Silca Viaggio Travel Pump: Quick Review – by Grannygear
When I was at Sea Otter I was shown the Silca Viaggio Travel floor pump. Designed for travel use and enclosed in a canvas bag that also could be used as a tool storage roll, the Viaggio is a thing of beauty. Machined out of aluminum for the most part and then polished, it looks and feels ‘significant’.
Also significant was the price at $275.00 USD. I took some pics for the Sea Otter article and that was that. Or so I thought. Then, quite out of the blue, a package from Silca showed up at the door. It was a rather long tube containing a Viaggio, bag and all. Well, hello there beautiful! Ciao!
Since then I have been taking it with me on road trips, using it in the garage, and seeing how it all worked across multiple types of bikes from road to Plus MTB. Here is what I have found, but first, a few words from the Silca website:
What is it?
A highly refined collapsible floor pump with a Bluetooth® enabled pressure gauge accurate to 1% along with SILCA’s award-winning HIRO chuck. The pump folds down into a waxed-canvas tool roll for easy transport.
Who’s it for?
The uncompromising cyclist seeking a highly portable and packable floor pump that desires the volume, efficiency and accuracy of a full-sized SILCA floor pump.
Where is the gauge?”
Those words were spoken by Mrs. Grannygear when I was unpacking it in the living room. Well, basically she was holding it in her hands as she happened to be doing some calendar work on her smart phone. Yes, there is no external gauge on the Viaggio as it uses an app driven by Bluetooth to inform you of the PSI/Bar levels in the tire.
I have to admit I was less than enthused about that part. Really? I need a phone to see what tire pressure the pump is accomplishing? That seemed to me like those pressure monitoring devices that sit on your valve stems or electronic shocks and shifters for ‘adventure’ bikes. In other words, a needless complication. More on this later.
Everything I have sampled from Silca has been very well made. Even the products that have not been a favorite of mine are lovely to look at and beautifully executed. The ones I have loved, like the Ti water bottle cages and the tire levers, merge form and function at a high level. The Viaggio is impressively made. The machined handle that slides into the barrel extrusion with a soft *click*, storing there while capturing the usefully long hose…the magnetic attachment of the HIRO chuck, maybe the best air chuck I have used on a floor pump…the rebuildable nature of the internal parts…yes, it is costly, but it seems built to last and last.
The app is an interesting deal. It makes sense in this case as it means the pump has no external gauge to increase weight and bulk as well as be damaged in travel. I can see that being very useful for the Tattico mini pump, something that Guitar Ted tested a bit ago. I have to say that using the app on my iPhone was simple and effective, allowing me to set my phone darn near across the room and still see what PSI I was getting to. As well, it is accurate far and above what any analog gauge would offer on a typical floor pump.
In use, once you begin to pump up a tire, the app says hello to your Viaggio and begins to increment the ‘gauge’. It takes a bit to settle down. You pump a few strokes and then, after stopping any pumping motion, the readout will give you a solid number in a few seconds. Simple. Note that the number will fall quickly if the chuck is leaking at all at the Presta valve. You can even set the app to pre-set values for individual bikes. Cool. I like.
However if this was a standard, non-travel, floor pump I would prefer to have a simple, large scale analog gauge, or even better, a digital type gauge on the pump itself (like the Silca Super Pista Digital Floor Pump has). That said, for this travel application, having no gauge works. If the battery, which is a ‘coin’ type, stored in the base of the pump, fails, it is a very common type to source and of course the pump would still work without the battery. Got thumbs? I can pump up a tire to satisfaction by ‘feel’ without a gauge of any kind even though I might not be at an optimum pressure. But the idea that a dead battery or buggy app/phone relationship makes the pump a semi-blind process takes some getting used to.
The Viaggio seems to be on the lower volume/high pressure end of things stroke-wise, so if you were doing fat boy tires all the time, that might take a while. I found it fine for 40c gravel tires and OK topping up 2.8 Plus MTB tires. It still beats a mini pump by a long shot and being able to use the flip out legs and base resting on the floor is better than a hand held solution.
I took it, wrapped in the roll bag, on a couple road trips where it stored less awkwardly than a fixed base floor pump with gauges. Easier to pack around for sure.
Now then. Is it a satisfying product? I think so, although I have to admit that I would need to travel a lot to make it worth the inconvenience of unwrapping the bag, inserting that handle into place, opening the app…where did I put my phone?…inflating then undoing the handle and storing it, etc. I keep an SKS floor pump, one of the inexpensive, indestructible metal ones, in the back of my Subaru Outback all the time. Yeah, the gauge is tiny and hard to read but it is close enough for my needs on the average ride where I am topping up a tire or fixing a flat.
Still, the Viaggio is compelling. Expensive, yes, but likely built to last and lovely to look at. If you are going to put Italian names on things, they should be bellisima, yes? It does what it claims to do and the HIRO chuck is very nice, making anything I normally use feel like a kid’s toy.
I read an interesting review of the Silca Viaggio Travel Pump written by the “Angry Asian” on another site. James is perhaps the best reviewer of cycling products I have ever read and he brought out some well formed thoughts on using the Viaggio as a travel pump if you fly with your bike. He found it heavy and a bit long. I would have never thought of that, as I seldom fly these days, and pretty much never with a bike. I think I would use something like the Lezyne Mini Floor Drive combined with an SKS digital pressure gauge for airplane travel.
But for packing in the car or van or RV, the bag is nice, can hold tools and would keep the Viaggio looking fresh. In a car, the bit of weight and size is not an issue.
It’s not often that I find myself flip-flopping back and forth between really liking something and finding it somewhat inconvenient. Still, I have to admit that the next time I load up the bikes and point the car towards a cycling road trip I will have the Viaggio tucked in the back, nestled into that nice roll bag. I already have a phone.
Note: Silca sent the Viaggio Travel Pump to RidingGravel.com at no charge and we are not being paid nor bribed for this review. We strive to always give our hoest thoughts and opinions throughout.