When on the trail the likely hood of a puncture is pretty random, and often out of our control. But when it happens, especially in a race, its a great idea to have a reliable solution to hand. SKS the German pump manufacturer has a range of solutions and the first in our series of pump tests is the Airbuster gas inflation tool. We tested the inflation tool when we were in Punta Ala during our mass product test, we had a few punctures at various times so it was great to have this to hand.
The Airbuster uses Co2 gas cans to inflate the tyre, there is no other way of pumping. This type of solution is normally used for high speed inflation in a race situation or for those riders who don’t wish to carry around too much weight. We actually like this type of solution especially when riding Enduro without a back pack as it can be easily kept in your shorts or jersey top.
The Airbuster is a very simple inflation device and there is not much to it. It has two valves and one screw in point where the gas can attaches to. One valve opens the gas flow, the other pushes onto the tyre valve and is reversible so it fits all valve types. The gas cans have a rubber covering which means they are easy to grip when screwing into the Airbuster and also reduce the effect of cold when the gas is released. The body of the Airbuster is aluminium and felt good quality the threads are good quality and everything screwed in easily and without fuss.
Using the Airbuster on the trail was easy, we stopped to fix a puncture on a 27.5″ Enduro tyre measured at 2.35″. We needed two cans to fill the tyre completely, we estimate that only one can is needed for 2.1″ tyres or XC tyres. The flow can be operated very easily so we could start the inflation process slowly to ensure the valve was home properly on the tyre so no air was lost. Once inflated we continued our ride. It was the simply re-stowed back in our pocket.
Quick inflation requires a quick solution, the Airbuster in our view is ideal and is simple to operate. We particularly liked the way the valve opens and is very controllable, so the gas wont escape as you can control it if the valve isn’t on properly, which can happen if you are trying to inflate in a hurry. We though found the way it fitted onto the tube valve good. So that outcome is un-likely. We liked the fact the cans were covered in rubber made it easier to grip n the damp and with gloves, plus the cold effect was reduced somewhat when the can was in our hands. The SKS Airbuster then is perfect for emergency inflation and now an essential in our Enduro backpack. We recommend though carrying three cans, two for inflation and one back-up can.