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The Silca Pocket Impero II is an outrageously expensive though high-quality pump that offers a fairly decent pumping performance. While it takes a lot of strokes to get where you want, it's capable of achieving high pressures without needing the assistance of The Hulk, and there's very little build-up of heat either. It's small enough to fit in the back of a jersey, although it's a bit weighty.
While it's certainly one of the most expensive mini pumps out there (even the Lezyne Digital Pressure Drive is 'only' £77), the Pocket Impero II features the usual quality build and sweet aesthetics of the Silca product range. It's also easy to service, to keep it going for a long time, and the leather gasket (100% cow, sorry vegan folks) is replaceable. It also features a two-year warranty that covers all rubber, leather and gauge parts, which is nice to have.
At 203mm (or an even 8 inches) it's pretty compact, if not the smallest mini pump out there. For reference, it's longer than a Lezyne Pocket Drive but shorter than a Lezyne Grip Drive HP, with greater girth than either of those pumps.
Though Silca claims a 150g weight, it actually came in at 169g on the road.cc scales, which makes it pretty heavy in its class – 55g heavier than the longer Lezyne Grip Drive HP.
When compared with the original Pocket Impero, which Silca released about seven years ago, I don't see any obvious difference in specification, other than a few cosmetic changes. In fact, Silca has even regurgitated the old description with the new pump, so I'm pretty sure it's just a facelift, if it was even needed.
Mind you, the new pump does look rather neat, with an all-black alloy construction (save for the piston inside). The end of the body is knurled for better grip, while the silicone sleeve has a diamond tread pattern which makes it very secure to hold. The silicone sleeve also serves as a way to hold the handle in place when it's on the bike, though I did find it requires a bit of effort to get it in place.
At the business end, the Pocket Impero II features a bright, anodised red pump head, which you simply slide onto the valve (Presta only) to lock it into place – no need for a manual lock, or anything like that. A silicone strip over the head of the pump gives you a bit of extra grip when you're pumping, to keep it firmly in place.
On a 28mm road tyre, 200 strokes equated to 54psi, while 260 strokes left me with my optimal road pressure of 70psi. At the other end of the spectrum, on my Bombtrack Beyond+, with 2.8-inch plus tyres, 200 strokes delivered 15psi, which is about spot on for off-road riding.
In isolation that seems a little disappointing in comparison to some of the other mini pumps out there, which take fewer strokes to get to a similar pressure, although that said, the Pocket Impero II requires relatively little effort for the same number of strokes. Even at 70psi on my road bike's 28mm tyres, the going was still easy, unlike other mini pumps I've used. Indeed, the Pocket Impero II didn't seem to produce much, if any, heat at all which is probably a sign that this is a very efficient mini pump.
Does that excellent build quality and high efficiency translate into a mini pump worthy of its £125 price tag? Well, probably not, but the serviceability and the warranty do help to sweeten the deal somewhat.
Still, there are similar size pumps out there that require fewer strokes to get to the same pressure. The Lezyne Grip Drive HP is longer, but it's lighter, and Stu managed to get to 50psi in just 100 strokes. That said, I'm personally not a fan of the screw-on chuck, but it is only a fraction of the price of the Pocket Impero II at at around £30.
So, perhaps not the best performance out there, given its high price tag, but there's no doubting that the Silca Pocket Impero II is a quality product that is easy to use and will last you a very long time.
Effortless to use, but high on the strokes and very expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Silca Pocket Impero II Pump
Size tested: n/a
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?
Silca says, "The mini-pump to put all others to shame. The leather gasket and metal construction make this the most efficient mini-pump on the market. Save time and frustration with the Pocket Impero."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Leather piston gasket
Slide-lock silicone sleeve
8 in (203mm)
Typical Silca high-end build quality.
Easy to use lock-on pump head, and great to hold. Needs more strokes than similar mini pumps out there, but there's very little effort in doing so.
Early days, but all good so far; should last a lifetime thanks to high-quality build and serviceability.
Certainly not the lightest mini pump out there for its size.
Great to hold, and very grippy.
Very expensive, about £95 more than similar pumps. But the ease of servicing and replacement parts mean it should last a lifetime. You get a two-year warranty too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Silca Pocket Impero II is easy to use, and although it needs a high number of strokes to achieve higher pressures, it doesn't require much effort to do so.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ease of use and lack of heat build-up.
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?
It's by far and away the most expensive mini pump out there, about £95 more than similar pumps such as the Lezyne Grip Drive HP, which is lighter though longer and gets to 50psi in just 100 strokes, while the Topeak Roadie 2stage is shorter, lighter and gets to 55psi in 150 strokes (both on a 28mm tyre).
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? It's a little out of my price range.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Pocket Impero II is seriously expensive, which is partly justified in its build quality and serviceability, as well as its ease of use, though it does seem to take more strokes to achieve pressure than similar mini pumps, which makes it hard to recommend over others unless you really like Silca stuff.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,