Watch the full review video below or check out more MTB related videos at the MTB.guide Youtube Channel. Below this video you find the video transcription.
The Lezyne Digital Alloy drive is based on Lezyne’s the more popular Alloy Drive mini pump, but with the obvious addition of a digital pressure gauge. This means that you still have the CNC machined aluminum body, ABS flex hose that support Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves and an included bike mount.
The pump is rated at 90 psi or 6,2 bar, which is high for a high-volume mini pump and I’ll be testing it later on. The gauge is also advertised as “super accurate”, so, we’ll see how much of that is true as well.
The Digital Alloy Drive does not have any competitors that are combining a mini pump and a digital pressure gauge. However, there are a few that offer an analogue pressure gauge which should also give you accurate readings if the gauge isn’t too small. Here is a list of, what I consider, competitors. This list also includes the standard Lezyne Alloy Drive as reference.
Price is a big one here as you can see: at €74,95 the Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive is an expensive pump and the most expensive in this lineup. The Birzman and Crankbrothers pumps have a quite similar high finish quality and don’t differ that much feature wise, making the price premium of about € 25 quite steep.
The maximum pressures shouldn’t be an issue as long as you can achieve about 65 psi or 4,5 bar, which is generally the maximum tire pressure for standard mountain bike tires.
Being on the trails, with or without a backpack, weight is always an important one. The Digital Alloy Drive is one of the heaviest pumps, weighing in at 170 grams, 3 grams lighter than the claimed weight of 173 grams. Some pumps feature different sizes, compromising between weight, size and volume, but the Digital Alloy Drive only comes in one size.
A feature seen on some mini pumps, but not on the Lezyne, is the possibility to change between high volume and high-pressure mode, making a pump also suitable for road use.
So, let’s subject the Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive to some tests, starting with the accuracy test first. Since the digital meter is the main differentiating feature of this pump, accuracy is an important one here. The tire will be pumped up to 13 and 26 psi or 0,9 and 1,8 bar and checked with a calibrated 30psi pressure gauge. The tire will be pumped up to these pressures 3 times and an average is taken from these numbers.
The resolution on many pressure gauges is in one decimal for PSI and 2 decimals for bar. Measurements taken in the psi unit are in this case more accurate and will be used as a main unit in these tests.
Looking at the results, The Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive reads up to 2 psi too high. Which is a considerable amount, especially when you’re running low pressure, high volume tires. For comparison, the common Schwalbe Airmax Pro gauge reads about 1psi too high.
Next up is the 100 rep test. As base for this test I’m using a 27,5 inch wheel, a standard innertube and a Maxxis Highroller 2,3. The freshly mounted tire is first fully inflated to about 60psi to make sure the tire is seated properly. Then the tire fully deflated until no air comes out. After that the pump is connected and the pressure is measured after 100 strokes of the pump. These steps are repeated 3 times to get an average score.
The Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive gets the tire up to 18,3 psi (1,26 bar) after 100 reps. Which is good for a high-volume pump. But it remains fairly labor intensive.
Last is the maximum pressure test. The advertised max pressure is 90 psi or 6,2 bar is high, especially for a high-volume pump. The tire is pumped up until I can’t get more pressure in the tire. I consider a pump that goes to 40-65 psi usable for harder to mount tires to pop and seat properly on the rim.
The Lezyne Digital Alloy drive got to 50 psi (3,44 bar), which makes it usable for most mountain bike tires. However, it falls greatly short on the advertised pressure, missing about 40 psi, making it unsuitable for use with road tires.
The pump in use
Using Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive is pretty straight forward. Undo the dust caps, unscrew the ABS hose from the top and screw the opposite valve type in the bottom of the pump. Next you can screw the hose on the valve and start pumping. And don’t forget to turn on the pump.
You will lose some additional pressure when connecting and disconnecting from Presta valves, as is mostly the case with these threaded connections. The button on the hose relieves pressure from the hose, making disconnecting from Presta valves easier and should prevent unscrewing the valve core. But, using the same button on a Schrader valve will deflate your tire. The hose seals well almost every time and in the rare case that it doesn’t, you have to screw on the hose again.
The capacity of this high-volume pump seemed well for getting the tires up to the correct pressure to continue your ride again. In some occasions I had to pump a tire to 45 psi to get the tire to seat properly. I found that, reaching the limit of the pump, the force needed greatly increases but that also meant that the handle starts to somewhat dig in your hand. Especially at opening where the hose is stored gets pretty uncomfortable while pumping.
The Lezyne comes with a bike mount, making it easier to ride without a backpack. The mount feels cheap but keeps the pump in place. One thing that quickly becomes clear is the rattle. But it’s not the handle that rattles, even though it could use a rubber seal to prevent rattle it when not used in the mount, but it’s actually the hose that rattles a bit inside. I personally put my mini pump in my backpack and then the rattle isn’t noticeable.
The battery seems to hold up really well. After a few months of occasional usage and testing for this review, the battery indicator didn’t even drop a bar. Since you only use it a couple of minutes at the time, I don’t expect it to run out anytime soon. Battery replacement is pretty easy and can be done by unscrewing the cap under the display. The battery is a less standard CR1220, but finding a new battery shouldn’t be that difficult. Tightening the cap doesn’t inspire confidence since it feels fragile and there’s no clear stopping point.
The Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive is at € 74,95 an expensive pump and definitely not for everyone. If you value your tire pressures very much and want an all in one solution, then this might be something to consider. But be aware that you still pay a hefty premium over several mini pumps with analogue gauge. The Lezyne is marked as a high-volume pump and you should use it only for that, as the pump maxes out at only 49 psi (or 3,4 bar). As a high-volume pump, you should expect that it displaces a large volume of air on every stroke, and the Digital Alloy Drive delivers, scoring 18,3 psi in the 100rep test. Making it a fairly efficient high-volume mini pump.
The Digital Alloy Drive is not a “Smart Pump”. It can’t connect to your phone and do some fancy stuff. It doesn’t even automatically turn on when it recognizes pressure. It just replaces an analogue gauge with a digital gauge. The display makes it easier to accurately read the tire pressure, but you do unfortunately need a battery to make it work. As is the case with most outdoor electronics, they still need to work after a bit of rain. The Digital Alloy Drive seems to be somewhat weather resistant, but since no IP rating like IP68 is mentioned, I wouldn’t submerge it under water.
Ergonomics of a pump are often overlooked and noticed when it’s too late. The ergonomics of the Digital Alloy Drive are reasonable. The ABS hose gives you the flexibility to pump in a more comfortable position while the hose stays connected to the valve. But when the hose is removed from the top of the pump, it leaves a hole which gives you an uncomfortable high pressure point on your hand as the tire pressure rises.
The Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive sits in a tough spot. There are cheaper pumps with gauges, you can get a separate pump and pressure gauge that is more accurate. And there are mini pumps than can do both high volume and high pressure. So the other features should be more important to you if you consider buying a Lezyne Digital Alloy Drive.