Like tubeless tires? Bontrager's TLR Flash Charger floor pump is just the ticket for those tubeless installs in your garage.
|I know what you're thinking: why not just use a compressor to install your tubeless tires? Or even a CO2 cartridge given that it should only take one to get the job done. I don't know about you, but I don't always have access to a compressor, not to mention that they're loud and require a power source to get the job done. And using a CO2 cartridge every time you want to install a tire seems just a touch wasteful, doesn't it? The TLR Flash Charger pump is easy to throw in the back of your car or truck if you're worried about needing to repair or replace a tire during a multi-day trip, and it's much less of a hassle than using a compressor, even considering that you can find some pretty inexpensive compressors if you look around. If you haven't guessed by now, I found that Bontrager's clever floor pump performs extremely well at installing troublesome and loose fitting tubeless tires. It works like so: push the red lever down in order to isolate the larger, secondary air chamber that you're going to use to seat the tire. It took my 45 pumps to get the pressure up to the maximum of 160 psi, and while the push does get a bit stiff near the end, it's not something that anyone would struggle with. Then, after you've made sure the pump's head is locked onto the valve stem, simply pull up on the red handle to release the stored pressure into the tire. It all happens very quickly, with the air moving fast enough to at least seal up every rim and tire combination that I tried, with none of them giving me any grief. Air will stop moving into the tire once the pressure equalizes at the pump, after which you can either keep pumping or use the bleed button to lower the pressure to where you need it. How effective is it? The Flash Charger even worked on a Crank Brothers' wheel and Schwalbe tire combo that had me throwing tools at the wall until I gave it a go with the new Bontrager pump. That said, the quickly delivered charge of air pressure wasn't enough to seat all of the tires completely straight, with it taking another few minutes of pumping to get the job done. That's the easy part though, as just getting a troublesome tubeless tire to seal up at the bead is usually the real challenge. The gauge is also accurate enough for most riders, especially given that it registers up to 160 psi, with it reading to within 3 - 5 psi of my digital pressure gauge.|
Okay, so it works really well, but is there anything I'd change? I'm not a big fan of single pump heads that do both presta and schrader valves, especially in a shop where they get used all day, every day. Going with two different chucks spreads out the wear so that the head's rubber bits last longer, but that's admittedly more of a bike shop concern. That niggle aside, the Flash Charger is one clever piece of kit that makes life much easier for anyone who deals with tubeless tires on even a semi-regular basis. - Mike Levy
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