Back in 2015, I bought one of the first Silca SuperPista Ultimate Hiro pumps. These pumps are a modern take on the vintage classic SuperPista floor pump Silca made back when it was an Italian brand in the 70s and 80s. Now, Silca is a US brand and when it re-launched, they debuted a stunning Made in the USA version of the SuperPista pump.
When I bought it, the pump was dubbed the Impero Ultimate Frame Pump and with a $400 price tag, I was hoping it’d last for decades, much like Silca’s legendary frame pumps that I use on my bikes. Well, eight years later my pump finally needed a rebuild, so I thought it’d be nice to walk through the rebuild process…
I use this pump daily, so it has a nice patina at the handles, as well as some abuse marks from kicking around the back of my car on road trips. Its all-metal construction handles this abuse quite well but after eight years of use, the inner leather washer lost its ability to form a solid seal on the inner chamber of the pump shaft.
Luckily, this is an easy problem to solve! But you need some common tools…
- Spanner Pin Wrench/Circlip Wrench
- 17mm socket
- Wood polish
- Blue Loctite
- Latex or shop gloves (I wish I had worn some as the lube stinks)
- Metal cleaner (or just a wet, soapy rag, and olive oil)
- Silca 741 Leather Pump Gasket
- NFS Leather Conditioner Lube
The procedure to rebuild a Silca SuperPista is super easy. It takes roughly ten minutes, total but there are a few tips I learned I’d like to share.
Using a spanner pin wrench, or a circlip wrench, you remove the top threaded nut that holds the pump handle shaft to the inner pump shaft. If you don’t have one of these, a jar-opening rubber cloth or a pipe wrench with a few layers of tape to protect the pump works great too.
Once the pump shaft is out, grab your 17mm socket and tighten the bolt that holds the leather gasket half a turn. Yes, tighten it. This breaks the Loctite seal. Then loosen the bolt out all the way and pull out the leather gasket.
The old leather gasket gets discarded. Lube up the new gasket and reassemble, making sure to Loctite the bolt with blue thread locker when it goes back in. You don’t have to over-torque it. Just hand tight will do. Here’s where I wish I had gloves on. Man, this NFS stuff STINKS!
My pump handle had some nice patina, so I didn’t want to lose that by sanding or re-staining it. Instead, I treated the wood the same way I treat my furniture. We use a citrus/beeswax polish on our wood products, so I gave it a few coats to help protect the wood handle. I usually wipe this down once a month or so.
Once the handle is nice and shiny, reassemble the pump, making sure to press it up and down a few times to lube the pump chamber.
Put the spanner collar back on, hand-tight, then give a quick tighten-down with the spanner wrench and your pump should be functioning again. Once it’s back together, if yours was as gross as mine, wipe all the grime off the metal, even hitting it with steel wool if it’s scratched up or greasy. Then wipe the metal down with a few drops of olive oil to make it shine.
Since my hose was no longer long enough for the magnetic chuck head to nest in the pump, I took this opportunity to pull the shit out of it so it would nest properly again!
If you’re going to fork out $400 (2023 retail is $495!) for a pump, it better be rebuildable. I like getting my hands dirty and prefer to work on my own cars, bikes, and home. So why would it be any different with a floor pump? Most importantly, in an era of plastic pumps, it’s nice to have an all-metal pump that can be rebuilt at home with less than $20 worth of product.
I’d like to replace the high-pressure guage with a lower-pressure guage but for now, it’s back to its properly functioning form!
While the Silca SuperPista Ultimate Hiro pumps are pricey as hell, they’re long-lasting, and look damn nice. Being able to rebuild them in ten minutes is all the more reason to justify the upfront cost. For me anyway.