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Portland Design Works Little Silver Review

A nice looking mini pump that falls short on pumping performance and durability.
Portland Design Works Little Silver
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Price:  $45 List | $44.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Unique look
Cons:  Expensive, poor pumping performance
Manufacturer:   Portland Design Works
By Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 17, 2016
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Pumping Performance - 30% 5
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7
  • Portability - 20% 8
  • Looks and Design - 10% 6
  • Durability - 10% 4

The Skinny

The Portland Design Works Little Silver Pump is a classy looking mini pump that stands out from the crowd with a bamboo handle. The Little Silver is one of the smaller mini pumps we tested, comparable in size to the Topeak Race Rocket HP. We found the Little Silver to be heavy on style and light on function. Pumping performance falls on the lower end of the spectrum. Read on for our detailed review and comparison below.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

With a traditional integrated pump head and a bamboo handle, the PDW Little Silver Pump, stands out with a bit more style points than the average mini pump. Unfortunately, the pump misses the mark when it comes pumping performance and functional design features.

Performance Comparison


The Little Silver Pump has an integrated head with a locking lever.
The Little Silver Pump has an integrated head with a locking lever.

Ease of Use


The Little Silver Pump uses your typical integrated pump head with a locking lever. The pump head can accommodate both Presta and Schrader valves by reversing the internal rubber seal. This solution to dual valve compatibility works, but is not as user-friendly as the reversible hose design employed by the Lezyne Gauge Drive, or the SmartHead design of the Topeak RaceRocket. Small pumps will always have some inherent disadvantage when compared against a larger pump. As pumps decrease in size they become more difficult ergonomically to pump efficiently. The Little Silver is very difficult to pump due to its size and use of an integrated pump head rather than the flexible fill hose used by higher scoring pumps like the Lezyne Road Drive.

Pumping Performance


This contender is one the lower scoring products we tested in this category. It was only able to achieve 39psi in our road tire test, compared to the 70psi of the Lezyne Road Drive and 90 psi of the Lezyne Gauge; the Road Drive was Editors' Choice for road bikes, while the Gauge took the cake for best overall mountain bike pump. The Little Silver is designed for high-pressure tires, but we found it to struggle with pressures over 50psi. We were able to get a road tire up to 90 psi, but it took over 500 pump strokes. As pressure in the tire increases, the Little Silver has a significant increase in pumping difficulty, and it leaks air from the pump head.

Looks/Design


Aluminum construction and a bamboo handle give the Little Silver Pump a unique look as compared to the other mini pumps we tested that have a more industrial look. It would be a nice accessory for a town bike, as it doesn't have the serious racer look of most mini pumps. We like the bamboo handle from an aesthetic perspective, but we question the longevity, especially if you use the pump during the winter months.

The pump head suffers from some of the same downfalls as nearly all integrated heads: poor ergonomics exacerbated by the tiny size of the pump. The seal on the valve stems was not ideal when the pump was new and has deteriorated with continued use. Air will leak past the seal unless the pump head remains at a perfect right angle to the valve during pumping, which is impossible when using a pump of this size at high pressure.

The Little Silver Pump has a unique look  with a bamboo pump handle.
The Little Silver Pump has a unique look, with a bamboo pump handle.

Portability


The Little Silver Pump is one of the lightest pumps we tested at 92g, only rivaled by the Topeak RaceRocket HP and the Lezyne Pressure Drive. With a short length of only 19cm, it is the ideal size for stowing in a jersey pocket. It also comes with a frame mount bracket.

The Little Silver Pump comes with a frame mount bracket.
The Little Silver Pump comes with a frame mount bracket.

Durability


The pump head seal deteriorated during our test period. As the seal broke down from repeated use, it became more and more difficult to maintain an adequate seal, particularly at high pressures. Due to the seal issues, the Little Silver Pump is one of the lower scoring products we tested. All three Lezyne pumps, including the Lezyne Pressure Drive, along with the Topeak RaceRocket, and Silca Impero will offer you better durability for whatever adventures you throw their way.

Best Applications


Best suited to use on a town bike or other bike used close to amenities. We would not trust this pump to be our only source of inflation on a long solo road ride.

Value


The Little Silver pump retails for $45, making it more expensive than the Pro Bike Tool High Pressure Pump, $30, winner of our Best Buy Award. When compared to other pumps in this price range that offer much better performance and durability, the Little Silver comes up short. The Little Silver isn't a great value.

Conclusion


The Little Silver pump is a unique-looking mini pump, but it does not have good pumping performance and lacks durability.

The Little Silver Pump has a bamboo handle.
The Little Silver Pump has a bamboo handle.


Curtis Smith