I can usually mount tubeless tires of all varieties with a floor pump. The outliers simply require a few extra steps: dab post-maniacal floor pumping sweat from my brow, apologize to neighbors for my language, and fire up my damn compressor to get the tire seated and put the infuriating situation behind me. Of course, compressors aren’t always practical, or portable. Enter the SKS RideAir.
The unassuming cylinder is not much larger than a water bottle, but it has the capability to store compressed air and release it on demand for tubeless setups. The RideAir was developed to meet the demands of mountain, road and touring tire configurations, and is offered in two versions. The standard option shown here sells for $69, and a RideAir with an integrated combination cable-lock sells for $79.
Built from an aluminum and plastic construction, the RideAir weighs 440 grams (an eyelash under one pound) and is shaped to fit inside a frame’s water bottle holder. The RideAir can be pressurized by attaching a floor pump capable of pressures over 200 psi to the canister’s Schrader valve, or by connecting the canister to a traditional air compressor. A gauge near the top of the canister indicates how much pressure has built up inside the device. I was able to consistently get it over 200 psi with my high-pressure floor pump, but the last few aneurysm-inducing pumps to get there were no treat.
The RideAir hose is designed for a schrader valve, so you’ll need to use the included presta adaptor. Once you’ve inflated the canister, just screw on the hose and adapter and press the silver button to inflate.
Despite the pressurized air inside, the RideAir doesn’t produce the same surge of air inside as a standard air compressor. It has a more controlled release, gradually forcing air into the tire and getting the bead seated against the rim. It often took all of the air inside the canister to get the tire partially seated. I’d then attach my floor pump to finish the job by inflating the tire to around 45 psi, ensuring it was seated evenly around the rim.
For the past couple of months I used RideAir for nearly every tire installation or repair, including with some often challenging DH tires. That’s a lot of sweaty brows averted. After several instances where the RideAir helped get a stubborn tubeless tire mounted, the little canister became a worthy companion for bike-related travel. The ability to have a portable, refillable, and simple way to force air into a pig-headed tubeless tire can be an asset for remote camping and riding outings, bikepacking trips, race weekends and not bombarding your neighbors with colorful language.
$69 / sks-germany.com