At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Blackburn Piston 1 sits at the bottom of its track pump range and for 30 quid you get a decent enough pump that'll do road and mountain bike tyres easily. The maximum pressure rating means it's not so useful for tubeless setups, and it's a little bit flimsy, and fiddly to switch between valve types. All in all it's okay, but outshone by other options for the same kind of money.
What you get is a steel barrel, a nice long hose (37in), a plastic base with an integrated gauge and a standard head, where you have to swap the bits about to switch between Presta and Schrader. I don't do much swapping, but having to take the head apart and recombine it is obviously more of a faff than a smart or dual head. The whole thing is pretty well made, although it certainly feels a bit more wobbly than some other track pumps I've tried.
The Piston 1 is rated up to 140psi, and it'll do that at a push. The time when you most notice that the overall rigidity of the pump isn't that high is when you're trying to push high pressures. That wasn't really an issue for me before I started running tubeless, but now I'll routinely pump up an Airshot tubeless tank to 140psi or above to seat tyres, and the Piston 1 feels a bit underbuilt for that job.
For road tyres up to 100psi and anything less, it's much less noticeable. A 700x25mm tyre takes 30 strokes to get to 100psi, and it's no bother. The gauge is easy to read, and seems accurate by comparison to my digital one.
In the same kind of price bracket, the Zefal Profil Max FP60 at £36.99 and the SKS Airkompressor 12 at £32.99 have both reviewed well on road.cc; this Piston 1 isn't quite up to the standard of those two.
Many moons ago (2009, in fact) I reviewed the Topeak JoeBlow Sport; it hasn't changed a great deal since then and at about £30 (if you shop around) that's still probably my recommendation for a track pump on a budget.
Decent enough track pump for everyday tyre filling, but a bit flimsy and struggles with tubeless tanks
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Blackburn Piston 1 Floor Pump
Size tested: 140 PSI/9.7 BAR MAX * LARGE 2
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?
SOLID CONSTRUCTION AND WORKS ON ANY VALVE
All of our floor pumps work on any type of valve out there, so you don't have to worry about compatibility. The Piston 1 has a steel barrel and rugged construction to boot.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sports needles included.
Convenient integrated hose keeper on handle.
Reinforced plastic base, with molded 'topo map' pattern.
37" hose to reach valves in stands or car racks.
PSI and Bar increments on gauge, with vibrant color matched background.
140 PSI, 9.7 Bar maximum
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It was decent enough, but I've used better budget track pumps.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to use, fairly sturdy.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Fairly low maximum pressure, fiddly swappable head, felt a bit flimsy at times.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was okay.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Use this box to explain your score
'Decent' sums it up really: it's fine for the job if your budget is tight, but there are better options, and spending a bit more gets you a lot more.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.