SKS is a surprisingly large German manufacturer that makes a wide range of high-quality cycling accessories. Today we take a look at their RideAir compressed air storage bottle, which SKS double bills as a tubeless tire inflation device for cyclists and to automobile owners, as a refillable source of compressed air for roadside emergencies. SKS RideAir bottles weigh 450 grams, fit into most water bottle cages, and sell for around $60 USD. Like most SKS cycling products, RideAir comes with a five-year warranty.
• Material: Aluminium / plastic
• Color: Alu-black
• Weight: 450 g
• Valve: Schrader or Presta
• Output max: 16 bar / 230 PSI
• Height: 262 mm
• Capacity: 600 ml
• MSRP: $59.95
• Contact: SKS Germany
RideAir in Action
Construction and Features
RideAir is a 60 ML capacity aluminum storage bottle encased in a plastic shell that can be pressurized with a bicycle floor pump up to 16 bar (230 psi). A rubber cap protects its Schrader inflation valve and stows a Presta valve adapter. A short section of rubber hose, tipped with a screw-on Schrader fitting, tucks neatly into a groove around the top of the bottle when it's not deployed, and a small, flush-mounted gauge eliminates any guessing about if or how much of a charge is available.
When the time comes to inflate a tire, depressing its push-button valve releases a volume of air that should easily mount up a reluctant tubeless tire. RideAir is designed to hold a charge for an indefinite time, so you can keep it handy at the bike park or on race day, should you need to air up a tire quickly.
The plastic shell and its rubber cap should keep the RideAir bottle relatively dent free if you opt to leave it in a tool box, or let it roll around the back of your Sprinter, and the button is recessed to prevent an accidental depressurization.
SKS is known for its quality, which is evident in the construction and execution of the RideAir cylinder. It's tall and slender, so when it is in use, it will be laying on its side, where its plastic housing does a good job of keeping the aluminum bits scratch free. Sixty milliliters is an adequate volume to launch a tubeless, 2.8-inch plus tire onto a rim, but the RideAir cylinder must be pressurized in the neighborhood of 160 psi (11 bar) to ensure that there will be enough air to get the job done. If you own a chubby, high-volume/low-pressure floor pump, it will be a grunt to top 160. A slender, high-pressure road-style floor pump works best, but attaining RideAir's 230 psi maximum with a bicycle floor pump of any kind is going to be a feat.
The upside of the 60 ml cylinder it that it fills quickly, so you are ready for action in no time. A downside to this design is that Ride Air's short filler tube is tipped with a screw-on Schrader fitting. That means I had to first thread the included Presta adapter to the valve stem, then screw on the filler tube before I could push the blast button and inflate my tire to the rim.
When all goes well (and it almost always does), neither action presents an issue and, while it is doubtful that tubeless bicycle wheels will ever need one, it could be argued that the Schrader fitting ads versatility to the system, should you need to top off an automobile tire. When it goes bad, however, threaded fittings play havoc with Presta valves. Unthreading valve cores from stems is a common issue, and screw-on Presta adapters are infamous for closing the valve as they are installed.
To emulate the action of an integrated boost pump
, I left my floor pump attached to the RideAir canister so I could top off the tire after the cylinder's contents were spent. All said and done, the system worked fine, and its small size made the bottle handy to store in my car, or near my tool box at home. After using it for a while, however, I wished that the hose was equipped with a conventional pump-head fitting. Some hard-to-mount tubeless combinations require the removal of the valve stem to maximize airflow, but that is not possible using the screw-on Presta adapter. If I continue to use the RideAir bottle, I'll probably replace the screw-on Schrader fitting with a lever-type inflation head. Pinkbike's Take: