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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Makes tubeless tyre inflation a doddle, but expensive unless you can justify using it on a regular basis or you have lots of wheels
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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"
It's well made and durable – but a base so it doesn't easily topple over, or a longer hose, would be good.
Makes tubeless tyre inflating a cinch.
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.
About the tester
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.