A beautifully designed pump that does the job on fat tyres, but needs bigger lungs for road work
Weight: 112g Contact: www.upgradebikes.co.uk
Now, this is a lovely thing. Eschewing the plastic favoured by most mini-pump manufacturers Lezyne have made the Alloy Drive, as the name suggests, entirely out of CNC-machined aluminium. Just playing with it in your hands you can feel and see the quality and thought that has gone into it; the bods at Lezyne seem to have taken the trouble to design a mini-pump from the ground up rather than copycat other designs and slap a different sticker on.
The stand-out feature is that the pump body attaches to the valve by a wee connecting hose, like pumps of old, rather than the flip-lock pressure seal of the majority of pumps these days. The hose threads securely onto the valve and this combined with the forgiving flex in the hose means you can thrape about working the pump as much as you like without fear of ripping the head of the valve off, especially useful during the vinegar strokes.
For a lowly mini-pump there's fantastic attention to detail all round; rubber boots pop over the ends to prevent any grubble getting inside, o-rings seal any potential air-leakage points, and the connecting-hose screws into the pump body when not in use so there's no chance of losing it. The hose is double-ended with a Presta valve fitting one end and Schrader the other, and the valve type is helpfully printed next to it's corresponding end for those with inner-tube recognition issues. All lovely touches.
I appear to have got excited about a mini-pump, oh dear.
It's all aluminium construction should mean it's going to last a long long time, and not implode in a shower of shattered plastic on that wet windy friday night by the side of the A283, although it's diminutive size might make it awkward to handle for those large of paw, and that handle looks like it can nip badly if it catches skin as it slides over the pump body.
On a 26x2.00 mountainbike tyre 100 pumps took it to 27psi, with another 50 strokes bringing the tyre up to a workable 39psi, not too bad for a mini-pump. 100 strokes pumped a 700x32 cyclocross tyre up to 47psi, with the last 20 thrusts being quite hard work, both pump and pumper getting a bit warm with the effort, a further strained 30 strokes and the tyre was a rideable 60psi.
Inflating a standard a 700x23 road tyre became a little more troublesome, after about 90 strokes it became almost impossible to pump any further because of insurmountable back-pressure, and getting any force behind the pump wasn't helped by it's 'compact' size either, as such we could only get the tyre up to about 60psi before giving up and needing a lie-down in the verge. To be fair this model is only rated to pump up to 90psi so it's not really designed for road tyre use, we'd rather plump for one of Lezynes specially designed "high-pressure" mini-pumps for the task such as the Pressure Drive-S which is designed specifically for road tyres and is rated up to 120psi.
A beautifully thought out and constructed pump, but we certainly couldn't recommend the Alloy Drive for road bike use, even getting a tyre up to "get you home" pressure was mostly impossible, but for those of a larger tyre persuasion it's well worth slipping unnoticed into a rear pocket or left unloved to rattle around in the bottom of a courier bag or rucksack until needed.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lezyne Alloy Drive Mini Pump (small)
Size tested: Small (Length -186mm)
An exquisitely made bit of kit.
Marked well down because we'd like it to be able to deal with all sorts of size of tubes and pressures.
Everything appears to be suitably sturdy, but let me get back to you after it's been kicking about in the bottom of a bag for a few years.
Small and light enough to forget it's there.
Easy to use with no sharp edges, but a bit teeny for those with big hands.
It's not too dear and it should last for years.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great for low-pressure high-volume tyres, but getting pressure up to anywhere near its rated psi level was hard work.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The design, the construction, the hose.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's difficulty in pumping up any high-pressure tyre.
Did you enjoy using the product? I have a pathalogical hatred of most mini-pumps due to spending too much time watching people desperately trying to pump a tyre up with some wheezing bit of plastic or other before I'm reduced to handing them my
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd opt for a more versatile "High Pressure" model
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
About the tester
I usually ride: a variety My best bike is: Enigma steel road bike.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: As much as I can I would class myself as: Experienced and passionate
I regularly do the following types of riding: road, cyclo-cross and mountainbike just riding around, sometimes fast, sometimes with lots of stops for cake. Mountainbike and cyclo-ross racing, the odd evening road crit. Far too much singlespeed for my own good.