Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Product Review -- Lezyne Pressure Drive pump

All right, I was not exactly happy to hear the hissing noise from my back tire, but I will admit that the second thought in my mind, after an obscenity, was, "I get to try out my new pump in the heat of battle!" I'd used it before in the garage, and it worked admirably, but you know how things change when you're frustrated and late and trying to get going again as quickly as possible. It doesn't help when you are as mechanically inclined as yours truly, who managed to rip the valve stem out of his last tube the last time he tried to change a flat tire on the way to work.

Now, there was once a day when every bike pretty much had a frame pump mounted to it. They often came with the bike, painted to match. Haven't you seen Breaking Away? On modern bikes, though, they are far less common -- carbon frames and compact geometry play a part, and so do tougher tires, CO2 inflators, and, yes, cell phones.

This has ushered in an era of new, completely useless hand pumps. You know the kind. Every company out there makes one that advertises it has a 100psi capacity, or whatever, but that's for the Incredible Hulk. Working in a clean room. If you've ever tried to use one, you know what a bear it is: one hand desperately trying to hold the pump head onto the valve stem, hoping you get the seal right, the other furiously trying to get more air into the thing than comes out.

Eventually, maybe you get it inflated enough to ride home as you desperately hope you don't pinch flat your sixty-five pounds of air on the way. No good.

Here's the alternative: a Lezyne Pressure Drive pump. This thing falls into the category of "why didn't they think of this sooner?" It's simple, effective, and, as much as a tire pump can be, it's attractive. All metal with a CNC-machine aluminum housing, this thing will stand up to lots of use, but the secret weapon is the thread-on, reversible hose. Instead of trying to wedge the thing against the valve stem as mentioned above, you thread the hose out of one end of the pump and screw it into the other -- one side for Presta valves, one for Schraders -- and use both hands to inflate at a comfortable angle.

A Lezyne pump comes standard on all of Raleigh's road steel bikes, like Yours Truly's Sojourn. I thought the inclusion of the compact Pressure Drive on the Sojourn was a bit paradoxical, since the touring bike includes a pump peg on the top tube to mount a full-sized frame pump, but I believe Lezyne's Road Drive frame pump was not released upon production of the bike.

Lezyne has only been on the market for a couple of years, but take a moment to flip through their website. I think they're set to become the Silca of the twenty-first century. If you don't know what that means it may not be a big deal to you -- I mean, come on, it's a tire pump, right? -- but mine kept me from being late to work. If you've bothered to read this far, you probably know how much that matters. (Ed note -- As of 20th Oct 08, their full line of track pumps and frame pumps don't appear on their website. Hopefully they add them soon.)

To be fair, there are other alternatives for reasonable roadside inflation, like the Topeak Mini Morph, but I've never found one as simple and effective as the Pressure Drive.


  • At 4:06 AM , Anonymous Preston said...

    Great review, thanks. I've recently gotten back into cycling and after having my first road flat (and a moderate walkback of only a couple miles), I now see immediate need for a porta-pump. I already have Lezyne's Alloy Floor Drive for at home and I'm quite pleased with it. Trying to decide now between their Micro Floor Drive HP, or Pressure Drive M or S. Your review may have pushed me towards the PD-S.

    I'm in Seattle too, plus you posted this on my birthday last year. Kismet. Cheers mate!


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