The Review | Airshot Portable Tubeless Tyre Inflator
So you have your ‘all singing’ ‘all dancing’ enduro bike, it’s fully kitted with the latest trickery from the world of mountain biking, but no matter how new it is, there’s always something every rider will experience, punctures and tyre changes! We won’t even go into the advantages of tubeless, as this is now just a given, the only problem now remaining in the world of tubeless is inflation. This new product from Airshot seems to have the solution and we put it to the test.
Setting up tubeless is fine when you are in the shed with an airline or happy to start wasting your precious Co2 canisters, even the Co2 sometimes doesn’t have the blast necessary to inflate the most stubborn of tyres, plus lots of riders don’t want to fork out for expensive space consuming compressors. On these stubborn tyres which really don’t want to seat it is possible to age yourself ten years after a good hour of failure, the stress making you want revert back to good old tubes!
The system is simple, just blow up the Airshot canister with your track pump to 130psi, attach the pipe to your valve (after removing your valve core) and open the release valve to blast the air in to seat the tyre. We have used this many a time now, much to our delight, not once has it failed to seat the tyre enough to be either fully seated or just need a small amount of persuasion afterwards with the track pump. The pop of the tyre as it seats on the rim is the greatest sound in the world for any rider or racer in a hurry to fit tubeless tyres to any rim, and this Airshot bottle really does do what it says on the tin.
We caught up with Airshotz founder Charles Jones, who gave us the lowdown on how this product came about.
“After riding bikes around Swansea for years, I started racing last year and getting more into competitive bike setup. After hearing about tubeless tyre set-up and their advantages I decided to try it out, as it was said to be so much better than tubes. Going tubeless was fairly easy to set up and once inflated worked great, but after the hassle of trying to inflate tyres using ghetto coke bottle setups and bike shop compressors I was getting fed up!
One morning driving to work in July it hit me, why not make a “proper” bottle inflator that doesn’t leak, or deform. I went to a workshop where I had some friends and explained my idea; with their help and after a couple of drawings a prototype was engineered. Using an old aluminium drinks bottle (not recommended as they deform), a hose off a broken pump, a purposely-machined aluminum cap and an air valve bought from another engineering company the proto-type was formed. The design was changed many times, about nine different prototypes were created through the iterative design process, as there were so many things to consider.
The pump end was a tricky bit to make, testing was undertaken using a plastic pump head but they leaked, so a threaded metal version was created, which doesn’t leak and transfers the air very well. An adaptor was created, which was a last minute addition and big improvement. It means if you have a dirty clogged valve core you can remove the core and still use Airshot to initially bead the tyre. I use it all the time, it just stays in the van and tyre changes are not a stressful, exhausting experience anymore, instead it’s quite rewarding hearing the tyres pop onto the bead!
Airshot are supporting racing this season, it had to be enduro as it’s such a great way to race. UK Gravity enduro and Mini-enduro are a lot of fun, well organized and challenging as well as hugely popular, so it seemed like a great opportunity to support this discipline. We are also supporting two riders at the moment, Leigh Johnson (UKGE junior champion) he’s a local I ride with regularly. The other is Rob Newman, a southern pinner who came 2nd at the UKGE in the Senior category.
This canister really is a worthy product for any trail rider and especially a racer to keep in the vehicle, over at Enduro Mag our Trail Team shall be making it part of their routine to pack this for every race.
Price: £59.99 / €82.00 More Info: airshotltd.com
Words: Jim Buchanan Pics: Doc Ward