Topeak RaceRocket pump review – well designed, mid-volume pump

Topeak's RaceRocket pump is a neatly designed pump although it's not as quick as its name implies

Topeak RaceRocket pump hero
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

BikePerfect Verdict

The Topeak RaceRocket is a neatly designed compact pump with some nice features. It works well for gravel tires but slow inflation for high-volume MTB tires and a few niggles let it down.

Pros

  • +

    Very smooth pumping action

  • +

    Durable construction and grippy rubber handle

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    No loose parts to lose

  • +

    Built-in hose

Cons

  • -

    Slow inflation

  • -

    Pump body occasionally unscrews itself apart

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If you are looking for a bike pump, Topeak probably has you covered with a frankly outrageous number of models covering everything from shock pumps to floor pumps. At the core of the pocketable pump range is the RaceRocket series, covering both high-pressure and high-volume duties. Right in the middle is the standard Topeak RaceRocket which is said to be optimized for MTB and road. I have been furiously inflating to see how it compares to the best mountain bike pumps

Topeak RaceRocket pump fully extended

The pump has a CNC alloy body and an extendable hose (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and specifications

The Topeak RaceRocket features a CNC aluminum barrel with a rubberized handle There is a little rubber ring that seals up the gap between the barrel and the handle of the pump, securely stopping it from extending in a bag or crud getting around the pump's shaft. The RaceRocket measures 180mm with a diameter of 25mm and weighs a respectable 96g. There is a built-in extendable 133mm hose that is unscrewed from the end of the pump to give a more comfortable position in use. 

The SmartHead ThreadLock head features a neat design for switching between Presta and Schrader valves. Unscrewing and extending in for inflating Presta valves or screwed closed for Schrader valves, Topeak has also added a little diagram to remind you too so you don't forget how it works.

An integrated dust cap stops dirt, water, crumbs, or other things that float around in bags and pockets from getting inside the hose when it's not in use. The other end has a cap with a slot to tighten or remove two-piece Presta valve cores.

Topeak includes a side mount bracket if you want to free up pocket space and mount your pump alongside a bottle cage. The RaceRocket comes in five different colors. Four of the pumps feature a silver design with the choice of red, silver, gold, and blue top sections, or there is the all-black version I have on test. 

Topeak RaceRocket pump head detail

The SmartHead ThreadLock head can be quickly and easily switched between Presta and Schrader (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

The RaceRocket feels very well-made with its durable metal body. The rubberized handle offers plenty of grip when your hands are wet, muddy, or covered in tubeless sealant and the hose section is just long enough to give enough flexibility to find a comfortable position for inflating a tire. I found the pump body would occasionally unscrew itself and come apart, I was able to screw it back together but it was a little annoying and added the risk of dirt getting inside the pump.

It's a nice touch that no dismantling is needed to switch the pump head between valve types or connect the hose to the valve, reducing the risk of vital pump parts getting dropped and lost or going missing in your time of need. Not having to screw and unscrew lots of parts also makes the RaceRocket quick to set up, although getting an air-tight lock when screwing the head onto a Presta valve is a little fiddlier than other pumps. I also appreciated the Presta valve core tool that's built into the top cap – in case you need to nip a valve up when on the trail. Some screw-on type pumps have a habit of unscrewing valve cores, although this wasn’t an issue I experienced with the RaceRocket.

Unfortunately, the single action stroke means inflation is on the slow side, with 200 strokes of the RaceRocket filling a 2.5in MTB tire with just 14.1psi. Compared to the similarly sized Lezyne Grip Drive HV pump, you're looking at roughly 30 percent more pumping to get a mountain bike tire up to a rideable pressure. Inflation felt a little faster on a smaller tire, getting a 40mm gravel tire to 35psi with 200 strokes.

Heat build-up wasn’t an issue though and the pumping action is very smooth and light, although the force required starts to ramp up once you go north of 40psi. 

Topeak RaceRocket pump valve core tool detail

The plug on the handle end has a valve core tool (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

The Topeak RaceRocket is a well-made premium feeling pump with some nice features although it has its fair share of quirks too. It works well for gravel tires easily achieving a rideable pressure in 200 strokes. Inflation for larger tire volumes is a bit slow, so if you are only inflating MTB tires and pocketability isn’t as much of a concern, then you will be better served by Topeak's RaceRocket MT which has considerably more volume per stroke. 

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The lowdown: Topeak RaceRocket pump
AttributesNotesRating
PerformanceSmooth action but slow inflation for high volume tires★★★
ConstructionDurable alloy construction and grippy rubber handle, although pump unscrewed itself a couple of times★★★
WeightSub 100g for an alloy pump★★★★
Value for moneyWell priced compared to competitors★★★

Tech specs: Topeak RaceRocket pump

  • Price: $60.00 / £34.99
  • Weight: 96g
  • Max air pressure: 120psi
  • Colors: Black, Blue, Gold, Red, Silver
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg