Hands-on Gear Review

Lezyne Road Drive Review

Editors' Choice Award
Price:  $45 List | $31.50 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Superior highpressure pumping, light weight, easy to use
Cons:  Not ideal for high volume tires
Bottom line:  Top of the line high pressure mini pump for road cycling applications.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight:  97g
Length:  23.5cm
25C Road Tire Pressure following 200 Pumps:  70psi
Manufacturer:   Lezyne

Our Verdict

Lezyne was established in 2013, and their hand pumps quickly became the reference product in a crowded field of competitors. Lezyne has a strong reputation for making high-quality cycling accessories, and the Road Drive is a shining example. The Road Drive is a purpose-built pump designed for high-pressure, low volume tires most often found on road bikes. It receives our highest accolades for its excellent pumping performance and class-leading ease of use.

A threaded Presta valve connection and a flexible rubber filling hose separate the Road Drive from other high-pressure mini pumps. The Road Drive is a pocket size mini pump that excels at filling high-pressure tires. If you are looking for a pump for low pressure, high volume mountain bike tires check out the Lezyne Gauge Drive. If carrying a pump in your jersey is not for you, consider the Silca Impero.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Curtis Smith

Last Updated:
Saturday
December 17, 2016

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Using a flexible hose and thread on valve connection, the Road Drive sets the standard for high-pressure mini pumps. The process of setting the pump up and attaching it to the valve stem takes some getting used to, but it provides the best ergonomics for pumping and an excellent seal. It outperformed all other mini pumps we tested designed for high-pressure applications and is a critical piece of cycling gear that should provide you peace of mind when out on the road.

Performance Comparison


The Lezyne Road Drive is the most efficient mini pump we have tested for high pressure road tires.
The Lezyne Road Drive is the most efficient mini pump we have tested for high pressure road tires.

Ease of Use


This award winner uses a flexible rubber fill hose that deploys from the end of the pump handle. The hose is then threaded into the opposite end of the pump. The pump hose is Presta-only and has a thread-on connection on one end and a slip-on connection on the other. Once attached to the valve, the flexible hose allows the user to hold the pump at a variety of angles without putting excessive pressure on the valve stem. This allows for a more comfortable position while pumping because it does not require the user to counteract the motion from pumping with the stabilizing hand to prevent valve damage.

Many pumps we tested, such as the Silca Pocket Impero, have an integrated press-on pump head, which can damage a valve if it is not held with the stabilizing hand in an inline position while pumping. This limits the ability to pump as pressure increases because it takes a lot of effort to stabilize the pump. The Road Drive is also longer than many high-pressure mini pumps we tested. This extra length provides more air volume per stroke. This, combined with its narrow small diameter pump chamber, makes pumping at high pressure easy and efficient.

The ABS valve located on the flexible hose also increases ease of use by allowing accumulated pressure to be bled off of the hose before removal. Bleeding the air off of the hose also allows the Presta valve to move into the closed position so that you are not fighting back pressure when removing the hose. The Topeak Race Rocket also has a thread-on valve connection, but removal is more difficult because it does not have a mechanism to release pressure on the hose.

Pumping Performance


Inflating tires with a mini pump is a lot of work. However, some pumps are more efficient and put your hard effort to better use. The Road Drive is the best-performing mini pump we tested for high-pressure road tires. We were able to consistently achieve 70 psi in a 25c road tire following 200 pump strokes. This may not seem to be a staggering margin compared to the 66 psi we achieved with the Pro Bike Tool Mini, but the pumping effort involved in reaching the pressure is the other half of the story. At 70psi, the pumping effort when using the Road Drive is still very manageable. The Pro Bike Tool, on the other hand, becomes very difficult to pump at around 150 pump strokes, making those last 50 strokes to hit 66psi quite a chore.

The Road Drive maintains efficiency and a consistent feel at high pressure while delivering more volume than other high-pressure pumps. We were easily able to get our road tire up to the 90psi threshold and breeze right past it to 100psi at 300 pump strokes. Lezyne rates the Road Drive to 160psi. While the internals of the pump may be able to withstand that pressure, generating the force to do so while pumping would be difficult for most people. However, we don't see that as a serious issue, as 100psi is more than adequate for the vast majority of riders to finish a ride safely. In addition to its awesome ability to move air, the Road Drive also features a threaded valve connection on one end of the hose that ensures that your hard-earned pressure will not leak out while pumping due to a poor valve connection.

