Silca Tattico Bluetooth Mini-Pump: Second Opinion

On my rides, I often ponder the value of technology in cycling. Innovation is an oft-used word in marketing copy, but I’ve always believed that innovation is useless if it doesn’t somehow enhance the experience.

Silca Tattico Bluetooth

At 9.5-inches in length, the Tattico Bluetooth is a little larger than some mini pumps, making it a little large for stowing in a jersey pocket.

Earlier this year, Guitar Ted reviewed the $120 Silca Tattico Bluetooth mini-pump. You can read his review here, so I won’t rehash all the tech details, but in short, Silca integrated a digital pressure sensor into their already impressive (and $65 less expensive) Tattico mini-pump. Once the required iGauge app is downloaded – available for iOS and Android devices – the Tattico Bluetooth can send pressure readings to the app, which displays them in real time.

I have to admit, after reading Guitar Ted’s review, I was a bit skeptical about the need for a Bluetooth-enabled pump for on-the-road inflation. In fact, I’ve always taken a bit of pride in the fine calibration of my hands, which always seemed accurate enough for roadside pressure checks.

Quite frankly, I didn’t think the app-based gauge was needed, but was interested in finding out firsthand. So you can probably imagine my surprise when Guitar Ted asked if I’d be interested in conducting my own review of the Tattico Bluetooth. It was an opportunity I couldn’t resist, and here’s what I learned.

Check 1, 2…

From the moment I removed the Tattico Bluetooth from its packaging, I was impressed. The machined aluminum pump body features a durable anodized finish. It’s clearly not a pump for weight weenies, as it gives up 40-50 grams of weight to other competitors.

Silca Tattico pump head

The elegant locking pump head easily reverses to handle Presta or Schrader valve types. It’s secure and doesn’t leak in-use.

On the other hand, from a performance standpoint, few if any of those other mini-pumps have the smooth, consistent performance of the Tattico Bluetooth in-use. It pumps a good quantity of air with each stroke, is easy to pump and doesn’t lose efficiency due to excess heat buildup.

The pull-out hose and locking, reversible head are easy to use and more importantly, don’t leak air while pumping. This is important, as any leaks could affect the accuracy of the iGauge app. The knurled grips provided a secure grip and it’s clear the pump is designed to go the distance.

The app itself worked as advertised, even if it is a little thin on detailed “how to use” instructions. Connecting the pump to my phone via Bluetooth was seamless and relatively quick as well. Typically, I’d open the app and lay the phone on the ground next to the tire, and within 3-4 strokes, the pump was connected to the phone and the app would display the tire pressure. It worked consistently and reliably every time.

From a size standpoint, the Tattico Bluetooth is larger than most folks will want to carry in a jersey pocket. That said, the included frame mount is as good as any I’ve used and the pump also easily fits into any of my frame bags.

Tackling the elephant in the room…

iGauge app

The iGauge app displays pressure in real time and can be set to sound an alarm when your desired pressure is reached.

While the performance of Silca’s Tattico Bluetooth mini-pump is fantastic, the question everyone asks first is about the necessity of the app-based gauge and Bluetooth connectivity. I guess the right answer depends on who you are, and what your priorities are.

For me, the value of having an accurate gauge with me whenever I ride is easy to justify. Yes, I could effectively do the same thing with a $55 non-Bluetooth Tattico and a separate gauge, but the Bluetooth solution is much more elegant. And since most folks always carry their phone with them on rides, the gauge is always ready to roll when you need it.

I now look at the “need” for a Bluetooth-enabled pump in much the same way as I view the need for high-end wheels or drivetrain parts. Yes, it’s possible to spend less and basically do the same thing, but if I can afford to do it, I understand the value in going with a better, more integrated overall solution, even if it costs more. So much for my well-calibrated hands!

Your mileage may vary on that, but either way, Silca has you covered. If you’re like me, and want the best overall solution (and price alone isn’t a decision maker), do what I did and go with the $120 Tattico Bluetooth.

If budget is more of a consideration, or you simply don’t want all that tech on your bike, Silca’s $55 non-Bluetooth Tattico mini-pump offers the same exact performance, minus the Bluetooth transmitter. It’s a steal considering the pump’s performance and long-term durability.

