With its sturdy-looking steel barrel and large, easy-to-read pressure gauge, the Blackburn Piston 2 track pump immediately ticks a few boxes. We put it to the test to see if it lives up to expectations
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with a new Blackburn track pump, the reason being that back in 2012 I had the pleasure of testing a Blackburn Air Tower 1 and other than a rather irrating hose location issue (on the opposite side to the gauge meaning it had to twist round the barrel therefore shortening it) it was great. It inflated even the shortest of valves with only the slightest of leaky hisses.
Somehow it’s suddenly six years later and although the £24.99 floor pump is still going strong, it’s time to fondle a slightly more modern version. As the Air Tower range has long since been superseded, it’s the Blackburn Piston 2 track pump’s turn to get a shakedown, and immediately it looks to be equal to, if not better than its predecessor.
Measuring just shy of 70cm, the steel barrel of the Blackburn Piston 2 track pump is one of the taller options on the market. The steel foot plate, measuring nearly 16cm wide, adds to its sturdiness but with the plastic handle and shaft the overall weight is a relatively lightweight 1,370g
As well as creating a stable base, the large footplate also allows for the addition of a 7.5cm pressure gauge. Again this is probably one of the larger gauges on the market by around a third in some cases, which should make PSI/bar reading much easier, but unfortunately the choice of black numbers on a blue background wasn’t the wisest and it’s not the clearest to read.
At nearly a metre the Blackburn Piston 2 track pump hose is a decent length and should allow you to avoid being awkwardly on top of your bike when inflating tyres and, thanks to Blackburn’s AnyValve™ pump head, you should be good to inflate either Presta, Schrader or Dunlop.
All the niceties of construction and looks out the way, the only truly important aspect of a pump is how it does its job; namely does it connect easily and stay connected, does it leak air anywhere and, finally, how easily does it inflate a road tube from more or less flat in a tyre?
To give the test a bit of context, I’m using a standard Presta valve tube in a 25mm Continental Grand Sport Race Tyre on a Vision Trimax Carbon 40 wheel.
Locking the Blackburn Piston 2 track pump onto the valve was really simple: you just push and flip the lever up and releasing the pump head was just as easy with hardly any loss of air. If you are using Schrader valves, you simply unscrew the pump head, pull out the rubber bung, turn it round and then reinsert and replace the pump head.
That wide base gave the Piston 2 a really stable feeling when pumping and the handle was surprisingly comfortable. Despite the dial’s colour scheme, the pressure gauge was big enough to read if you had good light, but with no adjustable PSI/bar target pointer around the edge to aim for, there was a little bit of guesswork involved in hitting the 100PSI mark.
It took a short 30 strokes to get the tube up to pressure, which is really reasonable, but did require a fair amount of weight behind the last 10 strokes in order to get the air in.
The Blackburn Piston 2 track pump is an ideal purchase for the £40 swing ticket. It’s not fancy, doesn’t come with iconic branding and you might struggle to get much more than 100PSI in, which to be honest is perfectly adequate for most riders, but it works well, is easy and swift to use and going on past Blackburn experience, will last you a very long time indeed.
The Blackburn Piston 2 track pump is a great value pump that, going on past experience will serve you well for many years.