Searching for the best frame pump for your next big ride? Flats are part of life, but If you have the right tools on hand, you'll be back in the saddle in no time. Otherwise, you might be going for a very long walk. To help you figure out which of the many, many portable pumps on the market is right for you, we researched our brains out, reading up on dozens of top options. We bought 18 of the very best to duke it out in head-to-head competition. From changing flats in the field to painstakingly counting out how many strokes it takes each pump to reach set pressures on road and mountain bike tires, our tests are meticulous. We rated these ride-savers on their pumping power, how pleasant and straightforward they are to use, and how easy they are to cart around. Keep reading for all the details.
The Best Bicycle Frame and Mini Pump Review
|Price||$24.00 at Amazon|
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|$64.99 at Competitive Cyclist|
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|$165.00 at Competitive Cyclist||$39.97 at Competitive Cyclist|
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|$35.39 at Amazon|
|Pros||Great pumping performance, easy to use, affordable||Excellent pumping power, highly portable, digital readout||Durable, pumping performance||Durable, user friendly, pumping performance||Easy to use, threadless valve head, retractable hose, doubles as a front shock pump|
|Cons||Heavy, Too big to fit in a jersey or a hip pack||Too large for a frame mount or to fit in a hip pack||Heavy, large size, expensive||Lack of versatility||Hose is short, not as powerful as larger pumps, not for road bikes|
|Bottom Line||A frame pump that performs like a floor pump.||If you ride with a hydration pack and want the most pumping power possible, this is the one.||Stellar performance and a beautiful design that is built to last a lifetime.||Awesome mini pump for high pressure, low volume tires.||The ideal pump for a mountain biker looking for a capable, lightweight, low-profile frame, or jersey pocket, pump.|
|Rating Categories||Topeak Road Morph G||Micro Floor Digital Drive HVG||Silca Impero Ultimate||Lezyne Pressure Drive||Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB|
|Pumping Performance (30%)|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Looks And Design (10%)|
|Specs||Topeak Road Morph G||Micro Floor...||Silca Impero...||Lezyne Pressure...||Birzman Velocity...|
|Length||35cm||30.48cm||52cm Max, 47cm Min||19cm||17.78cm|
|25C Road Tire Pressure following 200 Pumps||125psi||76 psi at 100 pumps||103 at 112 strokes||60psi||44 psi at 100 pumps|
|Tire Pressure 27.5 x 2.3" Following 300 Pumps||50psi||40 psi at 200 pumps||34psi||17psi||22psi|
|Ability to reach 90psi in a road tire 25cc||Yes||N/A||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Pump Head Type||Hose with locking lever||Threaded hose w/pressure relief valve||Standard Integrated No Locking lever||Hose Thread On||Non-thread hose, slip on|
|Frame Mount Bracket Included?||No||Yes||Spring Loaded for Frame Mount||Yes||Yes|
Best Overall Road or Mountain Bike Mini Pump
Topeak Road Morph G
The Editors' Choice Award for Best Road or Mountain Bike Frame Pump goes to the Topeak Road Morph G. With a folding foot pedal, a T handle, an extendable hose, and a pressure gauge, this pump eliminates the need for a full sized floor pump. When it comes to performance, the Road Morph G is leaps and bounds ahead of any other road specific frame pump that we tested, and unlike other mini floor pumps that we have reviewed the Road Morph G can be mounted on a frame. Although it is optimized for road, it also keeps up with the high volume mountain bike specific pumps while inflating 27.5" x 2.3" tires which makes it a great option if you like to ride with a pump in your hydration pack.When compared to other frame pumps on the market, the Road Morph G is on the larger, heavier side. It also takes up a water bottle cage spot on your frame. If you're the type of cyclist that counts every gram, or if giving up a water bottle cage is not ideal, then you may want to consider a smaller, lighter pump.
For mountain bike use the Lezyne Gauge Drive HV is a great option. If you're looking for a road bike specific frame pump, then check out the Lezyne Road Drive for something a little lighter.
