By Stan Purdum
- Lightweight and portable 12-volt compressor
- Stores enough air to provide blast for seating bicycle tubeless tires
- Inflator unit provides easy-to-control air flow
- Works for bicycle and motor vehicle tires up to 100 psi
- Inflator unit has 120 psi gauge, and will also work separately to check tire pressure
- Inflator unit has bleeder valve to release air from tire
- Separate Presta and Schrader chucks
- Presta chuck is easy to disassemble to clean out sealant buildup from tubeless tire inflation
- Presta chuck uses standard O-rings if rebuild is required
- Powered via vehicle cigarette lighter or power port rated for 15-amps, which most automotive cigarette lighters and power ports offer.
- Power cord is 10-feet long
- 30-foot inside braided polyurethane coil air hose included
- Pump resides in a sturdy metal case that has web fabric handle
- Accessories in zippered carry bag
- Since there is no provided way to power the TLC Lite by AC current, it’s not a good choice as a stand-alone shop compressor, but it’s not intended for that purpose
- The TLC Lite is unlikely to work with cigarette lighters or power ports rated for less than 15-amps
Available here: https://viairbike.com/products/tlc-lite-compressor-kit
How obtained: Provided by Viair
RBR Advertiser: No
The day the TLC Lite Compressor Kit from Viair arrived on my doorstep, I took the time to read the directions and familiarize myself with the accessories, but I had other matters more pressing, so I didn’t begin testing it right away. I put the kit in my car, waiting for a more opportune time.
Although I was interested in the TLC Lite compressor for inflating bicycle tires, as things worked out, while driving home from an errand the next day, my car’s low-tire-pressure light came on. I stopped long enough to determine that none of the tires were flat, and as I wasn’t far from home, I drove the rest of the way. But once there, I used the TLC’s inflator gun, which has a 120-psi gauge to check the pressure in all four tires, finding that both the rear tires were low.
So I hooked up the compressor, plugging it into my car’s power port and running the engine (as Viair recommends to avoid draining the vehicle battery). I used the 90-degree twist-on Schrader attachment to add air to both tires, quickly bringing them back up to the recommended pressure. The 30-foot air hose made reaching the tires easy. The hose recoils on its own to make fitting it back into the carry bag afterward a snap.
No doubt, I’ll eventually need to have the tires checked for slow leaks, but in the meantime, having the Viair compressor with me gives me peace of mind regarding the tires.
A few days later, I used the compressor again, this time with the provided Presta chuck, to inflate several bicycle tires and to verify that the compressor will indeed seat tubeless bike tires. The Presta chuck is a precision-tooled brass attachment that can be rotated 360 degrees once engaged in the inflator’s quick-connect coupler. The ability to rotate the chuck means the user can always read the inflator’s gauge.
This page includes a video that will help you visualize how to use the TLC Lite.
Viair has been in business since 1998 and its compressors and components have become the industry standard for both 12-volt and 24-volt automotive aftermarket applications worldwide. Their products come with a one-year warranty. Post-warranty repairs are available from Viair at the customer’s expense.
The compressor works as advertised and is a handy device for on-road, off-road and in-driveway tire inflations for bicycles and motor vehicles.
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, lives in Ohio. See more at www.StanPurdum.com.