Review: Topeak’s go-to Joe Blow Pro floor pump

When loading up for a recent two week road trip, I eyed the small army of pumps in the workshop- and reached for Topeak’s full-sized Joe Blow Pro.  Even among high-volume, tubeless seating pumps, gleaming silver objects d’art, and admirably compact travel models, the unassuming Topeak was an easy choice.  That’s what eighteen months of hassle-free service earns.  Come into the back to find out why…

Nominally a $100 pump (street prices seem to be closer to $75) and falling into Topeak’s “High Performance” category, one would expect the Joe Blow Pro to be a full-featured pump.  And it is.  The aluminum barrel is taller than many entry-level pumps and the feet bigger, making it easier for adults to use.  The 160psi/11 bar gauge is located at the top of the barrel, making it easy to read, and benefits from a bleed valve that makes getting tubeless tires to the right pressure after seating and easy process. It is protected against the inevitable fall by a rubber trim band, which must work (seeing as the gauge still does).  The padded handle is nice and wide for grownup hands and doesn’t flex like lesser pumps’ can.

Topeak’s dual mode SmartHead is easy to use: just press it on to either Presta or Schrader valves, flip the lever, and pump.  It never seems to leak (even at funny angles) and releases easily.  Most importantly, it has yet to be fouled by the tire sealant that desert living demands on all bikes. Ball and air mattress adapters are included (and have a nice little home on the hose)- but were quickly lost.  The generously long hose’s high attachment at the gauge makes it easy to reach bikes in the workstand as well.

Ooh! Carbon Fiber!

The polished mid-sized barrel strikes a good balance between high pressure road needs and mountain tires’ high volumes.  The Joe Blow Pro stands less of a chance at seating tubeless tires than mountain-specific pumps, but I have seated plenty of friendly combinations without reaching for the air compressor.

At the end of the day, the Joe Blow Pro is the easiest to use and most reliable pump that I’ve owned.  It’s not inexpensive and may not have the sex appeal of some of its competitors, but when you change tires and check pressures as much as we do, that’s not what counts.  What counts is that the Topeak it works, reliably and without complaint- and that’s the reason that I almost always reach for it first.  And why it gets to go on road trips.

marc

www.topeak.com

Comments

will - 08/21/12 - 9:34am

I’ve had a Joe Blow Pro for close to 7 years now, and it’s still going strong. Doesn’t work great for schraeder valves, but I rarely need that anyway. Best pump I’ve ever owned by a long shot.

jaas - 08/21/12 - 9:55am

i just bought this pump to replace a perfectly fine specialized pump that was stolen out of my car. No complaints on the new pump. As for the person who took the stuff out of my car….I will find you and I will destroy you.

Gian - 08/21/12 - 10:31am

Have to agree with everyone here as I’ve had mine for at least 5 years with absolutely no problems. I still have the attachments! Also in agreement with no problems with sealant comment and that the longer hose works well for bikes in stands. Really glad it has that rubber ring because it likes to tip over but I’ll take that compromise in order to have an easier to read gauge. The bleed valve is awesome by the way. Makes it very easy to hit the same pressure time after time.

I also enjoy the rotating bezel with the indicator arrow. Set it at desired pressure and you can easily see when you get there.

Willis24 - 08/21/12 - 10:34am

Ordered on your recommendation. Bike Rumor has not let me down yet!

christian - 08/21/12 - 10:48am

I’ve had poor experiences with these pumps over the last 7 years, using (4) and selling (100?) them to customers. Two big repeated problems. The yellow pin that holds the locking head falls out constantly leaving the pump inoperable and if you pump more than three bikes in a row, you get air lock because of the heat and the pump handle springs back up and hits you in the face, making the pump permanently disabled.

Robo - 08/21/12 - 11:05am

In 5 years I replaced the head on my JoeBlow twice before giving in and buying a Specialized pump at the 3rd failure. I expect heavily used and abused parts like pump heads to fail from time to time but what won the Specialized over for me was the much larger base that never rocks while pumping.

Dave - 08/21/12 - 11:08am

I have found Topeak’s SmartHead technology really does make it effortless to switch between schrader and presta stems,. Also, Joe Blow’s with gauge up high are nice for nearsighted folks like me. While I have found the durability of the SmartHead not quite that of simpler classic designs, is is acceptable given the convenience it provides. When I finally got around to replacing SmartHead head & hose assembly due to general wear, I found the replacement hose was a longer even further improving the pumps usability..

