Portland Design Works Little Silver Review
Cons: Expensive, poor pumping performance
Manufacturer: Portland Design Works
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
The Little Silver pump is a unique-looking mini pump, but it does not have good pumping performance and lacks durability.
— Curtis Smith