About the only area I think Silca could improve on the Tattico Bluetooth is the fit of the cap that covers the hose when not in use. On a couple of occasions, I’d finish a ride and realize the cap had popped open at some point during the ride. Since the cap is tethered, it’s not an issue of potential loss, but when it pops open the hose and locking head are more exposed to the elements. That’s not ideal, but for me it’s not a deal breaker either.

Final thoughts

Silca Tattico frame mount

Silca includes an elegant, secure frame mount with the Tattico Bluetooth. It works well and integrates cleanly on a wide range of modern gravel bikes.

In nearly 30 years riding and racing bicycles, I’ve yet to use a better-performing mini-pump. It’s so good in fact, that I now typically leave my floor pump at home when I go to events. I simply use my Tattico Bluetooth for any pre-race pressure checks and adjustments, and in that role, it works perfectly.

The Tattico Bluetooth works great out on the road too. The app-based gauge works reliably, making it practical to actually know your exact tire pressure when fixing flats. No more pinching the sidewalls and guessing what pressure it is. That’s a definite improvement, if you ask me.

Ultimately, I’m sold on the value of Silca’s Tattico Bluetooth pump. Considering it’ll likely be the last minipump I’ll need to buy, $120 seems like a great deal. Apparently technology is a good thing, at least in this case.

Check the Tattico Bluetooth and all of Silca’s other top-quality products out at Silca.cc.

Note: Silca sent the Tattico Bluetooth Mini-Pump to RidingGravel.com at no charge. We were not paid nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

 

 

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2 Responses to Silca Tattico Bluetooth Mini-Pump: Second Opinion

  1. DT June 27, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

    I’m about the biggest Silca fanboy you’ll find – I probably own 30+ of their products, including two Tattico’s (non-bluetooth), two Pocket Impero’s, and two full Impero’s. It’s not the price or functionality that turns me off for the Bluetooth model, it’s the fact that 1) I don’t want to get my phone out when my hands are filthy and busy changing a flat and 2) I don’t want another electronic factor brought into my bicycle repertoire. I already deal with Garmin, Stages, and Apple every time I ride, adding another player doesn’t sound too appetizing. It is a cool idea though, and someone has to push along the tech in order to drive innovation.

    PS – awesome King Kargo cage!

  2. MG June 28, 2018 at 10:46 am #

    Thanks @DT. I appreciate your perspective. It sounds like we have some similar loves when it comes to great cycling products. My feeling before I tried the Tattico Bluetooth was much like yours, however shortly after I started testing the pump, I had an experience that changed my mind on the value of the iGauge app.

    Around the first of May, I installed a new WTB Nano 2.1 on the back of the Bike With No Name, intending to wear it in for the (then) upcoming Dirty Kanza XL. The initial install and first ride were all unremarkable, so I prepped the bike for a Sunday gravel hundred miler with several other riders. For whatever reason, the tire started leaking out of the sidewall, just above the bead tape. It’s location and centrifugal force conspired to make it a leak that I had to remove the wheel and do the ‘sideways tap’ method to seal. Twice I pumped it up with the Tattico, but didn’t pull my phone out to use the iGauge app. Long story short, it kept going flat, and on the third time, when I pulled the iGauge app out, I realized I was only putting about 20-22psi in the tires using my ‘feel test’.

    Once I aired the tire up to 30psi and ensured it was sealed, we were good to go for the duration of the ride (and later the 350-mile DKXL).

    Also, it’s really up to you whether you pull your phone out and use the pump’s bluetooth capabilities, so if it’s wet or inclement, or you have a dope new device you don’t wanna mess up, you can just go back to the feel test at will. It’s not intrusive technology. It’s there whether you choose to use it or not. Personally, I’ve found it very useful… not just on the road, but before events, where I can reliably make pressure adjustments without having to carry my Super Pista Ultimate (Hiro edition) in the car. For rides and events, it’s the only pump I need. I like that.

    Thanks again for the perspective. Have great rides!!

    Cheers!

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by Riding Gravel 2014