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Verdict: 
Makes tubeless tyre inflation a doddle, but expensive unless you can justify using it on a regular basis or you have lots of wheels
Weight: 
438g
Airshot tubeless inflation system
8 10

I love tubeless, but getting a tubeless tyre to inflate and stay seated on a tubeless compatible rim can be tricky. Often this is simply because you can't get air into the tyre quickly enough. The Airshot makes inflating even the most stubborn tubeless tyre a painless exercise, with a sudden and rapid flow of air that seats a tyre first time every time. It is a little expensive for a product that ultimately you might not use a lot, though.

The Airshot is basically just a metal canister with a hose on the top that you attach a track pump to, and another hose that you attach to the valve on the wheel. Use the track pump to fill the canister with 100-120psi of air, flick the lever, and hey presto, watch as the air rushes into the tyre and inflates it in an instant.

> Buy this online here

Sometimes a tubeless tyre will inflate on the rim first time, using a track pump. Other times, no amount of frantic pumping or swearing will do it. There are a few tricks that can help when the tyre won't inflate: using an inner tube to get one tyre bead seated, adding a layer of Gorilla tape to take up any slack in the tyre, or using a compressor. Few people have a compressor to hand, though.

In the instances when the tyre is being stubborn, the Airshot worked a treat. I tried it on a fat Schwalbe mountain bike tyre that was refusing to inflate with a track pump, and it went straight up first time. The Specialized tubeless cyclo-cross tyres on the Crux I tested recently required a bit of jiggery-pokery with a track pump, but the Airshot did the trick first time.

Airshot - valve.jpg

Airshot - valve.jpg

The Airshot is compatible with Presta valves. Sometimes one trick to seating a tubeless tyre is to remove the tubeless valve inner core. Airshot handily provides a valve accessory that screws into the vacated space inside the valve, and simply allows a quicker flow of air into the tyre.

Airshot - hose.jpg

Airshot - hose.jpg

So the Airshot does exactly what it sets out to do. At £60 it's quite pricey for a product that might not get a lot of use, but when you do come to use it you'll probably be thankful you bought it. You still need a track pump, though. For another £40, you could invest in the Bontrager TLR Flash Charger track pump, which at least gives you a regular track pump the rest of the time. But having to pay £100 just to inflate a tubeless tyre does seem rather ridiculous. Back to sweaty angry pumping then...

> Check out our guide to tubeless tyres here

If you've got a fleet of bikes (lucky you) with tubeless tyres on the majority of them, the Airshot is an extremely useful product to have in your home workshop. I don't always need anything other than a track pump to seat a tubeless tyre, though, and I've learned a few tricks over the years.

Airshot - bottle top.jpg

Airshot - bottle top.jpg

Alternatively, and to head off any comments, you could make your own, Blue Peter-style, from an old cola bottle, but I wouldn't really recommend it. I used a friend's homemade tubeless inflator once and it nearly took my head off.

Verdict

Makes tubeless tyre inflation a doddle, but expensive unless you can justify using it on a regular basis or you have lots of wheels

road.cc test report

Make and model: Airshot tubeless inflation system

Size tested: 39.5 x 11 x 8 cm

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Airshot says: "Airshot has been developed to enable hassle free inflation of tubeless tyres without the need for a compressor."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Airshot says: "Tubeless tyres have become popular due to the obvious associated operational advantages of, amongst others: running lower pressures; puncture resistance; and, overall weight reduction.

"However, there is one major downside associated with the use of tubeless, which can outweigh the benefits. The thought of struggling to mount a tyre on the bead with a track pump, or using expensive CO2 cartridges, to inevitably give up (after much cursing and perspiration if you are like me) and take the wheels to a bike shop, an expense that really does add up!

"Airshot, gives you the ability to charge an air bottle quite easily using a normal track pump. Then, by simply applying the pump head to the valve on your wheel and releasing the air tap, a fast high volume shot of air is released to instantly mount the tyre onto the bead.

