If you own a lot of bikes, chances are you have at least two floor pumps. The same inflator used to fill fatbike tires is usually a poor choice for road bike skins. Not many pumps inflate tires big and small equally well—until now.
The JoeBlow Twin Turbo is Topeak’s latest top-tier inflator. At 7-pounds and nearly 30-inches tall it commands attention. But it’s more than just big. Hidden within the foil-shaped metal body is an innovative double-barrel air chamber system.
The Twin Turbo is not the first pump to employ dual air pistons. The Zéfal Double Shot was one of the first and it worked well if all you needed to do was push lots of air in as few strokes as possible. Topeak’s internals are far more advanced and quickly push air pressure up to 200 psi.
To achieve high pressure and big volume, the Twin Turbo moves air in both the upward and downward strokes. When the handle is pulled up, air from the large chamber is transferred into the smaller barrel. Pushing down compresses the air in the inflation tube and expels it into the tire.
I have tried other dual-action pumps and many feel asthmatic and slow. For product engineers it can’t be easy to manage the competing forces as the pump tries to breathe in as much air as possible. By contrast the Twin Turbo remains fluid and swift in both pumping directions.
The up stroke is light and unrestricted, but there is a faint sensation of air being moved in progressive stages. Pushing down on the handle is unlike any other pump I have ever used. Not to say there is no resistance at all, but it is minimal. What’s even more interesting is the effective range of the stroke. The pump starts moving air as soon as the handle is plunged. There is no gradual build up of pressure at the bottom of the pump stroke.
With my fatbike sitting on double flats I attached the all-metal SmartHead DX1 pump head to the valve and started pumping. The tire instantly lurched to life. In fewer than 15 lazy strokes the 5-inch tire was inflated to a plump 7 psi. Every tire I tested yielded similar results. A standard 29er wheel required only 17 strokes and my road bike just 22. According to Topeak, the Twin Turbo shaves 40% off the inflation effort of a normal single-action pump.
As I have come to expect of Topeak, the ergonomics are well designed. The handle has a slight bend at the wrists and a rubber coating keeps sweaty hands securely in place. Rubber foot pads make for a solid resting spot for road cleats and while the pump is tall, I don’t feel like I have to raise the handle to my chin to get the full range of action.
One of my petty quips with some pumps is a short hose. The Twin Turbo has ample reach to inflate tires on a repair stand or hitch rack. The SmartHead DX1 automatically swaps between presta and schraeder valves and always clamps tight to eliminate pesky air leaks.
My favorite user feature also earns my only nit-pick. The large analog gauge is placed atop the pump where it’s easy to read, but it lacks utility when inflating most mountain bike tires. With today’s higher volume tires, the Twin Turbo’s gauge barely registers anything below 20 psi. This is the range of inflation where every pound counts. My workaround is to always use Topeak’s digital pressure gauge.
At $199 there are cheaper pumps to be had, but not many with such elevated utility. It really does inflate a road tire with equal aplomb as a chunky mountain bike tire. If you don’t want to use your pump as your pre-ride warmup, you won’t burn a calorie inflating your tires with the Twin Turbo.