SKS RideAir NSMB AndrewM

SKS RideAir Tubeless Inflation System

Photos Andrew Major

Tubeless tires rule! They improve ride quality and allow you to run lower pressures, but the biggest advantage is resistance to pinch flats. When there is no tube you can't pinch it, and the vast majority of punctures most riders experience are from pinches. 

Tubeless tires suck! The sealant can be messy, valves get plugged, getting a seal, particularly with rims that are perforated for spoke holes, can be tricky and initial set up without access to a compressor can be a challenge. 

Ask Uncle Dave DIY Tubeless Inflator

Uncle Dave built one of these out of a fire extinguisher. Check it out here.

One way to deal with the absence of a compressor is to create a refillable high-pressure reservoir to seat the tire with that satisfying and sometimes frightening cracking sound. Dave Tolnai did a fire extinguisher ghetto version (above) but there are some elegant commercial solutions as well - which allow you to generate high pressures without access to power or breaking the bank buying a noisy air cruncher.

SKS RideAir

The RideAir tubeless inflator is the latest product from the fourth generation family owned German factory that is SKS. It isn't a category originator but it does exactly what it claims in a compact and clean package.

I've inflated a couple of tires with it from flat with the valve core installed and they bead up instantly. For the most stubborn tires removing the valve core to allow max air flow is a guaranteed* first-time inflation. I'm excited to try it on my 29x3" DHF and RaceFace ARC 40 combo when I swap in fresh rubber because that is a royal pain to get going. 

SKS RideAir NSMB AndrewM

SKS's newest product, the RideAir, being inflated by one of their oldest. The Rennkompressor pump has been in production for over 50 years. Using the classic steel road pump I could put about 160psi - of the max 230psi - into the canister. 

Pump, Push, Pop!

It's hard to say too much about the function of the RideAir:

Pump as much air as possible - up to 230psi. Attach the hose to a valve. Push the button. Watch the tire bead up.

The RideAir system attaches directly to a Schraeder valve stem and includes an adapter next to the inflation valve for airing up Presta.

For Whom?

The RideAir is a very compact product with the circumference of a water bottle and measuring 260mm in length. This isn't something I would carry on a ride but it will definitely be coming in the car on any road trips. I also don't own an air compressor so there is no duplication of function to have one in my workshop. 

It's not cheap at $80 (USD) but it is a high quality, German made product, and SKS offers a five-year warranty.

The RideAir system can be transported fully inflated so it may also get me out of a jam next time I have a slow leak in one of my car tires. 

For more information on this product check out SKS.

*Not an actual guarantee. I've seen some of my friends wrench...

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+1 Andrew Major

Andrew, how does it compare to the Schwalbe Tire Booster Air Cannister, both are available at MEC and within $5 of eachother. 




+1 Andrew Major

This one has a gauge.. for me it has the edge..




I haven't used the Schwalbe - I'm sure it's a quality piece.

As Denomerdano noted the guage on the SKS is really handy. The function is really well thought out as well.

I've owned a lot of SKS products over the years (a few pairs out of the 4.1 million sets of full fenders they make in Germany per year and a couple floor pumps for examples) and the quality is always great - and it's all in house. 

So yeah, you probably can't go wrong either way (and I'd prefer a system separate from my floor pump) but I'd buy the SKS based off past experience.



Or, catch a sale at your local hardware store, and buy a pancake compressor for $100 that has many other uses around the house. I don't doubt it's a well built, handy product, but it's a tough sell at that price point IMO.



I bought a 2-gallon compressor a while back, mostly to facilitate tubeless installs, just before this wave of products came to market. It works, but I hate it. It's so noisy. 

Also, the price went up quickly when I had to buy a hose and a chuck to make the system work.

Considering I use it primarily to mount tires, I'd be happy to have a lighter, smaller, quieter, and more portable single-use piece.


+1 Morgan Taylor

If someone is using an air compressor all the time (nail gun, paint gun, etc) and spends the $$$ there are some really quiet ones on the market now.

... I'd guess though that anyone looking at the price of the RideAir compared to an air compressor probably isn't considering one of those...

Personally, I ditched my obnoxiously loud air compressor years ago and switched to using a high volume floor pump with the tire valve cores removed. Which usually works though sometimes with way too much faffing about. 

The RideAir is like that system on steroids. With a fresh tire it's still most efficient to remove the valve core but the function is excellent - definitely better than the POS air compressor I had.


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