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Topeak JoeBlow Sport 2 Review

Built to last without being too heavy, this affordable model performs above its list price.
Topeak JoeBlow Sport 2
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $50 List | $39.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great value, metal base, includes accessory inflators, chrono dial, good gauge, accurate
Cons:  Color, difficult single-handed engagement, odd base shape
Manufacturer:   Topeak
By Sean Cronin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 3, 2016
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70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Ease of attachment/detachment - 25% 7
  • Stability - 20% 5
  • Inflation Speed - 20% 7
  • Accuracy - 20% 8
  • Gauge - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The extremely popular Joe Blow Sport 2 offers reliable, affordable performance and was chosen as our Best Buy floor pump. With a mix of lightweight plastic parts and metal where it counts, this versatile pump is suitable for home use or as a reliable travel companion. The twinhead features Presta internals on one side and Schrader on the other, clearly marked and colored for ease of use. Press the head on, flip the metal lever, and pump away with the sturdy, oversized, padded handle until your reach your desired pressure.

The easy to read chronograph inspired gauge reads up to 160 psi (11 bar). With a ball and bladder needle included (that store neatly on the pump body), the utility of the Sport 2 extends beyond just bikes. Pump up the tires on your beach cruiser. Throw the pump into the bike cargo trailer along with a volleyball and a float tube. Don't forget the bike lock and once you've pedaled to the lake, pump up all the toys and go have fun! Read our full bike pump review to learn more about how all competitors fared in our testing.


Our Analysis and Test Results

This pump reminded us of that Nissan X-Terra in "no friends yellow' that every extreme bro-brah had in 2004 with a whitewater playboat strapped on top and mountain bikes on the bike rack. Styling aside, this pump is an excellent choice for an affordable floor pump and was selected as our Best Buy award winner. We tested pumps that were $20 cheaper, but things like fragile plastic bases and inaccurate pressure readings make the slightly higher price tag of the Sport 2 a superior value.

Performance Comparison



Stability


The base of the Joe Blow Sport 2 is somewhat oval shaped with a small notch at the rear, while most other pumps we tested incorporated some variation of a tripod base design. We are guessing this design was chosen for aesthetic reasons, as it ranked low in this category despite being as wide or wider than most other bases. When free-standing, the pump would wobble with the slightest nudge. Luckily, because of the large surface area of the base, instability was much less apparent when standing on the base during pumping. The perimeter of the hardened steel base can be quite sharp and doesn't have any rubber or plastic pads to prevent slippage or marring of delicate surfaces.

Ease of Attachment/Detachment


The dual-head design of the Topeak JoeBLow Sport 2 is pretty easy to figure out given the clear markings and diagrams
The dual-head design of the Topeak JoeBLow Sport 2 is pretty easy to figure out given the clear markings and diagrams

The dual pump head design is similar to the head of the Nashbar Earl Grey, with Presta on one side and Schrader on the other. Each side is marked and there is even a tiny diagram showing the user which way to move the lever to lock it onto the valve stem. The lever is metal, whereas the Earl uses plastic. We found this style of head to be quite intuitive to a wide variety of users. Wear of the seals is spread out over two different heads, although for a consumer-grade pump, we'd expect many years of use before replacing a pump head becomes necessary.

One drawback to this style head is air loss during attachment; it is essential to place the head straight onto the valve, as any sideways force or misalignment will depress a Presta valve and release air. An ample amount of counter-pressure must be applied to slide the lever into the locked position while simultaneously keeping the head firmly affixed to the valve stem. A loose connection will not allow air into the tire. Until you gain proficiency at securing the head, a few extra strokes will be required to make up any air loss during attachment.

Gauge


The gauge on the Sport 2 reminded us of a cool diving watch.  Efficient use of space and smart colors made it easy to read despite its smaller size.
The gauge on the Sport 2 reminded us of a cool diving watch. Efficient use of space and smart colors made it easy to read despite its smaller size.

Remniscent of a high quality diving watch, the chronograph inspired base of the Sport 2 was smaller than many other gauges at just 2 3/8 inches in diameter. Despite its smaller size, it made full use of available space by placing the numbers for psi along the outside perimeter of the gauge. Similar to the design of the Serfas TCPG, the gauge is placed towards the bottom of the pump but not incorporated into the base; rather, the gauge is elevated approximately 8 1/2 inches from the ground. Many testers felt that even the smallish white numerals stood out well against the black background; the easy moving chronograph dial can help the user land confidently on their desired pressure measurement and also assist users that might find the print a bit too small, with the gauge reading as high as 160 psi (11 bar). Incorporated into the collar (that holds the gauge around the barrel) is a spot to hold the included ball and bladder needle. Keeping track of miscellaneous extras is always difficult. If it's not somehow secured to the product, here at OutdoorGearLab we basically consider any loose parts "gone" and our impressive junk drawer will confirm that statement.

Inflation Speed


The Sport 2 ranked smack dab in the middle of the road for inflation speed on both our tubeless mountain tire and road tire. We feel the firm, consistent stroke feel is worth mentioning and that the robust, 10 inch wide handle (with a softer rubber compound under the palms) made pumping a comfortable chore.

Accuracy


The Sport 2 was among the top scorers in accuracy, rarely being more than 1 psi above the reading we got on our Topeak digital gauge, with scores being consistent between tubeless mountain bike tires and road tires. Our pump testing on road bike tires had the tire partially inflated to 60 psi to start. There were two trials that were thrown out due to testers accidentally bleeding an excessive amount of air from the tire during attachment of the pump head. The higher than normal occurrence of difficulties encountered during attachment was noted above.

As tester Paul is fond of saying  "Wham-O"!!  The Joe Blow Sport 2 is a very accurate pump at a great price
As tester Paul is fond of saying, "Wham-O"!! The Joe Blow Sport 2 is a very accurate pump at a great price

Best Applications


This pump is extremely user-friendly and makes a great pump for the all-around active household or individual. Even the most avid cyclist is likely to be content with the accuracy, comfort, and user-friendliness of this pump. The additional attachments are always at hand for inflating your exercise ball to keep those cycling muscles balanced or the basketball pumped up to play H.O.R.S.E. with your kid in the driveway.


Value


Although it'll set you back an additional Jackson ($20) from our least expensive tested model, the Nashbar Earl Grey, we feel like the metal base, accurate pressure readings, and quality gauge are worth the additional chunk of change. You might have to move the pump a foot between tires because of the shorter hose and every once in a while you might even bungle the head attachment onto the valve and have to try again. We think you can handle that.

Conclusion


This popular pump is a great combination of versatility, performance, accuracy, and value. The base wasn't our favorite, but at least it was made of metal. The twinhead was a little finicky to set with 100 percent accuracy, but with a little practice, it's certainly not a deal breaker. The gauge, though smallish, was easy to read and featured a convenient chronograph dial. We felt like we were reaching to find fault with this pump and most complaints we came up with were all minor.


Sean Cronin