Silca Bike Pumps - Still The Best

Written by Ralph Goshorn and others

Ralph writes, "I have been using SILCA frame and floor bicycling pumps and other items for 33 years. I’m still buying SILCA stuff because not only do they work forever (I know this sounds like an advertisement) but they are just cool!"

"Silca was started around 1917 in Italy and the family sold the company to Joshua Poertner who has brought it to Indianapolis. I am thrilled with stuff! Its all high-end and I like to reward others and myself by buying items for gifts, some get used, others displayed as collector items."


I still have both my Silca floor and frame pumps from the late '80s and they still work perfectly. While replacing a Silca floor pump nowdays will cost over $200, that's still quite a bit less than most of the bikes I've seen out on the touring rides. 

So good are Silca pumps that their frame pumps merit an exception to The Rules as recorded by Velominati ( ) :


Either CO2 cannisters or mini-pumps should be carried in jersey pockets (See Rule #31). The only exception to this rule is to mount a Silca brand frame pump in the rear triangle of the frame, with the rear wheel skewer as the pump mount nob, as demonstrated by members of the 7-Eleven and Ariostea pro cycling teams. As such, a frame pump mounted upside-down and along the left (skewer lever side) seat stay is both old skool and euro and thus acceptable. We restate at this time that said pump may under no circumstances be a Zefal and must be made by Silca. Said Silca pump must be fitted with a Campagnolo head. It is acceptable to gaffer-tape a mini-pump to your frame when no CO2 canisters are available and your pockets are full of spare kit and energy gels. However, the rider should expect to be stopped and questioned and may be required to empty pockets to prove there is no room in them for the pump.

This Rule must have been one of the original Rules to come down from the summit of Mt Velomis, it’s that old. If you want to still use a frame pump you are going to have to find a Silca pump and a Campagnolo pump head, both of which are on the shelf next to the leather Cinelli hair-net helmets in lower Serbia. Or grow a giant ‘stache, infiltrate the retro Strade Bianchi fondo and nick one off any 1970’s bikes there. Or go on eBay and easily find either item.

The italian company Silca has recently “left the building”. They were renown for their trusty floor pump and slightly less trusty frame pumps. The floor pump is indestructible; mine still hangs out in the dark corner of my shop, ready. It’s always ready. The frame pumps were less indestructible but then again, we were asking them to come on every ride with us, hanging on only by its own spring tension. Between crashes, potholes, and repulsing dogs, this frame pumps took some hits.

Silca has been reborn in the USA and their floor pump has been also been reborn hard as the most beautiful floor pump ever. The Silca name seems to be in very good hands. However, I’m not expecting to see a reissue of the frame pump anytime soon but I’m usually wrong. The mini-pump and these new fangled CO2 canisters may have truly sealed its fate.

Why would a Rule be so specific about its exceptions? Did Lord Merckx favor the Silca frame pump with a campy steel pump head? It’s a question of faith, isn’t it? A pump jammed in the rear triangle of the bike did look very studly, not unlike a Beretta casually stuffed betwixt pants and underwear, in the back, no holster. It’s a little crazy but very functional.

As The Rules go, I’ve been known to “interfere” with myself on this one (god love the Irish for that expression). But this is still preferable to using gaffer tape. Gaffer tape? Something must have been lost in translation between the ancient Flemish and today. Gaffer’s tape was only acceptable anywhere if your first name was Sean and last name was Kelly and you were such a Hardman that anything other than toe clips was a worse sin than interfering with one’s self. ( )