SILCA Superpista Superior Floor Pump Review

This is a very nice pump, from the way it handles to how fast it shoves air into your tires
This is a very nice pump, from the way it handles to how fast it shoves air into your tires

Looking for a super sexy Italian-styled floor pump that all your friends will envy and stay reliable longer than your bike? The SILCA Superpista Superior is the answer.

You may stop reading when you balk at the $235 price tag, but the truth is, this pump is worth every penny. Every. Single. Penny. Thing is, as mountain bikers, we all take a good pump for granted, and it is one of the singular most important pieces of shop gear you will ever own. Sure, you can plop down 50 bones for decent pump, and it may do the trick for a few years, but if you plan on riding for 40-50 years, chances are you are going to replace that pump 8-10 times. This is quite possibly the very last pump you will ever buy.

The Deets (from SILCA):

  • Full Aluminum construction with full aluminum internals and brass check valve (NO plastic)
  • 75mm (3 inch) Gauge Face with ultra-high contrast printing for improved readability
  • 2% Accuracy gauge (compare to 5% industry standard) for more accurate pressures
  • 5 Axis Machined Kiln Dried Beech Wood Handle for perfect ergonomics
  • Shoe Friendly base with special elastomer feet safe for all floor surfaces
  • Full aluminum Suspension Fork Piston with IGUS Glide Rings
  • 3.5mm Thick Full-Grain leather gasket. Produced by the same vendor since 1946!
  • Thread on 7075-T6 Schrader Chuck
  • Push on-push off Presta Chuck with SILCA’s famous 242 Gasket
  • Presta Chuck Pressure Relief Valve
  • SILCA Lifetime Warranty
  • MSRP: $235

In a word, this pump just oozes quality. I don’t know these manufactures personally, but from what I can tell, they know they have the best products out there, and they price them accordingly. Their story is interesting. Check out an except from their website:

“During the Giro d’Italia in 1989 SILCA introduced the SuperPista, effectively changing the definition of what a floor pump could and should be…The SuperPista changed the game because it was a proper tool more than a cycling accessory: full metal construction, infinitely rebuildable and ergonomically optimized for use rather than production considerations.  Now, in this modern world of ever more disposable pumps full of plastic internals, we sought to bring the many of the features and function of the Ultimate Pump to more affordable price point for the home mechanic.”

Fast forward 27 years later, and SILCA introduces the Superpista Superior.

The connection interface between the hose and pump

Keep in mind that this is not their most expensive pump. Not even close (their current top-of-the line pump retails for $800). This is the pump they make for people like you and I, the bourgeois, to own a little piece of awesomeness. Truth is, if you have a bike (or bikes) worth thousands of dollars, spending a little extra on a reliable, well-crafted pump that lasts forever does not seem like a big deal. After all, my XX1 cassette costs almost $400, and I have to replace that thing every 9 months.

The shaft diameter is larger than any other pump I’ve seen, and the seals are top notch

Enough about the price. It is what it is. The only reason I spent so much time defending it is because of the reactions I received from friends who bristled at the price tag. Most change their minds when they actually used it. The question is though, is it worth it? My answer after testing it for two months: absolutely, unequivocally, yes. This pump may be their “affordable” model, but it is the equivalent to that top tier bike build you drool over in your LBS. I dare you to find a nicer pump than this. Double dog dare you.

Let’s start with the overall finish of the Superpista Superior. It looks amazing, built with a smooth aluminum shaft, aluminum machined bits, aluminum internals, a brass check valve, and a very smooth wooden handle. The flat black finish is immaculate, and contrasts well with the red accents including the red anodized parts. It is a beautiful pump, something to behold and be proud to own…and I can promise you will stare at it a few times even when you are not using it.

