If you're in the market for a track pump it's pretty hard to see beyond the Topeak Joe Blow Sport, particularly if value for money is also a big part of the buying equation. The Joe Blow Sport gives you everything you need in one well put together (and serviceable) package at a wallet-friendly price too.
- Pros: Well made, well priced, easy to use
- Cons: Erm... none
High pressure or high volume, or indeed mid-pressure/mid volume as so many of today's fatter road tyres are, it's all grist to this pump's mill. I've used it on a variety of tyres during the (long) test period I've had it.
It's a very easy pump to use – Topeak has been making track pumps for a long time and it's clearly got a handle (sorry) on what is required. The pumping action is smooth and the volume of air moved on each stroke more than adequate, the hose is a good length and rotates on the base so you don't get that awkward scenario of attaching the head to the valve and then watching the pump fall over cos you've twisted the hose back on itself.
And it comes with a double chuck – Presta on one side for most modern bike tyres and Shrader on the other... for your car. I have used it to pump the tyres on my car up too, and it did the job.
I didn't count how many strokes it took, but speaking of that – here's how I got when I did count the strokes on a variety of different tyres, plus a tyre booster for seating tubeless tyres on a rim:
- Schwalbe Stelvio 25mm road tyre to 100psi - 28.5 strokes
- Schwalbe G-One Sport 30mm tubeless road tyre to 70psi - 28 strokes
- Kenda 700c hybrid tyre 37mm to 70psi - 39 strokes
- Schwalbe Tire Booster to 140psi - 42 strokes
Worth also saying about the tyre booster that getting it to 140 was relatively easy – I've checked the stroke counts on other pumps we've tested and it took a lot more effort to get to that with some in this sort of price range – the Fabric Stratosphere Sport springs to mind.
Like this pump, max pressure on the booster is 160psi so I decided in the interests of research to head on up there. As you'd expect, the pumping action did get noticeably harder beyond 140psi but not so hard that it was a struggle – again, with other pumps of this price I've been wrestling the lever down or simply given up at pressures above 140. The Joe Blow maxed out at just under 160 – for 49 strokes, no wrestling involved – it simply reached a point in the downstroke and said 'that's yer lot'. Given the max rating on the metal bottle I was attempting to force air into was also 160, I was happy to call it quits there.
Aside from its raw pumping performance, other things to commend about the Joe Blow are the easy-to-read pressure gauge dial – which gives you both psi and bar, and which also features a handy little slider that helps you mark your target pressure even more clearly.
In terms of performance, this pump's other big plus is the comfy rubberised handle – many of its competitors at this price point feature a hard moulded plastic handle. Having something a bit softer under hand does make a positive difference if you've got a few tyres to blow up or you're pumping up to higher pressures, as does the fact it's got a good stable base.
Finally, should you wear any bits of it out, or break 'em, the Joe Blow Sport is serviceable: you can replace the gauge, hose, chuck, and the internals. That said, I've had our test sample for well over a year and the only thing I've broken was the deadline to get this review in. This one has been on four foreign trips in my bike box and come through them all unmarked and in full working order.
Would I buy one, and should you? My pumping needs are relatively modest: I've got one bike on the road, and there are currently three in our house, so at full RRP the Joe Blow Sport is at the very outer limit of what I'd consider paying for a pump. It is a very good pump, though, good value at full RRP (which is what I've based my value score on) and excellent value at the sort of discounted prices you can find it for online – as I write you can get it for as little as £28 and £30 seems to be about standard. A few weeks back at least one of the major retailers was selling them for £25 and most were around £28. For that money it's a stone cold bargain particularly when set against the fact that some pumps that are in my opinion a rung below it in terms of performance (and to be fair full RRP) are often not discounted as much so sell online for similar sorts of prices.
All of which is a long way of saying that if you're looking to buy a track pump you're definitely not going to go wrong with this one – especially if you shop around for a good price.
Well-made, well-designed, easy-to-use pump that does the job very well – hard to see past it at this price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Joe Blow Sport III Pump
Size tested: Up to 160psi
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?
Track pump for workshop or home pumping needs. Here's what Topeak has to say...
"The new JoeBlow III continues the tradition of setting the benchmark for floor pump durability and performance, while ushering in upgrades with an enlarged 3' chronograph inspired gauge and new hammer style TwinHead DX pump head. A durable steel barrel and base as well as ergonomic padded handle make inflating tires a breeze."
"Chronograph inspired" eh? Who knew?
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Head: New hammer type TwinHead™ DX w/ extra long 360 pivot hose, Presta / Schrader / Dunlop
Barrel: Painted steel
GAUGE: 160 psi / 11 bar, 3' mid mount analog
Volume per stroke: 317.5 cc
BASE: Hardened steel
ADDED Features: Ball / bladder heads, Hose dock
SIZE: 67.8 x 25.3 x 11.7 cm / 26.7' x 10' x 4.6'
WEIGHT: 1.68 kg / 3.70 lb
Feels really well made, and after a year it still looks new.
Really can't see there being any problems here.
Very comfortable to use.
Definitely better than average, and at the sorts of prices you can buy it for online it's easily an 8 for value because it's a much better pump than most of the competition between £25 and £30.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's just a really good all-round package.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
I think you'd struggle to find a better pump than this at its full RRP and you definitely won't at some of the prices you can find it discounted to.
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 overall score
I've settled on a 9 but mainly because I have an aversion to saying that anything is a perfect 10 – this is pretty close though. It's thoughtfully designed, well made, does the job well, is easy to use, and it's serviceable too – and you can buy it at a very decent price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cotic Roadrat My best bike is: Whatever I\'m testing at the moment
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.