Silca shoots shrink ray to create new Pocket Impero

Don’t you dare call it a ‘mini-pump’

Silca recently debuted the modern reinterpretation of the classic Impero full-sized frame pump. As usual, there was the company’s typically obsessive attention to detail and design with features like a slick alloy body, simple-yet-ergonomic push-on head, intricately machined fittings, and a leather plunger that self-adjusts as the pump gets hot. Now, Silca is following up with the Pocket Impero, a miniature version with the same technical attributes but in a much more compact package.

Related: BikeRadar's complete coverage of the Interbike trade show

Don’t call it a ‘mini-pump’

Company owner Josh Poertner is key to point out that the Pocket Impero isn’t like other mini-pumps. In fact, he insists that it isn’t categorized as one since, in his opinion, the segment is rife with inadequacies. As we’ve now come to expect from Silca, the Pocket Impero goes well above and beyond what’s normally expected of such a pedestrian item – and similarly, that’s what makes it special.

The rubber cover insulates your hand as the pump body gets hot during use. once you're done, it also locks the handle in place :
The rubber cover insulates your hand as the pump body gets hot during use. once you're done, it also locks the handle in place :

The CNC-machined head is the same one Silca uses on the full-sized Impero frame pump

For example, the CNC-machined alloy head features a machined brass check valve that almost no one will ever notice. In true Silca tradition, the plunger is a real leather U-shaped cup that Poertner says maintains a much better seal than cheaper rubber o-rings as the pump body heats up. Opposite the pump head resides a Teflon-impregnated Delrin guide bushing held in place with a separate stainless steel C-clip instead of the usual, cheap plastic bit that’s screwed into the body. According to Poerter, this allows for a longer effective stroke length in a shorter overall package.

Just like on the superpista ultimate floor pump, silca uses a cup-shaped leather plunger on the new pocket impero. silca says the natural material is far better than traditional rubber o-rings when it comes to maintaining pumping efficiency as the body heats up and expands in use:
Just like on the superpista ultimate floor pump, silca uses a cup-shaped leather plunger on the new pocket impero. silca says the natural material is far better than traditional rubber o-rings when it comes to maintaining pumping efficiency as the body heats up and expands in use:

Inside is a leather plunger that is said to maintain pumping efficiency much better than rubber o-rings as the pump body gets hot

Naturally, none of this comes cheap and the new Pocket Impero is anything but at $120 (international prices TBC). If the company’s SuperPista Ultimate floor pump is any indication, however, we’re guessing Silca won’t have much of a problem moving these off of store shelves.

A premium compact saddle pack, too

Silca also showed off a neat little saddle pack that, at least for now, will only be sold directly through the company’s website given the very limited quantities available.

The single-strap design won't snag on your shorts. there's also a supplementary strap that not only tightens everything up but includes some reflective detailing, too:
The single-strap design won't snag on your shorts. there's also a supplementary strap that not only tightens everything up but includes some reflective detailing, too:

There's no strap around the seatpost to snag your shorts

The bag is essentially a very compact tool roll, designed to hold a pair of CO2 cartridges, an inflator head, a road tube, a pair of tire levers, and other small essentials such as money and keys. As usual, Silca is going the extra mile in its materials and construction.

“The bag is hand cut and sewn by Yanco Javier in Los Angeles,” said Poertner. “He is a well known character in the world of custom bags for touring, bike packing, etc. The bag is based on a 1950s or 1960s bag I found in Italy that was unique in that it had an additional fore-aft strap that gave it a clean look sort of like a tiny modern seat bag, yet opened up to reveal all the functionality of a tool roll.”

“We are using charcoal waxed duck canvas made and waxed by Martexin in New Jersey. This is the same waxed duck canvas developed for the US military as the country entered WWII. Quantities are literally limited to how many Yanco can make.”

Poertner says the bags are already backordered more than three weeks despite the premium retail price of $55. International availability is still being determined.

For more information, visit www.silca.cc.

James Huang

Former Technical Editor, US
James was BikeRadar's US tech editor from 2007-2015.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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