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Birzman Maha Push & Twist MTB Floor Pump

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Birzman Maha Push & Twist MTB Floor Pump
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Tested: Birzman Maha Push & Twist Floor Pump

A classic pump with a new twist.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: Birzman Maha Push & Twist Floor Pump

The Maha floor pump from Birzman has been around for a few years, and we’ve always enjoyed both its good looks and its performance. For 2017, the Maha was given a new head, to make switching between valve types a bit easier and to make attaching and detaching the head in general a bit more convenient. Read on to find out what these changes have translated to in the workshop.

Birzman Maha Push & Twist Highlights

  • Wood handle
  • CNC'd aluminum chamber and base
  • New Push & Twist head design
  • 120psi (8.3 bar) capacity
  • MSRP: $100 USD

Initial Impressions

The Maha makes quite a first impression, with its brushed and polished aluminum body and large wooden handle. It’s a sturdy looking piece that almost has you looking forward to your next flat tire when you first get hold of it.

The main body of the Maha is tilted 5 degrees towards the user, in order to make pumping more ergonomic. There is a large gauge at the base of the pump, and 3 relatively long legs to help with stability. The wooden handle is wide and features a rounded shape.

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In addition to the features outlined above, the big news for 2017 is the all-new Push & Twist head. It was designed to make attaching and removing the head more convenient in general, as well as to allow compatibility with both Presta and Schrader valves without having to modify the head.

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The Push & Twist head features little locking teeth that move in and out as you slide the outer part of the head up or down (see the two shots above). To attach the head to the valve, simply push down until the teeth engage, then twist to create a secure seal. To remove, slide the outer part up to disengage the teeth, and the valve pops right off. There is also a small bleed button at the back of the valve to allow you to fine tune your tire pressure without having to remove the valve head.

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In The Workshop

A pump is a pump, right? Well, there is a little bit more to it than that. Making it easy to work with both valve types without having to swap out parts of the head is convenient. A stable base makes pumping more comfortable. A quality piston gives good air pressure and long service life. An easy-to-read and accurate gauge is an obvious benefit. A long hose means you can inflate your tires and check air pressure even with the bike still in the stand. The Maha scores on all these points, which makes it feel like a piece of equipment well worthy of its $100 price tag. That is has a certain “luxurious” aspect to it doesn’t hurt either.

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In regards to air volume and pressure, there is a trade-off to be made when you choose a pump. The Maha generates a fairly high volume of air with each stroke, which is great for reducing the time it takes to inflate a tire. It can also help seat tubeless tires with that extra little burst of air. On the flipside, it also makes pumping harder work, especially if you have an old clogged up valve or some other problem. In those circumstances, we found that we had to use more force with the Maha than with a lower volume pump. It’s a question of leverage.

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Also note that if you use one of those “tubeless inflators” that are becoming more and more popular with home mechanics lately, you might need more than 120 psi to make it work properly. Most such air tanks are rated to 160 or 180 psi, and indeed they work better when filled to capacity (this allows them to dump enough air to properly seat a 2.5” MTB tire). Using the Maha with one of our tanks proved a struggle, as the check valve on the tank requires a fair bit of pressure to even open, and the Maha’s high volume output lacks some of the pressure needed to push through it properly it seems. This may also be because it was hard to get the Push & Twist head to seat properly on the valve of the tank, which is of Presta sizing but a bit different in shape. Because it lacks the sideways openings of a true Presta valve, the little spring loaded plunger inside the Maha head would sit against the valve’s intake hole and seal the opening. The remedy to this issue is to not push the head down too deep over the valve, but then it struggles to seal because of the design of the rubber gasket (which was made to work with both Presta and Schrader). Something to take into consideration (we’ve had better luck using valve heads with a classic rubber gasket clamping mechanism for this particular application).

