It used to be that getting a tubeless tire seated and sealed without the aid of an air compressor was a nearly impossible task, one that usually involved a floor pump, sweating, swearing, and probably some sealant spillage at some point during the process. Thankfully, tires, rims, and even pumps have evolved to a point that getting a tubeless setup going no longer poses much of a hassle. However, every so often you'll come across a stubborn tire / rim combination that refuses to seat, no matter how crazy you get with the floor pump.
That's where Specialized's Air Tool Blast comes in. It's a small tank that can be pressurized with a floor pump, and then used to quickly air up a tire in order to get it to snap into place. At $50 USD it's less expensive than an air compressor, and likely safer than going the DIY route with an old fire extinguisher or plastic soda bottle.Specialized Air Tool Blast
• Works with road and mountain tires
• Designed to seat tubeless tires without an air compressor
• Inflate with a floor pump that has a pressure gauge, operating range of 100–140 PSI (7–9.5 BAR)
• Safety valve to prevent over-inflation
• Price: $55 USD
• Contact: www.specialized.com
Operating the Air Tool Blast is about as easy as it gets. Using a floor pump that can reach at least 100, and ideally 140 psi, the device is inflated via a Shrader valve on the top of the canister. Next, connect the hose to the valve on the wheel that's being worked on – the two-sided head allows for compatibility with both Shrader and Presta valves.
Once it's connected, a quarter turn of the plastic dial is all it takes to let that air out and into the tire, an event that hopefully corresponds with the satisfying 'thwunk, thwunk' sound of a bead snapping into place.
The Air Tool Blast has come in handy on multiple occasions over the last few months, saving me the walk of shame to my local bike shop in order to make use of their air compressor. The canister's 1450cc capacity was just enough to get the job done, although there were a couple of instances that I had to go through the process two or three times to get a tire's bead to seat, typically when working with tires that had thicker, less pliable sidewalls. For the most part, though, all it took was airing up the canister and letting 'er rip to get a tire seated and mostly inflated.
If I had one request, it would be for a slightly bigger volume canister for those extra-difficult scenarios, but then you would start to run the risk of diminishing its portability, which is one of the key selling points. As it is, there's enough air to inflate a 29 x 2.5” Maxxis Minion DHF to 25psi in one go. There was still some air left in the canister at that point – the hiss from the valve on the hose when I removed it made that clear – but there wasn't enough pressure to push those few extra pounds into the tire. Pinkbike's Take
|The Air Tool Blast is an excellent, reasonably priced addition to a home workshop for those 'just in case' moments, and it's small enough to bring along on roadtrips for the very same reason. - Mike Kazimer|