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Best of new and old Pumps: Silca vs Lezyne

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Best of new and old Pumps: Silca vs Lezyne

Old 01-11-12, 07:12 PM
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Best of new and old Pumps: Silca vs Lezyne

About a month ago my dad asked if I had any ideas for a Christmas present for my mom. I knew she was looking for a nice floor pump and subsequently did some research on the best pumps available. I came down to the new Silca Pista or the Lezyne CNC. My dad is a shade-tree machinist and I thought he would appreciate the CNC’d pump so I recommended the Lezyne. I never thought that he would pick up on it, but I dropped a subtle hint that someday I would like to own one too.

After looking into all the nice pumps, I felt self-conscious about my garage-sale Blackburn cheapy. I remember hearing about the legendary old Silca Pistas with the cast iron base and posted in the WTB thread. I intended to rebuild it over the holiday break. Nlerner responded and was awesome enough to send me one for the cost of shipping.

As soon as the pump came in I tried it out to see what it needed. Other than a cracked gauge, the most obvious problem was a leaky check valve. I decided to pretty much rebuild the whole thing and even splurged for a new wood handle. I think the total cost, including shipping, was around $45.00.

Replaced parts include:
Leather plunger
Check valve
Pump head o-ring
Pump head valve-stem constrictor

So I thoroughly cleaned the pump and replaced everything. I took around fifteen minutes to clean and around twenty to replace everything. Afterwards, the pump worked great, although the pump head is still a little fussy and doesn’t always want to seal tightly.

Replaced Parts

Well Christmas came and Santa left two Lezyne pumps under the tree. Turns out, ol’ Dad is not as oblivious as he acts sometimes. So I now have two pretty nice pumps. I thought it would be fun to compare the best pumps of their time (arguable) side by side.

The Silca: There is something nice about the Silca. If the casting on the bottom is the date, this pump was made in 1988. The weight and the feel of the steel give it an aura of quality. The replacement wood handle is much nicer feeling than the old plastic handle. Also the stroke feels solid both on the up and down traverse. There is no rattle or loose feeling like I anticipated. The new gauge is stylish but is as functional as the original. By far, the largest drawback to the pump is the hose and head. The hose is too short and can make head placement awkward. The pump head, despite being rebuilt, is finicky. The brass is nice but the head continued to want to jump-ship around 100psi. It took several frustrating tries before I could pump to 120psi without loosing engagement on the valve stem. Last, the one side foot stabilization is a weak design. It doesn’t seem to be an issue when actually pumping, but when not in use, the pump falls over easily from the slightest agitation.

This is a replacement gauge. The original went to 240psi, but it was cracked and not near as cool

The Lezyne: This pump feels like a piece of precision machinery. The quality fit of the pump and forethought of the designers is evident throughout. Manipulating the pumping motion feels like gliding an oiled ball bearing. The long hose meant I could reach a couple of bikes without having to move the pump. I also appreciated the thread on pump head; it provided a seal that I knew was not going to slip at any pressure. The details of this pump really stand out. There are small rubber feet on the bottom so the pump doesn’t slip on slick surfaces. There is a hook on the backside of the base to secure the pump head. A small button on the head releases hose pressure so no air escapes when removing the head. In addition to the polished finish, these little things really make the pump shine. My only gripe about the pump is the base. For a pump that claims every part is CNC cut, the cast aluminum finish disappointed me. It is a completely superficial, vane complaint, but the duller and imprecise lettering detracted from the overall appearance. I expected the most ornate part of the pump to be sweet CNC’d billet.

Overall conclusions. Both are fine pumps. The Silca feels warm and full of character but I cannot get over the crappy pump head and instability. The Lezyne is gorgeous and works flawlessly but feels slightly industrial when compared to the Silca. I’ll keep the Lezyne in the shop and use it frequently. The Silca (after replacing the head) will go in my car and will be used when someone forgets to pump up before a ride.

The button on the right side of the Lezyne releases the pressure

Construction Material: Steel
Height: 23.75"
Weight: 3.43 lb
Hose Length: 32"
Tube Diameter 1.19"
Gauge max pressure: 200psi/15bar
Strokes to 120 PSI: 86
Date: 1988

Construction Material: Aluminum
Height: 25.5"
Weight: 2.99 lb
Hose Length: 50"
Tube Diameter: 1.19"
Gauge max pressure: 220psi/15bar
Strokes to 120: PSI 33
Date: 2011

I’d like to thank nlerner for his generosity. Feel free to ask any questions.