Best Overall Road Bike Mini Pump
Lezyne Road Drive
We award the Lezyne Road Drive our Editors' Choice Award for Best Road Bike Mini Pump for its exceptional high-pressure performance. The Road Drive can quickly take a tire to 90 psi and reached a high pressure in our 200 pump test. The Speed Flex ABS hose provides a secure leak-free connection and best in class ergonomics while pumping.
Other products provide more volume per stroke, but few are as easy to use at high pressure. The Road Drive is such a solid performer in high-pressure applications that it has become our go-to when we stuff our pockets for a long road ride.
Read review: Lezyne Road Drive
Best for Mountain Bike Mini Pump
Lezyne Gauge Drive HV
When it comes to high volume inflating efficiency, the Lezyne Gauge Drive HV stands out. This option has the best pumping performance of any mini we have tested. Combined with the fact that the Pen Gauge ABS Flex Hose lets you see your real-time pressure, it is easy to see why the Gauge Drive is the runaway winner of our Editors' Choice Award for Mountain Bike Mini Pumps.
Among the largest mini pumps we've tested, this isn't the best option to mount to your bottle cage bolts or shove in a jersey pocket. If you like riding with a full hydration pack though, this is a great pump to toss in it.
Read review: Lezyne Gauge Drive HV
Best Buy Award Winner
Topeak Peakini II
During our pumping test, the Topeak Peakini 2 outperformed all of the other mountain bike specific pumps, and it is one of the more affordable mini pumps. The folding T handle, coupled with a larger volume cylinder makes inflating a tire on the side of the road or trail a simple task. With this pump, you'll spend less time fixing a flat so you and your group can spend more time riding, and at this price point, you'll still have a few bucks left over for a cold beverage and a snack after a good day of going hard in the dirt.
The main shortcoming of the Peakini 2 is that the pump head type is a standard style with a locking lever. This design is a bit outdated and harder to use than models with thread-on hoses. If you aren't careful, it could potentially damage or shear off a valve stem.
Read review: Topeak Peakini 2
Best for Doubling as Shock Pump
Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB
For those who want the versatility of a mini-pump and shock pump in one lightweight, low profile and finished package, the Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB is our top pick. The Velocity Apogee MTB delivers descent pumping performance considering its small size. It can also inflate a suspension fork, a unique feature in the mini-pump segment. It also has a handy retractable hose and a threadless valve head, making it one of the easiest pumps to use that we tested.
The Velocity Apogee MTB could have a longer hose for less awkward pumping, and although it can inflate a suspension fork, it is not powerful enough to inflate a rear shock. It doesn't have a pressure gauge, so suspension pressure has to be set based on sag. Overall, the shock pumping capability of the Velocity Apogee MTB makes it a unique offering and our top choice for dual purpose inflation.
Read review: Birzman Velocity Apogee MTB
Analysis and Test Results
Frame pumps and mini pumps are your best friend when you need to inflate a tire while out on a ride. Frame specific products are well suited for road and cyclocross bikes and provide quick, efficient inflation due to their larger size.
There are a wide variety of minis. Some are designed to work well on high-pressure road tires. Others are designed specifically for mountain bike tires, which have higher volumes and need lower pressures. We break down the different options available below.
We know that buying a quality product at a great value is always the goal. That's why we plot the products' performance scores against their sticker price. Notice that the Peakini 2 is the lowest cost award winner. That's why we call it the Best Buy.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Putting air in the tire in an efficient manner is critical. In general, products designed for mountain bikes don't work all that well for road bikes, because they are often unable to hit the target pressure. Road pumps will get a mountain tire up to pressure, but often require so many strokes that you might decide to walk home instead. The best pumps allow you to hit your target pressure quickly, with a minimal amount of strokes. Also, the effort required to achieve that pressure must be manageable.
Pump manufacturers often provide max pressure ratings for their pumps. We found that most pumps are incapable of reaching those claims because it gets too hard to compress them under high pressure. Also, when a pump cycles through several hundred compression cycles in rapid succession, heat builds up. As the chamber heats, the metal expands, decreasing the piston seal's effectiveness. This allows air to escape and reduces the volume of air per stroke. So the faster you pump, the more inefficient your pump will become. How well a design manages these factors determines how well it will perform for its intended purpose.
The highest scoring mini pump for road applications is the Topeak Road Morph G. This impressive little pump was able to achieve 125 psi at only 125 strokes. Other products we tested were not able to achieve a higher pressure at 200 strokes, and with the other pumps, the effort to compress those pumps at the many strokes was substantially greater.
Our top scoring mini pumps for mountain bike tires are the Topeak Peakini 2 and the Gauge Drive HV. Both pumps are fairly large, but they can move some air, particularly the Topeak Peakini 2. It hit 55 psi on a 27.5" x 2.3" mountain bike tire at just 200 strokes. For comparison, the Lezyne Gauge Drive was only at 37 psi after 300 strokes. Pumping effort per stroke remained relatively easy for both.
The Silca Impero is our top scoring frame pump, hitting an impressive 103 psi at only 112 strokes in a 25cc road tire. Silica uses a leather piston that can better adapt to the micro changes in chamber diameter that occur with heat buildup. Due to this design, the loss of efficiency during pumping is minimal.
The Pro Bike Tool also scored well, with excellent all-around pumping performance. It hit 74 psi at 200 strokes on a road tire and 22 psi in a mountain tire at 300 strokes. We were impressed with its versatility. But it struggled to hit 90 psi in a road tire due to the increased pumping resistance at high pressure. It is hard to design a product that does everything well, but the Vibrelli Mini gets pretty close.
Ease of Use
Flat tires always seem to happen at the most inopportune times. We all have busy lives, and most of us try to make the most of our time by planning a ride that uses up nearly every minute of the available window. So when a flat occurs, we want equipment that is reliable and foolproof. Some products are easier to use than others.
We've found that pumps using a flexible hose and a thread-on valve attachment are the easiest to use. It takes a few extra seconds to deploy the flexible hose from the pump and thread the fitting onto the valve, but the interface provides a consistent leak-free connection while you pump.
The Lezyne Road Drive is the easiest to use mini pump that we tested. Its Presta-only hose has a thread-on chuck at one end and a slip chuck at the other. The slip chuck is fast and offers a good seal in low-pressure applications. The Road Drive also has an ABS valve on the hose that allows you to bleed the pressure from the hose and release the Presta valve back to the closed position. This prevents air loss when unthreading the hose from the valve.
Another favorite is the Lezyne Micro Floor Digital Drive HVG. This mini-floor pump is a little more to carry, but it offers more comfortable pumping and more power than any other option tested.
The Silca Impero is the most straightforward frame pump to use. With its flexible silicone bumpers, it is by far the easiest to attach securely to a frame. The head is also easy to connect. It pushes on and does not rely on a lever to lock. Pumping is also easy with a smooth, consistent motion with a minimal increase in difficulty as pressure increases.
The Topeak Race Rocket HP is also a standout, with a flexible hose and air chuck system that allows the user to fill both Presta and Schrader valves with the same head. The Lezyne Race Rocket does not have an air bleed valve, so removing the pump from the tire valve is a bit more difficult than using the Road Drive from Lezyne. The Lezyne Gauge Drive is also a top scoring product with pump connections that are similar to the aforementioned Road Drive. The Lezyne Gauge Drive stands out with an inline ABS pen gauge that allows the user to see tire pressure while pumping.
Looks and Design
We ranked all of the pumps in our review on looks and design. This is fairly subjective. If you are going to mount a frame pump on a high-end road bike, you would probably prefer one that does not detract from the beauty of your bike. Beyond that, unless you intend to mount a mini to your bottle cage bolts, the pump will be stowed in a jersey pocket or hydration pack.
Design of the pump is a big deal though, and to rate it, we look at things such as the material used for its body and handle. The more metal, the better. Frame and mini pumps see a lot of abuse as they are often exposed to the elements for extended periods and only see action occasionally. We also prefer the flexible hose valve connections over a fixed air chuck at the head of the pump body. The flexible hose makes the pumping process more manageable because the user does not have to worry about putting leverage on the valve stem during inflation. Most hoses make the valve connection via a threaded chuck — this design feature provides the most secure leak-proof valve connection.