The wooden handles are ergonomic and very nice to use
The wooden handles are ergonomic and very nice to use

The gauge is a large 3 inches in diameter–yet not disproportionately so–and is easy to read. Most of all, the gauge is tested for consistent and lasting accuracy. One of the things that irritates me is that all gauges on every other pump I’ve owned are fairly inaccurate (up to 5%) and get worse the longer you own them (a consequence of cheap synthetic internals). In fact, unless it is a brand new pump, I simply assume (correctly) that the gauge is way off and use my digital gauge every time I put air in my tires. Call me OCD, but small variances of 2-3 PSI can significantly affect your ride, the suspension, traction, and is crucial when you are setting up your bike for a race or an epic ride over rough terrain (even more so when you are testing bikes and gear). It is practically mandatory for fat bike and plus bike tire uses, and for owners of the new Schwalbe Procore systems. The Superpista Superior not only starts out with a narrower 2% margin, but is engineered to maintain that accuracy much longer. That is pretty sweet.

The gauge. Gaze upon it's sleek superiority.
The gauge. Gaze upon it’s sleek superiority.

Sufficed to say, the pump works well. Very well. I have used 50 or more different types of pumps over the past 20+ years, and I can honestly say this is my favorite…by far. To be clear, there is nothing fancy about it, but it works as it should, feels awesome to use (think buttery smooth suspension feeling), and is accurate. That is what a pump should do. The Presta head simply and smoothly slides on the valve, and does not get gummed up or leak air. The head is well machined, and there is a nice anodized bleed button that feels perfect when you are using it. The coolest feature in my opinion is that you simply unscrew the Presta head and a Schrader head is the part left attached to the hose. No flipping a lever. No turning the head around for Schrader. No messing with O-rings or parts. Just unscrew it and bam: now I can air up my kids bikes and our Chariot without fiddling around with parts or looking for my other, older pump I designated for that task. It is a small design lagniappe, but one of many that make you love this pump over and over again. In fact, I now hate to use my other pump (which I keep in my vehicle to use before rides) because it seems so clumsy in comparison.

The machining on the Presta and Schrader valve heads is amazing
The machining on the Presta and Schrader valve heads is amazing. Simply unscrew the Presta head and the red part is Schrader-ready.

Other design features that I really like is that the hose is long, and it is stretchy, making a comfortable clean fit in the groove on the handles. It fits easily and perfectly in the horseshoe-shaped notch near the base of the pump. The wooden handles are wide and ergonomic, and the stroke shaft seems endless so you can capture a lot of volume with just a few strokes.

The perfectly machined notch at the base to hold the Presta head.
The perfectly machined notch at the base to hold the Presta head.

One of the most interesting things about this pump is that is uses leather (not rubber) washers which provide a supple and surprisingly svelte feel to using it. The pump is fully serviceable and replacement washers can be purchased for $11. In fact, SILCA offers quite a few parts to keep the pump going, although the impeccable quality of the pump and the lifetime warranty suggests you may not need to overhaul this thing very often, if at all.

The quality is clear from the small details. These pump parts are made to perform and last
The quality is clear from the small details. These pump parts are made to perform and last. Photo:

I was hard pressed to find anything about this pump that I did not like. Normally, I’d say I don’t like gauges mounted near the floor because they get dirty and are hard to see, but the gauge on this one is so easy to read I find it perfectly placed. The floor plate is large and provides a good platform to put both feet on, so users who may want to keep this in their vehicles for rides may find the size off-putting, but it is a floor pump after all, and that is hardly a negative.

The Presta head cleanly slides on the valve and is a perfect fit sans leaks, every time.
The Presta head cleanly slides on the valve and is a perfect fit sans leaks, every time.

Overall Impressions

The SILCA Superpista Superior is a high end pump that is valued far below what a pump like this should cost. It is a classic design that is obviously built to last, has a lifetime warranty, and parts to keep it functional for the rest of your life. As a bonus, SILCA offers free shipping. If you want to up your game and have a pump that is worthy of your expensive carbon fiber wonder-steed, this pump is for you.DSC_0018

Thanks to SILCA for sending the Superpista over for review! This is one amazing product!

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