“Who wants an enormous pump to test?”
It was with these words that the Turbo Morph G came into my life. And it’s true – at 35 centimetres long, this is about as large as trail pumps get. While it won’t win fans among the “water bottle and back pockets only” crowd, if you have a pack that can fit it, it’s probably the quickest way of inflating your tyres without resorting to compressed gas. And with the current trend towards bigger mountain bike tyres, it makes sense to have a pump to match.
The Turbo Morph, and its siblings the Mountain Morph (and the Mini Morph that Rachel tested here), are something of a classic design among pumps. Normally when using a hand pump, you have to hold it with one hand while pumping with the other, which can make punctures quite a… tiring affair (mirthless laugh). The Turbo Morph, however, has a secret weapon. While you can use it like a conventional pump, it’s designed so you can stand it on the ground. Flip the small plastic foot out, fold the handle 90 degrees, and you’ve got what is basically a mini track pump.
A short hose connects the pump to your valve stem, via a simple chuck head with a clamping lever. The head fits Presta or Schrader valves, although swapping between the two is a slightly fiddly process which involves unscrewing a lockring, then removing and flipping a rubber gasket and a plastic backing piece. This isn’t as agonising as converting some pumps I’ve used, but it does require care when done trail-side, lest you drop a piece and render your inflation device useless.
The short hose also means that you need to keep the tyre valve next to the ground, but that’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It also means you’ll never suffer the curse of the broken valve stem again.The large volume of the body, coupled with the fact that you’re pushing into the ground rather than against yourself, makes inflating a tyre ridiculously easy. There are other pumps out there which use a similar design, but the Turbo Morph distinguishes itself by having a large, comfortable handle, and a fold-out foot that’s long enough to stand on, making sure the pump stays put, and all of your energy goes into pushing air. It’s astonishingly quick and comfortable to use, so much so that you’ll find yourself volunteering to fix other people’s punctures for them.
If you’re a mountain bike guide, or just that person on the group ride who sorts out everyone’s mechanicals, this pump will make your life better. Ditto if you run doughnut-esque rubber: a 2.8in plus tyre goes up in seconds instead of minutes. It’s also rated to 160psi, should you want to take it on a road ride. I couldn’t test this claim as I don’t have any tyres which hold that much pressure, but it happily topped up the tyres on my faithful tourer to 80psi. The only downside is that the pump’s foot can pick up a bit of mud in use, which can then find its way into your pack.
While I’ve used the standard Mountain Morph many times, this is my first encounter with its pressure gauge-equipped variant. The gauge on the pump is about the size of a 10p piece, and needs to be flipped out out for use. I tend to check tyres using the classic squeeze test, but if you’re not confident doing this, it’s a useful indicator. Riders using plus tyres, where minor variations in the 10-20 psi range can make a big difference to handing, might also find it helpful. However, while it seems to be generally accurate, the small numbers on the dial coupled with the thickness of the indicator arrow mean that it isn’t much use when you get down to little 2-3 psi increments. A version with a digital pressure gauge would be perfect for tweakers, though a lot more spendy. The near-identical Mountain Morph pump weighs 240g, so the gauge adds about 30 grams to the 270g weight of the pump, although if you’re a weight weenie this probably isn’t the pump for you.
The pump comes with a simple mounting bracket which can either be zip-tied or bolted on. I’ve kept the Turbo Morph in my pack for the duration of this test, as a bulky pump with a hose doesn’t look like it’d lend itself well to frame mounting, but the bracket should work well enough in a pinch. Spares are available for the pump in the form of a parts kit and a spare head, so in theory it should last you a good few years.
Unfortunately though, Topeak has designed the pump’s fold-out foot pad with a couple of extra holes near the hinge. After a few months’ use, I noticed some cracks appearing, and even an emergency application of Araldite wasn’t enough to stop the foot breaking off. It’s not the end of the world – a spare will only cost you a princely £3 – but I have an original Mountain Morph, with a solid foot pad, which has been good for 10+ years, so it’s a shame that this detail was changed.
The Turbo Morph is a great design. It’s very easy to use and blows up a tyre like nobody’s business. However the gauge is of questionable usefulness and it’s let down by the durability of its new-style foot pad. Unless you really need the reassurance of the gauge, I’d pass this over in favour of the standard Mountain Morph and pocket the difference.
|Product:||Turbo Morph G|
|Tested:||by Antony for 3 months|