by Wil Barrett and Chipps
January 16, 2017
Lezyne gives us its take on a floor pump designed to help you with tubeless tyre installation.
As tubeless tyre technology continues to enjoy further widespread appeal amongst mountain bikers, cyclocross riders, and even progressive roadie types, more tubeless-specific products are gradually hitting the market to make our non-tubed lives that little bit easier.
Tubeless tyres and rims are without doubt getting better all the time, but it’s still possible to run into certain combos that leave you shouting at your lousy pump while a deflated tyre mocks you as sealant leaks all over the cold concrete floor of your garage. Without a compressor, seating tubeless tyres can be a serious pain that’ll have you huffing and puffing with little to show for it – trust us, we’ve been there many, many times before.
Back in 2014, Bontrager released the Flash Charger TLR floor pump. It’s basically a floor pump that allows you to pressurise a separate chamber, before flicking a small lever to release a high-pressure burst of air through the valve to help seat the tyre onto the rim – in much the same way that a compressor or CO2 canister would do. It was a brilliant piece of kit that we reviewed favourably in Singletrack Magazine, and it’s since gone on to set the trend for other companies to introduce their own version of the same thing. That includes the excellent Airshot tubeless inflator, and now the Lezyne Digital Pressure Over Drive Floor Pump.
The slick black floor pump you see here was introduced a bit over six months by American brand Lezyne. Lezyne has a habit of producing well-executed tools, accessories and pumps, and as such, it’s earned quite the reputation for it over the years. We certainly had high expectations when we heard Lezyne would be offering its version of a floor pump designed specifically for inflating tubeless tyres.
At this point in time, Lezyne offers two versions of the Pressure Over Drive; the Digital version we’ve been testing, and an analogue version that skips the digital pressure gauge in favour of an old-school dial for £20 less.
As you’d expect from Lezyne, the finish on the Digital Pressure Over Drive pump is top notch. It has a lovely wooden handle, and the rest of the construction is all metal. The feet in particular are robust pieces that give the pump a very solid and stable feeling in use.
Lezyne has spared no expense with this chunky uber-pump. The Digital Pressure Over Drive features a sleek all-black finish and a tough braided hose, while the trick red anodised finishing touches give a bit of razzle without too much dazzle. It has a good amount of weight to it as well – not so heavy that it’s a pain to lug around, but just enough to feel stable and solid underfoot. The metal feet help contribute to the sturdy construction. Compared to many of the plastic-fantastic pumps on the market, the Leyzne pump has a much classier look.
At the other end of the pump is the newest ABS2 chuck. Compared to Lezyne’s previous ABS threaded chuck that could often (and very annoyingly) twist the valve core out during removal, the new chuck is a press-on type affair. It’s compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves. It’s compact shape and 90° bend makes it easy to get into tight spaces, and there’s a small bleed button to release pressure from your tyre while the chuck is mounted to the valve.
Using the Lezyne Digital Pressure Over Drive Pump is relatively straight forward, though as we’ve found, it does require a certain knack to get it each and every time.
That thick piece of steel wire extending out from the base of the pump is the lever you use to open the pressurised chamber during tubeless tyre inflation. To begin with, flip it up vertically to seal the chamber and then pump to charge it to the pressure you need (we rock about 150psi). Then when you’re ready, flip it down to open the chamber with your foot and dump all that air through the valve and straight into the tyre. As you’ll see in the video below, the sudden burst of air helps to quickly push the tyre beads up the inside of the rim cavity and into the bead shelf.
Activating the pressure release lever can be quite tricky. While we appreciate that it’s foot-activated (as you’d normally be holding the rim and tyre with your hands), it requires a rather dainty hook of the toe to capture the lever, and push it downwards while your other foot is standing on one of the pump’s feet. The lever feels solid, and it does its job, but some improvements in the ergonomics of the lever to help this procedure would be thoroughly welcomed. Alternatively, you can use your hands like Wil does in the above video.
However, over the six or so months of use in our workshop, we have encountered some frustrations with the ABS2 chuck. On some tubeless valves (such as those from Roval, American Classic, E*13 and Mavic), the upper section of the valve can be threadless. This makes installing the ABS2 chuck a real pain, as the chuck can be pushed too far over the valve, resulting in the collar jamming before you can get lock it down in place. You can still get the chuck to hold by not pressing it too far over the valve, but it’s the sort of thing that you’ll get wrong nine out of ten times – as Chipps demonstrates below;
However, as most tubeless valves on the market are threaded all the way to the top, not everyone will encounter that issue. With a good ol’ threaded tubeless valve, the ABS2 chuck presses on and locks down for a reliable and tight seal. And unlike the old ABS chuck, it won’t accidentally unthread the valve core.
However, it’s worth noting that if you’ve got greasy or sealant-covered fingers, the red collar can be quite slippery to turn properly. While it has some light knurling, it’s quite smooth overall. Some heavier texturing here would be nice to help in the locking process.
During our time with the Lezyne Digital Pressure Over Drive Floor Pump, it’s proven to be a solid performer. It’s built to a very high standard, and already it’s outlasted many lesser pumps to come through the Singletrack Workshop. Lezyne offers numerous spare parts for its pumps, so if you did ever break anything, then you can be rest assured that the whole pump isn’t a throwaway item.
We really like the big digital pressure gauge on this pump, as it offers more accurate tyre pressure setup – an issue with the other analogue tubeless floor pumps on the market that have to be rated up to 160psi in order for you to charge the sealed chamber, but are then quite useless when you’re trying to work out the difference between 20psi and 25psi. That makes it well worth the £20 over the regular Pressure Over Drive floor pump.
If you run tubeless tyres on your mountain bike, cyclocross bike, and/or road bike, then a pump like the Digital Pressure Over Drive is a must – it will make dealing with tubeless installation so much easier. If Lezyne could refine both the ergonomics of the actuation lever and and the ABS2 chuck, this pump would surely receive a Singletrack Recommended badge of approval.