Rapha and Silca have joined forces to create some exquisitely engineered — and accordingly priced — frame and pocket pumps that are only compatible with Presta valves.
Both brands are well known for their high quality but highly-priced kit, and this latest collaboration marks no departure from that.
The new Impero Ultimate frame pump and the Pocket Impero mini pump will retail at £162 and £115 respectively. That is certainly expensive, but we have previously found that the lofty prices have been offset by outstanding performance. Silca’s £275 floor pump, the Superpista Digital, was the most expensive track pump we’ve tested, but really impressed with its build quality and was "a joy to use" according to David Arthur.
Assembled by hand with an all-aluminium construction, Silca promises that the Impero Ultimate is a pump made to last, a claim that it backs up 25-year guarantee.
Silca says that the lever-free two-stage head gasket ensures a secure seal and they also claim that the Impero Ultimate has the “most efficient inflation of any portable pump,” taking a reported 112 strokes to inflate a tyre to 100psi.
FlexWing Silicone bumpers feature on the head, handle tip and main barrel which are said to “protect paintwork and prevent road vibration”.
Rapha’s involvement includes a classically-Rapha subtle colourway which sees highlights on the handle and on the pump head. An RCC (Rapha Cycling Club) logo is emblazoned on the silicon bumper of the main barrel, while the classic Rapha print sits near the head of the pump.
Available in five sizes, the Impero Ultimate will suit a broad range of top tube lengths. This premium offering is designed to securely fit under the top tube and all sizes are suitable for varying tube diameters from 25mm to 64mm.
The Pocket Impero is the mini-pump option and features a similar full alloy construction with a CNC’d head. Silca says that “unlike most mini-pumps, this pump does not suffer from efficiency loss when hot” which they say the claimed 200 strokes to reach 89psi supports.
A Slide-Lock Silicone sleeve has been added to “improve grip and doubles as a handle lock when in your pocket”.
Weighing in at 150g and 20.3cm long, it is neither the lightest nor smallest mini pump out there. But if the reported inflation capabilities stand up to further testing, its functionality will be up there with the best.
We'll see if we can get these in for review to test out the impressive claims.
Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.