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Hands-on Gear Review
Topeak Road Master Blaster Review
Cons: Confusing sizing, plastic parts
Bottom line: An affordable frame pump with good pumping performance.
The Topeak Road MasterBlaster is a high quality frame pump with good pumping performance. It does not look as nice as the Silca Impero Ultimate, but it is very functional and durable. A spring loaded handle holds the pump in place. Pumping performance is not as good as the Impero, but it will get the job done faster than most mini pumps.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Bicycle Frame and Mini Pump Review
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The MasterBlaster frame pump is similar in design to the other frame pumps we tested. It has an integrated pump head that relies on a locking lever for a secure connection. It is Schrader and Presta compatible, unlike the Silca Impero. The MasterBlaster is a good frame pump at a reasonable price.
Editors Note: The sizing of the MasterBlaster is a bit confusing. Other frame pump manufacturers specify a size range of actual distance between the seat tube and top tube/down tube junction. The sizes listed on the Topeak website indicate a frame size range, not actual required length. Actual useable length is listed on the packaging, but not on the website. For example, our size small pump shows a frame size fit of 43-49cm, while the functional length range is 37cm to 42.5cm. A medium size pump would have been a better choice for our size 54 bicycle frame.
To compare the three frame pumps that were tested, review our handy dandy comparison chart.
Ease of Use
The MasterBlaster is a very easy pump to use. The spring-loaded handle is compressed to fit it between frame attachment points. The outward pressure of the handle holds the pump in place. Placement is a bit more difficult than the Impero, because the handle end is hard plastic and requires a bit more care to achiever a proper position and avoid scratching the frame. Valve attachment is also more difficult than the Impero because the user needs to flip the locking lever in order to create a seal on the valve. The Lezyne Road Drive and Lezyne Pressure Drive each offer up optimal ease of use, scoring a near perfect 9 out of 10 in this metric.
This contender will quickly inflate a road tire up to pressure. We hit 65 psi in our road tire test at 200 pump strokes. While it did not perform as well as the Zefal HPX, or the Impero, it was still better than most mini pumps. In the mountain bike tire test, we hit 24psi at 300 pump strokes, compared to the 34 psi of the Impero. We did find the MasterBlaster to be more difficult to pump at high pressure than both the Impero and the Zefal HPX, with both Editors' Choice winners, the Lezyne Gauge Drive and Lezyne Road Drive scoring a 10 and 9, respectively.
We prefer the looks of the Impero to the MasterBlaster. The grey color clashes with more colors and is more obvious on the bike. We like the spring lockout on the handle, a feature also found on the Zefal HPX, but not found on the Impero. The lockout prevents the user from working against the spring at the end of the pump stroke. We also like the Schrader and Presta compatibility of the pump head, but we prefer the slip-on pump head of the Impero to the locking lever design of the MasterBlaster.
This pump is very portable and has a solid secure mounting system. Topeak does recommend the use of the included top tube strap, but we found it to be unnecessary. It has a nice soft rubber contoured head that molds to most frame and tubing shapes, but the handle is hard plastic. We prefer the silicone bumper on the Impero that does a better job of securing the pump to a variety of fame tubing shapes. The MasterBlaster is lighter in weight than both the Impero and the Zefal HPX, but the size of the pump we tested is smaller due to the sizing discrepancy described above. For overall portability, the Topeak RaceRocket scores a perfect 10 out of 10, blowing the other contenders away.
The MasterBlaster did not show any signs of deterioration during our testing period. It does, however, have a lot of plastic components that we do not expect to last as long as the all-aluminum construction of the Impero. The internals are also less robust than what is found in the Impero. The MasterBlaster does have a dust cap to prevent contamination of the pump, but we found it to be fairly useless as it will not stay inserted in the pump head.
The MasterBlaster is best suited to road cycling or cyclocross use due to size and need for a traditional uninterrupted frame design.
This is a good buy for $27.95. It is cheaper than both the Impero and Zefal HPX pumps and provides good pumping performance. Alternatively, $12 more will get you the Topeak RaceRocket, which scores well across the board, coming in at our second highest contender.
A solid frame pump with good pumping performance, it is the most affordable option available. Beware of the sizing chart format when purchasing.
Other Versions and Accessories
Topeak offers the MasterBlaster in MED, LG and XL sizes in addition to the size Small pump we tested.
— Curtis Smith
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