Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
- Easy-to-see, accurate digital top-mount gauge
- Wide padded handle makes the pumping easy
- Hefty wide steel base prevents pump toppling damage
- Top-mount 59-inch (149.86cm) hose for excellent access
- Super smooth plunger action
- Bleed button to fine-tune inflation
- Great hose and handle retention
- Reads up to 200 psi
- Getting an airtight fit on too-short Presta valves
Dimensions: 28.9 x 10 x 6.5 inches (73.5 x 25.5 x 16.4 cm)
Weight: 4.34 pounds (1.97 kg)
How obtained: Sample from company
RBR advertiser: No
The JoeBlow Pro Goes Digital and is Packed with Features
Topeak’s top-end new JoeBlow is ready for all your pumping needs with a great design and it comes at an affordable price. To make the pumping easy, it has a sturdy steel barrel and a wide steel base. This stable, hefty foot keeps the Pro upright when it’s bumped so it’s less likely to get knocked over and maybe damaged.
No-brainer SmartHead DX3
For connectivity it boasts Topeak’s SmartHead DX3, which automatically adjusts to fit all valve types and uses a thumblock lever for an airtight grip. This is Topeak’s proprietary design. It works similarly to others like it you may know. You press and hold the head on the valve and as you pull up the thumblock lever, the rubber grommet inside the head compresses on the valve sealing tight.
This works great on all Schrader valves (car type). Ditto for Presta valves. To explain the reason I wrote what I did in the NOT! section above, this type of head (not just Topeak’s) can require a bit of extra effort to get an airtight fit on too-short Presta valves that don’t protrude from the rim enough.
Tip for Too-short Valves
For example, if you have tall-profile rims and had to install a spare tube on the road that had a shorter valve. In order to get an airtight fit there, usually you only need to push the tire right at the valve to cause the valve to stick out a tad further so that the pump head has more surface to grip. If that doesn’t work, a trick is to get and use screw-on valve extenders.
On correct-size valves, the SmartHead grips tight first try, every try. It’s at the end of an extra-long hose, too, that’s attached to the pump below the gauge, which makes for excellent reach even when a bike’s not easy to get at.
Hoses can be fussy to put away on some pumps. This can lead to people (like my kids) just leaving them laying on the ground where they can get walked on or run over and damaged – the head, too. So I was happy to see that there are a couple ways to connect the JoeBlow hose to the pump and both are easy to do (photo).
You can loop the hose over the handle to prevent the plunger from extending, too. If you’ve ever had a pump handle extend and get hung up on something when you’re trying to pull the pump out from under a pile of gear bags in the car, you’ll appreciate this feature. Not all floor pumps have it.
Air it Up Exactly Right
Built into the SmartHead is a bleed button. It’s handy for letting a little air out to get the ride just right. And, since the gauge is accurate to within 1 psi up to 100psi, and within 1% all the way up to 200 psi, you can feel good that you’re nailing the setting even on things like high-pressure mountain bike shocks.
Great Digital Gauge
As soon as you start pumping, the pressure is displayed on Topeak’s top-mount digital gauge in ½-inch (1.27cm) tall numerals. I could read them easily without glasses. Pressing a small button on the gauge lets you choose from psi, to bar, to kg/cm². The gauge requires a CR2032 watch-type battery, which is included. Plus, the gauge is encased in rubber for protection and has an auto off to save battery life.
Oversize Padded Handle
The 9 ¾-inch (24.13cm) wide handle provides plenty of pumping power and it sports dual-density polymer padding for a comfortable grip, too. Complementing the oversize handle is the ½-inch (1.27cm) diameter steel plunger. In my tests, it took 22 strokes to inflate my 700 x 25c tire to 90 psi.
Overall, the JoeBlow Pro Digital will be a welcome upgrade to your home shop ready to handle all your inflation tasks with ease and accuracy. Topeak even includes an accessories package with Presta & Dunlop valve adapters, ball/ bladder heads and even a carrier for them on the hose. A nice touch.
Ride total: 9,723
I’ve had good success with the standard Topeak JoeBlow Pro pumps. I’ve had good product support from Topeak. I’m glad to see they have a digital version of this pump. And i’ts quite a bit less expensive than some other digital pumps.
There is a solution to Topeak’s pump head; a SILCA Hiro Chuck and the companion thread-on adapter. With the SILCA adapter, the Hiro Chuck fits onto the Topeak pump head. Frankly, the SILCA Hiro Chuck is the nicest Presta valve chuck I’ve found, and when properly adjusted, it requires little of the Presta valve protruding past the rim, to make a good seal.
Jim Langley says
Yes, I love the Silca Hiro head, RAH – it’s the hero of all pump heads, easiest and best by far. I reviewed it a while back and per a reader’s request, I also did a comparison of it to the head it’s a copy of, the Hirame.
Here’s a link to my Silca Hiro review: https://www.roadbikerider.com/silca-hiro-side-lever-locking-presta-chuck-review/
Here’s a link to the comparison of the Hiro to Hirame: https://www.roadbikerider.com/comparing-the-super-chucks-silca-hiro-vs-hirame-hp-20-pump-head/
SKS Rennkompressor may be bought by 1/3 of this price.
Jim Langley says
I’m glad you like the SKS pump, “aIO,” but in my experience SKS pumps are not as reliable or long lasting as Topeaks. I’ve had 2 SKS pumps that worked great for a year and then developed unrepairable defects. I did not have good luck getting help from SKS, unfortunately.
What kind of battery does the gauge use? What’s the life?
Jim Langley says
“The gauge requires a CR2032 watch-type battery, which is included. Plus, the gauge is encased in rubber for protection and has an auto off to save battery life.”
I’ve only had the pump a few weeks so I don’t know yet how long it’ll last. But, I’m guessing that it’ll go at least a year. It depends on how often you use the pump and how high quality the charge in the battery is. This type of battery is in a lot of bike electronics and I’ve had them last over a year and only a few months, too.
Robert Robrecht says
Seriously, $125 for a bicycle pump. I have over 50 years of road and mountain biking with over 150,000 accumulated miles and I use a pump I bought at Wal-Mart several years ago. As for 200 psi, I did 3 Death Rides weighing 215 pounds and with 100 psi. Where are the Sheldon Brown’s when the industry is void of common sense.
Road Bike Rider says
I think you make a good point, but there are a lot of mountain bikers and gravel and cyclocross riders who really care a lot about exact air pressures and are willing to pay for it.
Although a cheaper solution would be to just buy the $35 Topeak digital air gauge, which you can use to check your tires after using any pump at all.
If you’ve ever had a really bad floor pump that breaks presta valves or leaks air or pinches your fingers, etc., then a nice pump is very much worth the money in comparison.
si little says
while not as long as some, 40 years on a silica pump presta only chuck. with the price above in article, cycling is for the haute bourgeoisie, eh?
Fritz Mueller says
I bought my Silca Super Pista about 25 years ago,and have changed the leather washer on the pump plunger once and put a new rubber gasket in the head. I fully expect it to be working well for another 25 years. I’ll stick with what I have.
For the cost of this pump you could get one that has a charger reservoir to seat and fill tubeless tires as well as work as a standard pump. I think this one is only worth $50 at most.
How accurete this is with low pressure fat bike tires 0,1-0,5 bar pressure?
Ellen Kay Schlieckau says
I ordered a Joe Blow Digital floor pump from Direct Tires. When it finally came many months later. In two months the battery went dead. changed it out then the guage would not turn off. Now the guage says ERROR and can not read PSI. Is there a repair site I can contact to solve these issues? Help!