Silca Tattico Bluetooth Mini-Pump
Silca Premio Tire Levers
Cost: Pump: $120; Levers: $18
Weight: Pump: 159 grams; Levers: 36 grams
Length: Pump: 9.5 inches/24cm; Levers: 4.25 inches/10.7cm
How Obtained: Samples from company
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: 20+ hours
Two Great Gifts from the Pump Pros at Silca
If you’re looking for a couple of high-tech stocking stuffers sure to please cyclists on your list, consider Silca’s Tattico Bluetooth Mini-Pump and Premio Tire Levers. Besides providing them with the latest and greatest in on-the-road flat tire repair tools, you’ll also be giving them a geek-worthy bike toy. Because the Tattico includes the free iGauge smartphone app and works in concert with it.
A mini-pump for nerds
This means that if your loved one rides with a group, the next time someone flats, they can offer to fix it and wow the gang with the app on their phone showing the tire’s inflation in large, bold digits (over an inch tall on my iPhone 6). It might sound silly, but the first time you see it, it’s pretty cool.
And not only is the app’s gauge ultra easy to see and read, it’s also extremely accurate compared to the gauges built into most minis. Because, according to Silca, which studies these things, “as the overall size of a gauge decreases, the internal mechanism needs to be simplified and therefore accuracy decreases rapidly.” Checking with an accurate floor pump, I found this to be true and the Tattico pressure was spot-on.
Getting the tire pressure right, down to a few psi, doesn’t always matter. If you’re just heading home, you can “limp” there carefully on an under-inflated tire with no problem. But, if you puncture on an important ride, it’s reassuring to know that your tire is back to full operating, safe pressure and you’re good to go. Accuracy is equally important on gravel rides where the proper pressure for the conditions makes all the difference in traction, control and avoiding a second puncture.
The Tattico is a nice pump to use, too, with a precision fit on the valve thanks to a long hose (5.75 inches/14.6cm) and an airtight thumblock chuck that reverses to fit Presta and Schrader valves. The hose pushes into the handle when not in use and there’s a rubber cap that snaps over the chuck, sealing it and doubling as the end of the pump.
While all mini-pumps require many strokes to inflate high-pressure road tires, the Tattico’s 6061-aluminum construction with knurled handles make for a smooth, sure stroke with all the air making it into the tire. For safe carrying, a pump mount is included that fits under the bottle cage bolts and has a built-in rubber security strap so the pump can’t fall off. Powering the Bluetooth connectivity that talks to the iGauge app is a common CR2032 battery that’s securely held beneath a threaded aluminum cap in the other end of the pump from the chuck end for easy access.
Some of the guys I ride with have commented that it’s silly to have to carry a smartphone in order to get your pressure readings. I understand that point of view. And I don’t like that it sometimes takes a few minutes waiting for the Tattico to connect to the iGauge app. But, on the other hand, I think this type of technology could add more value in the future.
For example, if Silca (or some other company) gave us an app that told our tire pressures without even attaching a pump, or gave us alerts while riding that our pressure was changing, it could introduce a whole new level of convenience and safety. Many cars have these features using tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Why not bikes?
Note that if you do NOT want the Bluetooth feature or iGauge app, Silca offers the Tattico Mini-Pump for $55 (less than half the cost of the tech-rich version).
Superior tire levers
What sets Silca’s Premio Tire Levers apart is how thin, stiff and slippery they are. Each of these attributes is of paramount importance when it comes to removing tires. Let me explain.
The thin tips on the Premios make it easy to wiggle them in-between the tire and rim and then get them under even the tightest tire beads. The tips are slippery, which helps here, too (keep reading).
And while these levers, at just over 4-inches long, are relatively shortin comparison to many other models, they provide plenty of leverage for prying off tires because from tip to end they’re made of stiff, unyielding forged aluminum.
Plus, the working surfaces, which face the rim, are an alloy- and carbon-safe reinforced nylon that’s slippery to not scratch and to nicely slide around and in rims to get under and free tires.
The Premios are also wider on the ends for a no-slip grip. And they have built-in wings for hooking them on a spoke if needed when removing stubborn rubber. For stowing, they nest together and fit into an included neoprene sleeve. Their small size and lightness makes the Premio levers easy to carry in a pocket or pack, too. I think they’ll quickly become your rider’s favorite tire tamers.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.