The Topeak Joe Blow Elite is new to the company's range of track pumps for this year, and brings with it the usual high level of build quality and easy usability they have a reputation for. It has one very handy little addition, too.
The first track pump I ever bought was a Joe Blow and it lasted for years, and after having a play with this new Elite model over the last month or so I can't see that this is going to be any different.
The Elite has a really solid feel to it, from the steel barrel down to the steel base. All this adds to the weight, but what you get is a rigid platform when/if you want to get up to that 160psi maximum claimed pressure... It will happily reach 100psi on a 700x25 tyre in 27 strokes. Not market leading, but not something I'd grumble about.
The coolest thing about the Elite, and what sets it apart from the rest of the Joe Blow range, is that the gauge is mounted to the handle; not just to the top of the barrel – the handle. It's one of those things that you wouldn't think would make much difference, but not having to bend to see the needle doesn't half save you stooping over. The gauge itself seems to be pretty accurate, too, lining up within a couple of psi of the other track pumps I've got kicking about.
The end of the hose uses what Topeak calls its TwinHead system. One side fits Presta (and Dunlop), with the other taking care of Schrader; a flip of the thumbswitch in the opposite direction of the head you're using clamps it onto the valve. It provides a tight seal with no air loss whatsoever.
Alongside the TwinHead you also get a couple of adaptors for pumping up footballs and various inflatables.
It does have a couple of niggles, though, starting with the handle. The top has a rubber-style padding that is comfortable, but the underneath has a hollow construction with a few webs for strength and these can dig into your hands as you are pumping.
It also lacks a pressure-release button like you tend to find on screw-on type pump heads; not exactly a deal breaker, but if you want one you have to update to its SmartHead.
As far as cost goes, it sits where I'd expect it to in the Joe Blow range, offering a bit more stiffness and extras than the cheaper options. Against the competition it's a similar situation, with the Elite's overall build quality and easiness to live with making up for its tiny shortcomings.
Overall, the Joe Blow is a solid-performing track pump that will continue to work for a long time to come.
Well-built track pump that is secure in use, offering quick inflation with no leaks
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Joe Blow Elite
Size tested: 74x28x13.7cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Topeak says: "This pump is equipped with a hardened steel base, solid steel barrel, and an easy to read top mounted analog gauge. An extra long hose with a TwinHead™ pump head makes it easy to reach valve stems and the integrated mini tool carrier (optional) keeps what you need for light maintenance close at hand."
The Joe Blow is a solid performer, and the handle-mounted pressure gauge makes a lot of sense.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Topeak's website:
Head - TwinHead™, Presta / Schrader / Dunlop
Barrel - Painted steel
Gauge - Top center bar mount, Analog
Hose - X-long hose
Handle - Oversize padded / Kraton
Capacity - 160 psi / 11 bar
Base - Hardened steel
Added Features - Ball / bladder heads, Hose dock
Size (L x W x H) - 74 x 28 x 13.7 cm / 29.1' x 11' x 5.4'
A very good, solid construction that doesn't flex in use.
Brilliant fit to a variety of valves, and easy to achieve high pressures.
From personal experience Joe Blows offer plenty of reliability and this one doesn't feel any different.
At 2kg there are some lighter ones out there, but light weight isn't really a major selling point for a track pump.
Handle-mounted gauge saves strain on your back but the handle does have some rather hard grooves underneath that can dig in a bit.
The build quality, speed it pumps, and valve fit make the Joe Blow a good investment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't knock it other than the handle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
A quality feel.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hard ridges on handle.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Joe Blow Elite is a quality feeling pump which snaps onto the valve quickly and easily, and while the addition of a steel base might increase the weight, it increases rigidity. The handle-mounted gauge is a nice touch and is what makes the Elite stand out against many others.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.