Product Reviews January 12, 2013

Lezyne's 'Road Drive' Hand Pump

There's a couple of clever things that Lezyne's Road Drive hand pump features and I'll mention them in due course. However, first let me share an experience I had when I was using the wrong type of pump. You might find it hard to believe that there is such an instance, but there is and I managed to find it. 

I was riding around in the middle of Sussex somewhere, when I managed to get a puncture. It was about this time last year, I was on the Specialised with the Zipp 404s fitted. In essence I made three mistakes. Firstly, sexy wheels are not at all designed for dirty, gritty Sussex roads. Secondly, the (Conti Force/Attack) tyres on the 404s were not nearly as tough as the frankly bulletproof Conti Gatorskins that are fitted to my other bikes and as a consequence I predictably got a puncture. My final school boy error lay in my preparation, since I had only packed 60mm necked inners and not 80mm. This resulted in the inner tube valve barely peaking past the rim. Having fitted the tube, it became painfully obvious the way the Park Tools pump directly latched onto the valve, it would not work. Essentially, the pump was not able to get enough contact with valve to make a seal. I tried, regardless, and in vain. In the end the hero of the day was Frank who went back to the car and liberated the track pump, thus allowing me/us to continue. The point is, had I had the Road Drive at my disposal this would not have happened...

Herein lies the key feature of this pump. It contains a flexible hose, one end designed for use with a Schrader valve the other with a Presta type. It connects by screwing the mating end of the hose onto the thread of the inner tube. The remaining end then screws into the bottom of the pump. This means that:-

(a) when you're inflating the inner tube, the process is not placing undue pressure on the connection between the pump head and the valve 

(b) a minimum amount of clearance is required between the inner tube valve and the wheel rim. This allows shorter necked inners to be fitted (which are less expensive) because of the Road Drive's connection system 

(c) it's physically easier to inflate the inner tube as the pump head is not required to be in direct contact with the tyre valve

(d) the seal is better between the inner tube, hose and pump because both are screwed into place

(e) the Air Bleed System on the pump means that pressure is maintained when the hose is being unscrewed from the inner tube and finally,

(f) the pump is approx 27cm long rendering each stroke more efficient; it is capable of inflating tubes up to a maximum of 160 psi. 

All this aside, when you're standing at the roadside you need a pump that's robust enough to put sufficient air in your tyre for you to either get home or continue your ride. Using the Road Drive you can do both. Given enough elbow grease and perseverance you'll be able to inflate your tyres to the same pressure as a track pump.

The pump itself comes in 3 colours, black, white and silver. It weighs 106 grams and is fitted within 2 minutes to the side of the bottle cages. Regrettably I have had plenty of practice using the Road Drive throughout December, helped by the shocking state of the roads close to home. Whilst I will not claim changing an inner tube was fun, the Road Drive made the experience a more effective one. Previously I have been cautious after changing a tube at the roadside because of the air pressure that can be applied. No issue with that now.

This is not the cheapest pump around. I purchased mine from www.wiggle.co.uk for £33, but experience so far says it was worth it - to the point where I've switched my Park Tools 'piston' on the Specialised over to another Road Drive. Put all of this together and the Lezyne Road Drive pump is bikebritain's first recommendation for 2013. 

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