Topeak’s Joe Blow Sport 2Stage pump has been our northern workshop workhorse pump since we got it, but the brilliantly simple yet effective Tubi head is a game changer for clean and easy hand-pumped tubeless inflation. It comes at an eye-watering price though, but that does have any bearing on whether or not it's a worthy inclusion in our best mountain bike pumps list?
Design and aesthetics
Topeak already established its 2Stage tech with previous Joe Blow designs. This lets you start pumping with both chambers for high-volume inflation up to 30psi (it’ll actually go to 40 if you’re determined) in just a few strokes. You then flick the chunky switch at the top of the pump body and continue pumping with just one chamber which lets you hit triple-figure pressures quite casually.
The steel body and broad foot with forged alloy junction section plus large diameter shaft and solid composite handle mean you can lean on it or ramp up the revs like a CrossFit crazy without any wobble, flex or binding either. While the dial sits near the bottom of the shaft, it’s still big enough to read clearly too and it's within a couple of psi accuracy according to the digital Topeak ‘Smarthead’ checker we tested it with.
Specifications and performance
The genius part of the Tubi sits at the end of the long hose though, where you’ll find a brown-tinted, transparent head chamber with a bronze anodized Presta valve head on one side and a matching bronze anodized knurled dial on the other end. This is connected to a shaft with a head that slides over the flats on the sides of a Presta valve core. Pushing it into place, therefore, lets you unscrew the core and then slide it out while still keeping the whole head section sealed. That leaves the valve stem completely open for blasting that high-volume air through and popping tubeless tires easily into place.
Once they’re up to pressure you then push the plunger back into the head, sliding the core back into the valve in the process. Finally twist the core to tighten it into the stem, release excess pressure using the blow-off valve and then pull the head off and close the valve shut.
- Schrader vs Presta valves: Understanding the differences
The massive difference between trying to seat a tire with the core in place and with it removed is obviously something you can create just by removing the core manually. The difference with the Tubi is that you don’t have to try and thumb shut an open stem as fast as possible after pulling the pump off and then jam the core back in while still keeping enough air in to keep the tire in place. It also stops any sealant in the tire spraying about and generally turns something that’s normally a frantic fight into a clean and effortless - we’d even say ecstatic if you’ve suffered at the hands of failed tubeless inflation situations as long as we have - pleasure.
The Joe Blow Tubi 2Stage also comes with a brass chuck to slide in if you need to top up Schrader valves on another bike/car/wheelbarrow.
However, magically, it works and there’s no escaping the huge cost of the pump though, which is significantly more than a budget compressor for workshop use. While we’ve had no issues in three months of heavy tire swapping use so far, it’s best to unscrew the valve head and clean up sprayed sealant inside the head barrel before it sets. Even with an extra tab on the head top, the lack of a locking lever on the valve head makes pulling the head off a bit clumsy too, especially if you accidentally trigger the valve release which is positioned right where you’d normally pull on the head.
Topeak’s new Tubi head is a piece of genuine genius that makes tubeless tire inflation a far cleaner and easier process than normal. The proven Joe Blow 2Stage pump it’s attached to is a benchmark for bombproof toughness and easy high volume or high-pressure inflation, too. It’s still a manual pump at a higher price than a ‘booster tank’ pump or a machine compressor though.
Tech Specs: Topeak Joe Blow Tubi 2Stage tubeless floor pump
- Price: $120 / €120 / £109.95
- Max pressure: 160psi (11 bar)
- Size: 74 x 26.6 x 18 cm
- Weight: 2.3 kg