Detail of bicycle main triangle with two insulated water bottles. The bottles are grey with black caps. The bicycle frame is grey and black with an orange accent. Portions of the front and rear wheels are visible.

The search for the ultimate pump

I’ve been looking for a new tire pump since my Panaracer — very reliable until that point — nearly left me stranded as it removed the valve core after pumping up a soft rear tire. After some searching around and reading reviews, I decided to give the Lezyne Digital Road Drive a try. It’s more compact than the Panaracer and the clamp attaches to a bidon mount. It also screws onto the valve core, threatening the same failure the Panaracer suffered, but it includes a valve core tool in the form of several notches around the circumference of the pump head.

The only downside was no one seemed to have it. The Lezyne site says it’s out of stock (without saying it’s discontinued). Several outlets in Japan had a similar model, but without the digital gauge. I finally bit the bullet and ordered it from an overseas online site, and after roughly a month, it arrived. I eagerly tore open the packaging, fiddled with the pump and turned on the gauge — nothing. I read the instructions (only at this point, yes). The gauge should turn on by pressing the power button for a couple of seconds. But … nothing. Fearing the worst, I ordered a replacement battery. It arrived the next day, and the gauge was working the moment I swapped in the new battery.

Workshop in the Sky in the heat

Which brings us to today. I had a rather tight schedule, with a haircut in the morning and dinner with José in the evening, but I thought I might get in a quick ride midday. The forecast was hot, but below my limit of 32C. And then when I got home from the haircut I was feeling a bit off, and I discovered Nana wasn’t feeling well. So rather than I ride I decided this was my chance to replace the pumps.

I took a couple of minutes to sort out the tools and bits I’d need to remove the old pump and attach the new one. Before doing anything else, I gave the new pump a try. It takes considerably more strokes than the Panaracer for the same volume of air (as expected), but it does the job. I didn’t test the gauge’s accuracy against my other gauges. I’m happy if it’s in the ballpark. After taking a moment to compare the weights of old and new, and to pat myself on the back for the 100g weight savings, I set about attaching the bracket to the bike.

I’ve had the spare water bottle cage below the down tube since I upgraded the bike to Di2. There isn’t room between the down tube and the front tire for an insulated bottle, and of course the bottle gets splashed with all the mud and grit in that position. So I decided to try putting the water bottle cage back on the down tube when I mounted the new pump bracket. It was a tight fit for the wrench — there’s a lot going on there with the Di2 battery and two water bottle cages vying for the same spot. But I got it on.

As soon as that was done, I realized I couldn’t fit two bottles in at the same time — the positions overlapped at the bottom. The bike shop worker had told me this when I bought Kuroko and had provided a solution — an extending bracket that moved one of the bottle cages a couple of centimeters higher on the tube. I searched a number of places where I keep spare bicycle parts, tools, and bits ‘n’ bobs, and finally found the extender in the tool box (after nearly emptying the entire box onto the balcony). The extender did the trick and I can once again carry two insulated water bottles within the main triangle.

Routine chain stuff

The last bit of maintenance for the day was to check the chain for wear, and then clean and lubricate it. It was more than 30C on the Workshop in the Sky by this time and the sun was beating directly into my face. But I’ve noted a bit of noise in certain gears recently, and so I wanted to check the chain for wear.

Close-up of chain wear gauge inserted into a greasy bicycle chain. The gauge's nose barely penetrates the chain, indicating a lack of wear.
Like new

The chain gauge showed hardly any sign of wear — there’s plenty of life left. With that, I cleaned and oiled the chain, and then ran the bike through its gears. In the stand, there’s no unusual noise. It could be that the cleaning and lube was all that was needed. I’ll listen during the next ride, and if there’s noise I’ll try adjusting the derailleur.

Update: money shot

Fearless Leader Joe pointed out the pump is not visible in the shot with the two bidons, so here you go:

Close-up of bicycle showing two water bottles and a pump fitted to the main triangle.
Money shot

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One response to “The search for the ultimate pump”

  1. […] In the meantime, though, I checked Kuroko’s tire pressure, and I’m happy to report that the new pump works great — although it does take quite a few strokes to get […]

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