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
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.