Airshot is a simple aluminum cylinder that you charge with a floor pump and use to seat your tubeless bike tires, without involving a compressor. Here, we’ll cover its pros, cons, competition, and my personal experience.
Airshot is a hollow, foot-long cylinder that you pressurize with a Presta-compatible floor pump, attach its hose to a tire valve, and quickly, easily, and efficiently inflate your tubeless tires—without relying on a compressor or CO2 cartridges.
Tubeless tires come with a lot of advantages, but setting them up sucks. Can you expect Airshot to make the job easier, though? Is it worth the nearly $60 price tag?
I’ll combine my firsthand experience with details from the company to help you make a knowledgeable decision.
How Does Airshot Work?
Founded and invented by Charles Jones, Airshot features a simple, efficient design that works with all tire sizes and types, implements your existing track pump, and provides reliable service whether you’re in the middle of a muddy field or simply don’t feel like dealing with your compressor.
To operate, you’ll start by cleaning your valve (and core, if necessary) to make sure they’re free from grit and dirt, which can restrict airflow.
Next, you’ll connect your pump to the Presta valve located on top of Airshot’s cap, close the air valve on the hose, and pressurize the aluminum cylinder up to 160 PSI.
It’s at this point you can attach the hose to your valve, which includes an adapter that allows you to inflate with the core removed. Then, you’ll turn the valve counter-clockwise to release air into your tire and hear your tire’s beads pop into place. You can monitor air pressure using the gauge on your floor pump while doing this.
Related: How Tubeless Bike Tires Work
If you removed your valve core, you’ll have to unthread Airshot’s adapter, reinsert the core, and then re-inflate to your desired pressure using your track pump. Otherwise, you can send air through the Airshot with your track pump still connected until reaching the appropriate pressure.
Finally, you’ll rotate your tire to ensure sealant is evenly distributed and has fully coated in the inside of the tire.
While this versatile design certainly has its advantages in the field, according to disclaimers on the box and website, Airshot comes with a few limitations. For example, you can’t exceed 160 PSI (11 Bar), and you can only charge the bottle using a track pump (no compressors).
You should also keep Airshot’s bottle away from direct sunlight and temperatures exceeding 120°F (50°C); transport with care to avoid damaging the cylinder and use to inflate bicycle tires only.
|Weight||1.21 lbs (435 g)|
|Dimensions||14.2” x 2.8” x 2.8”|
|Max Pressure||160 PSI (11 bar)|
|Tire Compatibility||26″, 27.5″, 27.5” plus, 29″, 29” plus, road, cyclocross, fat|
My Experience: Does Airshot Work as Advertised?
The Rationale Behind My Airshot Purchase
Our family recently embarked on a yearlong RV adventure across the western US. And with five bikes—four of which are set up tubeless—strategically placed in the bed of my Tundra, I couldn’t justify the extra bulk and the added weight of a compressor.
I brought my Airshot along inside my SwingCase, which tucks in the space behind the wheel well. The aluminum cylinder isn’t exactly small, but with some finagling, I’ve found that I can fit it around a lot of different tools and maximize storage space.
Airshot’s Real-World Functionality
Using Airshot isn’t rocket science, but it did take me a bit of trial and error to find success.
For example, the first time I worked with the device, I didn’t leave my floor pump attached, so my tire deflated by the time I could hook it up and begin pumping.
Related: How to Install Tubeless Bike Tires
Another mistake I frequently made, which also caused me to lose air pressure rapidly, was attempting the process without ensuring my valve cores were tight beforehand. When I didn’t use Airshot’s adapter, it tended to unscrew my valve cores as I un-threaded the chuck at the end of the hose.
And despite the secure connection provided by the threaded chuck at the end of Airshot’s hose, it’s not always easy to maneuver between your spokes and twist the chuck around your valve. In fact, it’s similar to using a lightweight mini pump like the Lezyne Sport Drive HP.
