Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lezyne Pressure Drive and Lezyne CO2 Trigger Drive

It is always a good idea to have the tools and spares to fix a puncture. Apart from the spare tube and the tire levers, a good portable hand pump is also essential. There are many different brands and types of hand pumps out there, but most of them are not that reliable or powerful enough for road bike tires. Road bike tires require high tire pressures of at least 100 PSI, and this is usually not achievable on normal hand pumps.

With the exception of the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive and other pumps of similar construction, all other hand pumps are unable to reach the high pressures required to pump up a road bike tire properly. However, an 80% inflated tire is better than a totally flat tire, as it still allows you to get somewhere even though it is slower and with more risk of getting a pinch flat.

The Lezyne Micro Floor Drive is powerful, but it just seems too big to fit nicely on the Merida Scultura 5000 road bike. Therefore I decided to get a slimmer and more compact hand pump for the road bike.

I have tried the Topeak RaceRocket Pump before, and this time I want to try a Lezyne hand pump. I selected the Lezyne Pressure Drive as it looks sleek and simple, and is not too expensive.

Lezyne Pressure Drive. Rated up to a maximum pressure of 120 PSI.

It comes with a bracket for mounting the pump on the bike, using the bottle cage bosses.

Ingenious way of storing the hose inside the pump body itself.

The pump is about 190mm in length before extension

The hose is stored inside the pump cylinder itself, and can be accessed by opening a rubber cap at the top.

The hose can be pulled out fully. There are two ends of the hose for Presta and Schrader valves. One end attaches to the valve while the other end attaches to the pump body.

For example, if I am pumping a Presta valve, I will attach the Schrader end to the pump body by screwing in the hose to the bottom opening of the pump.

What I have done is to extract the hose from the top part of the pump, and screwed it into the bottom part of the pump. The hand pump is now ready to be used!

When fully extended, before compression, the pump length is actually very long!

The supplied mounting bracket is actually commonly used across many different models of Lezyne hand pumps.

The mounting bracket comes with a velcro strap as shown to secure the pump tightly to the bracket.

Weighs 103grams with the mounting bracket.

Weighs 91 grams without the mounting bracket. This also means that the mounting bracket weighs 12 grams.

Ultimately, whichever hand pump you choose, the pump needs to be able to reach the minimum pressure required by the tire. On a MTB tire this is no problem as the pressure is much lower at 30-60 PSI, although it will take many more strokes. However, on a road bike tire where the minimum pressure required is usually about 90 PSI, this will be very challenging.

To test out the capability of the hand pump (and my arm strength), I tried to inflate the road bike tire using the Lezyne Pressure Drive, from zero PSI. At the start it was easy, but at around 50 PSI (estimated), it started to get really tough. It required a lot of strength to push one full stroke of air into the tube. I finally maxed out at 80 PSI (checked with a floor pump gauge) using this hand pump. Given my arm strength, I could not put in any more air as I am unable to compress the pump any more.

The 120 PSI rating on the pump refers to the quality of the seals in the hand pump, and that theoretically it is possible to reach 120 PSI if arm strength is not an issue. Realistically speaking, arm strength is the limiting factor here, as it comes a point where you will not be able to pump in any more air. Asking your buddy to take over and continue pumping may get a few more strokes of air in, but it will still be very tough.

Testing the max PSI that can be achieved with my effort alone.

Overall I would say that this Lezyne Pressure Drive hand pump does its job adequately, without being exceptionally outstanding. Given its lightweight construction and the compact size, I cannot possibly expect too much from it. Being able to achieve 80 PSI should be sufficient for me to continue riding after fixing the puncture.

Besides the Lezyne Pressure Drive hand pump, I will also be carrying the Lezyne CO2 Trigger Drive. This is a CO2 cartridge system that is used to inflate tires rapidly with minimum effort. It is popular among road cyclists due to it being more lightweight than hand pumps, and the quick inflation possible. The downside is that if you use the CO2 cartridge wrongly, it will be wasted, with the CO2 being discharged uselessly into the air. This would be a mini-disaster if you don't have a hand pump as a backup.

The Lezyne CO2 Trigger Drive comes with one 16 gram CO2 cartridge and the trigger. I bought an additional 16 gram cartridge as a spare.

