Compressed air canisters have been around for a while, used for multiple applications. For biking, they’re usually a one-off deal: it’s good to fill one tire. If you blow two, you’re screwed — one canister is unlikely to get a second tire up to pressure. And no one wants to huff and puff with a regular hand pump, which is unlikely to get you up to full pressure anyway. One company got tired of that nonsense, and launched the RideAir, a 650ml refillable multi-use portable tank for compressed air.
Let’s start with the obvious. A canister system is about 20 bucks. A case of canister goes for about $30. How fast you use 16 canisters depends on how often you ride, but whenever you’re out you’ll have added that many canisters to a landfill somewhere and you’ll have to plunk down another $30 for a case. Besides the fact they’re really intended for bikes; not balls or balloons.
RideAir is refillable, so you’re sparing the landfill and your pockets. Pop by a gas station after you’ve filled up your tires and make sure you’re always prepared. Even better: with a pin you can use it to refill more than just tires (think balls, balloons and other inflatables).
The business end of the RideAir tank has a PSI gauge and an inflation tube to connect the tank to the tire valve. RideAir is designed to fit neatly in a bike’s water bottle cage and has a coiled four-foot cable that fits into a combination lock on the bottom of the tank, so you can tie it to your frame when you lock up your bike.
This writer would prefer a miniature version that could fit in it’s own smaller holder, a rear shirt pocket, or even one slim enough to fit in a bike pump holder, but for a first version RideAir is certainly better than straining with a regular pump or heading out to do a group century on rough roads with only a canister or two and hoping for the best. Projected retail is $70, but you can grab one for $60 is you become a backer. Considering the recent failure of the Kickstand Pump, we’ll need to keep our fingers crossed for this one. If you agree, back RideAir on Kickstarter. If you don’t, feel free to tell us why in the comments.