Review: Silca Viaggio gives floor pumps the Bluetooth treatment
Founded in Italy in 1917, Silca was the first company to put an air gauge on a bicycle tire pump. Now based out of Indianapolis, the manufacturer has sort of come full circle with its just-announced Viaggio Bluetooth-equipped floor pump – it's taken the gauge back off, and put it on the user's smartphone. We recently had a chance to try the thing out.
First and foremost, the Viaggio is designed for cyclists who do a lot of travelling with their bike and its required equipment. The idea is that by moving the gauge off of the pump and onto Silca's free iOS/Android iGauge app, the pump is able to be considerably sleeker and lighter when folded down, yet still capable of measuring air pressure with an accuracy of plus or minus 1 percent. It weighs 2.25 lb (1,020 g).
In fact, this isn't Silca's first foray into the world of Bluetooth pumps. The company released its Tattico mini hand pump in 2017, which also uses iGauge to display air pressure readings in real time. It met with commercial success, which is why Silca has proceeded to apply the same idea to a more efficient floor pump.
The Viaggio is rebuildable, featuring a custom-extruded 6061 aluminum alloy barrel, a full-metal shock piston, an Italian leather gasket and a brass check valve. Its 99-cm (39-in) air hose has a Schrader fitting on the end, onto which is threaded one of Silca's patented Hiro Presta chucks. This proved easy to use, securely forming a leak-free lock with the valve stem, via a simple flick of a carbon steel lever.
The pumping action was smooth and easy, with iGauge continuously displaying the air pressure in increments of half a pound per square inch (it can also be set to the "bar" system). As with a traditional analog display, the readout does initially jump high with each stroke of the pump, but then immediately settles down to show the true pressure.
One thing we did notice was that although the Viaggio sits nice and tall when you're standing on its two fold-out feet, the thing does have trouble standing up on its own. If you're not holding onto it, it has a tendency to fall over, as its feet simply fold back up under its own teetering weight.
The integrated electronic pressure sensor and its Bluetooth unit (located at the base of the pump) are powered by a standard 2032 lithium coin cell battery, which should be good for about 100 hours of use – the app indicates if it's getting low. Of course, the pump itself will still work if that battery dies, but users will have to utilize a separate gauge to periodically check the pressure.
Once it's time to travel, the feet are folded up, and the Viaggio's solid aluminum handle is slid off of the piston and onto a rail on the side of the barrel, where it's used to hold the hose in place. The whole thing can then be rolled up in an included waxed canvas case which includes a removable shoulder strap, along with sleeves for other tools.
Overall – apart from it being a bit tippy – we found the Silca Viaggio to be a solidly-built and decently-performing floor pump, with the iGauge readout being simple to use and easy to read. It's available now, priced at US$275.
Product page: Silca Viaggio