This is the trigger that links the CO2 cartridge to the valve. It allows the flow of CO2 to be controlled so that the tire can be inflated properly.

The trigger needs to be used properly by attaching it to the valve and CO2 cartridge in the correct order, to avoid wasting the CO2 cartridge.

Weight of the CO2 cartridge. Although it says 16 grams at the side, this refers to the amount of CO2 inside the metal cylinder and not the weight of the CO2 cartridge.

The weight of the trigger is 26 grams, and the weight of the CO2 cartridge is 57 grams, giving a total weight of 83 grams. This is only 20 grams lighter than the Lezyne Pressure Drive + bracket shown above. There isn't really any significant weight savings if you choose a CO2 inflation system over a traditional hand pump.

However, the CO2 cartridge will be able to inflate the tire to 120 PSI when the pressurized CO2 is fully discharged from the cartridge into the tube. This will be better than the hand pump in the sense that it can achieve the required high tire pressure without any pumping effort.

I have not used a CO2 cartridge before, so this is new to me. Hopefully I will not need to use it, but in case I do, I hope I am able to use it properly! In any case there is always the hand pump as a backup.

In summary, with the combination of the Lezyne CO2 Trigger Drive and the Lezyne Pressure Drive hand pump, I will be able to deal with any punctures that may happen along the way. Overall these two systems add less than 200 grams to the bike weight which is still acceptable, given the importance of the hand pump and the CO2 system.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Topeak Universal Chain Tool and Topeak Mini 9 Multi Tool

What tools and spares do you carry on your bike? Most people will say to carry a spare tube, as a puncture is the most frequent malfunction that we are likely to encounter while riding a bike. Together with a decent hand pump and tire levers, these 3 items are the minimum spares and tools that we should carry on every ride.

For the more paranoid (or better equipped), they will have at least a multi tool. The multi tool will have the common Allen key sizes and a Philips screwdriver head. This will allow adjustment or tightening of almost all the bolts and screws on the bike.

On certain unlucky days, the chain of the bike may give way and break or get damaged. Although this is a rare event, it is a major malfunction, as a broken chain basically reduces the bike to a push bike as you cannot pedal any more. If you are far away from a repair shop or transport, this will mean a long long walk.

In my portable tool kits, I will have a portable chain tool to remove a broken chain link. With the chain tool, I will be able to remove a broken chain link and join up the broken ends. This shortens the chain a little bit, which means that I will not be able to use the front top (53T) and rear low (28T) combination. However it will repair the chain and enable me to continue cycling.

The smallest and yet effective chain tool that I have come across is the Topeak Universal Chain Tool. Not only is it powerful enough to actually be able to break and join chains, it can also be disassembled for even more compact storage.

Simple packaging of the Topeak Universal Chain Tool

Small chain tool but packs many features!

Small size but with good length on the metal handles for sufficient leverage.

Metal clip to hold on to the chain, in order to reduce tension at the chain link which you are trying to join or break.

Hollow metal handle can be used to store extra chain pins

Can be disassembled into 3 parts for more compact storage

An example of how to store the separated chain tool compactly

The chain tool shown on the left is the older version of the chain tool, which has a longer handle. However, the older version does not have a compartment for spare chain pins or a metal clip.

Weight of the new chain tool

Weight of the older chain tool. Just a bit heavier due to the longer handle.

With the chain tool, I can rest assured that even if there is a problem with my bicycle chain, I will be able to repair it and continue on my way. I have tested it in actual conditions while out cycling, and it works nicely to break and rejoin a chain. Highly recommended for those who are prone to breaking chains or for those who want to be well prepared. Very useful for overseas trips where there is no transport and you need to be fully self sufficient.

I noted that the chain tool is not recommended for use on 11 speed chains. From what I understand, it is OK to break an 11 speed chain with this chain tool, but it may not be able to join an 11 speed chain properly. This is OK for me as I will be joining the chain with a KMC Missing Link for 11 speeds and not a chain pin.

Topeak Mini 9 Multi Tool

Another useful tool for the bike is the multi tool. This is necessary if you want to tighten loose bolts on the bike or adjust stuff on the bike. For example, you may need to adjust your brakes while out riding, and the Allen key and screwdriver on the multi tool will allow you to do that.

