TANDEM  Diversity

 

 

To stow for travel, the gauge of the Megamorph folds up and the head fits into a mounting below the handle.

​The gauge on the Megamorph is close and easy to read.

​Megamorph stabilized by a fold-out foot platform.

​The Megamorph head.

​The pumps in their bags.

​Two handed operation of the Lezyne.

​The Lezyne gauge is at floor level but easy to read.

To stow for travel, the hose of the Lezyne screws into the handle.

​The Megamorph is taller.

Final Analysis

These are both good pumps, easy to use, accurate, light weight, and both would be fine for travel. The head of the Megamorph is better engineered, though the Lezyne probably is more durable over all due to its CNC, all aluminum construction. I will most likely use the Lezyne at first, though I might swap it to a dual purpose head, like the one on the Megamorph. I like the slightly smaller size and lighter weight of the Lezyne, and I like that two hands can be used when pumping.

However, based on this review, I can recommend either pump. The Megamorph lists for $99.95 but can be purchased new on Amazon right now for $41.99. The Lezyne pump lists for $99.99 and can be had new on Amazon right now for $79.95.

Travel Pump Review


Background

When traveling with a tandem, one of the significant challenges is tire inflation. This really breaks down into 2 separate issues: 1) inflation on assembly at the tour start, and 2) inflation out on the road while touring (flat repair). This review is focused only on issue #1.

It is assumed that you will need to inflate tires and/or check tire pressure after bike assembly at the tour start point. Often the setting will be bike assembly after travel in some sort of disassembled state, in a travel case or bag. Most often this will likely be bike assembly and tire inflation in some European hotel after a flight from North America with the tandem disassembled and packed in either 2 S&S style cases or a Santana Safe Case.

Inflation options include: 1) your tour company has a floor pump for your use (this is the best one, if you are sure you can count on it); 2) you carry your own floor pump (this review is for this scenario, assuming a travel floor pump, rather than a full sized one); 3) you inflate with a frame pump or mini pump (assuming you have a strong arm and lots of time); or 4) you inflate with CO2 cartridges (assuming they weren't confiscated during your travel).

Our preference is for option #2. In fact, if traveling with a company that transports our luggage, we might even keep the floor pump handy during the entire trip, to top tires off occasionally before a morning ride start. If the travel floor pump is not going to be readily available throughout the tour, at least it's nice to have at the time of bike assembly; we carry a frame or mini pump for flat repairs out on the road. Our experience with CO2 cartridges is that they often, but not always, escape the notice of TSA in the US (so they might make it to Europe), but they will essentially never escape the notice of European luggage screeners, so they will be confiscated for any international flight originating in Europe or for any domestic flight within Europe. So, we've learned to just leave them at home.

For several years we carried a plastic floor pump that I had purchased in a hardware store in Ketchikan, Alsaka. One time on a work related trip to Alaska, complete with travel bike, I arrived in Ketchikan to discover my pump was broken. I had no CO2 cartridges, since this was after we had decided to stop carrying them. So, it was off to the local hardware store in Ketchikan, where I found a very well engineered, light weight plastic pump that went up to 150 psi or so. What a find! This was a relatively small profile pump that fit in one of the tandem cases, so for many years, on trips where weight was not a serious issue, we carried this little plastic no name pump. Finally one day about 3 trips ago it gave up with a loud bang that signaled a catastrophic failure of its plastic body.

So, for 3 trips now we've been inflating tires with a frame pump and have been keeping an eye out for a light weight travel floor pump. We have discovered two such pumps that looked to be worthy of evaluation. There may be more, but these are the two we have found and reviewed: the Topeak Megamorph and the Lezyne Travel Floor Drive.

Lezyne CNC Travel Floor Drive

The Lezyne pump certainly takes the prize for the most attractive of the two. It is an all aluminum, CNC machined pump that comes complete with a fancy travel bag, ball needle, and all purpose, swiveling head. Two hands can be used on the handle. The analog gauge goes up to 160 psi. It is a bit tough to read for aging eyes, being at floor level. The pump has a lie flat design so it can fit in a case easily.

The Lezyne is advertised as weighing 840 grams. I weigh it at 878 grams without the travel bag and 1009 grams with bag. Action is smooth and it pumps up tires quickly; strokes needed to get to useful inflations pressures are midway between a frame/mini pump and a standard floor pump. For comparison purposes, the standard floor pump I compared the Lezyne to is my Trek Wrench Force floor pump, that weighs in at 1795 grams and that does not lie flat or anywhere near flat. The only slightly weak point about the Lezyne is its all purpose head; the head wants to pop off the tube stem and needs a bit of convincing occasionally. This is nothing serious, but I do plan to carry a spare screw-on metal head when I carry this particular pump, just in case.

When I pumped up the tires on our Co-Motion Mocha to 110 psi with the Lezyne pump and then checked the pressure with our Trek pump, the reading was spot on at 110 psi.

Topeak Megamorph

The Megamorph is advertised at 1100 grams; on my scale it weighs in at 1093 grams. It also comes with a bag. It also has an all purpose head, but the head on this pump is engineered better, in my opinion. It is locking, for one thing, so it doesn't tend to pop off at pressure. The gauge also goes up to 160 psi. The foot pedal and the gauge fold up so this pump also has a flat profile for packing into a case. The handle is small so pumping is a one-handed affair. The pump is a bit taller than the Lezyne, but still small enough to fit easily into a case. When a tire on the Mocha was pumped to 110 psi with the Megomorph, a double check with the Trek pump gauge came out once again spot on at 110 psi. The gauge is easier to see than the one on the Lezyne, since it is near the top of the pump.

On the Topeak website it is easy to order spare parts for the Megamorph.

Photos

Here are some photos that illustrate the pumps and compare some of their key features: