Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Product Review: Lezyne Bike Pumps
In 1972 Zefal invented a new bicycle pump with a direct-on connection to the valve using a thumb lever lock. This new design rendered the previously used screw-on hose connection obsolete...until now. Lezyne took another look at the old hose tech and remembered that there were definite advantages over the Zefal design.
The integrated Zefal pump head takes a bit less time to secure to the valve but this places stress on the valve head which can lead to the rubber tearing and causing a flat. In addition, the pumping motion is partly translated to the bike which makes pumping more difficult and tends to make the bike fall over if the bike is not already on its side. The old cloth covered hose design (pictured below with a Presta adapter attached), insulated the valve head and bike from the pumping motion, allowed varied and smoother more comfortable pumping positions. What made (most) everyone drop the hose and switch to the integrated head was that the hose tended to leak or loosen. The quality was cheap and the operation felt flimsy. The Zefal made a secure leak proof connection, had a speed advantage to racers, and it was well made.
Lezyne has come full circle with the realization that that the biggest problem of the old hose design was the hose itself and that the integrated head was really not a great solution. Lezyne updated the hose replacing the cloth wrapping with rubber and used better materials at the threaded ends for a more secure fit. The new hose stashes inside the handle and is reversible with a Presta fitting on one end and Schrader on the other, eliminating the need to carry an adapter.
The quality of the Lezyne pump is apparent from a casual visual inspection but is undeniable as soon as you use it. The ergonomics are spot on and the action, smooth and precise. the designers did a great job of reviving and improving the old technology. Several models are available for both low pressure/ high volume and high pressure/low volume. They also make hose with a built in pressure gauge as an upgrade and lighter weight models with carbon handles.