Few brands have been more intimately connected to the last 100 years of cycling than Silca. The Italian-born brand's legacy of legendary quality has seen company's pumps being passed down through generations of professional mechanics and cycling enthusiasts – riders who value the experience bike maintenance and understand its performance value.
Now run from the US, the Silca passion for heirloom quality pumps and tools has been renewed, reintroducing the brand to the top of the cycling world.
Silca was founded amid the first world war by Felice Sacchi, who in 1917 formed the company upon the truth that in order to ride, cyclists would always need air in their tyres. Sacchi soon created the company's first Pista floor pump – an iconic design that has truly stood the test of time.
Since the very beginning, the Italian brand has shown a strong commitment to continuous innovation, creating, practical and beautiful pumps and then refining its designs to make them lighter and thinner as tyre pressures increased and bicycle weights began to drop. The Pista was made from only the very finest materials including Columbus steel tubing for the pump barrel, high-quality leather for the plunger and a brass chuck at the end of the hose.
While innovation was important, so was durability and performance. Thanks to Silca's discerning choice of materials, workshop and race mechanics could repair or replace individual pieces in order to keep air pumping through their Pista for decades to come.
Felice's son, Giancarlo, shared his father's innovative mindset and changed bike pump design forever when he built a pressure gauge into the Pista, securing the pump's legendary status in cycling history. The gauge also highlighted Silca's superior craftsmanship through its enormous 240psi maximum – only achievable through the premium construction.
Giancarlo continued his groundbreaking designs with the Impero frame pump. Lightweight and rebuildable like its bigger sibling, it was the first travel pump that didn't require additional clips to hold it in place. Available in various lengths, its concaved ends would see it held securely in place along the top or seat tube.
As CO2 cartridges started to become popular for speedy roadside re-inflation in the 1980s, Giancarlo remained ahead of the times despite his advancing years: in 1982, Silca was the first company to create a cartridge head with an integrated regulator knob to control air flow – the Eolo.
Giancarlo's son, Claudio contributed yet more innovations to the company's catalogue. The extra long Super Pista pump was the most powerful ever made, its high volume barrel a favourite with mountain bikers as well as road and track riders seeking the highest pressures. Claudio also continued the manufacture of spares as well as the older pump models themselves, all famed for their long life, durability and serviceability.
When Claudio tragically died of cancer in 2013, Silca was the oldest company in the cycling industry to be continuously run by a single family. However, the Silca legacy continues today. With no family member to continue running the business, Claudio sold the company to Josh Poertner shortly before his death.
Formerly the technical director of Zipp, Poertner, who still uses a Silca Pista bought in 1990, moved the business to Indianapolis in 2014 – a region famed for the collective engineering and manufacturing genius hovering around the racecar industry.
Poertner's infectious passion and enthusiasm for the brand has seen Silca quickly re-establish itself at the world's most prestigious creator of bicycle pumps. Maintaining the ethos of combining durable materials, traditional craftsmanship and innovation, Silca launched a new version of the Pista in 2014, the SuperPista Ultimate.
The pump took everything cyclists love about the original Pista and brought it up to date with the latest technology. It's a fusion of tradition, modernity and perfection. In a time of consumables, the SuperPista Ultimate is a forever product with a 25-year hard parts guarantee. From the hand-turned rosewood grips to the magnetised chuck dock and the ultra-accurate gauge, it's pure Silca through and through.
A new version of the Impero frame pump – the Impero Ultimate – has since launched, along with the Pocket Impero, which offers frame-pump performance in a miniature package. Silca has also begun to move into ultra high-end tools, the chrome-coated HX-One Allen key set being made from the finest S-2 Tool Steel and coming in a beautiful CNC-machined beechwood box.
From there, the brand has continued to excel through innovative, precision design. The new SuperPista floor pump was launched in May, opening up that uniquely high end ride-prep experience to more cyclists. The brand has also had enormous Kickstarter success with its T-Ratchet and Ti-Torque mini tool and torque wrench system while at Eurobike 2016, Silca added multi tools and a new seat roll to its ever-growing collection.
Silca's goal is nothing short of creating perfection with every product it produces. Each and every component is designed for beauty, function, strength, durability, and longevity – then carefully produced by hand to the highest standards.
An attractive mix of Italian prestige and modern American engineering, Silca joined Saddleback in September 2014 and has since proved an exceptionally popular marque for high-end bicycle dealers in the UK. With more exciting products coming soon, Silca is building upon its legacy as creator of the finest pumps and tools in the world.
Released in spring 2016, the Silca SuperPista is a US-designed re-creation of the iconic Italian-born floor pump that made its debut at the 1989 Giro d'Italia.
27 years on, Silca has applied the learnings of the SuperPista Ultimate project to bring industry-leading performance, robust, rebuildable design and stunning looks to a wider audience.
Designed for a lifetime of use, the SuperPista features all aluminium construction, free from the plastic internals that compromise accuracy, efficiency and longevity. From the kiln-dried beech handle, to the easy to read high-contrast gauge, suspension-fork piston and full-grain leather gasket, Silca has thought of every detail and created a truly high-end pump.
Find out more about the Silca SuperPista.
While Silca is best known for its century-long legacy of heirloom-quality pumps, the stunning HX-One hex key set expands the range into the world's highest quality workshop tools, turning the humble Allen key into something truly special.
The keys are packed into a beautiful CNC-machined beech box, that gives a warm contrast to the steel within. The tools are kept in place with a single elastomeric tab, which gives a satisfyingly secure click when returning each key to its housing.
The hex keys themselves are made from S-2 Tool Steel, a shock resistant variety of the metal that has much harder surfaces than types normally used in creating Allen keys, and which prolongs the life of the tools while also avoiding deformation of fastening bolts.
The keys are also coated in thin-dense chrome, which offers the hardest finish possible, again helping to keep the tools 'dimensionally stable' for precision usage and protection of delicate bike components, which often utilise aluminium or titanium bolts.
Finally, the keys are spray coated with a polymer finish that maintains grippiness with oily fingers while the bright red colour makes them instantly noticeable in the workshop.