Outside of these minor speed bumps along my learning curve, I’ve found that the Airshot is super easy to use and quickly inflates tires with a turn of its valve. The effort to charge the canister will obviously increase along with the pressure, but it’s totally manageable.
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Features I’d Like to See Added to the Airshot
Perhaps the Airshot feature I’d like to see most is a quick-release head—something similar to what’s included on the Prestacycle Prestaflastor, as well as the Beto JetAir (more soon).
At 21”, Airshot’s hose has been sufficient for me to reach most needed areas, although making it 6”–12” longer could have a hugely beneficial impact on functionality.
Furthermore, Airshot’s light weight and narrow footprint is a double-edged sword, since the canister—never—remains upright while in use. Based on its intended function, though, this might not be a huge concern.
Finally, I think the canister’s blue paint job looks excellent out of the box, but it scuffs reasonably quickly, especially when stored in my truck’s toolbox, so I’d like to see the company improve the paint’s durability.
Together, I’d recommend purchasing the sleeve for added protection, if you plan on taking Airshot outside of your shop frequently, or if you want to keep it looking new for as long as possible.
My Bottom Line About Airshot
Overall, Airshot works superbly for my unique traveling needs, and provides a method of enjoying all of the advantages of tubeless tires, but without having to lug around a large, heavy compressor that I’d infrequently use.
Depending on your preferences, though, there are several third-party compressor-less bike tire inflators on the market that might better meet your needs. Let’s take a closer look next.
Airshot vs. Schwalbe Tire Booster, SKS RideAir, & Beto JetAir
Like Airshot, competing options also promise to help you seat your tires without a compressor, along with high maximum PSI and durable construction. Here are the top-rated options on Amazon, along with how they compare:
||14.2” x 2.8” x 2.8”, 1.21 lbs||1.15 L||The originator, 160 PSI max, attractive blue finish, includes adapter for use w/valve core removed|
||11.8 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches, 1.6 lbs||N/A||Basic functionality is identical to Airshot’s, 150 PSI max|
||11” x 3” x 3”, 1 lb||600 ml||230 PSI max, designed to be placed inside bottle cage, includes exterior gauge, can charge with floor pump or compressor, external combination lock|
|Beto JetAir||19” x 6” x 7.25”, 4+ lbs||N/A||160 PSI max, Schrader charge valve, includes condensed water bleeder valve, includes patented quick-release chuck|
Although Airshot is the original by all appearances, Schwalbe’s Tire Booster appears identical, but without a valve core adapter. The company also doesn’t advertise its holding capacity, although it comes with a black paint job that might better hide scuffing than Airshot.
Beto isn’t quite a cylinder, but it’s also not an oversized track pump, either. It’s larger and weighs considerably more than other options in the table above, as well, so it would work best as a shop tool, versus something you’d carry for emergencies.
The SKS RideAir is the only option you can charge with a compressor (whether yours or at a gas station), potentially giving you more flexibility when out and about. It also features a more compact design that fits in a bottle cage, a much higher max PSI, and is the lightest. However, it also comes with the smallest air capacity.
Which one should you buy? Let’s distill everything and find out what it means for your future with Airshot.
My View: Is Airshot Worth the Price?
Even though it comes with a $60 price tag, Airshot helps me inflate tires without a compressor while our family is on the road, which delivers an immense amount of value. It works well, fits nicely inside my SwingCase toolbox, is lightweight and portable, and I can even carry it with me with on a ride.
As a result, I can foresee using it a lot over the next year so that I can justify the relatively steep cost.
With this said, there’s no getting around the fact that Airshot probably isn’t something many cyclists will regularly use—unless you own a stable of bikes set up with tubeless tires, frequently need to re-seat their beads, and can’t use a traditional compressor for one reason or another.
Bottom line: Airshot won’t completely replace an air compressor. But, if you only need to infrequently seat tires on the go where a compressor would be impractical, it could be an indispensable tool in your kit.
And, yes; it could help you “say goodbye to frustration,” as advertised on the website.
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