BLACKBURN PUMPS/CO2 INFLATORS
The bigot in us loved that our old floor pump came with a Presta-only head. With a brass chuck and simple rubber internals, it was easy to use. Our buddies with cheap bikes that had schrader valves wouldn't get anything if they walked away with it. It's this prejudice that rears up when we look at the Blackburn AirTower HP Pump.
It has a beautiful, aluminum Presta-specific chuck. Unlike our old Silca, this one is self-energizing and has a release button and bleed valve. It means you neither have to push it on hard, nor is it tough to pull from the valve stem when you're done. And with the bleed valve, you can make fractional adjustments without removing the chuck to dial your pressures to perfection. Easy peasy, as a friend used to say.
A beautiful chuck is nice, and if you've seen the old Campagnolo steel head for Silca Impero frame pumps, you know what they can look like. But as with the old Silca, the head isn't everything. It's a good thing the Blackburn has everything else -- a stable aluminum base, a high volume aluminum barrel, an easy to read oversized gauge, and another nicety, a long hose. The wide handle has storage drawers inside for small items like inflation needles or a disc wheel adapter.
To give you a sense of how the pump works on a tire, a 700x23 Continental tubular went from flat to 120psi in 14 strokes.
The Blackburn AirTower HP stows away nicely when the hose is wrapped around the top of the handle and is cinched down. The max pressure is 220psi, and it has a lifetime warranty. The claimed weight is 1555g.