Tubeless tires are here to stay. Their benefits when it comes to flat prevention and increased traction have been been proven repeatedly and both industry and consumers have seen the light.
But adoption has not been sweeping as most bikes are still sold with tubes. Often the cyclist has to convert the bike to tubeless themselves. One of the key obstacles with tubeless has been ease or difficulty of installation. It is simply an unpredictable task when inflating a tubeless tire without a compressor for the first time.
Compressors deliver a shot of air to push tires against the sidewall to initiate the seal required to air up a tubeless tire. It can sometimes be done with a floor pump and some tricks of the trade. But ultimately, there will be a tire and wheel combination that will not air up without compressed air.
Airshot Tubeless Inflator has a presta input valve. The blue knob controls the output flow (click to enlarge).
The Airshot Tubeless Inflator is a new product entering the market and it hopes to address this problem with a light, portable compressed air canister. This model holds 1.14 liters of air at up to 160 psi. It is pumped up with a floor pump connected to the input presta valve. The compressed air can then be used immediately or stored for later use.
To use it, the output hose is connected to the presta valve of a tubeless tire and a release lever is turned 90 degrees for maximum airflow. This worked well in several of our tests to inflate tires that would not inflate using a floor pump.
Continue to page 2 for for pricing and impressions »
For pesky installs, the valve core of the tubeless presta valve can be removed for a more unrestricted airflow. The Airshot comes with a valve that screws in the valve in place of the valve core.
Airshot has been developed to enable hassle free inflation of tubeless tires without the need for a compressor. Pressurized using an ordinary bike pump, air can then be released in a rapid but controlled fashion via a release tap - seating troublesome tires on your rims.
Airshot 1.15L Tubeless Inflator: $100
Airshot 1.15L Canister Neoprene Sleeve: $14
First thing we noted is it's pricey at $100. The closest thing we can compare it to is the Bontrager Flash Charger compressor floor pump available for $120. The Airshot doesn't have a pump or a guage so it's definitely less material than Bontrager for a slightly lower price.
Another observation is the Airshot seems extremely well made. It's a clean, lightweight design that focuses on usability and portability. It's a small tank with clean valves and a short hoses weighing in at less than a pound.
If one is rough on gear, the tank may be a little too lightweight for some. So a protective neoprene sleeve is available to protect the structural integrity of the tank during impacts.
To keep things simple, there's no guage so on needs to use an external guage to check the pressure of the tire.
We were able to create our own Compressor floor pump with the Airshot by attaching it to a floor pump and routing the hose through it. Upside is the tank can be bypassed when compressed air is not needed to avoid having to charge the tank constantly (click to enlarge).
We've inflated and seated a few tubeless tires so far and we've been impressed with this tool's performance. And it seems versatile too as one can just use it in the garage or take it on the road to the trailhead and mountain bike road trips. The apprehension of not being able to seat a new tire out on the road. A trick setup is to strap this tank to one's floor pump to have the ultimate compressor pump.
For more information visit www.airshotbike.com.