While many cyclists have transitioned to compact CO2 inflators or mini-pumps, it’s easy to see the appeal of a frame pump. Not only is a frame pump more cost effective long term, as you do not need to buy CO2 canisters, but their larger size makes them significantly more efficient than mini-pumps. The Silca Impero Ultimate is arguably one of the best frame pumps available on the market. As with other Silca products, the Silca Impero has been built to high standards with an all aluminum body and FlexWing technology to fit a variety of frames. The high quality doesn’t come cheap though, as the retail price of $165 is on par with high-end floor pumps. To help justify the higher price, the Silca Impero Ultimate is covered by the Silca Shield lifetime warranty which ensures that the pump will probably outlast your bike. The pumps are currently made-to-order and offered in six different sizes (S-XXXL) to accommodate different bike frame sizes.
The Silca Impero Ultimate frame pump is a well built and high quality pump that’s designed to outlast your bike.
|Measured Weight (in g)||282 (medium)|
|Likes||+ Fills tires quickly|
+ Comprehensive Silca Shield lifetime warranty
+ Premium all metal construction
|Dislikes||– Expensive price|
– Silca locking bumper is difficult to adjust
– Lacks a pressure gauge
|Where to Buy (US)||Silca|
The pump arrives in a Silca branded cylindrical cardboard tube to keep the pump safe during shipping. Inside the tube, the pump is also wrapped in a plastic bag. Surprisingly, there is no instruction manual or additional information included with the pump.
FIT & FINISH
Unlike most modern pumps that utilize plastic components, the Silca Impero Ultimate frame pump uses the same all metal construction as their original pumps. It’s clear that Impero Ultimate is designed to last with its black aluminum body and silicone bumpers. There is minimal branding on the pump with the only Silca logos on the bumpers leaving the barrel of the pump unadorned. Anodized red accents on the chuck head provide a bit of color and make it easy to orient the otherwise cylindrical pump. Note that there is no lever on the chuck, instead it uses a 2-stage head gasket to securely attach to presta valves. It results in a cleaner design, and also means there are no additional pieces on the pump that could rub against the bike frame.
One of the key features of the Impero Ultimate frame pump is what Silca calls their FlexWing technology which consists of soft silicone bumpers at each end of the pump to accommodate 1-2.5” tubing. The chuck side of the pump is diamond shaped which makes it well suited to wedge into corners of a frame. On the handle side of the pump there is a non-slip contoured cutout that works well. Even though the pump is best suited for straight top tubes and round tubes, we found that the pump worked well on the aerodynamic shaped frame of our Specialized Tarmac. A silicone bumper on the body of the pump can also be moved to lock the pump in place to prevent any rattling over rough terrain although it takes a lot of force to move.
Overall, we found the Silca Impero Ultimate frame pump a high-quality and well designed frame pump. The Impero Ultimate’s aluminum construction and secure mounting make a strong case to convert to a frame pump. It’s certainly expensive, but with the lifetime warranty and premium build quality the pump is a buy-it-for-life type product you won’t have to replace anytime soon. The silicone mounts on each end of the pump worked securely to hold the pump on the bike without the need of velcro straps or bulky mounts. Thanks to the large size of the frame pump, inflation is efficient and quick which means you can repair a flat and get back on the road. The only negatives we could find were the high price and lack of a pressure gauge. If you’re tired of buying CO2 canisters or breaking a sweat using a mini-pump, we’d highly recommend converting to the Silca Impero Ultimate frame pump.
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.