Silca is generally known for their premium-grade products, so I was pleased to get a chance to test out their latest Pista Plus floor pump and the Sicuro titanium bottle cage. Right away the construction and detailing of both impressed, and after my test I’d say their reputation is well earned.

I’ve taken the Sicuro Ti cage out for many MTB rides, and despite its feathery weight it’s never dropped my bottle through several weeks of enduro-style trail testing. I’ve also since been using the Pista Plus pump on all my bikes – road & trail. And while some of the features aren’t the best for off-road riders, its construction & functionality leave nothing to be desired.

Sicuro Ti Bottle Cage:

Silca Sicuro ti bottle cage, on bike

We checked out Silca’s Sicuro Ti water bottle cage at Eurobike last year, and since then I’ve put it to the test. I hit the trails to see how it would handle the rigors of mountain biking, and as rowdy as I could ride this lightweight cage had no problem holding my bottle securely.

Silca Sicuro ti bottle cage, rear

Part of Silca’s Ultimate product line, the Sicuro Ti cages are hand-made in Indianapolis, IN. The cage’s tight welds are made by a laser welder, which Silca says is a bike industry first. They’re then hand-polished, sealed, and stamped with the Silca logo. The machined titanium mounting bolts were specially designed with wide, low profile heads. This maximizes their contact area, improving both bottle retention and cage life.

Silca Sicuro ti bottle cage, on scale

The Sicuro Ti cage is light, with my scale showing 33g (a bit more than Silca’s claim of 29g) plus a gram for each bolt. While it’s not the lightest ti cage available, only the weeniest of weight-weenies would shrug this off as ‘too heavy’.

Silca Sicuro ti bottle cage, front

Keeping the design simple, the Sicuro cage uses a typically-shaped loop of 3/2.5 titanium tubing to hold the bottle. The mounting plate has long slotted holes that allow you to adjust the cage’s fore/aft position by about 15mm – a big plus when your bike is tight on space.

Silca Sicuro ti bottle cage, with bottle

On the trails, I found the Sicuro’s Ti tubing offers a little flex which made slipping the bottle in and out easy.  This was handy in my case, since I had to angle my bottle around a piggyback shock on the Rocky Mountain Instinct BC Edition I was riding. The strong but flexy ti tubes held my bottle without fail through dozens of rough descents, so I can’t imagine it having retention issues in road or gravel bike applications.

If you’re looking to dress up your bike with a high-end, lightweight bottle cage that you plan to keep for a long time, the Sicuro Ti justifies its $70 price tag with a 25 year warranty.

Pista Plus floor pump:

Silca Pista Plus floor pump, full

Silca has been making bike pumps for quite a while, you might say… the company did turn 100 in 2017! I jumped at the chance to replace my dying floor pump with their Pista Plus, and I’ve come away impressed with its quality finish and feel.

The Pista Plus floor pump first debuted back in 1962 and features a steel barrel, which houses German Igus linear bearings (engineered plastic slides that are said to outperform rotating metal bearings) to guide the plunger. Silca uses a 3mm thick Italian leather plunger washer, and a brass air bridge & check valve assembly to ensure durability. If anything ever fails, the pump is rebuildable.

Silca Pista Plus floor pump, handle

Looking over the Pista Plus, Silca’s attention to detail is apparent. The nicely shaped, machined wooden handle has Silca logos etched into each end and a smooth groove to hold the hose in place without kinking it.

Silca Pista Plus floor pump, chucks in dock

The Pista Plus’ thread-on schrader chuck is attached to the hose, while the push-on presta chuck threads into the schrader. The pump’s chuck dock was revised so it now holds the hose just above the schrader chuck. This way, riders can install/remove or swap the presta chuck for Silca’s HIRO chuck or Disc Wheel Adapter while the hose is conveniently held in place.

I found the push-on presta chuck worked well on several different wheelsets (tubed and tubeless), and will grab pretty short valves. The chuck requires a good tug to remove, but that’s a worthy compromise for its snug fit.

Silca’s presta chuck has a built-in bleed valve, which can either blow-off the hose pressure or drain air from the tire. If you have a nice straight valve core pin and the chuck isn’t pushed deep down on the valve, the bleed button will simply blow-off the hose’s pressure. If you angle the chuck or push it on firmly, the bleed button can open the valve core and allow you to drain the tire down to a desired pressure. Silca pointed out that bent valve pins may push open the valve core more easily, so you may have issues blowing off the hose pressure (and not draining the tire) with crooked pins.

