The joy of getting a tubeless tyre inflated using a track pump alone is sadly a rare thing. To make life easier there are a number of options for home tubeless inflators from using several CO2 canisters, ghetto systems of coke bottles or fire extinguishers, a track pump with an integrated secondary chamber, such as the Lezyne Overdrive, or a stand-alone charger system.
Pro Bike Gear’s (Shimano’s accessory brand) Team Compressor is a charger system akin to the Airshot and those home-made devices. You charge it up with a track pump, attach to your wheel’s valve, open the lever and let the high pressure / high volume air rush in to seat the tyre. It looks like a portly track pump, has a reassuring weight and sits stably on the floor. It’s nicely solid, and unlike the lightweight Airshot it doesn’t fall over while you’re trying to use it. Nor make me nervous when charging it up to its maximum pressure.
The Team Compressor charges through attaching your track pump via a Schrader valve. The space for the valve attachment is a bit tight so it needs a bit of a jiggle to ensure there’s a good fit. You leave your track pump attached once it’s charged up. This makes the system a bit cumbersome so it needs a bit of space and organisation before you start. Keeping the track pump attached means you can top up the volume of the tyre to make sure it’s fully seated or adjust to the right pressure without having to disconnect and reconnect valves. Each charge of compressed air will seat one tyre – depending on its size – up to 40psi. On most attempts I got a 29 x 2.3in tyre to about 35psi.
Overall the Team Compressor performs pretty well. I’ve tried it with a combination of four different rims and two different brands of tyre in both 29in and 27.5in flavours. There was only one combination that I didn’t manage to seat with it after several attempts (a 30mm rim and Schwalbe tyre). A few more combinations took a couple of goes and I learned the hard way that if you didn’t inflate the Team Compressor to the full 160psi then it didn’t work as well. In comparison, an Airshot or my ghetto’d fire extinguisher inflated all of my test combinations first time.
The volume of the Team Compressor is about 25% greater than the Airshot (80 vs. 60 pumps of my track pump from empty to 160psi) so in fact it should have performed better as it can deliver a greater volume of high pressure. I don’t have the machinery to measure, but my perception was that the Pro was less effective as it didn’t discharge the air at the same speed as the Airshot or as the fire extinguisher – it didn’t sound as if the air rushed out as quickly – so the air surge just wasn’t great enough to always get the tyre to seat.
My tried and tested approach is the ghetto fire extinguisher I picked up from a fire safety company for a fiver and adapted with a bit of tubing. It works really well; I’ve never had a tyre that I haven’t been able to seat with it on the first attempt and it will do several tyres without recharging. The Pro doesn’t compete with its performance but it is far less cumbersome and fits in the car boot, so it gets utilised much more on trips away.
In my experience, the Pro Team Compressor works well, but there were some moments of frustration with certain rim/tyre combinations that just wouldn’t inflate. In comparison, the brilliant Airshot delivered more consistent inflation performance. That said, the Pro Team Compressor is a reassuringly solid tubeless charger system that is compact and sturdy.
|Tested:||by Rachel Sokal for 4 months|