The flexible fill hose found on the Lezyne Road Drive allows the user to get into a comfortable position for tire inflation.
The flexible fill hose found on the Lezyne Road Drive allows the user to get into a comfortable position for tire inflation.

Looks/Design


We tested the high gloss silver version of the Road Drive, and it is a flashy little pump. It has a sleek, refined and minimalist look. It slips in and out of a jersey pocket easily, with nothing sticking out to snag. It comes with a matching CNC-machined aluminum mount if you want to mount it on your frame at the bottle cage. The entire pump is made from CNC aluminum, including handle, barrel, and piston shaft. A flexible rubber fill hose is stowed inside the handle end of the pump, and threads in for security.

Rubber caps on both ends of the pump prevent dirt and other debris from getting into the hose or pump chamber. The flexible hose is Presta-only, and has a threaded connection option as well as a slip-on option. We like having both connection options. The slip fit connection is great for adding a few pounds of pressure to cyclocross tires mid-ride, and the threaded connection is our go-to for high pressure scenarios.

The ABS valve on the Lezyne Road Drive makes removing the thread on air chuck easy and prevents air loss.
The ABS valve on the Lezyne Road Drive makes removing the thread on air chuck easy and prevents air loss.

Lezyne also incorporates an ABS bleed valve that allows the pressure in the hose to be released which, closes the Presta valve and prevents loss of air pressure when removing the chuck. Pumps such as the Pro Bike Mini do not have this feature and removing the pump from the valve is much more difficult. The Road Drive is one of the best-designed pumps we have tested. Our only complaint is the lack of a built-in swivel in the hose, requiring the user to spin the entire pump when threading it onto a valve. The Topeak Race Rocket HP utilizes a flexible fill hose with a swivel and it makes valve attachment a bit easier.

Portability


At 23.5cm in length, the Road Drive is the longest mini pump in our test. This hampers its portability as compared to shorter pumps such as the short Topeak Race Rocket HP that is only 18.5cm in length. When stored in a jersey pocket, the Road Drive will peek out the top even when placed in a diagonal position. On the other hand, it e is impressively lightweight at only 97g. Only four of the pumps we tested are under 100g, and considering the length of Road Drive, the weight is very respectable.

The Lezyne Road Drive fits well in a jersey pocket.
The Lezyne Road Drive fits well in a jersey pocket.

Durability


This award winner held up well during testing. Following multiple cycles through the pump test, we experienced no noticeable loss in efficiency, and both the slip and threaded valve attachments still seal on valves effectively. The rubber end caps have done a great job at keeping the pump internals free of contamination. The polished silver finish does scratch fairly easily, but this does not affect the functionality of the pump in any way. The pump piston has not developed any lateral play, and still moves smoothly through its travel. We love the all-metal construction as compared to the heavy use of plastic that is common on other pumps such as the Vibrelli Mini. The Road Drive should hold up well for many seasons even with regular use.

Best Applications


The Lezyne Road Drive is best suited for use with high-pressure road tires. It excels in high-pressure low volume applications. It is also a great mini pump for gravel or cyclocross tires. It will take more pump strokes to hit your target pressure than what you would experience with a mountain bike mini pump, but if you need to get up in the 40-50psi range, the Road Drive is very adept at reaching those pressures.

Value


With a price of $45, this award winning pump is a great value. While not the cheapest pump we tested, it is a bargain compared to the Silca Pocket Impero at $120 and really, almost any pump in our review. Excellent pumping performance, design, and durability make the Road Drive a great buy.

Conclusion


The Road Drive is a purpose-built mini pump for inflating high-pressure road tires. It is one of the best performing pumps we have tested at higher pressures, and has unique design features such as a flexible fill hose that improves pumping ergonomics. You will be hard pressed to find a better mini pump for road cycling. For mountain biking use check out the Lezyne Gauge Drive HV, or the Pro Bike Tool Mini.

Other Versions and Accessories

  • The Road Drive is offered in three sizes: small, medium, and large. (We tested the medium model.) Three color options are available: white, black, and polished silver.
  • A carbon fiber version is also available for $100, at a weight of 80g versus the 97 grams of our test version. In addition, Lezyne offers a full range of hand pumps for both pressure and volume applications.
Curtis Smith

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Most recent review: December 17, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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