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The Portland Design Works (PDW) big silver pump is a beautifully executed example of the ton-up pressure midi size pump that has largely superseded the humble frame-fit.
Tipping the scales at 138g and measuring a practical 29cm long, it's capable of belting a credible 120psi into a 700x23 tyre in five minutes and 450 strokes, That's useful performance for most situations, road or trail, bar racing. Competitive types wanting an instant pick-me-up and/or running tubulars should stick with CO2 inflators or look at PDW's magic flute mini-pump with integral CO2 launcher.
The big silver is fashioned almost entirely from forged aluminium with a mirror polish barrel and contrasting aqua anodising that oozes a timeless vogue. It's not just a pretty face, though; spare parts are readily available. Excellent machining and build quality means replacement/servicing is a simple 'while watching the telly' affair so it was straightforward to give the component parts a precautionary lick of silicone grease.
You do have to manually switch between Presta and Schrader but this takes literally seconds - simply unscrew the head, swap the ends over and refit.
The rubberised dust cap does a sterling job of locking out dirt and water when big silver is riding shotgun on the frame. It's secure there in the beautifully sculpted bracket's vice-like grip and the Velcro tie has meant a marked lack of lemming tendencies over rougher surfaces.
I had feared the alloy bracket might be unkind to paintwork. This proved a moot point on powder and plain enamels but erring on the side of caution, using a clear protector patch as a buffer between bracket and flamboyant finishes paid dividends. In any case, modest dimensions mean it sneaks unobtrusively inside panniers and most rack bags should you prefer.
Whatever the valve type, or tyre genre, air delivery is extremely efficient, right to the point of maximum. Resistance increased the closer we climbed to optimum pressure, but stopped a long way short of lockout. That said; mountain bikers might be put off by the dust plug's loose fit in Schrader mode, which is a shame given the overall quality. We cruised a flaccid 1.9-inch fatty to 85psi in a matter of seven minutes and 600 strokes.
Beautifully engineered inflator delivering realistic pressures and one that should prove very reliable in the long-term.
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Make and model: PDW Big Silver pump
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The big silver™ road pump fills tires quickly and smoothly. It is constructed almost entirely of forged and machined aluminum parts which make it strong and light. The inner workings are all replaceable.
This adds up to a pump that works as great as it looks; a trusted tool that will accompany you for thousands of miles.
Beautifully crafted pump with performance to match.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Length: 29.5cm (11.5in)
Weight: 128g (4.5 oz)
Includes alloy bracket
Forged/machined aluminium construction
Presta and Schrader compatible by swapping around valve internals
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The big silver pump looks great and is comfortably capable of consistent, high pressure. A genuine 120psi should be sufficient for most road duties and more than enough for mountain bike use. PDW's magic flute might be a better buy for racers and those wanting a little compressed air assistance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Build quality/engineering, efficient faithful performance.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)