Silca-pista-plus-floor-pump-schrader-chuck

The schrader chuck threads onto valves nicely, and pumps perfectly well. Also, with schrader valves the gauge will show a psi reading as soon as the chuck is threaded on. With the presta chuck, it’s capable of showing an instant reading if pushed on firmly enough to open the valve core, but I found it typically requires a pump stroke to pressurize the system and produce a psi reading.

Silca Pista Plus floor pump, base and gauge

With its large ash handle and stable three-footed cast aluminum base, the Pista Plus is primarily intended to stay in your workshop.  Its 64mm gauge is fairly big, and Silca used high-contrast colors to make it easy to see. As a mountain biker I would have been happier with smaller increments on the gauge, as it only has graduated markings at every 5psi. If you’re picky about dialing in your pressures to the pound, you’ll probably need to use a separate gauge with 0.5 or 1psi increments (as many riders do anyways to ensure consistency).

I wouldn’t recommend this pump to fat bikers, as the gauge isn’t marked at all below 15psi. The Pista Plus maxes out at 220psi, so it’s more than capable for any other type of bike, decidedly favoring high pressure use.

Silca Pista Plus floor pump, presta chuck on valve

Working with the Pista Plus, you feel right away that quality is Silca’s game. The piston glides nicely on the Igus bearings and the pump produces a satisfying sound and feel with each stroke. The chucks grabbed all my valves reliably, and I never had any functional issues with this great looking pump.

Any commuter, gravel, or road rider would probably be very pleased with the $145 Pista Plus for many years. But personally, I’d still like to see smaller than 5psi increments on the gauge. While it does pretty well considering its small barrel, MTB riders will probably prefer something that moves more air per stroke, and has a gauge that reads lower pressures right down to the pound. I’d love to see an MTB-specific model from Silca come along otherwise with the same tech & attention to detail!

Silca.cc

8 COMMENTS

  1. Love the cages. Have a set and they are sweet. Purchased a bunch of the Silca products and the never let me down. They do such a great job on the engineering and functionality. Keep up the great work!!!!!

  2. I’m still baffled Silca spec’s such an inappropriate gauge on their best selling pumps. I respect that they’re a company with 100yrs history, but this feels like they’re choosing heritage over function, and for me that’s a step too far.

    Silca have been one of the champions on the importance of proper tire pressures and their best selling feature is the accuracy of their products, 3% accuracy for the pista series.. so why have a gauge that you can’t eyeball within less than 5% accuracy at common road pressures??

    Please correct this Silca – it holds your product back.

  3. Silca had a high volume gauge you could buy to replace the stock on on their newer pumps and at one point even started to sell them ready to go but for some reason they stopped doing all of that. I’d love to have one but when I’m running 15-16psi I need to know the pressure for sure.

  4. We’ve chosen not to do lower pressure gauges in the Pista lineup as the pump barrels are shorter and 28mm diameter, which is good for high pressures but not so high volume. Our higher volume 30mm piston pumps have gauges that read to 160psi. We worked hard to bring the industry’s first 1% accuracy 0-60psi gauges to the market, and we still have some on hand for those who want them in the Ultimate pump, but after the Mtn magazines/websites did nothing but complain about the price and write silly headlines about us ‘inflating the price’ of pumps and such.. the market seemed less than convinced and sales were never large enough to continue the inventory holding costs of these very expensive gauges.

    As a result, we decided to change course and developed what is our highest technology pump, the SuperPista Digital which offers better than 1% accuracy ~6-100psi with accuracy drifting out to 3% at 220psi, sort of a best of all worlds and something only possible with digital sensors and custom gauge programming. Plus, the digital display offers perfect readability with no reading errors as can be the case with analog gauge readout. In total, the digital offers 0.5psi accuracy at Mtn pressures and 1psi accuracy at road pressures, while still allowing world class accuracy at indoor track pressures, all without damaging the gauge.
    https://silca.cc/products/superpista-digital

  5. Dear Joshua, first thing, thanks for such amazing products, I use the Silca saddle bag, very happy with it. Love your company. Regarding the cage, well. I would have certainly left King ti cages alone in this market. For a brand that has a culture, and in a way stands for that culture of cycling, handcraftship, quality, etc… I think that should have been done, but anyways, that’s just my own opinion, my two cents. This cage brings nothing new to the market really, unlike any other silca product, in my opinion of course.

    About the cages though, that longitudinal hole for the bolts… instead of the usual round hole for one bolt, a bit larger for the other one… it would have been a better solution, and then do double holes like arundel mandible if you want. But with this design, as soon as bolt get a bit loose after 8 days in a bumpy marathon xc stage race, the cages will move down. Not a good think if you ask me really.

  6. Nice cage, v similar to the King Cage though .. the position adjustability is probably worth the extra few grams over the King Cage. I seem to remember Wolf Tooth do something similar also.

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