review: silca super pista

Last week I bought a Sil­ca Super Pista bicy­cle pump. I felt the $20 pre­mi­um it com­mands over oth­er well-regard­ed floor pumps was justifiable—the steel cylin­der, the pol­ished beech han­dle, the “Made in Italy” label, and its rep­u­ta­tion for being a repairable hand-me-down kind of prod­uct sold me. How dis­ap­point­ed I was!

Out of the box, I dis­cov­ered two prob­lems. First, the ris­ing han­dle and droop­ing pres­sure read­ing told me that air was leak­ing back­wards through the pump seal. I dis­as­sem­bled the one-way valve and dis­cov­ered a loose shred of plas­tic which pre­vent­ed the valve from seat­ing. So I fixed it. Once I got the pump work­ing, the hybrid Schrader/Presta chuck proved to be too tight: I destroyed two tubes try­ing to remove it. (There goes anoth­er $12.) So I loos­ened up the chuck’s rub­ber wash­er and greased it—two things the man­u­al says noth­ing about—and now it works fine.

The qual­i­ty of the clo­sure cap also leaves much to be desired. This plas­tic part is attached to the tube with an ill-fit­ting self-tap­ping screw, and was prob­a­bly the source of the debris which jammed the one-way valve. On a pos­i­tive note, I liked the low-impact pack­ag­ing (a print­ed mesh bag).

In sum­ma­ry, the Sil­ca Super Pista can be made into a nice pump, but due to poor man­u­fac­tur­ing prac­tices and cost reduc­tion attempts, it is no longer the kind of qual­i­ty tool you’ll pass on to your kids. Don’t buy it.

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August 19, 2009 August 19, 2009 reviews by Scott [permanent link]