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The Bontrager TLR Flash Can is an easy-to-use air tank that complements your existing track pump, making it possible to seat tubeless tyres with bursts of up to 160psi. While not quite a magic bullet, it's effective at inflating road or mountain bike tyres, and also reasonably priced.
If you're looking to reducing the hassle of tubeless without the complexity of a compressor, an inflator like this is a no-brainer. I've installed plenty of tubeless tyres without one, admittedly, but for total convenience you are much better off with one. Trust me.
There are several types out there – all-in-one track pumps with pressure chambers such as the Lezyne Digital Pressure Over Drive; the basic can that attaches to your existing track pump, such as the Airshot tubeless inflation system; and the more substantial workshop-type thing that's floor-standing.
The Bontrager TLR Flash Can is one of the latter. If you've already got a track pump, and you don't need the portability of something like the Airshot, then this is definitely the best solution.
The TLR Flash Can Pump is a compact canister capable of storing air at up to 160psi. A metal base keeps the unit upright when you're pumping it up, while the top-mounted handle is convenient and has a Schrader valve tucked down inside it.
A large red lever dumps the high-pressure air into your tyre when the chamber is primed.
Filling the Flash Can with your track pump should be easy, but it's a bit of a fiddle thanks to the lack of space around the valve – it's hard to get your fingers in to make the connection, or even to unscrew the valve cap.
It's not impossible, and the valve is well-protected from impacts that could sheer it, but it's hardly ideal either.
The hose is a decent length, and the connector is a chunky Presta/Schrader combo that doesn't need screwing on – just select the right one and shove it on. A visual on the side of the chuck handily shows you which is which.
The big red lever works proportionally – the further you lift it, the more air it releases. The more air you dump at once, the more likely the bead will seat on the rim.
The neat thing about the Bontrager TLR Flash Can is you can continue inflating the tyre you've just seated, meaning you don't have to remove and reattach your track pump.
I tested this with three different combos; first up, a 28mm Vittoria Corsa Control G 2.0 on a Hunt 50 Carbon Aero Wheelset. This took four attempts at the full 160psi to pop on. Removing the rim's valve core helped a little, but not enough to seat the tyre first or even second time. Admittedly, I didn't lube the bead first, though.
For what it's worth, I couldn't get the Vittoria to seat with a regular track pump either, even though I know I've done it once before in the past. Go figure.
Next I tested a 25mm Mavic Yksion Pro UST on the same Hunt rim, and got it done after three attempts. Again, the bead wasn't lubed (though I did manage to install it with a regular track pump beforehand, with a bit of effort).
The final test tyre was a 2.4-inch Maxxis Minion DHF 29er, which went straight on my mountain bike's rim with just 120psi in the air chamber.
Depending on what you're looking for, there are several options worth considering. If you need an all-in-one fix, the Merida Tubeless floor pump costs just £20 more than the Bontrager at £69.99, and though the chamber looks tiny by comparison, Merida says it's capable of holding up to 260psi.
A more portable option our sister site off.road.cc rated highly is the Topeak TubiBooster X Tubeless Inflator. It's £15 more expensive than the Bontrager at £65, but the chamber is capable of 200psi – that little extra nudge could well help seat pesky tyres more easily.
The TLR Flash Can is exactly the same price as the Beto CJA-001S Tubeless Air Tank Inflator we tested back in 2018, which looks remarkably similar to the Bontrager. In fact, if you just imagine the Flash Can in red you probably don't even need to click that link...
The Bontrager TLR Flash Can is, in my opinion, an essential thing to have in your workshop – especially if you regularly install tubeless tyres. The fact it struggled to install two of the three tyres in testing shouldn't really be seen as a criticism of its abilities – it's more an indication of the level of difficulty certain tyre/rims combos present.
It's reliably less of a struggle with the TLR Flash Can than without it, and it certainly reduces that level of difficulty in particularly extreme cases.
Effective, easy to use tubeless tyre inflator for the workshop
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager TLR Flash Can
Size tested: N/A
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?
Trek says, "A compact air canister that is easily inflated to 160psi and offers a quick blast of stored air to make set-up of tubeless ready (TLR) tyres a breeze."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Inflates tubeless ready (TLR) tyres without a compressor
Holds up to 160 PSI (11 bar) of air pressure
Inflate Flash Can with any Schrader-compatible floor pump
A simple flip of the lever releases stored air
The unique 'flash charge' function rushes air into the tyre
Auto-select head instantly fits both Presta and Schrader valves
Very sturdy and well built.
Some of the test tyres took several attempts to seat, but I put this down to them being particularly tricky tyres to install. A mountain bike test tyre went on first time at just 120psi.
Looks built to last.
Not particularly heavy, but this is one for the workshop.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Though it took a few attempts to install some of the test road tyres, I put that down to them being inherently 'difficult' tyres. Even so, it only took a few goes, which is much more successful than when I tried to do it by hand.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's very easy to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The valve connector is a bit tricky to access.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's one of the cheaper options out there, if you're looking for a tubeless inflator to compliment your existing track pump. That said, Merida's Tubeless Floor Pump costs just £20 more, so that's a good option if you don't already have a track pump. The Beto CJA-001S Tubeless Air Tank Inflator looks very, very similar to the Bontrager, and the price is the same too.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I actually did buy the one on test!
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Bontrager TLR Flash Can is great for installing tubeless tyres. It's easy to use and the price is right. I can hardly fault it.
About the tester
I usually ride: Steel audax bike My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,