The Best Bicycle Hand Pump
After using several alternatives, I think I have found the best bicycle hand pump(mini pump.) The Lezyne Road Drive HP.
When I leave home to go on a ride, there are a few items that I always take with me no matter the distance of the ride I have planned. Amongst these items is some sort of inflation device for re-inflating a flat tire.
Over the years I have carried CO2 inflators and hand pumps. One of the challenges when choosing which device to carry is that road bike tires require pressure to be inflated enough to ride on safely.
The advantage of CO2 inflators is that they are small, easy to carry, quick to use, and inflate tires to a full pressure.
The down side is that you the cartridges are only good for one use and to be prudent, you should really carry at least two if not more with you on a ride in case of a malfunction during inflation, multiple flat tires, or if some other problem arises. Carrying multiple cartridges starts to get cumbersome enough to outweigh the small size of the inflator in my opinion.
The other option is carrying a hand pump or frame pump. These are smaller than a floor pump but can be a bit cumbersome to use. The head of the pump needs to be held onto the valve during the pumping process making it difficult to get leverage on the pump as the pressure in the tire rises. This is severely compounded when you have sweaty hands since everything is slippery at that point. The other drawback to a pump is that the smaller they are, the harder it is to get the required pressure into the tire.
Over the years I have experimented with what option I like best as an everyday solution to this problem. I used to carry a CO2 inflator and several extra cartridges, however I had some bad experiences with multiple punctures or malfunctioning tubes that almost put me in a precarious position of having no means of repairing or inflating a flat tire. I also got tired of having to buy CO2 cartridges. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get flats very often, but it seemed like it was one more thing that I needed to always keep around in addition to patch kits and spare tubes.
I carried a mini hand pump for a while too, but this one I had required that you hold the head on the valve stem while pumping the tire and it was very hard to get a high enough pressure pumped into the tire to inspire any riding confidence after repairing a flat.
Then I read about the Lezyne Road Drive HP(high pressure) hand pump.
Lezyne Road Drive HP Hand Pump
The pump is available in either carbon fiber or CNC’d aluminum. What drew me to this pump was the fact that it was supposed to be able to pump a tire to a reasonably high pressure, is compact and has a short tube that screws to the valve stem eliminating the need to hold the pump onto the stem while pumping. This allows you to use both hands to pump making it much easier to pump the tire to the desired pressure.
This tube fits both presta and schrader valves and has a relief button which allows you to bleed air from the tire as will without removing the pump. When not in use, the tube slides into the pump handle for easy carrying.
I have had the occasion to use the pump for both road and mountain bike flats. On the road side, I have been able to pump the tire to a much higher pressure than I have with any other hand pump that I’ve tried. The pump is also efficient enough to inflate mountain bike tires without taking all day to pump them.
The Lezyne Road Drive comes in two sizes, medium and large. I have the large size and find that it is still easy to throw into a jersey pocket and carry on any ride. I like that it is large enough not to be difficult to manipulate while using it, and would be afraid that the medium size could be just a bit too small to be easy to use.
In addition to being a really useful tool, the pump is elegant as well. The CNC’d aluminum version comes in white, black or polished silver. The list price is $44.99, which is slightly higher than some other mini-pumps however I have found that since I no longer have to buy CO2 cartridges, that the higher initial price was worth the ease of use and ongoing cost savings.
If you are in the market for a solution to your portable tire inflation needs, you need to check out this pump. It is reliable, reasonably sized and well thought out, making the inconvenience of a flat tire that much easier to deal with.
If you are considering purchasing this pump, check it out here on Amazon!