Friday, November 16, 2012 10.00am
By Cycling Plus
The original Silca Pista dates from the swinging – or pumping – Sixties. Its robust 1 1/2in diameter barrel and 3/8in plunger remain unchanged 50 years later, and it’s no surprise that if you walk into any long-established bike shop you’re likely to see this iconic pump in daily use.
There are some concessions to modern production – the barrel’s top cap is now injection-moulded plastic, the three-prong cast foot has been replaced by twin-footed reinforced aluminium – but take it apart and you’ll find that below the plunger’s return spring and stainless plate Silca still uses a half-inch-thick leather slab as the pressure seal.
The gauge is accurate – we checked it against a modern digital sensor – and even features the same illustrated design as the original. The 36in real rubber hose is capped with a machined alloy head with a flip-chuck that’ll handle Presta and Schrader – not a smart head, just an old-fashioned flippable rubber grommet nestled within a nicely toleranced threaded head.
Thanks to its tapered shape the 8in wooden handle is comfortable. The chuck’s flip-lock is a simple rod and less tactile, but it is robust and locks on tenaciously, even on valve extenders which some modern heads struggle with. The Super Pista will consistently hit 100psi in 21 strokes, and continued up to nearly 200psi without blowing its seals. And despite its narrow foot it was stable on our workshop floor.
Every spare part is available, from £8 for the gauge to a quid for washers, with the 20-bar rated rubber hose available cut-to-length from auto or hardware stores. The Super Pista really does prove that if something ain’t broke, why fix it. Its design was right 50 years ago and it’s still spot-on today. Considering the quality and that you can repair and service it, the price is impressive too.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
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