Thursday, May 19, 2016

More Affordable Silca Pump

Back in 2014, the new American-based Silca company introduced cyclists to the Ultimate Inflation Tool. At $450, the Super Pista Ultimate was way too exclusive to be called a "pump." While it has been easy to have a bit of fun joking about the price, by all accounts the Ultimate Inflation Tool really does live up to its billing. Anyone I've talked to who has tried it has said it is the smoothest, most solid pump they've ever used - and built to last forever.

This week, Silca announced the release of a new inflation tool that is supposed to keep some of the best functional attributes of the Super Pista Ultimate, but with a more down-to-earth attitude -- more stealth, less bling -- a little less "Ultimate." In fact, the name is exactly that: The Super Pista. Period. Price is listed at $235.

The regular Super Pista tones down some of the more "boutique" features of the Ultimate, but keeps a lot of the attributes that make the more exclusive sibling work so well. The shaft, piston, bearings, and plunger are either the same or very similar to the Ultimate. It's all metal, no plastic, made to work smoothly and last darn near forever.

There are several features that help keep the price somewhat below the stratosphere.

Instead of the beautiful rosewood handle with stainless steel center and end sections, the regular Super Pista uses a one-piece carved beechwood handle, lacquered in matte black. No steel accents. The size and shape is still similar to the Ultimate.

The wide, stable base has a similar size and overall shape to the Ultimate, but the pressure gauge is built into the base, rather than "floating" above it. Also, instead of the magnetic dock for the chuck, there is a cradle to clip it in place.
The "regular" Super Pista uses a 3" high accuracy gauge (claimed to be accurate to within 2%), but there is no "low pressure" option for high-volume tires as there is with the more expensive version. 
The new press-on chuck has a pressure relief button to fine-tune air pressure.

The Super Pista is decked out in matte black with anodized red accents for a subdued but cool look. The company's portable mini and frame-fit pumps have a similar aesthetic. Notice that, like the Ultimate, the regular pump also uses an extra long hose, but instead of braided stainless steel (claimed to be automotive brake line!), it is wrapped in ballistic nylon.
It's still pretty expensive, but at roughly half the cost of the Ultimate, the regular Super Pista brings a lot of the amazing quality and precision of the Ultimate Inflation Tool to a more earth-bound class.

I'll still be holding on to my Columbus-tubed classic for a while (teacher's salary, remember), but a new Silca replacement doesn't seem quite so out of reach anymore.


  1. I saw the announcement on this a couple of days ago, and it has got me wondering if it is not *too* ridiculous to spend $235 on a pump...

    If the innards are more or less the same as the other one, that's all I really care about. The rest is not a big deal to me. I have never heard anything but good reports on the action of the "Ultimate Inflation Tool".


  2. I have one of the fancy schmancy ones (low volume), I'm a tool guy, as well as a Silca guy, so they had me at US made!

    To use the cheeky phrase Ice Toolz used on their stickers a few years back, "I love my tool"....

    Stoked they brought out a cheaper one, good quality shouldn't bankrupt you, and in an age of plastic and shitty aluminum Chinese made pumps designed to be tossed after a few years, these things are a breath of fresh air.

    1. As I recall, you run a bike shop don't you? In that case, a great pump is a real necessity. In any case, I'm hoping maybe someone will get me one of these new ones for Christmas.

  3. Even at half the price of the Ultimate it's way out of my budget. I do have a Lezyne High pressure, High Volume pump that looks very much like the Super Pista. It appears to be extremely well made. . . a lot of metal, no plastic, a cradle at the bottom for the chuck, and a comfortable wooden handle. It has almost the same chuck as the Silca with the relief button. The chuck is reversible for presta and schrader valves. I don't remember the cost but I'm sure that is was much less than $100.
    IMO opinion the Lezyne is a very much better use of your funds.

    1. Don, I agree. I never had much luck with my Silca pump- just like Brooks' rose colored one. I sold it awhile back and bought a Lezyne.

  4. You could just make your own...


    1. Dang, the link to my blog post about making a pump failed. Figures...

    2. It didn't come up as a link, but I copied and pasted it and checked it out. His home-made pump was pretty impressive.

  5. Since I'm also on a teacher's salary, I'll also be using my old Silca Pista (just like Brooks', except that mine is black) for a while. Oh well. Maybe I'll have to replace the gasket again in a few years.

  6. Brooks,
    Check out the SKS Renncompressor. It has a steel tube, cast iron base and a wooden handle. On Amazon, it is under $60 after tax. Seems like some people have trouble with the heads, which are plastic but completely replaceable. The only issue I've had with mine is with the pin for the locking mechanism in the head. The pin starts to work loose but you can just push it back into place once you notice it. The pump may even still be made in Germany. On SKS's website, it also appears that they have an anniversary model too that has a metal head like a Silca.