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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

NOT Made-in-Italy, but...

Photo: The world's finest bicycle pump?

Italy's not the only place great things are created. This is a fine example. Larry doesn't have one (yet) but other than lacking a green-white-red paint scheme he sees little room for improvement. Before you say WTF? and say we're nuts, read a little background:

Italian Silca floor pumps have been the gold-standard for pretty much ever. Larry can still remember buying his first pro-quality bicycle and looking at an Italian pump that was 3 or 4 times the price of the typical sporting goods store item with its tin barrel and flimsy hose. The shop guy said "A Silca is the last floor pump you'll ever buy. They last forever and you can buy replacement parts if it ever needs service or rebuilding. Truly a lifetime investment." Larry took the advice and STILL has that pump and it still works, more than four decades later.

When we began CycleItalia we had bike-industry friends who wanted to help us with equipment. We created an "Official Supplier" program and happily let one supply tire pumps. These Asian-sourced pumps died a quick death and were replaced with pumps from another "Official Supplier". These too died a quick death while not doing a very good job of inflating tires. 

Being a CycleItalia tire pump is no easy task - not only do we use 'em a fair amount during each season, but some folks insist on pumping their tires every day, quite often not bothering to "burp" the Presta valve to loosen it from its seat. Trying to push that valve off the seat, against the internal air pressure of 100 psi or more, would often cause the pump hose to swell like a balloon or stress the connectors to the point of failure.

After these failures, we decided to "bite the bullet" as they say, pull out our wallets and purchase the finest, most durable pumps we knew of, which were still the venerable Silca PistaSince then we've replaced a broken gauge (caused by the pump falling out of the van a time or two) and taped up a damaged hose (from being jammed under a van seat track) but that's all - they continue to work just fine, all after more than 10 seasons of abuse.

The Italian owner of Silca passed away awhile back, leaving no heirs to take over the venerable company. You can read the rest of the story here, and those great pumps are still available, though production has ceased. 

Now, with the new owners of Silca, comes the new work-of-art in the photo above. We're certainly not going to suggest you throw away a perfectly good, original Silca Pista and replace it with one of these, but if you're not happy with your current floor pump (and we know there are a lot of poor ones out there!) and you appreciate finely-made tools and equipment, you might want to put this on your holiday gift list.

Or, if you have an original Silca Pista in need of a new gasket, etc. you can find all that stuff and more here.

Buon lavoro Josh!


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