A Blow-Hard With Pedigree

A Blow-Hard With Pedigree

When former Zipp resident brainiac Josh Poertner purchased Silca in 2013 and begin leading that famed ship out of the shoals and into navigable waters, I wondered to what port he’d set sail. I mean, just what was he going to do with a brand that did pumps? How much room was there for a guy who’d helped usher in a whole new era of wheel design?

Then he introduced the SuperPista Ultimate, the world’s most expensive floor pump. It’s an inflator of such exquisite quality I suggested its buyer’s heirs would fight over it.

Next, a goodly chunk of the cycling world broke out in such outrage you’d think an entire elementary school full of children had each been given a pound of candy and the collected works of Karl Marx. I’m still trying to figure out what’s so offensive about something I consider a luxury item. I mean, based on affordability for me that status is conferred as much by a new Honda Odyssey as it is by anything emblazoned with the name Aston Martin. So if I’m going to get offended by things I can’t afford, I’m not going to have much time to get any writing done.

No matter, Silca sold those pumps by the palette.

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Now they have introduced the SuperPista, a pump that cuts the barrier to entry by almost half. It retails for $235, a price that still places it firmly in the high end of floor pumps, but as with the SuperPista Ultimate, the cost is entirely warranted.

Yeah, I know; I need to back that last statement up.

Here goes: The SuperPista enjoys full aluminum construction. The only exceptions are the full-grain leather gasket (same as it ever was), the Beechwood handle (that was kiln-dried and then machined!), the famed 242 gasket in the push-off chuck and the hose.

In terms of overall look and function, the SuperPista bears a strong resemblance to the SuperPista Ultimate. The base has the same lean height (perfect for shoes with cleats) and angular look. The pump’s proportions recall the Ultimate as well, even though the SuperPista includes a larger gauge (it’s 3-inches wide now), set into the base. For aging eyes like mine, it rates as an improvement. The SuperPista lacks the magnetic chuck dock of the Ultimate, but this one is easy enough to use. The other noticeable difference between the two pumps is how much more flexible the hose is on the SuperPista. The fabric braiding around the hose makes it easier to reach the valve and slide the chuck on, and because the hose is so long, it’s possible to set the pump down once and pump up both tires. The IGUS Glide Rings don’t feel as tight as they do on the SuperPista Ultimate, making pump action a little lighter. So yeah, there are a few features I actually prefer on the less expensive pump. I didn’t see that coming.

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I’ve been riding a number of mountain bikes with plus-width tires. I typically run fewer than 20 psi in these tires and of the many pumps I have on hand for such inflation duties, I have to admit that the SuperPista is my preferred inflator due to the incredible accuracy of the gauge (Silca guarantees it to be within 2 percent) and the greater ease with which I can see just where the needle is. A pressure release on the chuck means you can dial exact pressure with greater speed, and ease.

There’s a truism of purchasing products from luxury brands that one need not buy the creme de la creme to get the experience of owning a premium product. Tag Heuer makes some time pieces that are worth more than some of my bikes. But I don’t have to spend the equivalent of a used car to benefit from the quality with which their products are imbued. Such is the Silca SuperPista. That this pump has a lifetime warranty is both the point and beside it. Only with a product this well made would it make sense to grant such an insurance policy, and because it’s so well made, you’re unlikely to ever need it.

Final thought: It’s a reach, but not a splurge.

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14 comments

  1. miles archer

    Nice review. The only thing missing is some idea of the price. From what I can tell the list price is US$450. Around 10x more than other pumps.

    Personally, I’ll pass on this one.

  2. Tom

    I was on Silca’s site today, trying to understand the differences between the two pumps, so your review was timely—and clarifying. Thanks for that. The larger gauge is a plus, as is the price, so I hope to add this to my collection of tools at some point.
    –Tom

  3. Les.B.

    An important factor in a product such as this is the long-term availability of replacement parts. I would hazard that this will be realized with this company and product.

    1. Mress

      Considering that they currently sell replacement parts for previous model pumps going back to the fall of the blackshirts, yeah, it’s a pretty good bet that they’ll have parts for these ones, too. 🙂

  4. stefan

    I still have a Silca pump from the early eighties. It still works great. The biggest problem with this one is that it would become so encrusted with drool that I fear it would void the warrantee.

  5. Scott G.

    Mress, Silca could make a Bartali edition pump,
    has a secret compartment for forged passports.
    Profits to MSF

  6. Mark Petry

    I have an Ultimate with custom artwork by Dario Pegoretti. It’s a piece of art that I put to use before every ride. Silca puts out a world class product that is a pleasure to use, every single time.

  7. Craig P

    I just picked one of these pumps up. To say that I have been frustrated with cheap pumps would be a serious understatement. This is by far the finest, easiest to use pump I have ever tried. I just pumped up one tire and I already love it ! Wonderful tool. I look forward to using it for many years to come. Worth every dollar, especially if you can find it for 20% off like I did ( store coupon ).

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