Things That Could Be Improved

The Push & Twist head works great on a Presta valve when everything is “normal”. If you have a sticky or bent valve however, things can get a bit more delicate. In these circumstances you sometimes don’t want to push the head down too deep over the valve, but because of the design of the one-size-fits-all rubber gasket on the Maha, it can then struggle to seal a bit. We also found that it had a hard time opening some Schrader valves properly, requiring us to use excessive force while pumping. In general terms, the Push & Twist head is a neat idea even though it kind of solves a problem we didn’t really know we had. It can stumble when it’s up against out of the ordinary situations, but in everyday use it gets the job done.

We also noticed that the little clamp that holds the pump head when you store the hose is not as secure as we would have liked it to be. The head has a tendency to pop loose if you nudge it, which then leaves the hose dangling. A minor issue for sure, but still noteworthy.

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Long Term Durability

The general build quality of the Maha is good. The machining work is precise, and the product is well finished off. We’ve had the pump in action for a few months already, and we’ve not noticed any degradation of the pumping action, leading us to believe the piston and seals should be good for years of regular service. We’ll be keeping an eye on the performance of the head seal over time, as this appears to be the most delicate area of this design. The wooden handle has a tendency to work itself loose over time, but it’s easy to tighten back up when that happens.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Birzman likes to look for new ways to solve problems, and their Push & Twist head is a nifty idea that makes attaching and removing the pump head to various types of valve heads easier and more convenient in general. Coupled with an aesthetically pleasing and ergonomically correct design, the Maha is a fine addition to any workshop, provided you keep your valves clean and in good working order. The high volume output makes inflating even the biggest MTB tires a breeze, although if you like to use a tubeless inflator tank, you would be better off looking for a pump with a higher pressure rating (Birzman also makes a high-pressure version of the Maha that should fit the bill here).

More information at: www.birzman.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord

First Look: Birzman Maha Push & Twist MTB Floor Pump

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Howdy Vital MTBers, let's take a look at Birzman's latest floor pump, the Maha Push and Twist MTB pump. The Maha features a screw-on wood handle, CNC'd aluminum chamber and sturdy aluminum three-legged base. As we expect from Birzman, the pump features clean, classy anodizing on the pump head and refined details like the wood-burned logo on the pump's handle.

Now when we first set the pump down, we kept thinking there was something stuck beneath the pump as it sat visually crooked. Well, it is crooked. Birzman has built in a 5-degree angle to the chamber to make pumping action a little more ergonomic for the user. This ergonomic angle is not new to the Birzman Maha line, but it was to our reviewer. Though subtle, the tilt does relieve some stress when pumping, a nice suprise.

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The Maha boasts a 120psi / 8.3 bar capacity and gauge with high-volume chamber meaning less pumps per inflation and the reason floor pumps are wonderful to have at the home workshop.

The Push and Twist Pump Head

The stand-out feature and newest update to the pump is the Push and Twist pump head. Birzman had offered the Apogee pump head that used a similar pushing and twisting motion, but it was slightly complicated requiring manual adjustment of the pump head between Schraeder and Presta valves. This new, updated version (Push & Twist) works on both Schraeder or Presta valves without any additional steps - just place the head on the valve stem, push down the collar, twist it a bit to seal, and pump away. When you push the collar down, little teeth come out to grab the valve stem and the twisting motion helps seal off the system. To remove the pump head from the valve, simply lift up on the collar to release it it. There's a pressure bleed button too, so you can fine-tune your inflations as necessary.

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Retail price on the Maha Push and Twist MTB is a hundred bucks and you can hit up birzman.com for more info.

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Specifications

Product Birzman Maha Push & Twist MTB Floor Pump
Tool Type For the Garage
Features Head: Push & Twist (Presta/Schrader); pressure bleed button for ultimate accuracy
Handle: Varnished wood
Barrel: CNC machined aluminum (39mm x 580mm); ergonomically designed 5° tilt; wider for greater volume
Base: CNC machined aluminum; three-legged
Capacity: 120 psi / 8.3 bar
Miscellaneous Push & Twist operation: insert, PUSH the collar down and TWIST it by one turn to secure engagement; simply pull back the collar to disengage

Price $78
More Info

birzman.com

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