I’ve got a Serfas FP-100 floor pump that has served me well for at least ten years, maybe more. This is the 3rd home I’ve lived in since I bought it, and besides myself, dozens of neighborhood kids have used and abused it. It’s seen plenty of greasy, grubby, dirty hands, filled hundreds and hundreds of tires, and still works like new. That kind of durability has made it a great value. So when the folks at Serfas offered to lend me their new FMP-969 floor pump for testing, I was more than willing, but also anxious to see what the fuss was all about with this new pump.
First things first: This is not the pump you leave outside for your neighbor’s kids to use. The FMP-969 is a beautiful aluminum pump that is as much a piece of artwork as a useful tool. An extra wide base sports a large pressure gauge that reads to 240psi, the handle is polished ovalized tubing, and even the hose is pretty special, being braided stainless with a clear rubber sleeve. I’m not suggesting you stand it on your coffee table, but my wife hasn’t complained when I leave it in the living room. It’s so nice looking, maybe she hasn’t realized it’s a tire pump. Or maybe she’s given up on trying to civilize me. (Note: she came into my office while I was writing this, and admitted that she never really looked at it, and thought it was a scooter)
Taking a closer look, it’s obvious that some thought went into the design. That wide base is nice and solid, so it doesn’t tip over easily, but fits small and large feet with ease. High contrast numbers on the black face of the gauge – white for psi and orange for bar, are easy to read, plus there’s a big red arrow on the rotating bezel, so you set the pressure, and stop pumping when the arrow and dial line up. About four inches taller than my old steel pump, the FMP-969 offers more volume per stroke, and hitting those high pressures is easier with the wider handle. The taller body necessitated a longer hose, which I found convenient for topping off tires while a bike is still on the repair stand. A hose keeper at the top of the pump keeps it in place when not in use. At the end of that hose is an all-metal valve that switches from Presta to Schrader by simply rotating a ring a quarter turn. It’s clearly labeled P and S too. After admiring all the details, it was time to put it to use.
I recently swapped tires from one of my mountain bikes to another. They’re 26 x 2.00, but noticeably taller than most tires. The extra volume and height allows me to choose between a plush ride on bad roads/dirt trails, or a bit more speed on hard surfaces. It also means that they take what seems like forever to fill to 60 psi. The FMP-969 managed in 47 strokes, compared to the old FP-100 at an even 60. A 700 x 23 road tire only took 17 strokes to hit 110 psi, which is an improvement of about 9 over the old pump. Usually, the higher pressures require more effort. In this case, the taller pump meant less stooping, so it never felt like work. If there’s one minor downside, it would be that the valve head needs to be threaded on, rather than using a locking lever. Not a big deal, but it does slow things down a bit. Oh, I also checked the built-in gauge against a digital tire pressure gauge I have, and they seem to match. So they’re either both accurate, or both off. But I’m leaning towards the former.
So is it worth the $120 MSRP? I think so. Given that my previous Serfas pump shows no sign of giving up, and they’re quite a reputable brand, I have no doubts about the quality. The design makes filling tires faster and easier too. But the bling factor should not be overlooked either. I’ve got a raw aluminum MTB, and a brushed raw steel bike in my home shop right now, and this pump just fits right in with the rolling art. In a world full of bright and garish “in your face” logos and graphics, the simple stylized “S” on the base, and etched logo on the handle are a refreshing change. As my friend (a bike shop employee) mentioned when he first saw it, it’s “a sexy piece of gear”. I have to agree. And it functions as great at it looks. serfas.com