Review: Specialized Fuel Cell, Reserve Rack, Air Tool
article & images by Andrew Strauss
Nov 4, 2014  hits 214,080

Specialized's Air Tool Compak

Specialized's Air Tool Compak is designed to be a small floor pump that is easy to travel with and take on adventures. I have in general not been fond of small pumps due to the increased effort needed to fill a tire, but was pleasantly surprised by this product.

The pump has a locking removable handle that attaches to the side of the pump for storage. It is removed or attached by pushing a silver button in the center of the handle. This secures everything during transport and use. I found this button to be slightly tough to use at times, but not too bad. The top of the pump has a grove to route the hose over the top when the handle isn't in use. This keeps the hose from rattling around, as well as keeping the pump shaft from sliding out during transport. There is a clip on the side of the pump to hold the hose in place. The legs fold in as well, making the pump quite streamlined.

The pump's head has a reversible tip that can be used with either thread-on Presta or Schrader valves. I found the tip to be easy enough to use, and perfectly acceptable for such a compact pump.

One of my favorite features of the pump is the inline pressure gauge. Near the head, there is a long gauge that I didn't even notice until I used the pump for the first time. As pressure increases, a red strip extends to show you the current amount of pressure. I verified pressure with a Topeak D2 Smart Gauge digital pressure gauge, and found the pump's gauge to be accurate to within 3-7 PSI on my tri bike when filling to 110 PSI. When filling my mountain bike to 40 PSI, it was accurate to within 2-5 PSI. And there was the potential for some air loss when removing the pump and then using the pressure gauge. I found this level of accuracy to be more than sufficient for this type of pump, and the gauge was a very nice feature to have built into the pump.

Another interesting feature is the ability to store spare parts in the handle. The pump comes with 2 tire levers and some stick on patches in that space. I would have preferred to see some tools as well. I find myself checking the tightness of various bolts and adjusting things before every ride, whereas I patch tubes much less frequently. I generally do my patching at home, and just swap out tubes on the road. Tools would have thus been much more useful for me, but your habits may differ from mine.

My biggest fear with a pump this small was the amount of effort needed to fill a tire, or bring it to a high PSI. I had no problem on either front. Filling a standard road tire to around 100 PSI was easy enough. And getting a tubular tire up to 140 PSI was also not a problem. Using a standard floor pump will unquestionably be easier than this type of compact pump, but I was pleased by how small the difference was. The effort needed was close enough to a standard floor pump, and MUCH easier than a mini frame pump.

The Air Tool Compak comes with a nice padded case, which makes me less worried about it rattling around in the back of my car. I find myself much more willing to take it with me as opposed to my standard floor pump.

Since I started using the Air Tool Compak, my general practice when driving to a city away from home to bike has been to fill up at home with my standard floor pump, and then bringing the Air Tool Compak in the car with me to top off the tires while on the road. I don't use it as much as my standard floor pump, but like having the Air Tool Compak with me while traveling. It has come in handy several times already, and is MUCH easier to use than a tiny frame pump. I like it a lot more than I expected, and intended to keep it as part of my travel kit. If you don't mind traveling with a standard floor pump, then I would stick with that. But if you want to save some space, the Air Tool Compak is a great option.

Pros
  • Compact streamlined design
  • Inline pressure gauge is very handy
  • Nice padded case
  • Presta and Schrader compatible
 
Cons
  • No tool storage
  • Handle can sometimes be tricky to lock down

Very nice travel pump with some well though-out features
Rating: 4.0


Tags » hydration,  nutrition,  shiv,  specialized,  tools

Fuel Cell 

The Specialized Fuel Cell is a Shiv specific storage system designed to mate perfectly to the frame and not add any frontal area to the bike. Specialized goes so far as to say that its design reduces drag.

  • Specialized's Fuel Cell attached to my Shiv.
  • Specialized's Fuel Cell attached to my Shiv.
  • Specialized's Fuel Cell attached to my Shiv.
  • Gels can be stored in the rubber top cap of the Fuel Cell.  They can be easily accessed while riding via a slit in the top of the rubber cap.
  • Gels can be stored in the rubber top cap of the Fuel Cell.  They can be easily accessed while riding via a slit in the top of the rubber cap.
  • Gels can be stored in the rubber top cap of the Fuel Cell.  They can be easily accessed while riding via a slit in the top of the rubber cap.
  • The rubber top cap is held in place via a friction fit.  It pulls off to allow access to the spare parts in the compartment below.
  • There is a tab on the top of the main compartment that is used to release the Fuel Cell.  The main compartment can then be removed to make loading easier.
  • There is a tab on the top of the main compartment that is used to release the Fuel Cell.  The main compartment can then be removed to make loading easier.
  • There is a tab on the top of the main compartment that is used to release the Fuel Cell.  The main compartment can then be removed to make loading easier.
  • The Fuel Cell's mount attaches to the bottle bosses on the seat tube.
  • The rubber top cap is held in place via a friction fit.  It pulls off to allow access to the spare parts in the compartment below.
  • The Fuel Cell and my old saddle bag.  The saddle bag looks much smaller, but it holds a lot more due to its increased width.
  • The Fuel Cell and my old saddle bag.  The saddle bag looks much smaller, but it holds a lot more due to its increased width.
  • The Fuel Cell and my old saddle bag.  The saddle bag looks much smaller, but it holds a lot more due to its increased width.
  • These are the items I normally carry in my flat kit: 2 tire levers, 2 CO2 Cartridges, a spare tube, a compact inflater head, a spare master link, and a small multi-tool.  The tube has not been unpacked or tested.  After filling it up and testing it, you wouldn't be able to get enough air out to make it this compact ever again.  But even with the tube in this state, these items will not fit in the Fuel Cell.
  • After losing the rubber top cap, I used electrical tape to cover the top of my Fuel Cell.  Specialized was friendly and replaced the top cap free of charge, but I am pretty sure that it will get lost again.  The top cap is held in place via a friction fit.  If the items in the Fuel Cell shift around on a bumpy road, they could push up on the cap and cause it to come off.

