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Coming in at 297mm long the Lezyne Road Drive isn't really a mini-pump, it's hard to be truly mini when you're A4 length, but it's too small for a frame-fit pump, yet it comes with it's own alloy bottle-cage mounting bracket so it must be some strange breed of mini-pump then, a midi-pump maybe.
Like the majority of Lezyne products the Road Drive Alloy is ooooh shiny and beautifully made with some well thought out little details. Both ends of the CNC-ed aluminium pump are protected by rubber caps to stop road gunk getting inside and the connecting hose screws securely inside the handle. Unlike most other mini-pumps with their push-fit and flip-lock heads the Road Drive comes with a hose that connects the pump to the valve, like that old pump you used to borrow off your Dad's Raleigh. It makes a lot of sense; the hose allows flex between the pump and the valve so you're not going to rip the valve off with the strained thwappage of wrestling those last precious grunts of air that is an ever-present danger with all the other mini-pumps that clamp directly to the valve. As the Road Drive is designed for the tarmac the hose is Presta valve fit only, but it does thread onto the valve and have a small o-ring either end to stop air leakage. We like that.
We think it's a bit long for rear-pocket stowage, you might want to try the shorter 216mm medium length Road Drive for that, but it does come with that dedicated and diminutive alloy bracket that fits under a bottle-cage. Considering the minimalist design of the bracket (it's only 14g in weight too) and the length of the pump we were concerned that the pump would rattle about and put teeny dents in the down-tube, but thanks to the svelte padding on the C-shaped mounts and the Velcro strap with a small bit of rubber sewn into it where it wraps round the pump conspiring to keep everything snug this never happened, even so, as a precaution we rotated the 'hinges' of the rubber end-plugs so they rested against the frame, because we're like that. Its slim size means the pump is pretty much hidden by a water bottle so isn't such a visual wrench for the aesthetes when they look down to admire their pulsing calves. When not in pumping mode the handle is kept in firmly place by a rubber-sleeve that holds it tight to the pump body, one of those neat Lezyne touches again.
Pumping up a cyclo-cross or trekking tyre takes a bit longer than a frame-fit pump but isn’t an arduous task, 100 strokes puts about 30 PSI in a 700x35 tyre, with a further 50 taking it up to a useable 45 PSI, making the Lezyne significantly more useful than the majority of mini-pumps we've tried. The quality all-metal construction means there’s no flex or fragility, and there’s none of that annoying clackity-clack noise of the common-or-garden mini-pump that usually signifies you’re going to be stuck by the verge for quite some time. The pumping action is easy on the arm but things can get noticeably sticky at about 150 strokes when attempting to rejuvenate a 700x23 tube, the number of pumps that will put anything from 65 to 80 PSI in the tyre, just enough at the top end to get you home or benefiting from a top-up with a CO2 canister, but if you have the gumption to push on through another 50 strokes you'll reach a more rideable 100 PSI, it can be an effort and by jimminy, does the pump get warm at the the valve end, wear gloves. We'd like to watch someone from Lezyne try to reach their claimed 160 PSI limit (sounds like they might set fire to something along the way - ed).
As mentioned this pump is also available as a medium version, and there's a carbon variant with carbon bracket as well, but that's over double the price for a 17g saving and plastic-and-string bling.
A mini-pump that actually works, who'd have thought it. Quality all-metal construction means no clackity-clack and a mini-pump that actually manages to get air into a tube rather than wheezing like an asthmatic ant like most of the competition. The Lezyne Road Drive Alloy is a pump we've happily had on our bike for several months now, we've even forgotten where the frame-fit pump is.
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Make and model: Lezyne Road Drive Alloy mini pump
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"CNC Precision 100% CNC-machined aluminum parts for precise construction. Flex-Hose Equipped - Presta only hose securely threads onto valve. Stows inside handle. Frame Pump Replacement Inflates to riding pressure with 20% fewer strokes compared to conventional hand pumps. Noise and vibration-free CNC machined aluminum bracket."
For anyone that doesn't want to, or can't fit a frame-fit pump onto their bike this is a worthy substitute, light, unobtrusive, and efficient enough not to have you praying for no punctures or swearing by the side of the road trying to get a tube inflated in the cold wet and dark with a small pump-shaped-object.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The full CNC construction means it's a reassuringly confident pump to use, and the hose between the pump and the valve set it apart from the rest making thrusting away less of a valve-snapping worry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
We think it performed remarkably well, a bit of an effort to get a road tube up to standard but otherwise, easy-peasy and almost up to frame-fit pump standards, almost.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The well-made all-metal construction, the fact that it actually worked as a pump.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Still not quite as good as a frame-fit pump though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.