When it comes to inflating bike tires on the road, there are two options: a compact hand pump that requires some exertion, or a single-use CO2 cartridge. New York-based DesignAir Innovations, however, has created another one. It's called RideAir, and it's refillable portable compressed air pump.
You start by charging the RideAir via its inlet valve, using a powered air compressor at a gas station, bike shop or elsewhere. You can also use your own manual bicycle floor pump at home. Its 650-mL (22-oz) aluminum air tank can hold up to 300 psi (21 bar), with a built-in dial gauge displaying its current pressure. You then stick it in your backpack, or in a standard-size water bottle bottle cage.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Should you subsequently discover that one of your tires is a bit soft – either from natural seepage or from a slow leak – you just pull over, pull out the RideAir's inflation tube, attach it to the tire's valve stem, then hold down the inflate button until the tire is firm. It's Schrader valve-ready, and comes with a Presta valve adapter.
No hand-pumping is required, and it can fill a completely flat tire within seconds. Once you've used up its current compressed air supply (which should be good for at least a couple of tire-inflations), you just fill it up again.
The device is waterproof, weighs about one pound (0.5 kg), and additionally features a 4-foot (1.2-m) combination cable lock built into the bottom to keep both it and your bike secured when left unattended.
While it certainly looks like less work than a hand pump, and is reusable unlike a CO2 cartridge, it's definitely a little on the big side – particularly for something you hopefully won't need to use very often. DesignAir states that it could also be utilized for tasks such as inflating sports equipment and inflatable toys, which does add to its value.
The RideAir is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, with a pledge of US$45 getting you one when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is $70.
You can see it in use, in the video below.