Trailside Review: Topeak RaceRocket Mini Pump


Topeak’s RaceRocket mini pump has been in my pack for about seven months now and has come in handy on several occasions. The main feature that sets it apart from similarly sized pocket inflators is the extending flexible hose. If you’ve ever broken a Presta valve nozzle off thanks to some vigorous mid-race inflation, the benefits are obvious. If not, I’ll tell you right now that having a bit o wiggle room to move your arms and hand while pumping up your tire on the trail not only saves energy, it may save your valve stem and keep you riding for the day. But does it work? Make the jump or the rest of the review…

UPDATE: I originally called this one the HP model, which is incorrect. The HP model goes to 160psi, this is the normal RaceRocket and goes to 120psi…still more than enough, but the HP is more suited for road bikes. There’s also a 90psi max MT with a fatter barrel. Otherwise, all pumps share the same features except the MT and HP have a textured rubber grip and this one has a smooth rubber grip.


The RaceRocket is small enough to fit in a normal jersey pocket for road riding and easily fits in most lower front pockets on any hydration pack. Actual length us 7.1″ or 18cm. Claimed weight is 85g.


The hose slides into the body of the pump and threads in so it won’t flop out inadvertently. A dust cap snaps over it to keep it clean.


The nozzle pulls out from the hose a bit to work with Presta valves (above) or threads and locks in closer to the hose for Schrader (below):


The grip end is rubberized so your hand won’t slip, and even with some fast pumping the alloy body and shaft didn’t get too hot. It claims to handle up to 160psi 120psi, but I’ve only tested it on mountain bike pressures. On those, it fills up the tire reasonably quickly and easily and still pumps without too much resistance near the end (but that’s only at about 35psi).

It comes with a water bottle boss mounted side clip to hold it near your bottle, too. I’ll update this post with pricing when I get back in the office because, as the title suggests, I’ve written this during a quick break to pump up my tire on the trail. Seriously, MSRP is nowhere to be found but street price is around $36.

The only issue I’ve had with it is a bit of air escaping around the valve when pumping, which Topeak’s rep Eddie O’Dea said has been fixed in the latest version. Other than that, it’s been a great little pump that hasn’t developed any play in the shaft during testing. UPDATE: The amount of air that leaks out around the edge is no more than what tends to leak from the valve on fully rigid mini-pumps as you’re manhandling them to inflate the tire, so I consider it a non-issue. No air leakage would be ideal, but in this case the loss is minimal and doesn’t seem to noticeably affect the rate of inflation.

Comments

A. Z. - 05/09/11 - 2:09pm

Looks like a Lezyne knock-off

Roger - 05/09/11 - 6:09pm

How many pumps to fill a 2.1 29er Tire?

Chris - 05/09/11 - 7:02pm

This was a timely piece since I just broke my last pump and needed to find a replacement. Thanks for the write up! For those that may be interested, JensonUSA has a SWWWEEETTT deal on these right now.

Chris - 05/09/11 - 7:12pm

Correction to my post…
The model offered by JensonUSA is not the HP model. I’m not sure what the difference is other than psi. Just thought I’d pass the info along. Cheers!

Wang - 05/09/11 - 11:02pm

I’m surprised Lezyne hasn’t done anything about it. It is almost copied exactly.

greg - 05/10/11 - 12:20am

as with most things, this pump is better than any lezyne.
the lezyne pump requires you to remove the hose from the handle end and screw it into the pump end. the lezyne pump has a little separate piece that you screw in one way for schrader valves and backwards for presta valves.
this topeak pump has a hose that is captured (it does not remove from the pump). you unscrew the little collar (which is the valve head) and just slide the hose out. it’s ready to go, nothing to lose. the pump head has, as the article mentioned, a screwed-together setting for schrader valves, and an unscrewed setting for presta valves. the unscrewed setting does not remove any pieces, they are still captured.
in summary, the lezyne pumps comprise a few separate pieces that can go missing, and use super-thin o-rings at their junction that easily tear or become dislodged, and it’s often hard to screw the pump head onto the valve without spinning the whole pump.
the topeak pump addresses all these major issues extremely well. i used to love lezyne stuff. now i usually think, “not quite right”

Peter - 05/10/11 - 1:35am

For me it’s a poor copy of Lezyne, like other new products from Topeak.Greg mentions that Topeak is better, but the arguments are totally missing the point, because i use lezyne and nothing comes loose in lezyne drive pump. It’s shame that any innovation in our brand will be copied in a few seconds.

RC - 05/10/11 - 8:02am

How can a pump that leaks be a good deal?? Which are probably the ones at discount pricing at this time.

Tyler (Editor) - 05/10/11 - 9:56am

FWIW, if you’re headed to JensonUSA, click through here and help support our site. I think, as Chris corrected himself, this particular model isn’t listed on their site, but there are a lot more.

Matt - 05/10/11 - 1:20pm

Wow, they even copied the colors Lezyne uses. What a cheap shot. Lezyne seems to have raised the bar and everyone else is on defense instead of producing genuinely innovative products.

Mike - 05/10/11 - 1:21pm

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Tyler (Editor) - 05/10/11 - 5:22pm

UPDATE AGAIN: MSRP is $34.95 offiically. Man, with all this talk about Lezyne, we’ll see if we can get one in for a little comparo. Stay tuned.

greg - 05/16/11 - 11:38pm

Peter, there are three separate pieces on a lezyne pump- the head, the hose, the pump. they all MUST be taken apart when getting ready to pump. don’t believe me? send me three self-addressed stamped envelopes, and i will GIVE you three separate pieces of the lezyne pump. I wont be needing it, i’m getting the Topeak because it’s that much better.

nick - 08/15/11 - 11:43pm

looking for a pump for my cousin’s b’day and went back to this review i remembered, and noticed a couple of comments. Thanks Greg for the handy comparison.

peter, on your comment – “It’s shame that any innovation in our brand will be copied in a few seconds.”

“our”… that sounds alot like a disgruntled Leyzne employee??? i don’t know but just reading the comment

Scott Ender - 01/02/12 - 12:26pm

Hey all,
My name is Scott and I work with Lezyne. This TOPEAK is a direct ripoff of Lezyne’s pump system, though still of lesser quality. It is said in the review to leak. No matter whether the pump still works or not, pumps that leak are not good pumps. Lezyne’s pumps are built with a detachable hose in order to maintain an extremely compact size, and we certainly have no issues with leaking.
TYLER: if you want a pump to test and let the products speak for themselves, we will be MORE THAN HAPPY to set you up. Just get in touch at Scott@lezyne.com
Cheers to all and Happy New Year.

todd - 08/18/13 - 4:34am

I have the racerocket MT. I got it for $30 at a LBS, the Lezyne version was $42. I have used used the Topeak all summer on my 29ers and 26ers. Its been flawless. The Lezyne is nice I’m sure, but I doubt it’s really any better, it’s the one I wanted in the first place,but once I checked it out it was no better than the Racerocket MT, but more expensive.

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