Frame Pumps are Back – Silca Gives the Impero new Life with the Impero Ultimate

Silca impero ultimate frame pump  (1)

Literally just after hitting publish on the new Zipp Valve Extenders by Silca, we got wind of even more news out of the legendary pump manufacturer. After teasing a new product for the past week, Silca is confirming suspicions with the launch of their new frame pump. First introduced in the 1920’s, Silca made a name for themselves with the original Impero frame pump. Using 2000 series aluminum at a time when other pumps were still made from steel, the Impero would go on to reach cult status among frame pumps.

Fast forward to the present and Silca has been without their Impero for 25 years. After finding a rebirth with Josh Poertner at the helm, Silca has been rebuilding with modern heirloom quality pumps like Super Pista Ultimate. With the Impero Ultimate, Silca has brought that same precision and incredible attention to detail to the somewhat forgotten world of frame pumps…

Silca impero ultimate frame pump  (2)

Right off the bat, Silca is calling the Impero Ultimate the most efficient, durable, and functional frame pump available. A big claim for sure, but given Silca’s dedication to what many would consider over-the-top engineering for a pump, it isn’t hard to believe. Starting with a solid aluminum head with a brass check valve and head gasket with 2-stage seal, the pump retains the press-on functionality Silca is known for.

The rest of the pump body is made from aluminum as well including the barrel, handle, and piston rod. Made in the USA with Alcoa aluminum extrusions and bar stock, the 19mm aluminum barrel uses a custom leather piston that continues the tradition of using the same Milan-based supplier since 1947. To keep the pump solidly in place on your frame the Impero Ultimate uses what Silca calls FlexWing Silicone bumpers on the head and handle. Able to adapt to tubing from 1″ to 2.5″ in diameter, the flexible wing shape adjusts to the contour. A third bit of silicone on the pump barrel keeps the handle locked and cushions the pump against the frame.

Silca impero ultimate frame pump  (4) Silca impero ultimate frame pump  (2)

Available in four sizes, the pumps are sized to fit anywhere from 44-56cm spans inside of frames. Note that this is not the frame size, but the actual measurement inside the triangle illustrated by the “L” above. Weights are listed as – SM: 256g  M: 267g  L: 278g  XL: 289g.

Silca impero ultimate frame pump  (1)

 

Requiring 112 strokes to reach 100 psi with a small pump, Silca claims the Impero Ultimate is the most efficient portable pump available. Priced at $165 and available now, the pump is certainly another investment in quality, but if it’s like the other product to come out of Silca lately – it will be the last frame pump you ever have to buy.

silca.cc

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NotAMachinist
NotAMachinist
7 years ago

I still use a Silca Impero with a Campy steel pump head. I get laughed at, but when everyone’s quickfills are empty all eyes turn to the guy with the frame pump.

But $165? Yeeeooouuch.

It looks great and I want one, but $165?

Mike T.
Mike T.
7 years ago

NotMachinist, it really doesn’t matter what you think of the price as there will always be Casio and Rolex watch people. Their $450 pumps sell like hotcakes and the 25 custom painted $900 versions sold out in less than an hour last week. What is a lifetime tool worth? My ’74 Silca has been in use here for the past 41 years.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

I love my older Silcas and I keep avoiding eye contact with the new one. My Impero is more decoration on my commuter than actually functional.

Milessio
Milessio
7 years ago

So, no love for the classic seatstay mounting location; using the QR lever?

Francois
Francois
7 years ago

Looks great, and is probably great quality.
But it doesn’t have a pressure gauge or a hose, and doesn’t turn into a floor pump, so it’s definitely not the most functional pump around.

Sardinien
Sardinien
7 years ago

Co2.

Marinoni 1
Marinoni 1
7 years ago

No hole for a pump peg?

Derek
Derek
7 years ago

Sure it takes less pumps, but the stroke is longer or the force is higher. All pumps are probably close to the same “efficiency”.

Scotty
Scotty
7 years ago

Press on functionality means you will have to hold it against the valve or it’ll pop off. I still use my trust Zefal HPX that’s over 20 years old.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

@NotAMachinist

Do all your riding buddies ignore the minipumps in their pockets or is it just you? Every single rider has only CO2?

jeff
jeff
7 years ago

15 years using. C02’s, never been stranded. I dont ever see myself going back to frame pump

B0wz3r
B0wz3r
7 years ago

Anyone who uses CO2 cartridges and calls themselves an environmentalist is a hypocrite.

Garth
Garth
7 years ago

“But it doesn’t have a pressure gauge or a hose”
I agree. I will never use another hand pump without a hose and when getting up to the 110 psi range even a mediocre gauge helps my oxygen deprived mind.

Rider X
Rider X
7 years ago

@B0wz3r – Anyone who rides a bike and calls themselves an environmentalist is a hypocrite. Where did the frame, tires, etc come from? Anyone still breathing O2 and calling themselves an environmentalist is a hypocrite.

Where do you draw the line?

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
7 years ago

@BOws3r: guess where the CO2 in the canisters comes from? The empty canisters are recyclable. I guess that means your point is null.

Muntle
Muntle
7 years ago

Uh, yeah. That “most efficient” claim is complete BS. Does it leak? No? Then it’s exactly as efficient as any other pump out there.

That being said, it sure is pretty. But for the money, I think I’ll pass.

And Psi and RiderX have it right, B0wz3r: If you toss those cartridges in the blue bin, they get reused. Oops.

Isaac
Isaac
7 years ago

I agree that this is a crazy expensive pump and I likely won’t buy one unless I win a lottery, but heck, people spend more than $165 on disposable items such as jerseys, tires, a mid-range pair of bib shorts, etc. I definitely appreciate the engineering in the Silca products and support what they do, even if I may never buy anything they produce.

pcs
pcs
7 years ago

This is a lie. Frame pumps are not “back”.

Rixter
Rixter
7 years ago

For that $$$ it really should be carbon. I still have my 30 year old Silca track pump and it works great!

Charles
Charles
7 years ago

My 26yr old custom painted Campy head Silca pump gave up the ghost and cracked in half yesterday. I’d say I got my money’s worth. But, I won’t be spending $900 to replace it. Hopefully I can find a decent minipump.