Lezyne Gauge Drive HV Review
Cons: Large size
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The rubber flex hose on the Gauge Drive HV is standard equipment on all Lezyne mini pumps, and the Gauge Drive has an integrated pressure gauge built into the hose. The pressure gauge allows for accurate inflation of mountain bike tires to the preferred pressure of the user. The Gauge Drive HV is a purpose-built pump for high volume mountain bike tires and functions exceptionally well when used for its intended purpose. With top-notch pumping performance for high volume tires, this is our go-to pump for mountain biking.
Pumping performance is excellent. We were easily able to get a 27.5" x 2.3" tire up to 37psi with 300 pumps. Once you get past 40psi, pumping becomes difficult. We were able to push a road tire all the way up to 90 psi, but it was a serious effort, and we would recommend that you choose a different pump for high-pressure applications.
Lezyne rates the pump to 90psi, and it can do it in a pinch, but other pumps we tested such as the Lezyne Road Drive and the Topeak Road Morph G, are much better options for higher pressure inflation. The pumping effort at pressures under 40psi is fairly consistent with minimal ramp-up in compression effort. The flexible hose also improves pumping ergonomics. It lets you get in a comfortable position rather than having to hold the pump at a 90-degree angle to the valve as you have to with hoseless pumps like the Silca Pocket Impero. The Gauge Drive is by far the best pump we tested for inflating mountain bike tires.
Ease of Use
The Lezyne Gauge Drive is an efficient, user-friendly pump. To inflate a tire, pull the flexible hose from the end of the pump handle and then thread it onto the opposite end of the pump. The air chuck is of the thread-on variety and is reversible for either Presta or Schrader valves. Threading the chuck onto the valve is easy, but does require that you spin the whole pump and hose assembly, as there is no built-in swivel.
The Pro Bike Tool High Pressure Pump has a swivel built into the hose to ease attachment. We like the feature and would love to see it on Lezyne pumps. Inflation is smooth and efficient with a relatively constant effort until you hit pressures over 40psi. After that, pumping becomes difficult, but this pump is designed for low-pressure/high volume applications, so that is to be expected. The pressure gauge gives you real-time tire pressure information, so no need to worry about over or under inflation.
Looks and Design
This is a well-designed pump, with all-aluminum construction and a flexible fill hose. The design is similar to the Lezyne Road Drive, but a larger diameter barrel and piston make it better suited to high volume pumping. The flex hose has a built-in pen gauge that provides reasonably accurate pressure readings. During testing, we found the gauge to read about ten psi over the actual pressure. The Pro Bike Tool also has a pen-style gauge built into the fill hose, and we found the gauge accuracy to be comparable between the two pumps. The Gauge Drive flex hose is both Presta and Schrader valve compatible.
Both the Presta and Schrader chucks are thread-on, which we prefer for secure leak free pumping. With that said, it is nice to have a slip chuck option as well for those times when you just want to add a few PSI to a low tire. The only other feature we would like to see on the flex hose is a built-in swivel so that the entire pump does not have to be rotated to thread the chuck onto the valve. The Pro Bike Tool and the Topeak Road Morph G both employ a swivel feature in the hose that makes valve attachment a bit easier. Another nice feature found on the Gauge Drive is the ABS button, which allows pressure to be bled from the hose before removing the chuck from the valve. We found that the ABS button significantly reduces air loss from the tire when removing the valve.
The only major design flaw of the Gauge Drive is plastic female threads on the pump discharge. The male threads on the Flex Hose are metal. Due to the heat generated while pumping, it is possible to damage the plastic threads when unthreading the hose if it is done forcefully or lateral pressure is placed on the fill hose when removing it from the pump body.
This is only an issue after an extremely long pumping session and is easily mitigated by allowing the pump to cool for a minute or two, or just using care when unthreading the hose. The other Lezyne pumps we tested all have metal threads on the pump body, eliminating the potential for thread damage.
Of all our performance evaluation criteria, this contender scores lower in the portability category. The Gauge Drive is one of the longer mini pumps we tested and has one of the largest diameter-pumping cha
mber. The size of the pump limits its ability to be mounted to bottle cage bolts on some frames. Due to the length of the pump, contact with the frame can be an issue, depending on frame tubing shape and design. We did not find the length or size of the pump to be detrimental to carrying the pump in a hydration pack.
It is also possible to fit the pump in many of the small waist packs available such as the CAMELBAK Palos. If you prefer to ride with a smaller waist pack such as the Dakine Hot Lap, we would recommend a smaller pump such as the Pro Bike Tool. Despite the larger-than-average size, the Gauge Drive only tips the scale at 141g, a competitive weight for a pump of its size. We feel that the pumping performance advantages of Gauge Drive will outweigh portability limitations for most riders.
We found this award winner to be a durable and reliable pump. It survived all of the abuse we dished out, including use during some sloppy, muddy riding that made it impossible to keep the pump shaft clean during inflation. The aluminum construction increases impact durability, and we did not have any issues with corrosion despite leaving the pump in a wet hydration pack for several weeks following some epic post-storm fall rides.
The rubber end caps do a good job of keeping contaminants out of the fill hose and pump head. The only factor limiting the durability score of the Gauge Drive is the aforementioned plastic threads on the pump head. We would like to see metal threads on the pump head to limit the possibility of damage when removing the flex hose.
It falls in the middle of the mini pump price spectrum. It is more than deserving of this price and offers a great value due to its superior pumping performance and excellent design.
The Gauge Drive HV is an awesome mini pump designed for mountain bike use. Exceptional pumping performance combined with industry-leading features such as the ABS valve make the Gauge Drive a standout product.
— Curtis Smith