Silca Pista Bicycle Floor Pump Circa 1979

silca impero frame pump

For over three decades this Silca Pista bicycle floor pump has been in continuous use. With only a few leather washer and rubber valve seal changes, plus some grease, there’s been no other maintenance required. The hose clamps were changed once and that’s it, a tool that just works. Servicing the pump requires the most basic tools that could be found anywhere, and a couple of the operations removing threaded ends can be performed by hand. Since the day this pump was assembled at the factory the valve housing had never seen the light of day, and even now it was only exposed for the photographs.

Bought from Woolys Wheels in Paddington mid 1981, the gauge shows a date of manufacture in December 1979. In it’s first few years this Pista Silca travelled the globe, packed in the bottom of bike boxes, into team cars, hotel rooms, pumping air into tyres at velodromes and road races. Pumps are something you pay little attention to, as ubiquitous as they are, yet this one survived since the 80’s and it’s still going strong.

Sure the paint has a vintage and well-worn patina, which last week caused a friend to go leap up and down then turn cart-wheels when he caught sight of it. A pump like this one, the perfect shed companion for your old steel bike.

Felice Sacchi hit on a winner when Silca SRL was founded in 1917 in Milan Italy. Revolutionary use of a leather cup washer lead Silca to prominence, achieving higher air pressures than possible with other designs of the era.

Silca defined the classic cycling pump with it’s Impero frame pumps and Pista floor pumps becoming icons of Italian manufacturing flare. In 1982 Silca lead the way once again with the industry’s first valve controllable CO2 inflator. Up to September 2013, Silca was the oldest Italian company in the cycling industry to remain in continuous family ownership. Felice’s grandson Claudio Sacchi has been at the helm since 1989 and is affectionately known as Mr. Silca .

Now Joshua Poertner, former Technical Director of Zipp Speed Weaponry has purchased Silca with plans to relocate the company including all production to Indianapolis. Josh said “I am both thrilled and honored to be entrusted with this great and historic brand.  To me Silca has always represented passion, craftsmanship, and timeless functionality.  I look forward to merging these values with advanced engineering capabilities and US manufacturing here in Indianapolis.”

With Josh’s technical expertise, we can be assured that going forward, the reliable and basic operation of the legendary Silca pump will be enhanced, leaving no doubt that Silca will remain the pump of choice and grace the workshops of cycling devotees for decades to come.

Note : July 2014, since we published this post we’ve had a few enquiries from various Silca pump owners, wanting to find either replacement parts for their old Silca pump or help with how various components work. Any questions can be directed to or go to the Silca website Alternatively you can use our contact form and we’ll forward your enquiries to Silca, or use the comments below to ask your questions. If you’re an Australian customer the Aussie Silca distributor Echelon Sports can answer your questions too.




















  1. keith benefiel says

    so, no more frame fit pumps? have been using silca frame fits and floor pumps from 1971 til now. do I have to depend on E-bay?

    • Robert says

      Keith, I checked in with Josh from Silca here’s his reply.

      “The frame fit pumps have actually not been manufactured since there have been quite a lot of them floating around the market, at distributors, etc…but they have been out of actual production for over 20 years. We do plan to bring a frame fit pump to market, but as with all of our other products, we will be designing and manufacturing it here in the US and not just going to Asia for it will not be quick. We are hopefully about a month out on the floor pump which has taken about 6 months longer than planned, but in many cases has required us just buying machinery to make certain parts ourselves, and the frame fit pumps will be the same. Really it’s a whole machine buying and tool up issue more than anything else as none of that happens quickly!”

  2. says

    I have owned one of these for a similar time. I love it. A couple of years ago whilst riding home from work I happened to find another one in a hard rubbish collection. I still cant believe that anyone would throw one away

    • Robert says

      Geoff, good that you rescued the Silca pump from the rubbish, wow crazy what somse people might think is rubbish.

  3. Padabici says

    Zefal black frame pumps had hard nylon frame fit ends, belted a few mongrel car drivers, leaves nice dent in numb skulls …… ohhh .. pumps are for pumping. Silca BEST EVER.

  4. Brian Cotgrove says

    I’ve still got the brass end from my old pump in the toolbox somewhere, those photographs are again a blast from the past, my old pump was run over accidentally at Hawthorne Park (Not By Me) way back when we raced there.

    The Old Advice From My Father, which I didn’t observe was “Never Lend/Loan Anything To Another Person” or I may have still had that old pump in the garage/shed…………?

    I used to make a new washer for the pump tube/piston with 5mm embossing leather cut with a wad punch and with a big of fiddling the rubber vale clasps could be made with rubber strips welded together into a block with rubber cement and cut with a leather punch to get the center hole & a wad punch to cut the outside diameter.

    I used to have the Brass End with the fork that fitted around the bike frame tube at the bottom bracket that Silca Made for a frame pump, they were class pumps and really put good air into tubs, the end was a good weapon against those who would use a car to prove a point, it could with a deft swing crack a windscreen or side window quite easily.

    Me Sir, I never did that….oh noooo….?

  5. Ricardo Fiorelli says

    Arrrggh!! Wana sell just KIDDing ** Valve stem works better on smoothie’s not ribbed jobbies. Stem issues aside, best pumps ever. Campag Silca Itie classics. Shame gone 2 US. More septic crappola

  6. 11tth says

    Basic parts available everywhere …. once needed a new gauge, couldn’t source one locally, contacted the factory and it was all too easy. Parts cost bugger all. Lever chucks can cause presta valves to snap, Silca chucks are a cinch and always work, no snapped valves. That pump’s a pearler by the way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>