Our highest scoring product is the Lezyne Road Drive. Design highlights include an aluminum body and the ABS Speed Flex hose for reliable valve interface. The Lezyne Micro Floor Drive, Birzman Velocity Apogee, and Blackburn CO2'Fer Mini also score well for their performance and innovative features. The Road Morph G serves as a mini-floor pump, the Birzman doubles as a front suspension pump and the Blackburn offers optional CO2 canister compatibility.
A close runnerup is our Top Pick Award winner for Frame Pumps, the Silca Impero. The Impero features all-metal construction with silicone bumpers on both ends that create a secure interface with the bike frame and also protect the paint. The dual seal push on the head provides a robust leak-free interface with the valve. In addition, Silica uses a leather gasket to improve inflation performance and accommodate for heat buildup.
The Pro Bike Tool features a design similar to the Lezyne Road Drive; we rank it lower due to its lack of a locking mechanism for the handle. During testing, the handle would frequently extend on bumpy roads — not the end of the world, but annoying. The Lezyne Gauge Drive HV had a similar issue, but being a mountain bike specific pump, we mostly carried it in a hydration pack which would prevent it from extending.
When it comes to portable pumps, size and weight matter. The mini is a mandatory piece of equipment you will be carrying it all the time, either in jersey or hydration pack. Paying attention to the weight and size when you purchase will pay dividends in the long run. Pump length is also a consideration. In general, we advocate purchasing the longest one that you can fit in your hydration pack or comfortably carry in a jersey pocket. The extra length makes the pump slightly less portable, but it pays dividends in efficiency.
That said, the highest scoring mini we tested is the Topeak Race Rocket HP. It is the shortest product we tested at 18.5cm, and also the lightest at 87g. The Race Rocket simply disappears in a jersey pocket. The Lezyne Road Drive scores lower due to its increased length at 23.5cm. However, the Topeak Road Morph G mounts on a frame despite its large size. Striking a balance between portability and capability, the Velocity Apogee MTB is only 17.75 cm and weighs 136 grams, but can inflate both tires and suspension forks, a very handy feature.
Our highest scoring frame pump is the Silca Impero. While it is heavier than the other frame pumps we tested, it has by far the most secure fit on a wide variety of frames. The silicone end bumpers are very malleable and flex to accommodate a wide variety of tubing shapes. Even on the roughest roads we never had an issue with dislodging the Impero. We acknowledge that weight is essential, but feel the optimal security provided by the Impero outweighs the increased weight.
In general, mini pumps and frame pumps are a seldom-used item, but when you need them, there should be no question of functionality. Any tool with moving parts is subject to wear over time, and we certainly made every attempt during testing to put the products through far more use cycles than the average cyclist will see in a season of riding. Most mini-pumps and frame pumps deteriorate more from exposure to the elements than actual use.
All of the products we tested help up well over our six-month test period, though we did see some air chuck degradation. This is due to the delicate nature of rubber seals that are susceptible to drying out and cracking with both use and exposure to the elements. For this reason, our highest scoring products are the Lezyne and Topeak pumps. Their flexible, stowable hoses put less direct pressure on the air chucks.
The Pro Bike Tool is also a good choice. It uses the same stowable hose design as the Lezyne Road Drive with the addition of an inline pen gauge. Scoring slightly lower is the Lezyne Gauge Drive HV, as the hose attachment threads on the pump body are plastic. The other Lezyne products we tested use metal. The pump can get hot enough on occasion to damage the heated plastic threads when removing the hose. Overall, though, having the hose stowed inside the pump protects the valve from the elements and leads to a longer life.
Other high scoring products include the Silca Impero and Silca Pocket Impero. Silica pumps feature a leather piston that is known to be one of the longest lasting, most reliable designs available. Many of our testers have 20-year-old Pista floor pumps that are still in working order with the same leather piston design. Also, Silica uses a brass check valve in the head that is widely regarded as one of the most reliable designs available. What we don't like in regards to the Silica pump is the exposed nature of the head seals that are not protected from the elements when stowed on a bike.
Mini pumps and frame pumps are a critical piece of equipment for cyclists of all disciplines and experience levels. We hope you found our review helpful to your mini or frame pump purchasing decision.
— Curtis Smith, Kurt Gensheimer, and Ross Patton