Taylor - 08/21/12 - 1:54pm

Christian- I’ve had the exact same experience with the Joe Blow Pro. That damn yellow pin won’t stay put. I upgraded to the Joe Blow Ace and it doesn’t have that pin. However the gauge has gone out on me once and the pump head doesn’t work like it used to with schrader valves. Topeaks customer service is always good though.

dave - 08/21/12 - 4:00pm

Me three regarding the pin falling out and the tippy base.

OK pump overall tho.

Aaron - 08/21/12 - 8:17pm

As cool as this review is and at the risk of sounding like I’m advertising, I don’t use any pump product except Lezyne. I’ve seen far too many other pumps break and broken way too many of my own to use anything else. My Lezyne pumps have held up for years and look way better in my opinion.

Rusty dog - 08/21/12 - 11:52pm

+1 for lezyne. Pumps these days are using way too much plastic. Way too much thought into making it look like a dashboard of a car. lezyne floor pumps are an exception.
They have crappy customer service but they may a fine floor pump.

Bill C - 08/22/12 - 7:41am

@Aaron & @Rusty,

Lezyne are all well and good- but how many times can you unscrew a tubeless valve stem (or accidentally remove a valve core) and still stick with their design? No thanks…

RUSTYDOGG - 08/22/12 - 12:10pm

@bill. Yup I know exactly what you mean. I have unscrewed a few cores, but now I am sure to tighten them before it happens. I agree Lezynes chuck leaves a bit to be desired. But, its not going to break or leak. I have no incentive to endorse lezyne, I’ve just been through many pumps and this one seems to be the best I’ve used durability wise.

binny bin - 08/22/12 - 2:46pm

i agree with Bill C….the lezyne pumps are great but they unscrew a valve core way too often creating a big headache and flat tire. beautiful pump, tho…..just not for everyone with this design…elegant but not fast like the others.

TMH - 08/24/12 - 9:19am

Funny story. Yesterday when this review was first published. I started to write the first comment. I was going to say how much I liked this pump too and how solid I thought it was.
I’ve experienced a few of the same issues others have but they were never deal breakers for me. The positives outweigh the negatives.
For some reason I decided not to submit the comment.
Later on in the day, I went to use the pump and it’s officially dead.
I pushed the bleed valve and it just got stuck. I took the pump apart and noticed all of the original lube inside had bound up and was now a crusty mess. I’ve never used it on a bike with sealant so I can rule that out.
There’s a hex screw on the other side of the bleed valve which I assume holds that in place. I figured I could take it out and fix it but the hex screw would not budge and is on the verge of getting stripped.
Oh well.
After all of that, I really think I am going to buy another one because I really liked using it all this time.
The head itself seems to work better than every other pump I’ve had.
Come to think of it, If I find a better built pump, there’s nothing stopping me from swapping heads…

MissedThePoint - 08/26/12 - 9:28am

Lenzyne’s sure look pretty, but Topeak has a fancy CNC model too now. All my pumps are Topeak after some deliberate deciding. Was more of a coincidence than being a Topeak fan… only became a Topeak fan after having them for a while and just generally appreciating them more and more after using them.

Boomer - 10/27/12 - 6:46pm

I agree with the other comments with problems. I thought I now had a pump that would last for years. Not so. I’m ok with the pin slipping in the smart head. I have been able to manage keeping it centered. However, like a previous comment, a leak developed under the gauge. Apparently, it is in the gauge, but like the other comment, the set screw strips when trying to back it out. I have sent emails to Topeak and not had a reply. Bad experience for me. I had hoped for much better.

Topeak? Why? - 10/17/13 - 2:25pm

This pump is a total let down. My bike has presta valves, the Wife’s bike and both kids bikes have Schrader valves. I bought the pump, and it never worked on the schrader valves. Called service (Todson), and they sent me a new head. It was the wrong head for the pump but worked, for a while anyway. After pumping up three bikes with schrader valves, this head failed also.

Seems to work fine on the Presta valves. (although I’ve heard complaints about these failing also)

The other thing I don’t like about it is, when you place the head on the valve, to clamp it on a valve you open the lever, thus cramming your fingers against the spokes. They should make it so the head lever is open to fit to the valve, then clamp the lever shut.

This pump makes no sense and is poorly engineered in my opinion.

Dennis Scott - 03/31/14 - 6:03pm

I got one of these pumps about 9 months ago. Within a short time a started having trouble with the pin coming out regularly, but I dealt with that. Then the head malfunction and Todson did provide a replacement. Almost immediately after that replacement the bleeder valve started bleeding all the time. Several shops looked at it and had no idea how to fix. Thus after about 5 months this pump became dead for all intents and purposes unless someone knows how to fix the always bleeding bleeder valve. Most expensive pump I have had over +40 yrs and likely the worst.

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