Silca Nears Perfection With Pumps

Since 1917, Silca has been the pump of choice of the professional peloton because of their reliability and serviceability. They are the only pump manufacturer that has been offering fully rebuildable products for their entire existence, now over 100 years.

I've had a love affair with Silca pumps since I first started riding bikes some 30-ish years ago … in fact, my original Silca Pista from the late-1980s is still going strong with just a couple of overhauls to replace gaskets and the leather plunger in that time.

The Silca Superpista Ultimate floor pump is perhaps the last pump you will ever need to buy. It's rebuildable, and finely crafted. Photo by Joe Vondersaar, courtesy Silca

The only downside with my original pump is that the stroke is so short compared to many modern pumps; but modern pumps use a lot of plastic and wear out with heavy use, and when they do, it’s difficult to find replacement parts to get them back up and running again. One gets tired of having to replace chucks (or buying a new pump, because it's only $5-10 more than buying the replacement chuck) every few years.

When the new owners of Silca moved production from Italy to the United States and came out with the new Silca SuperPista and the SuperPista Ultimate, I knew I had to have one. If it's possible to have an airgasm inflating your tires before a ride, then these pumps are the way to do it.

The SuperPista Ultimate (MSRP $450.00) has a steel barrel and comes with a replaceable 0-160psi gauge; which can be swapped out with a separate 0-60psi gauge for low pressure uses, such as dialing in the pressure on cyclocross tubulars or fat mountain bike tires. With its steel barrel and heavy zinc base, the Ultimate feels really solid, stable, and steady when in use, more so than any other pump I have ever used. For an additional $50.00, you can get the pump with the award-winning HIRO Locking Chuck ($110 aftermarket) instead of an updated version of the traditional Presta Chuck that Silca has been known for nearly 100 years.

The Ultimate’s less-expensive alternative (the SuperPista) is 99% as awesome for high pressure at 55% of the price.

The SuperPista (MSPR $235.00) is made of aluminium and does not have a replaceable gauge for low pressure uses, so it's not the best tool for getting those Dugasts dialed in at 19.5psi in the front and 20.5psi in the rear at your next cyclocross race. While the machined aluminium base is exactly the same size as on its big brother, it feels just ever so slightly less stable when pumping up your tires because of its lighter weight. But seriously, we're talking about a percentage point here, and it’s still better than the vast majority of pumps out there.

Neither pump has any plastic in any critical areas, most notably on the shaft and plunger; in fact, the only plastic I can find on either pump is the lens on the gauges.

Like the original Italian-made pumps, all the critical parts including the heavy leather washers which comprise the plunger, are serviceable and/or replaceable, and both pumps come with a 25-year warranty. In the bicycle industry, where technology (and companies) comes and goes, it's refreshing to know that there are some constants.

Did I need a new pump? No, because like I said, my original Pista is still going strong … but the new Silca pumps work even better than the original, and it's nice knowing that I will never need to buy another pump again.

Silca products are available direct from Silca (www.silca.cc) and from finer bicycle retailers nationwide.

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