retention system is a simple pair of ratchet buckles in the rear, and three flip-up buckles in the chin straps make it easy to find a custom fit. Kali offers three sizes: X-small/small, small/medium and medium/large. Colors are black/white, Blue/gold and red/black and the MSRP is $189 USD.
Kali Protectives

Kali Maraka XC helmet

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesI usually shy away from XC helmets because they make me look like I was recently swimming in the ocean and forgot that there was a jellyfish attacking my head. Kali's Maraka XC is close enough to the jellyfish genre to warn me off, but the fit and comfort of the helmet has made it my hot-weather go-to lid since the first time I put it on. I have managed to hit the ground a few times hard wearing the Kali XC helmet and it looks no worse for the wear. The visor is barely long enough to keep the low rays of the sun from obliterating the trail in the early and late hours of the day, but it does get the job done. The two-handed retention buckles are a bit of a hassle, but the helmet fits well enough that one session is enough to get them right. The feel is light and airy, but also there is a substantial sense that one gets from wearing the Maraka XC - it feels like a helmet, not a glorified flower arrangement made from foam coffee-cups. - RC

Anything in this week's Product Picks catch your attention?

Click the boxes that apply


  • 19 2
 A pump that can't inflate over 85 psi seems worthless to me. I'd rather not have to buy separate pumps for separate bikes but rather one pump to pump them all! One pump.... to rule the world!
  • 5 0
 Lezyne Floor Drive appears to be indestructible.
  • 1 0
 I think it's just for road bikes where you need like 140 psi
  • 1 0
 I have had 2.3 K-Rads at 120 before.
  • 17 5
 joe blow is honestly the worst pump ever invented
  • 5 2
 true that, they last a matter of weeks in a workshop.
  • 5 0
 I've got an old Cannondale floor pump that I have had about 10 years and its still as good as is was when is was new. The best tool I own. Couldn't live without it.
  • 13 0
 The Jo Blow in our work shop is still going strong... been there for about 2 years now
  • 5 5
 nah ...over a decade then it's strong
  • 6 0
 im pretty sure the base model parktool pump is way worse than anything
  • 11 0
 Specialized makes some awesome pumps, definitely worth the cash, plus lifetime warranty.
  • 19 0
 Lezyne floor pump, nuf said.
  • 2 7
flag kgbock (Aug 3, 2012 at 7:37) (Below Threshold)
 Specialized sucks bigtime, I bought the pump only because it was on sale for a ridiculous price, but it just never worked. For presta valves I had to use an adapter which pretty much defeats the point of the "switchhitter" and it didnt work too well on schraeder either, after a few weeks I got a leak on the base, when returned for warranty I just picked a Cannondale, so far much better.
  • 4 0
 lezyne pumps are definitely the best for personal use, but given that you have to thread them on to the valve and such they don't make the best shop pump for quick uses
  • 1 0
 Blackburn TP-3 Trakpump Max. Purchased in 1998, never replaced anything on it and still works today as it did on day 1. I've raced road, DH, XC, BMX in that time so both valves have seen good use. Blackburn has a lifetime warranty too. Now I can see how they can afford to offer that.
  • 1 0
 i got a joe blow last year. best pump ever.
  • 2 0
 My Park Tool pump does the job just fine. I even had to use it for my suv tire once.
  • 1 0
 We worked out the other day that 1 week in our workshop is equivalent to about 4 years of civilian use for a track pump. I'm yet to find any pump that's really up to the job, but my current best bet is the SKS Rennkompressor. Not cheap, at about £70, but it's damn near bullet proof. Not the fastest, or the easiest at high pressure, but a good balance between the 2. Most pumps are good at over 100psi or good at fine tuning the last 1psi in an MTB tyre, but few can do both.
  • 2 0
 Yeah had my joe blow about 7 or 8 years now and only just replaced the head to the new smarthead. Never ever had any problems. Awesome pump.
  • 2 0
 joe blow max, 4 years old, used all the time for several bikes and motor bike ,still going strong.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
  • 1 5
flag Chamakazi Plus (Aug 3, 2012 at 8:38) (Below Threshold)
 I beg to differ, the valve is possibly the most annoying thing on earth.
  • 1 0
 Silca makes a presta head that requires no lever flipping or threading. Sweet on a Lezyne floor pump unless you have a lot of schrader tubes.
  • 1 1
 Is it really that hard to twist the valve on. I like it cause it won't wiggle off. It takes me two hands to put the lever style on cause I'm scared of cracking stems.
  • 6 0
 I'm fine with my floor pump.
  • 4 1
 Well my steel floor pump with wooden handle from our old Skoda 120L car do the job well, for like 25 years now - there are a few scratch here and there but it still work like new. Any question? Big Grin
  • 2 0
 mine is from Zefal .... 14 years old france rock!
  • 4 0
 maraka in spanish it means whore haha
  • 1 1
 I tried out the Michelin Wild Gripr's in France as well, during Chatel. It was adequate in a straight line, held it's line well over slimy roots and rocks, but it's cornering ability was laughable. Any lean angle past 10 degrees and you're in the dirt.
  • 1 1
 Have a small electric-compressor hardwired in my truck and a compressor in my garage. Pumps suck. Especially if they cost more than comps that last 10 years or more. Also blowcleaning parts and bikes saves a lot of water and solvents, undoes o-rings, seals, grips and carpet gritt in truckinterior.
  • 2 0
 That Maraka looks good. Almost similar to the Fox one, but looks more refined.
  • 2 0
 When it comes to tire pumps, nothing beats Lenzyne...Heck you can even inflat a car tire.
  • 1 0
 Why not use your usual minipump+Topeak digital gauge? Better accuarcy and you can use it outside the workshop/home.
  • 4 2
 85 psi max recommended? so the 3 of us with road bikes are f*cked
  • 11 4
 Stop riding a road bike Big Grin
  • 1 0
 not just road bikes. You need to overinflate a UST for a few days before letting out 20lbs of psi for a proper seal. That is about 45psi for my 2.35s. My Joe Blow lasted 2 months and exploded while inflating. It took out a glass piece on the mantle in the living room about 12 feet away. The wife was unimpressed. The Filzer has served me well for 7 years now.
  • 1 1
 Michelin tires are awful, they honestly ruined months of my riding life when i brought them two years back, honestly don't bother.
  • 1 1
 could not agree more. I ruined many rides trying out the thin walled UST's that flatted constantly about 10 years ago. done
  • 2 0
 I think that for the price the Lyzene pump is a better deal than the SKS
  • 1 0
 I need a new floor pump. The gauge on mine is so far off.
  • 1 0
 love hoe the helmet is held up with a champ glass lol
  • 1 2
 that lid has so many large holes for branches and crap to impale one's brain. It also looks like an asshat. Never met a michelin tyre that i liked. keep the pump. next
  • 3 5
 My topeak JO BLOW does the same job just aswell
  • 1 4
 those outer knobs looks prone to ripping off?

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