Airshot Tubeless Inflator 2016 Mountain Bike Review

Airshot Tubeless Inflator 2016

Reviews / Pumps

Airshot 2,020

At A Glance

Tubeless inflation has traditionally been a right faff. The rims and tyres developed at speed, and the mountain bike world took to the new technology as fast as possible. No more pinch flats, lower pressures, more grip, the world of tyres looked rosy. Unfortunately, behind every successful installation of a tubeless system was a story of pain, agony and despair. Sealant, tape and pumping like a lunatic were all part of the ritual. Bike shops had compressors to do the job, but the poor home mechanic had to come up with innovative ways to get tyres onto rims. Washing up liquid, zip ties, swearing, old inner tubes, all of these still fill my nightmares.

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Now tyres and rims have got much better, and many good tyres will inflate with a decent track pump, but given half a chance a tyre will always try and make your life hell, especially on the morning of a big ride or race!

The solutions to these problems came in the form of practical folk who disappeared into their sheds, found some tools and valves and made themselves bottle rockets. Coke bottles were adapted to act as a container for a few hundred PSI and ta-da, tyres could be fired on in minutes. Other more advanced options I've see included a re-purposed fire extinguisher and even a old metal pipe.

Now my long preamble takes me to the product in hand, which is designed especially for those who don't have a shed, or any shop skills, or just want a solution delivered to their door in a tidy package. The Airshot is a metal canister which is inflated by a track pump, then when sufficient pressure is stored, a simple valve releases the air into the tyre. It's a neat and compact system designed to make ones life easier. What's not to like?!

In The Garage

The Airshot is a simple beast, just a bottle with valve on the top, a switch, and a hose to connect to your tyre. Inflation is easy, but you'll need a high pressure track pump to get up to the top end of pressure. My high volume pump would get well over a hundred, but isn't designed to go any further. Once charged, a simple switch sends the air into the tyre and within a couple of moments you have the desired result. I've tested the Airshot on numerous tyres up to and including 3.0 plus tyres, all of which have been inflated perfectly, if not first time, then very quickly after.

What really works well is that once the main burst of pressure has been released, you can continue to pump through the system to top up the pressure and not give any excuse for loss of pressure. With the guarantee of success, it makes tyre swaps not only simple, but reliable, meaning a switch over on race day is an easy option rather than a battle. The canister now lives alongside the track pump in the back of the car for any unforeseen tyre issues, and I'm tempted to strap it to the track pump to make my own all-in-one system.

Although small and portable, the bottle is a bit unstable and falls over, but it works just as well on its side, and the hose could sometimes be a bit longer to make life a little easier. The bottle even comes with a little neoprene jacket, for some reason, possibly because it falls over a lot! This is a minor issue, but could easily be sorted with a wider base and a longer hose.

Overall

Small enough to stash in the back of your car for trips away, the Airshot gives you confidence that tyres can be changed simply and effectively without stress. Yes, you can make your own in a shed (so I'm told), but if you just want a great, neat solution to your tyre arguments, then the Airshot will definitely make your life better, and you a more relaxed person.

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By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

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