Silca's Pocket Impero pump arrives at Saddleback HQ – and it's gorgeous
Silca's Pocket Impero is beautiful, yes, but there's so much more to this diminutive powerhouse of a pump than that.
Let's face it, most mini pumps are a bit rubbish. In a jam, they might get you home, but getting back to a decent pressure for riding on is something else. Instead of creating a mini pump for the sake of having one to sell, Silca have sought to make the first pocket-sized pump with frame-pump power.
Indeed, the Pocket Impero shares many elements from its bigger brother and as the original Impero Frame Pump sets the benchmark for style and performance, it served as the perfect blueprint for this scaled down version. The CNC-machined aluminium head is exactly the same, giving an ergonomic grip regardless of conditions. The brass check valve is also the same, as is the steam-formed 3mm thick leather gasket – sourced from Milan, naturally.
Of course there have to be deviations in the design to make the Pocket Impero the ultimate pocket pump rather than a miniature version of its sibling. The Side-Lock silicone insulating sleeve is a simple yet highly practical addition. When in its closed position, it holds the handle in place, avoiding unwanted extension of the barrel as well as irritating rattling – another frustration of many handheld pumps. Slide it up to the shapely head and the handle releases, allowing you to operate the pump.
In practise, the Pocket Impero is a joy to use. There's no annoying, fingernail-battering chuck lever to lock off, rather, Silca's unique two-stage seal holds the pump securely over the valve. The silicone sleeve gives plenty of grip and also avoids discomfort from heat build-up as you get air back into your tyres.
Speaking of getting air back in, the performance of the Pocket Impero is a strong in this regard as its design is beautiful. Its efficiency is such that 200 strokes of the leather plunger can inflate to 89psi (higher than any other pump using the BikeRadar test protocol), so you'll soon be back up to speed. At only 150g it's not going to weigh you down while its svelte design and 20.3cm length mean it's far from irksome to carry.
The Pocket Impero is packaged in a sleek plastic tube and comes with the brand's Silca-Shield warranty, offering 25 years' hard parts guarantee and six-month no-questions-asked repair or replacement (extended to two years with registration).