by Stan Purdum
If you ride a recent model mountain bike or gravel bike, you’ve probably already dealt with tubeless tires. Road tubeless wheels and tires are also making inroads. Once you make the switch to tubeless tires on any of your bikes, you’ll discover that mounting them using just the floor pump you used for regular tires with tubes is not easy and often impossible. Seating tubeless tires correctly is best accomplished with an instant high-volume shot of air, something regular floor pumps can’t deliver. An air compressor can, of course, but that’s not something you always have available, especially when away from home.
The good news is that there are now options for standalone floor pumps that are designed to deliver that needed air shot for seating tubeless tires, so that you don’t have to buy or use a compressor.
Below are some tubeless friendly floor pumps we’ve found that accommodate both Presta and Schrader valves. Note: These also work perfectly well as regular floor pumps. They just have the additional feature of shooting a quick blast of air to help seat your tubeless tire if you need to put on a new one. So if you only wanted to own a single pump for all your bikes, one of these would still work for you.
Giant Control Tanks Tubeless Inflator, $63
The Control Tank from Giant is made to be pumped up using a standard floor pump. It has a pressure release valve to prevent over filling it, but once filled, it delivers 1450cc of air instantly to seat a tubeless tire on the rim. Once that is accomplished, you switch back to your standard pump to inflate the tire to the desired pressure. Two feet provide a stable base and the steel tank construction offers long-lasting service.
Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump, $119.99
Trek’s Bontrager Flash Charger TLR is an all-in-one unit: a pressurized chamber to provide the instant air shot for tire-seating purposes combined with a conventional floor pump for filling the chamber and inflating the tire to the desired pressure after the air from the chamber has seated it in your rim. Both the pump and chamber are mounted on a stable base with a top-mounted 160-psi gauge.
Specialized Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter, $55
Fill the Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter using your existing floor pump (as long as it has an operating range of 100–140 psi). The tank’s safety valve will keep you from overfilling it. Specialized says the “updated head design has 40% higher airflow, making it easy to seal the most stubborn wheel and tire combinations.” Presumably, Specialized mean it’s 40% higher than head designs on its standard pumps.
Blackburn Chamber Tubeless Floor Pump, $149.99 MSRP
Also available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2EsZVAn
A combo unit with a pressurized chamber you fill using the attached floor pump. Then flip the switch and all the air from the chamber floods the tire, seating it immediately. And because it’s always a good idea not to stand near the wheel in case of tire failure during the instant inflation, the Chamber Tubeless Floor Pump has a four-foot hose, letting you send the instant shot from a distance. Once the tire’s seated, flip the switch back to bypass the chamber and you can top the tire pressure up accurately with the 2.75-inch top-mounted analog gauge. The Anyvalve pump head works not only with Presta and Schrader valves but also with Dunlop valves, which are more common in Europe and Japan.
Topeak Joeblow Booster, MSRP $127
Also available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2U4kh8x
Topeak’s Joeblow Booster is half air compressor and half pump. Fill the air compressor chamber using the attached pump and then deliver a tire-seating shot — up to 160 psi — to the tire. When you flip the selector from “charge” to “inflate” mode, air bypasses the chamber and flows directly into your tire like a standard pump. Includes a top-mounted analog gauge, an air release button, an extra-long hose and a stable base.
Crankbrothers Klic Floor Pump Analog (or Digital) + Burst Tank
$200 MSRP on Crankbrothers’ site, but both analog and digital versions available for less elsewhere
Also available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2EqRW6O
Although Crankbrothers’ Klic Floor Pump Analog (or Digital) + Burst Tank is similar in function to other combo units in that it combines a high-pressure chamber with a standard floor pump, it has some unique features. For one, whether you choose the analog or digital gauge model, the gauge is stored in the middle of the handle and is attached to the hose which extends down the inside of the handle shaft. When you want to use the unit, you pull out the gauge and hose and attach it either to top of the burst tank — if filling that is your intent — or directly near the top of the pump if you’re using it as a conventional pump. The burst tank is removable for easy transport. Because the hose fits into the handle shaft, it is quite short, meaning you cannot be far from the wheel when you release the tire-seating burst of air.
Serfas AF-1 Air Force One Air Canister, MSRP $70
Also available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2U30SEN
Fill the Serfas AF-1 Air Force One Air Canister to 140-160 psi using your existing floor pump. Then, with the short hose connected to your tire valve, release the accumulated pressure all at once to seat your tire instantly. You can fine-tune the pressure using your floor pump still connected to the Serfas AF-1 or directly from you pump.
Lezyne Digital Pressure Overdrive, $164.99 MSRP
Also available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2GYXvLs
This integrated system is designed to seat tubeless tires. The secondary chamber is manually pressurized with the attached pump. A foot-lever discharges a strong, continued blast of air through an extra-long nylon-reinforced braided hose that quickly seats tubeless tires. Available with your choice of an analog or digital gauge. The chuck not only fits Schrader and Presta valves, but also functions as wrench to unscrew removable stems from Presta valves, allowing you to inject slime through that portal.
While the Pressure Overdrive can be used as a standard floor pump, Lezyne states this caveat: “When using the Pressure Over Drive as a regular pump, air has to fill the chamber before it will start to fill an empty tire/tube. This may take numerous strokes before the tire/tube begins to inflate. When topping off a tube/tire that already has pressure in it, the chamber will have to reach the same pressure the tire/tube is at first before it will begin to inflate it further.”
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Stan Purdum has ridden several long-distance bike trips, including an across-America ride recounted in his book Roll Around Heaven All Day, and a trek on U.S. 62, from Niagara Falls, New York, to El Paso, Texas, the subject of his book Playing in Traffic. Stan, a freelance writer and editor, and Methodist minister, lives in New Jersey. See more at www.StanPurdum.com.