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Topeak Road Master Blaster Frame Fit Pump
264g large as tested £26.99

The Topeak Road Master Blaster Frame Fit Pump is the classic frame fit inflator with clout-I'd take the 160psi claim with a pinch of salt, unless you’ve got hydraulic arms but 120 is realistic, reasonably rapid, and should satisfy most needs.

Pros: Efficient, well made and good looking, Presta & Schrader valve end. 

Cons: 160psi a bit of a tall claim for mere mortals.

test review pump bicycle

Materials/Construction 4/5

As I said in my introduction, the barrel is anodised aluminium, the head and handle are high quality composites. The head has a paint-friendly rubbery composite with pump peg indent. The handle is “fish mouthed” for a uniformly flush fit and seems kind to paintwork, but I’m inclined to pop a precautionary piece of helicopter tape here, or on the host bike(s).

pump review test bicycle

Staying on this path, the head features a reversible Presta Schrader valve, a locking catch and a precise-fitting plug to keep, wet, gritty ruinous stuff out. Admittedly, this is most important if it’s mounted along the seat, rather than top tube. Wins brownie points with me, having experienced the despair of a drowned and ruined pump when I’ve most needed it. Staying with the valve head, while not the most convenient, say if the bike’s running Presta and your trailer, or protégé's tagalong’s a Schrader (car type), the reversable head is the most reliable choice. 

test review bicycle cycle pump topeak

Reverse heads come a close second but since there’s no locking catch, run greater risk of shearing a willowy Presta stem. “Smart Heads” have the edge in convenience terms but tend to employ a sprung mechanism, which can fail unexpectedly, rendering the pump useless.

 

There are several lengths S: 43-49 cm / 16.9”-19.3”M: 49-54 cm / 19.3”-21.3” L: 54-59 cm / 21.3”-23.2” XL: 59-64 cm / 23.2”-25.2”. If our large is anything to go by, Topeak’s online guide is a good ‘un. Size does influence volume per stroke, mind. Small is reckoned to deliver 50cc per stroke, medium 61, large 73cc and XL 85cc. The contoured head and handle designed for good purchase both in the hand and parking between frame tubes.

Continuing this narrative, look at the handle and you’ll notice there’s a locking function and high-pressure setting. The ability to lock the handle ensures rock steady, rattle-free tenure against the frame, so no annoying chatter over inclement surfaces.

test review pump bicycle cycle

Coupled with a strong spring, I’ve not needed the Velcro strap but it’s a welcome addition and extends horizons to more adventurous touring, dare I say gravel, too. I’d happily pair a small to Ursula, were it not for the fact I sometimes need to hop off and run, carrying the bike cyclo-cross style.

Test Bike & Tyres

Bit of backstory... The Road Master Blaster’s arrival couldn’t’ve been timelier. I’d succumbed to a flat eight miles from home. No biggie- just whip out one of the spare tubes, tyre levers, pump and get busy... Ah, but then I discovered my fixed gear winter trainer’s mainstay inflator had been flooded with water and despite my best efforts, couldn’t get the piston to move back and forth consistency. In fact, it literally imploded and was consigned to a nearby bin. I also carry a mini pump for such emergencies but that too had died, and I didn’t have any CO2 cartridges!! Bottom line, long run home.  Oh, since we’re here, I’ve pitted ours against 700x25c, 700x28, 700x32, 700x35, 26x1.95 and 20x1.75. 

bike bicycle trailer tyre pump test review

Performance 4/5

Our large has been reassuringly good across the board (checked with my trusty, long serving SKS gauge). These Maxxis Refuse TR 700x32 and CST Pika  from flaccid to 75 psi (maximum) in 165 strokes and approximately 3minutes. The CST Cito (700x25c) from zero to 120psi in 120 strokes and 2 minutes, although by 110 I was working against some palpable resistance. Much the same with the 28mm CST Czar .

With both tyres, they literally breezed up to 85psi and both run handsomely for me and my 70kilo mass at 100psi. The 35mm CST Xpedium  went from zero to 75psi in 168 strokes, my trailer’s 16x1.75 Schwalbe Road Cruiser from flat to 50psi in 100 and Ursula’s Maxxis Overdrive Excel  to 65psi in 200 and 2 minutes.

Even allowing for the valve lock, more haste less speed wins the day. I managed to bend a Presta valve end (not irreparably) when ramming the Refuse to 75psi. Caution is similarly advisable with longer (60mm) valve stems. Sure, I might be reaching for the CO2 on a bitter winter ride, but the Road Master Blaster is a very dignified and reliable means of getting back on track, not just limping home.

The sort of output favouring touring and other endurance events, too.

 

Even with sustained effort and a precession of tyres, the aluminium alloy barrel dissipates heat very efficiently - hasn't become noticeably warm. The handle has also sat very nicely in my bare palm. No blistering, or similar nasties, which is welcome if you’re not wearing mitts.  

Durability/Care 3.75/5

I wouldn’t expect a pump of any calibre to show signs of fatigue after six weeks or so, even with regular use. That said; solid build quality means I’ve never felt any flex, or sign of strain at the piston-even at 125psi.

test review bicycle tyre tire pump

I’m inclined to give pistons and rubberised components-valve heads and end plugs a quick, periodic shot of silicone product, such as Muc-Off Silicone Spray . This keeps them lubricated, supple and happy-especially if the pump’s mounted along the seat tube where its closer to grot. Rebuild kits are available for £3.99 should they wear out. I’ve given the barrel a quick waxing while I’m treating the bike, but this probably says more about me.

Value 3.75/5

£26.99 is competitive. Arguably Zefal HPX Frame Fit Pump  appears to have a slight edge in terms of pressure and efficiency-it's certainly impressive and may also win by a nose if you’re looking for a pure, period specific aesthetic. A quick note of caution though, Steve’s was the biggest size, which might explain this (more volume per stroke). 

It’s also better suited to old school round tubing and may not be compatible with some framesets. At the other extreme, Silca Impero Ultimate comes in at a whopping £169.00 You could have some decent tyres, tubes a mid-range workshop pump, several chains, bar tape and a Topeak Road Master Blaster for that. 

Summary

Good-quality frame fit pumps are still a godsend when it comes to rapid recovery - especially on a cold, wet and dark lane miles from home. Topeak’s Road Master Blaster certainly lives up to its moniker and is nicely executed. I’ve not managed to exceed125psi with our large, but it may be that its XL counterpart’s increased stroke will hit that note. That aside, it works surprisingly well with bigger volume rubber and 120psi should be enough for most road tyres, riders, bikes and contexts.

Verdict: 3.75/5 Minor niggles aside a nicely executed take on the traditional road/touring pump. 

 

Michael Stenning

 

Extra UK

 

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2024

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