A Functional Work of Art
Since 1917 SILCA has set the world standard for what a floor pump should be. Solid construction, superior ergonomics, the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, and even innovation. The history of innovation may be a surprise to the modern consumer, yet looking back one can see that SILCA was the first to offer a pressure gauge on a bicycle pump, the first to adventure into lightweight plastics for frame pumps beginning in the 1940’s, and the first to offer a CO2 regulator that could control the flow of the gas into the tire.
2014 Begins a new era for SILCA, with a move to Indianapolis Indiana, a hotbed of motorsports, biomedical, and aerospace manufacturing, as well as new ownership with a focus on combining the most modern design and manufacturing processes with the passion and hand-craftsmanship that the brand is famous for.
Meant to be heavy, ergonomic, rebuildable and built to last a lifetime, SP Ultimate is meant to define a new category of ‘Inflation Tools.’ Retaining classic SILCA features such as the solid metal presta chuck, 242 gasket and leather plunger washer, SP Ultimate will keep the SILCA Passion alive for the next generation.
Pump Base - The foundation
The foundation of any pump needs to be both broad, heavy and solid, yet thin enough to step on comfortably in cycling shoes. SP Ultimate enjoys the largest, heaviest base ever used in a cycling pump. Yet, at only 9 mm thick at the perimeter, 6mm thick in the center, sacrifices no stability when stepped on in any cycling or street shoe. 3 elastomer pads are perfectly balanced to be soft enough not to scratch delicate flooring, yet are hard enough not to pick up debris in the race parking lot or at the trailhead.
At 800 grams, the SP Ultimate base is not only the thinnest and most stable in the world, it’s heavier than most entire floor pumps.
While we were working on the industry’s highest accuracy gauge, first magnetic chuck doc, and largest, heaviest and yet, thinnest base, it quickly became apparent that we needed a unique solution for handling the air passage within the pump while keeping the delicate pieces off of the ground.
The surfboard is a high precision piece of CNC machined aluminum which contains the air passage between the check valve body and the gauge/hose. Locating the air passage above the gauge as it is here, the team could move from the traditional back mount style of gauge common in consumer products, to a radial mount gauge more common in laboratory equipment. This change in the type of gauge used, allowed for a dramatic increase in gauge accuracy, precision, and durability.
The surfboard elegantly floats 35mm off of the ground while it holds the MagnetDock, transfers air to the hose, and serves as a protective bezel for the high precision gauge. It also allows us to show off the beautiful brass internals on the gauge as well as the matching brass elbow fitting inspired by the classic SILCA pumps of 50 years ago.
When we launched the 17-4 Presta chuck we received a lot of questions as to why one might need such a fine stainless steel, best known for it’s use in aircraft landing gear in a pump chuck. The true answer can now be made clear: It’s one of the few stainless steels strongly attracted by a magnet.
The MagnetDock concept is simple and elegant. For ease of use, you want your pump hose to be long, but you also don’t want it swinging freely when not in use. The use of a Neodymium rare earth magnet, allows the MagnetDock to attract the chuck into the docking station from as much as a few centimeters away. No need for bending over to insert or thread anything in place, simply hang the chuck near the dock and it will seat itself. When you are ready to inflate your tires, simply give it a pull and the chuck detaches. Simple, elegant, convenient.
We believe in perfection
So much of the beauty of cycling is in the pursuit of the perfect ride, the perfect day, the perfect legs, the perfect suffering, the perfect weather. However, the problem comes in the repeatability of things so we have to bring some science to our pursuit. The SILCA 1% Gauge is the result of struggling to balance ride quality with durability over the cobbles of Roubaix, only to learn that standard pump gauges are +/-5% accuracy.
We began by moving away from the usual back mount pump gauge to a laboratory style radial mount. We specified laboratory grade internals and full metal construction for added durability. Stabilizing the gauge mechanism and needle resulted in a dramatic improvement in accuracy after drop testing, which means that your pump will still be accurate after years of use.
The result is knowing that the pressure you have today, is the same as you set yesterday. It’s knowing that you have the knowledge and ability to repeat that perfect setup.
IGUS Linear Bushing
In pursuit of the smoothest and most durable pump action possible, the team at SILCA arrived at a familiar and proven solution. Borrowing from the finest suspension components in the world, SILCA worked with IGUS bushings of Germany to size a custom top cap bushing.
For a perfectly matched fit, the piston rod is centerless ground and then Teflon Hard-Anodized to produce the most perfectly smooth and round interface. The result, a lifetime of perfectly smooth, perfectly clean operation.
12,000 PSI Hose
We first saw this hose in the pits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, attached to a racecar.
Rated at 12,000psi the SP-Ultimate hose is manufactured in the USA from high pressure smoothbore PTFE hose, over-braided in stainless steel, and then over-extruded with a highly protective polyurethane jacket which is as durable and protective as it is beautiful.
3 Part brass and stainless steel fittings at both ends allow the hose to fully rotate from either end, even when attached to the valve or under pressure.
Contact Points are Crucial
A true craftsman finds great pleasure in using tools designed and built by other true craftsment. Few small tools embody this sentiment as much as culinary knives, which have the ability to completely alter the culinary experience. We studied the materials and processes of one of the finest knife makers in the world in researching this handle. We looked at ergonomics and range of motion as well as at the techniques used to mate wood to metal. The result is as beautiful as it is functional and as comfortable and natural in your hand as it is solid.
Few woods offer the look, feel or durability of rosewood. Most widely known for its use in the finest guitars, SILCA employs hand turned rosewood grips mated to investment cast stainless steel center and end caps. Assymetric grip shape assures the optimal ergonomics and control.
Investment Cast Stainless Center and end Lugs
It seems only fitting that our obsession with stainless steel would bring us to investment casting for the handle lugs. Long the technique of the true masters, investment casting has produced the lugs and dropouts for many of the most beautiful bicycles ever made.