- Good quality
- Comfortable, ergonomic shaping
- Easily fine-tunes out overpressure
The SKS SAM (which stands for Suspension Air Mechanic) shock pump is really solidly built, can handle up to 360psi, and has a clever two-stage connection valve. Unfortunately it falls short of the competition on both price and portability.
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The SAM is a good quality piece of equipment. The handle has an ergonomic grip, and the rubber around the dial gives a comfortable grip for your other hand too – a thing many pumps overlook.
The metal-braided hose pivots through 360° to give both easy access to awkward rear shocks and neat storage in the handle.
SKS uses a two-stage valve connection to avoid pressure loss. By screwing the lower connection on first, the pump is securely attached; the second stage is then engaged to actually open the valve. Reverse this process to remove the pump, the only air you lose it the tiny bit between the valves.
The pressure dial is an perfectly acceptable size, but the primary scale is in bar, while the psi reading is on the inside of the dial, in grey on a black background, and quite hard to read.
First time using it I went up to eight thinking it to be 80psi, before realising it was actually 8 bar – or 116psi – so pay careful attention to the units!
The pump action is very positive up to 200psi, but after this it becomes noticeably harder to use. That can be an issue if you're running a small rear air can which needs a high pressure.
The SAM has a screw-action pressure release function, where turning the release dial anti-clockwise slowly opens a valve to fine tune the pressure. It's good, and much easier to control that the button affairs on most shock pumps.
At 273g it's heavy though, which is fine for workshop use but this – alongside its bulk – means it's not well suited to backpack use out on the trail.
At £47 the SAM shock pump is on the expensive side. It has a well-built feel and some good features, but the Birzman Salut, for instance, is only slightly more at £50, goes to 400psi, has a slim alloy body and is nearly 100g lighter.
Alternatively, the LifeLine Shock Pump can get to 300psi, has a large gauge that foregrounds psi and is just £16.99.
Ultimately, the SKS SAM shock pump is a well-built and easy to use shock pump, but its performance can easily be matched at lower prices – and its portability is easily beaten too.