The brand new Lezyne Micro Drive pump. No inline gauge.
Previously we reviewed travel pumps (see link here), and now we turn our attention to even smaller pumps that can be carried on the bicycle while riding. With the previously reviewed travel pumps, the idea is to have a lightweight pump, carried in the luggage when traveling, but remaining in the luggage while on the bike during the day and therefore most likely not accessible. The mini pumps under consideration in this review are, however, small enough to carry on the bike and are therefore intended to be used for tire inflation on the road, such as after puncture repair.
The need for a mini pump arises in the situation where the rider desires a pump small enough to fit into a bag or pocket, that can provide complete tire inflation. Note that there are frame pumps available for the same purpose, not considered in this evaluation. Also, various CO2 inflation systems are available, but since the overall gist of this evaluation is pumps for travel, we are going to assume no CO2 inflator will be available. Our experience is that CO2 inflation systems often escape notice by TSA, but are essentially always discovered and confiscated by European security screens, sometimes resulting in rearranged contents in luggage. So, when we travel we leave the CO2 at home and rely on a small on-the-bike pump for tire inflation on the road. Hence this review. We have selected two readily available, reputable pumps to review and compare: the Topeak Road Morph with inline gauge and the Lezyne Micro Drive Floor Pump without inline gauge.
WEIGHT AND LENGTH
The Topeak weighs in at 9.5 ounces and is 13 5/8 inches long. The Lezyne is 6 ounces and12 inches. Note that both come with adaptors that allow attachment to a water bottle bracket on the bike. It is our personal preference not to use these but rather to carry the pump in our rack trunk, so the length becomes a significant issue. In fact, with the two rack trunks we most commonly use these days, the Topeak is too long to fit flat inside. Both pumps have a fold out foot rest.
The Topeak is available at REI for $44.95 and on Amazon for $35.96
The Lezyne is available at REI for 45.00 (without gauge, the model tested) and on Amazon for either $42.77 with inline gauge or $38.94 without.
These are both good pumps, easy to use, compact, well designed, and light weight. They both perform flawlessly. The Topeak is slightly more comfortable to use because of its larger handle and the Lezyne is slightly more practical because of its size. There are many more small pumps on the market; these two were chosen for review because they are not only small enough to carry easily on the bike, but they also are basically floor pumps, so the ground can be used for leverage when inflating. The Topeak Minimorph, not included in this review, may be a good contender because it is small enough to fit in our smaller rack trunk (10.2" in length).
We can readily and enthusiastically recommend both these pumps as lightweight, on-the-bike substitutes for larger and heavier frame pumps and for likely-to-be-confiscated CO2 inflation systems. For us personally, the Lezyne is the winner because its smaller size allows it to lie flat in even our smallest rack trunk, but as noted above, Topeak does market a smaller version of the Morph, and both these pumps come with water bottle bracket attachements for riders who don't mind having equipment attached to the outside of the bike.
PERFORMANCE, EASE OF USE, AND COMFORT
The Lezyne pump is simple to use. It includes a plastic, all purpose head that functions quite well, or one can just screw the end of the hose onto the Presta valve for inflation. There is a pressure release valve; I am not aware this serves much purpose quite frankly. The handle is 1.5" wide, so this pump is a bit harder on the palm; I suggest wearing a bike glove. Effort at high pressures is low. There is no inline gauge in this pump, so you need to carry a small gauge, use the pinch method to assess inflation, or just know how many strokes are needed for your particular tire. 300 strokes were required to inflate a 700 x 28 tire to 110 psi (this compares to 38 strokes needed with a Trek Wrench Force floor pump).
The Topeak pump is also easy to fit to the valve, with a very convenient locking head, has an (inaccurate) inline gauge, and is a little easier on the palm of the hand, with a handle that is 2 5/8" wide. The Topeak needed 140 strokes to get the 700 x 28 tire to 110 psi. At that point the gauge read 9 atmospheres, off by about 20%. Again, probably best to know how many strokes your particular tire takes.
The well used Topeak pump. It fit well in the old rack trunk we used on prior trips, which was quite a bit larger than the ones we now use, so this pump has seen several trips.
The Lezyne fits perfectly in the Topeak MTX trunk.
The Topeak not so much.
The Lezyne will lie flat in the smaller, Racktime City trunk we now favor for trips.
The Topeak, however, will not fit at all in this trunk.