Like most products from Crank Bros, the Gem is a strikingly attractive bit of design. Available in shiny red, green or silver, it’s definitely one for the magpies – why make it black when you can just as easily make it any other colour you fancy? There’s nothing groundbreaking about the design, though, and it’s got all the recognisable features of your average mini-pump.
Switching between Schrader and Presta valves involves the usual faff with a screw-on nylon collar and two plastic washers; so much, so normal. A band of knurling around the barrel’s generous girth means that a slippery grip is never an issue. A ridged knob on the base of the barrel flips between low (0-40psi) and high (40-100psi) pressure modes with a reassuring click. The low pressure mode shifts a surprising volume of air for such a compact design but I found that switching to the high pressure mode well before the 40psi boundary greatly reduced ‘pumper’s arm’.
Otherwise it’s a tidy design that will take up little room in your pack/pocket. There are no extra sticky-out bits to snag on clothing and barely a third of an inch of shaft is exposed when in stowage mode, so it should all stay nice and clean.
The downside of all this compactness is that there’s very little space between the various moving parts of the pump. Getting purchase on the lock-lever is fiddly when wearing gloves; it’s easy to painfully pinch the heel of your hand between barrel and shaft when pumping, and equally easy to trap thumb under lock-lever when returning it after use. How can something so small be so irritating to use? Streamlined and pocket-sized, then, but ergonomically flawed.
|Tested:||by Jenn for 2 months|