When it comes to bike pumps, Topeak’s JoeBlow series has been one of the most popular on the market. They are known for their durable design and reliability which makes them great for both amateur and expert cyclists. Although Topeak has numerous variations of the pump, the Sport line has been one of the best values. In this review, we’ll be looking at the new Topeak JoeBlow Sport Digital pump which incorporates a digital gauge into the Sport line of floor pumps. With a retail price of $89.95 the Sport Digital is the most affordable digital floor pump that Topeak currently offers (note that the Pro Digital version retails for $124.95). The large digital gauge is designed to make reading tire pressure easier, while the two-sided Hammer type TwinHead DX5 head allows you to pump Schrader / Presta and Dunlap valves quickly and easily. With a maximum pressure of 160psi and 318cc per stroke the Sport Digital makes filling tires quicker and easier.
The Topeak JoeBlow Sport Digital floor pump offers a digital gauge at a more affordable price point.
|Measured Weight (in kg)||1.83|
|Likes||+ Excellent build quality|
+ TwinHead nozzle is easy to use and lock/unlock
+ Swivel mounted hose attachment
|Dislikes||– Digital gauge readout jumps around while pumping|
– Base isn’t as wide as previous models
– Hose length is a bit short
|Where to Buy (US)||Topeak|
The pump comes tied to a simple cardboard backing. Once you take the basic packaging off you’ll find:
- Sport Digital Pump (batteries installed)
- Bladder/ball attachments
- Instructions printed on cardboard holder
- 1.5mm Allen key (for replacing battery)
FIT & FINISH
As with the other JoeBlow Sport pumps, the Sport Digital has black/yellow color scheme. The steel barrel, gauge, handle, and base are black while bright yellow graphics are used on the barrel. Compared to the Pro level pumps, the Sport Digital only has a few minor indicators of cost cutting to achieve the lower price point. Little details like the plastic surrounds on the nozzle head, shorter nozzle tubing, and low mounted low mounted gauge visually distinguishes it from the Pro model. Otherwise the Sport Digital is an easy pump to use with a hollowed steel base and ergonomic padded handle. Note, we do wish the base was wider though as it’s not as stable as our previous Pro pump.
One of the main features absent on the Sport model but available on the Pro is a pressure release button. This is a small button that lets you release air without removing the pump head from the valve – something that’s very useful if you overshoot your desired pressure. We would describe it as one of those features you don’t realize you need until you use it. It’s something that would especially be useful with the digital gauge of the Sport Digital pump as you could get the pressure down to the exact desired PSI.
One of the main interaction points of a bike pump is the hose head. The Sport Digital features Topeak’s TwinHead DX5 design which is a hammer-type design with a side mounted lever that rotates 90° to lock/unlock the valve. As the name implies, it’s also a two-sided design which means you use the large diameter head for Schraeder valves and the smaller diameter head for Presta/Dunlap valves. Compared to Topeak’s SmartHead featured on the more expensive models such as the Pro pumps, the TwinHead is less user friendly as you’ll have to remember which side is which. We do prefer the side mounted lever design of this pump over the SmartHead as the folding lever design of the SmartHead makes it easier to pinch a finger while attaching to a valve.
One of the big selling points of the Sport Digital pump is the digital gauge. Digital gauges in general are a feature we have mixed feelings about. While they are easier to read than analog gauges, they rely on batteries to operate which means you’ll eventually have to change the batteries to continue to use it. Feelings aside, the digital gauge can toggle between three different pressure units (psi, bar and kg/cm2) by pressing a single button on the gauge. The display automatically turns on once you start pumping but if you want to check the pressure of a tire without pumping you’ll need to press the button to turn the display on first. To conserve battery, the display also auto-sleeps which means for the most part you simply use the pump as you would a normal pump.
One issue we had was that as you pump, the pressure jumps around quite a bit on the display. It initially overshoots as you reach the bottom of your stroke before smoothing out to a lower value. We found that each pump was about 3-4 psi while the display would jump as much as 10 psi for each stroke before settling. Although this is similar to what happens with an analog gauge, with the digital display it feels more distracting and exaggerated. Once we approached our desired pressure we found that the erratic-ness meant we would have to stop and wait for the numbers to settle.
Overall, we found the Topeak Sport Digital pump to be a well built and more affordable entry point for digital gauge floor pumps. As with all the Topeak products, the build quality and attention to detail make them something you can feel confident in using for years to come. Although the TwinHead DX5 nozzle head isn’t as slick as the SmartHead designs found on the higher-end floor pumps, we found it easy to lock/unlock as well as attach to the valves. The digital gauge is also a cool feature that makes it easier to read the pressure, however, we found it a bit distracting as the readout took a few seconds to stabilize while pumping. That combined with the lack of a pressure release button (note the feature is on the Pro model) left us with mixed feelings about the Sport Digital pump. We found ourselves going back to our older JoeBlow Pro pump with analog gauge and pressure release button instead. That said, if you’re looking for a relatively affordable digital floor pump the JoeBlow Sport Digital is one to consider.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Topeak. 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.