I chose a very basic one that has only a few Allen keys and Philips screwdriver. There are larger multi tools with many more functions, such as chain tool, tire levers and such. However I have tried and found that integrated tire levers or chain tools are difficult to use and are often much less effective than dedicated chain tools or individual tire levers.

The Topeak Mini 9 Multi Tool is one of the smallest available, and weighs only 92 grams. Another thing I like about Topeak multi tools is that most of them come with a nice neoprene pouch to protect the tool and also protect other items in your saddle bag from the multi tool.

Topeak Mini 9 Multi Tool. Comes with Allen keys sized 2 to 8mm, A Torx T25 bit and a Philips head screwdriver. Sufficient for 95% of all bolts and nuts on the bike.

Nice pouch for the multi tool

Small but strong tool bits. The size 8mm allen key comes as a hollow bit that goes onto the 6mm Allen key.

I have used the Topeak Mini 9 multi tool before on my other bikes, and it can get the job done reliably. Small and simple, but effective. One downside that I noticed is that it tends to get rust spots if you handle it with sweaty hands, which is likely if you use it while out riding. However, this does not actually affect the function of the multi tool at all, just the appearance.

These 2 new tools, the Topeak Universal Chain Tool and Topeak Mini 9 Multi Tool were bought for the new road bike, as the road bike will require its own tool kit. They are tried and proven tools that I had good experience with previously, which is why I bought them again. Also, they are small and lightweight which will minimise the weight of the tool kit on the road bike.

In the next few posts I will be reviewing and showing the new tools that will be carried on my Merida Scultura 5000 road bike.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 38 - Cutting Weight and Improving Appearance

It has been a long time ever since I upgraded anything on my Dahon Boardwalk! There is simply not much left to upgrade, having changed everything except the frame. It is riding beautifully with the 2x10 speed Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and a great wheelset. The only complaint that I have about the bike is that it is slightly heavy. As I have set up the bike to be a multi purpose bike, it has many accessories that will add weight. Some examples are the fenders, Pletscher double kickstand, rear rack, secondary brake levers and of course all the tools and lights.

Recently I bought a new cycling bag, the Shimano Unzen 10L, which allows me to carry stuff without using the rear rack. It is so useful and comfortable to use that I hardly ever need to use panniers nowadays. Previously I had installed the rear rack to carry panniers, mainly for commuting and also touring. However, since the rear rack is rarely used nowadays, I decided to remove it.

My rear rack has 2 Bontrager Flare 3 rear lights and a Polaroid sports camera on it. Together, they weigh a massive 700+ grams! By simply removing the rear rack, a large amount of weight has been removed from the bike. Removing the rear rack is easy, as I just needed to unscrew the 4 bolts holding the rear rack to the bike frame. It will be easy to re-install it next time if I need it again.

As for the other heavy components on the bike, such as the double kickstand (500+ grams) and the fenders (300 grams), I am quite reluctant to remove them as they are really useful.

Weight of the rear rack + rear lights and camera mounted on the rear rack

After removing the rear rack, I used the Light & Motion Vis 180 rear light to replace the 2 removed Bontrager rear lights.

 With the rear rack removed, the appearance of the bike looks much cleaner! 

After removing the rear rack, I wanted to remove the Fork Accessory Bracket that is located at the front too. However, before that I needed to install the Bar Fly Bracket for Cateye, in order to rearrange the items on the handlebar, and move the Lezyne Super Drive XL from the fork accessory bracket to the handlebar on top. For the details please refer to the post about the Bar Fly Bracket.

After removing the Fork Accessory Bracket from the front of the bike 

The front of the bike looks neater without an accessory bracket sticking out the front of the bike 

The Lezyne front light rests in between the Cateye speedometer and the Alfine Di2 gear display 

Lots of stuff on the handlebar! They are all too useful to remove.

Very clean and neat look on the Dahon Boardwalk, after removing the rear rack and the fork accessory bracket at the front. Not only that, it is now also 700 grams lighter!

The fenders and double kickstand still gives the Dahon Boardwalk a utilitarian look, however they are too useful to remove. If they are removed it will cut another 800 grams off the bike!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Minoura Bike Tower 10 - Extra Bike Cradle

With the addition of a new road bike, the Merida Scultura 5000, there is not much space left to keep the new bike! Luckily I had already bought the Minoura Bike Tower 10 previously for all the bikes. However, the bike tower came with only 2 bike cradles, and both of them are already in use. The top cradle is used to hold the Dahon MuEX, while the bottom one is actually used to hold the accessories such as the helmets.

