The Best Bike Frame Pump Review
We researched best selling and top performing frame pumps and put them through our own testing and scrutiny to see which ones came out on top. We tested each one in five categories: pumping speed, ease of use, durability, portability, and looks/design. Below you'll find the results to help you best find your new favorite frame pump!
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Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Update Note: April 2015
We have contacted all of the companies and noted any changes to products, if applicable. A complete review was performed in August 2013.
Analysis and Test Results
One of most heavily weighted categories was of course pumping speed because 99% of the time, that is what you need in the case of emergencies. When your standing next to the road, miles from home, or caught on a trail as night is approaching, you want to inflate STAT and get out of there. By there very nature, they are never going to be insanely speedy or easy to use once the pressure gets high, but two of our contenders scored very well in this category: the Lezyne Pressure Drive for road bikes, and the Topeak Peakini II for lower volume mountain bike tires. Both have highly efficient, smooth pumping design, making your tire inflate faster and easier. The Lezyne was also the easiest to keep pumping even after the psi got higher.
Another heavily weighted category is durability. We believe that any peice of athletic equipment, no matter how inexpensive, needs to stand up to a certain amount of abuse. Scoring perfectly in this category are the Lezyne Pressure Drive and the Topeak Master Blaster. The Master Blaster is the only frame we tested with a frame fit mounting system, making it convenient, streamlined, and of course has less parts to break. It stays up under your top tube, away from road and trail debris, and seems to be made of steel. We heard more than one account of riders who owned this for years without a problem. And the same with the Lezyne. Made all of machined aluminum it is tougher than a lot of its counterparts that employ plastic in their designs. Also, the threaded valve connections mean it won't get stuck on the valve causing damage to both it and the tire.
Ease of Use
Next up we took into account the overall ease of use. There is some overlap here, as this category is influenced by, and influences, some of the others, such as design and pumping speed. But really, this determination starts when you try to get it out of its packaging and doesn't end until you lay it rest (hopefully years and years later). Is it easy to get out of the packaging? We kid you not, some you have to battle, using all kinds of tools just to detach them from the cardboard, plastic wrap,zip ties etc. that their manufacturers insist on using (for instance, the Road Morph G). Are the instructions clear and easy to follow? Is it easy to get a reliable seal on the nozzle? How difficult is it to pump? And finally, how difficult is it to detach? Given that these are six of the most popular products out there, they all scored relatively well in this category, with the Lezyne Pressure Drive and the Topeak Master Blaster coming out on top. Both of these are straightforward, simple to use, and offer reliable seals and relatively easy pumping. The Schwinn Alloy unfortunately, was much more inconsistent with its seals, and once done inflating, was very difficult to detach from the nozzle.
You might think that with frame pumps, portability is sort of a given. But trust us, there is variance from each. Size, weight, and mounting method all factor in here. Coming in strong are the lightweights of the group: the Schwinn Alloy and the Lezyne Pressure Drive. Each weighs only 3.2 oz and easily mount under either water bottle cage. The Pressure Drive is so small, you can even just throw it in your jersey pocket if need be. The Topeak Pocket Rocket, while a bit heavier at 4.1 oz, is also so compact that it too scored well here. On the other hand, Topeak's Road Morph G is bigger, heavier and will feel more cumbersome when mounted to the bottle cage and more precarious when mounted to the top tube with its zip ties.
Design and Features
Our final category is looks and design, which covers two aspects of a pump's appearance. Firstly, does the design contribute to it's efficiency and ease of use, and secondly, does it look good. We only had one perfect score here and that was, not surprisingly, the Lezyne Pressure Drive. The team at Lezyne takes design very seriously, and they produce some of the best looking bike equipment on the market. However, it doesn't necessarily always mean that its the best performing equipment, in our minds. But in the case of the Pressure Drive, its good looks and smart design help it to come out on top. First off, it was by far the smallest of contender we tested, yet also one of the easiest to use for inflation. It almost disappears on the bike with its high-shine, low-profile body, and the hose design makes for a flexible, secure connection to valves. It has two threaded heads on either side of the hose, which means no struggling with internal parts to switch from presta to schrader, as with the Topeak Pocket Rocket, which has a single head.
Since few frame pumps come with a gauge, we recommend buying one like the Texton Digital Tire Gauge.
When choosing a frame pump there are a number of things to consider. The different factors can make it difficult to select the right pump for you. This review is designed to help you sort through the available options to find the pump that fits your needs. Our Buying Advice article is here to help highlight the factors to consider before making your purchase.
— Emily Zell
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