Last edited by WJV; 01-11-12 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:27 PM
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i recently got a lezyne classic floor drive off craigslist to replace my leaky park floor pump. its incredibly good!

also got the lezyne slip chuck from the LBS and it is also really great. i highly recommend it. saves a lot of time if you're pumping up a lot of tires in succession and doesn't slip / blow off like other pump chucks.

Last edited by brooklyn_bike; 01-11-12 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:34 PM
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I have no problems with modern design when it's executed like the Lezyne. instant classic.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:04 PM
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I've got a lezyne pump myself, and it's the best pump I've ever owned. They even make a model with larger air displacement (bigger barrel) to pump MTB tires faster. Perfect for lazy slobs like me!
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Old 01-11-12, 08:37 PM
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Yeah, those lezyne pumps sure are sweet looking. I can see myself buying one someday but it's just so over the top. Granted, a floor pump is the tool that I use the absolute most.

My park tool pump is very unsexy, but it's never ever given me trouble.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:06 PM
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I guess I'm really spoiled because of the fitting on my Silca. It's a very simple lock-on pump head and makes pumping even my track tires extremely easy.

Of course, there is a rubber grommet that sometimes needs replacing, but past that...beauty.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:25 PM
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I have a Silca Pista pump that I purchased in the early 1980s. I replaced the head in 2009 and it still easily airs up my tubulars in a just few pumps.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:50 PM
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Thanks WJV for sharing your experience with these! I have a Lezyne Micro floor drive that I love, it's always a hit on group rides when someone needs to borrow it

Silca pumps seem to be drawn to me, I found a mint pista at the Goodwill, another at a flea market, as well as a super pista. The Silca screw-on replacement chuck is a bit better in my experience than the standard unit as pictured above.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:56 PM
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I currently have three different Lezyne pumps. On the only one that ever had problems, (after I sold it to a riding buddy), he called to see about a leak it was having. They said this was a known problem, and that they would send him a new hose, but they ended up sending him a new pump instead! This was even after he informed them that he was not the original owner. The great service is a perk, but I would buy their stuff even if they didn't have good service. The product is that good.
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Old 03-18-12, 06:28 AM
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Nice photo story WJV. Very informative and helpful.
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Old 03-18-12, 06:53 AM
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This is far more thought than I've ever put into a pump. I push the handle on my Specialized Air Tool Comp and it pumps the tire. I don't know if it feels warm, industrial or cool - I push the handle down and the tire inflates. The Specialized pump takes less pushes to fill a tire than some others I've had, so I like it. It sits off to the side and out of site, so I don't worry much about what it looks like. The end.

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Old 03-18-12, 07:02 PM
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I love my Lezyne Floor Drive (non-CNC model). The valve stem connector takes some getting used to (it's reversible for either Presta or Schrader stems). Also, I had to return the first one I bought to the LBS because the connector leaked while pumping. There was a manufacturing error involving either the threads or the rubber seals on the Presta side of the connector. The LBS exchanged it and the replacement works fine. IMHO you can't find a better floor pump for $60...
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Old 03-18-12, 10:06 PM
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Nice comparo of two premium pumps, vintage and modern.

The early 80s Silca I have since then has continued to serve me well. Don't see a need to replace it. If anything, I found a cheap 2nd Silca that's barely used, as backup. The floor pump gets tossed into the trunk of my car when I may need it away from home. These days, I'm a bit lazy and simply use my air compressor in the garage.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:21 PM
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The one flaw of the lezyne is that the threads were out on the head (they are aluminum) but this is in a shop. We wore out the cheep one in less than 6 month. I still think it is a good pump and better than the cheep blackburns out there though I think they redesigned their whole line. I still prefer my topeak joe blow pro over the lezyne, the pumping action and build quality is far superior. It does like to tip over because the gauge is at the top but I like that I can read it more clearly. I am only 31 but my eyes are just starting to tell me that I am getting old.
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