Reserve Rack 

The Specialized Reserve Rack is a mounting system that allows one to carry a single saddle bottle as well as some inflation accessories. The product comes with three pieces: a mount that attaches to your saddle rails, a wing that will carry inflation accessories, and an optional Rib Cage.

  • Specialized's Reserve Rack can hold 2 CO2 cartridges on one side and a pump on the other side.  The CO2 cartridges thread onto a coupler that comes with the Reserve Rack.  Elastic bands hold the CO2 coupler and pump to the Reserve Rack.
  • Specialized's Reserve Rack can hold 2 CO2 cartridges on one side and a pump on the other side.  The CO2 cartridges thread onto a coupler that comes with the Reserve Rack.  Elastic bands hold the CO2 coupler and pump to the Reserve Rack.
  • Specialized's Reserve Rack can hold 2 CO2 cartridges on one side and a pump on the other side.  The CO2 cartridges thread onto a coupler that comes with the Reserve Rack.  Elastic bands hold the CO2 coupler and pump to the Reserve Rack.
  • The mount that comes with the Reserve Rack clamps onto your saddle's rails.  There is no angle adjustment on the clamp.  In order to use the clamp, your saddle needs to have standard rails, and enough room to get the clamp in.
  • The mount that comes with the Reserve Rack clamps onto your saddle's rails.  There is no angle adjustment on the clamp.  In order to use the clamp, your saddle needs to have standard rails, and enough room to get the clamp in.
  • The mount that comes with the Reserve Rack clamps onto your saddle's rails.  There is no angle adjustment on the clamp.  In order to use the clamp, your saddle needs to have standard rails, and enough room to get the clamp in.
  • This is the wing that holds inflation accessories.  The wing gets sandwiched between the mount, and the bottle cage.  The bolts for the bottle cage go through the holes on the wing.  In this photo, 2 CO2 cartridges have been threaded onto a coupler that comes with the Reserve Rack.  If you prefer to carry Pit Stop instead of CO2, you may store it where the CO2 coupler is attached in this photo.  This means that your choices are 2 CO2 cartridges + pump, or Pit Stop + pump.  Neither of these combinations suits my personal needs, but you may find that these combos suit you.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.  I have added a camelbak Podium Chill bottle.
  • View from the back with a bottle attached.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.  I have added a camelbak Podium Chill bottle.
  • In this photo, the wing and cage are attached directly to the Sitero's bottle mount.  This way you don't need the mount that comes with the Reserve Rack, and results in a slightly cleaner setup.  I am using the Rib Cage that comes with the Reserve Rack, but you could in theory use the wing with any bottle cage.  I have added a camelbak Podium Chill bottle.
  • While testing to see if the Rib Cage that comes with the Fuel Cell was more prone to bottle launching than my other cages, I tried the cage on a different rear mount to compare how the cage preformed on different setups.  While using an XLAB Carbon Wing setup as shown, the Rib Cage launched just as frequently as when I used it on the Reserve Rack.  I found that the Rib Cage launched less than my cheapo no-name cages, but more than my XLAB Gorilla XT.  The Rib Cage held bottles decently when full, but tended to launch more as I emptied the bottles.

Air Tool Compak 

Specialized's Air Tool Compak is designed to be a small floor pump that is easy to travel with and take on adventures.

  • The Air Tool Compak fully assembled and ready for use.
  • The padded case that comes with Specialized's Air Tool Compak.
  • Everything fits nicely in the case, and there is definitely some extra room should you wish to store some other small items.
  • The handles locks onto the side of the pump.  The hose wraps around the top of the pump, and is held in place via a clip on the side of the pump.  There is a grove in the top of the pump for the hose.  This keeps the hose in place, and prevents the pump from sliding out while traveling.
  • This is the button in the center of the handle that you push to unlock the handle.
  • This is the button in the center of the handle that you push to unlock the handle.
  • The handle has a locking square fitting on the bottom which keeps the handle in place.
  • The top of the pump has a grove for the hose.  This keeps the hose in place, and prevents the pump from sliding out while traveling.
  • The head is reversible.  It can be unscrewed to switch from Presta to Schrader.
  • This is the Air Tool Compak's pressure gauge.  I didn't even notice it at first.  After you start pumping, a stick slides out indicating the current pressure.
  • This is the Air Tool Compak's pressure gauge.  I didn't even notice it at first.  After you start pumping, a stick slides out indicating the current pressure.
  • This is the Air Tool Compak's pressure gauge.  I didn't even notice it at first.  After you start pumping, a stick slides out indicating the current pressure.  It indicates both BAR and PSI
  • This is the Air Tool Compak's pressure gauge.  I didn't even notice it at first.  After you start pumping, a stick slides out indicating the current pressure.  It indicates both BAR and PSI
  • Here you can see the amount the handle will extend while pumping.  I found using the pump to be easier than I though it would be, and totally acceptable for a pump of this size.
  • These are the patch tools that come with the Air Tool Compak.  On the left you have several stick on patches.  On the right are two tire levers.  These all can be stored in the handle during transport.  I was disappointed by the fact that they included a patch kit instead of some tools.
  • Here you can compare the size of the Air Tool Compak to a standard floor pump.  The pump in this picture is a Topeak Joe Blow Sport II (on top).  It is a bit longer than the Air Tool Compak.  You can't tell from this photo, but it is also quite a bit wider.

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