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.