The Minoura Bike Tower 10 is actually able to hold up to 4 bikes using 4 bike cradles. Therefore, I decided to buy an extra bike cradle to hold the new Merida Scultura 5000 road bike.

Before I could mount the new bike cradle, I had to move the existing bike cradle from the front to the back. Luckily I had sufficient space on both sides of the bike tower to hold the bikes.

Bike Cradle for Dahon MuEX moved to the back of the bike tower 

New Bike Cradle mounted on the front, ready to accept the additional bike! 

Still a small gap between the end of the handlebar and the wall 

The new road bike mounted on the front! Faces the opposite direction from the Dahon MuEx at the back, to avoid interference between the handlebars. 

5 bikes stored in the space usually only sufficient for 2 full sized bikes. 

Making full use of the Minoura Bike Tower 10

With the additional bike cradle, the bike tower is able to hold an additional bike without taking up any extra space. By making use of the previously unused space at the back of the bike tower, it really maximises the use of space around the bike tower.

It is more difficult to take down the Dahon MuEX at the back, as I will need to first remove the road bike placed at the front. However, since that bike is used less often, it will be acceptable. Overall, I am very pleased with the additional bike cradle, as it is really easy to install and allows me to store one more bike without taking up any additional space at all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bar Fly Bracket for Cateye

The handlebar space on my Dahon Boardwalk is always very limited. Due to the number of gadgets that I like to install on my bikes, there is always insufficient space to put everything. This problem is even more obvious on the drop bar, as it has even lesser space than a flat handlebar.

Previously I had installed the handlebar extension mount, which creates more space for handlebar accessories. After changing to a new dropbar and stem, I have rearranged the accessories as shown below.

Handlebar Extension Mount with the speedometer and gear display mounted on it

Both the Cateye Strada Wireless speedometer and the Alfine Di2 Gear Display goes onto the handlebar extension mount. This puts the displays further ahead of the handlebar which makes it a bit easier to read.

This set up has actually worked very well for me, giving me the space I need to put the accessories on the handlebar. However, recently I had the idea to remove the Fork Accessory Bracket that is on the Dahon Boardwalk. Although the Lezyne Super Drive XL front light is currently mounted on it, I want to remove it from the front of the bike to make the bike look less cluttered.

My idea is to remove the Fork Accessory Bracket to free up the front of the bike

So how is all of these related to the new item which I want to review below? The overall idea is that after removing the fork accessory bracket, I will still need a place to mount the Lezyne Super Drive XL front light. The only place that is possible would be on the drop bar itself. However, the space there is very limited.

Therefore, I decided to get the Bar Fly bracket for Cateye speedometers. It will free up some space on the drop bar / extension mount, and hopefully making enough space for the Lezyne front light to be mounted on the handlebar.

Introducing the Bar Fly for Cateye!

Bar Fly for Cateye speedometers. They are also available for Garmin computers.

Compatible with most Cateye wireless speedometers. Designed for oversized 31.8mm diameter handlebars, but can also be used on narrower handlebars with the appropriate shim.

With the Cateye speedometer mounted on the Bar Fly bracket.

The bracket extends just beyond the stem and puts the Cateye display in front of the handlebar

The final arrangement of the accessories on the handlebar. I moved the extension mount further to the right to make space for the Cateye mount. This creates sufficient space in the middle to mount the bracket for the Lezyne front light.

Lezyne front light has not been fixed on yet.

I feel that the Bar Fly bracket is rather useful if you want to make space on the handlebar for other accessories. Otherwise, it is easier to just mount the speedometer directly on the handlebar itself. The Cateye speedometer also fits much more tightly on the Bar Fly bracket than the original Cateye bracket. This makes it harder to remove the speedometer, which is thankfully not a big issue as I only need to remove it once a year to change batteries. However, if you have a Cateye speedometer that requires regular charging (such as the Cateye Stealth 50), this will make it difficult to remove the speedometer for charging.

In the next blog post, I will write about the things that I removed from the Dahon Boardwalk to cut some weight, and also show the new mounting position of the Lezyne front light.