"An ideal solution, particularly when away at races stuck in the middle of nowhere (usually in a muddy field!) with no power for a compressor and no bike shop for miles! It really does make it hassle free to swop tyres which are damaged, or to alternate tyre types with changing weather conditions/terrain"

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

It's well made and durable – but a base so it doesn't easily topple over, or a longer hose, would be good.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

Makes tubeless tyre inflating a cinch.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

For seating a tubeless tyre with none of the drama, the Airshot makes it effortless. You still need to have a track pump though.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Does exactly what it sets out to do.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Makes seating tubeles tyres a doddle.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The can falls over easily, and the hose could be longer.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Makes tubeless tyre inflation a doddle, but expensive unless you can justify using it on a regular basis or you have lots of wheels. If you have several bikes with tubeless tyres, I reckon this is a product that is easier to justify than if you've got just the one bike, but the price is still rather high.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

7 comments

Avatar
KiwiMike [1298 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

"Alternatively, and to head off any comments, you could make your own, Blue Peter-style, from an old cola bottle, but I wouldn't really recommend it. I used a friend's homemade tubeless inflator once and it nearly took my head off"

 

Oh Dave, but that's half the fun of DIY tubeless mounting - the sense of anticipation...will that Co-Op own-brand tonic bottle hold 80PSI? 100PSI? Does gaffa tape around it lessen the chance of a limb-severing injury? Just how far can bits of plastic and old valve fly?

 

This is £60 worth of total killjoy. I don't want surety in my tubeless journey. I want ADVENTURE!

 

smiley

Avatar
mike the bike [917 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

 

Another small reason why my initial enthusiasm for tubeless is rapidly waning ......

Avatar
Getafix [10 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

How much??????!!!!!!! I just bought a 2.5hp 24l air compressor out of Aldi for £50.

Avatar
BBB [453 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Fizzy drink bottles can take 150-180PSI. Even if the bottle somehow bursts (extremely unlikely), plastic isn't going to kill or injure anybody. It's unlikely anyway if you use common sense just like with any other inflating device.

From my experience 50-80PSI in a 2l. bottle is enough to seat every tere I've tried, both mtb and road. Bottle compressor costs penauts , does the job perfectly well and doesn't really have any drawbacks.

Let's don't make the whole tubeless business more complicated, scarry and expensive than it really is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avatar
KiwiMike [1298 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
BBB wrote:

...Let's don't make the whole tubeless business more complicated, scarry and expensive than it really is.

 

mike the bike wrote:

Another small reason why my initial enthusiasm for tubeless is rapidly waning ......

The issue of fitting tyres to rims is really the only outstanding 'issue' with tubeless - valves work, the tyres are grippy/light(er), fast, durable, there are non-drying sealants, and the ability to repair large cuts on the roadside without removing anything. Increasingly, tubeless tyre/rim combos Just Work, with a trackpump.

Yes, if you have an hour or so, the requisite bits of bottle, tubing, valves etc to hand, and the patience to seek out the instructions, a home-made inflator can be made for combos that don't. 

I can understand why someone would think 'too much faff, here's the £60'. Just as I understand it's your right to 'enjoy' being bent over on a wet, muddy roadside in the wind/rain/cold, changing your second puncture of the day while your muscles cool. It's usually those times when the idea of swapping £60 once, for far fewer stops, faff and a much comfier, grippier ride make sense.

Each to their own  1

Avatar
mike the bike [917 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I can see your point  Mr KM,  and I did once think that tubeless was definitely the way to go.  In fact about three years ago I was only stopped from buying Ultegra wheels and getting stuck in with the sealant by the fact that my old, tubed hoops were in such fine condition.

But now, I'm glad I didn't, and for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I buy and fit only high quality tyres and so don't suffer many flats, an average of about one a year.  So the main advantage of tubeless wouldn't actually save me anything significant.

And also, tubed clincher design and manufacture are also moving forward, progress hasn't stopped just because a rival technology has emerged.  I would go so far as to say that, with the notable exception of LED lighting, nothing in cycling has improved as much as tyres in the last few years.

And I'll have to take issue with your description of tubeless tyres as "..... much comfier, grippier ...."  There may indeed be marginal improvements with some tyres but I would bet folding money that the average, non-professional rider couldn't tell the difference in a blind test.   

Weighing it all up and taking into account my natural lethargy, I reckon I'll just stock up on tubes and keep on doing what I've always been doing.  It's the British way, you know.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1298 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

@mike the bike

I can run 40-50PSI without risk of pinch flatting. And the handling is still sharp, braking awesome and comfort otherworldly. Were I on a clincher it would be 20-30PSI firmer. I don't argue there's anything 'wrong' with staying as you were, but until you've tried modern tubeless extensively you can't say they aren't better. Seek out and ride the new Schwalbes. Then get back to me  3