Topeak’s Joeblow Mountain EX packs a tyre inflation punch thanks to superb efficiency among a number of useful features. Even if its plastic build mars an otherwise perfect score sheet, it’s certainly kind on the wallet and a genuine contender for the best floor pumps crown.
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Topeak Joeblow Mountain EX track pump - Technical details
As its name suggests, this is a mountain bike-specific track pump and has been designed to inflate any kind of high-volume rubber up to 60psi.
This pump benefits from a ‘super-sized’ barrel which delivers large volumes of air as efficiently as possible. So much so that the brand reckons it pushes 50% more air than a normal floor pump. To put that into figures, it’s claimed that the Mountain EX transfers 638cc of air per pump.
The Mountain EX employs the SmartHead head that we’ve seen on a number of Topeak’s pumps. This cool addition can be used with both Presta and Schrader valves without having to swap bits of rubber or flip things around. Simply push the head on, and lock it in place.
Pressure readings are taken care of via a 3.5in base-mounted analogue gauge and the pump is constructed using a combination of engineering-grade polymer (or plastic to you and me) and painted steel. The former is used to build the handle, base, and head whereas the latter creates the barrel.
Topeak Joeblow Mountain EX track pump - Performance
During my time with the Joeblow Mountain EX, it’s taken pride of place in the back of my van where it’s seen use before every ride since receiving it a few months ago. It’s seen every kind of use a track pump would, whether that’s quickly topping up pressures before a spin or seating tubeless tyres. After its rigorous test, it’s more than earned its keep.
A home in the back of my van isn’t the friendliest of environments, especially for a humble pump, and having gone through months of rolling around and knocking about, the Mountain EX has held up impeccably well. It’s clearly showing signs of use but I’m impressed with its durability.
Though Topeak’s reliance on engineering-grade polymer brings the price down to a very agreeable point, it does harm the experience a little. The starkest of downsides when using this material is that its base isn’t the most stable, which can get messy under hard efforts when seating tubeless. It requires some care to make sure that strokes are being applied almost perpendicular to the ground to compensate for the instability. I must stress that it’s not game-ending but it’s something that’s always in the back of my mind when using the Mountain EX compared to others with a metal-built base. There is also noticeable flex in the engineering-grade polymer (cough, plastic) handle but that doesn’t affect the performance.
However, the efficiency on offer is why this pump makes so much sense. Apart from one with a poorly taped rim, it’s confidently inflated every tubeless setup I’ve put together and has effectively made my expensive charger/tubeless booster pump redundant. It delivers large volumes of air quickly and with impressively little effort – and that’s exactly what’s needed when seating stubborn tubeless tyres.
Of course, this pump can inflate narrower gravel tyres, too. Though, if gravel is your riding genre of choice, choosing a pump that doesn’t deliver such huge volumes of air would make reaching your ideal pressure a bit easier.
It’s handy for small top-ups, too, where the gauge has proven easy to read thanks to its black and white colouring. Its psi and bar measurement signage is clear and helps achieve precise pressure.
In the past, I’ve had my issues with auto-adjusting heads that can clip onto Presta and Schrader valves as they’ve been very hit-and-miss, sometimes engaging with a valve perfectly while others not so much. The SmartHead included on the Mountain EX has worked flawlessly. However, I have only used it with Presta valves as Schraders are hard to come by in modern gravel and MTB.
However, as it’s so simple and quick to use and works every time, I can forgive the pump for not coming with some kind of bleed valve.
Topeak Joeblow Mountain EX track pump - Verdict
Proper mountain bike-specific floor pumps that deliver big air volume are reasonably tough to come by below the £60 mark which makes the Mountain EX ideal for the budget-conscious or the cash-strapped beginner.
A favourite of mine and a permanent player in my bike armoury is this pump’s bigger and more intimidating sibling, the Topeak Joeblow Mountain X which will set you back £75. Performance-wise, it’s identical and equally as capable of inflating large-volume tubeless tyres. That extra money affords a much higher quality all-metal build however which has meant that it’s held up for years of abuse and is still going strong.
Although, Bontrager’s Dual Charger floor pump encroaches on the Mountain EX’s glory at £50 and it gets what Topeak’s budget offering is missing; a metal base and a bleed valve. It’s also great for use with skinny tyres thanks to its base-mounted high/low-pressure switch. While a great option at this price for those with plenty of bikes in the fleet, its auto-select head is one of those hit-and-miss units, and it’s not quite as efficient as the Topeak.
Although its plastic componentry knocks the Topeak Joeblow Mountain EX’s overall performance a touch, it punches well above its weight thanks to its impressive efficiency and very friendly price. Owing to that, as well as its durability, it’ll appeal to the masses and should be a first choice for anyone looking for their first track pump.