Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that are the best. And when they’re cheap too, well, you’ve potentially got yourself something that riders are going to find very appealing.
Swiss brand milKit, inventor of that super clever tubeless valve system, had a new product to show off at iceBike*, and it’s called the Booster.
Tubeless tyre inflators are a dime a dozen these days. The need is there – inflating a tubeless tyre from scratch can be a highly frustrating experience, because more often than not, you need a big burst of air pressure to help pop the tyre’s beads into place in the rim. Most people don’t own an air compressor, and using CO2 inflators is both wasteful and not always a guaranteed solution.
Although there are plenty of inflators on the market, milKit thinks it has a better, more compact and cheaper solution – and one that you can easily take with you on the trail.
The ‘Booster’ is made of two components; an alloy bottle
that’s manufactured by SIGG (Update: we’ve just had SIGG UK contact us to inform us that they don’t manufacture the bottle, which is not what we were originally told. milKit has also confirmed that the information we received was incorrect – the bottle is made by a different manufacturer, but with the same thread pitch and overall shape as a SIGG bottle) and a threaded inflator that threads into the top.
Weighing just 19g, the inflator will cost £24.99 on its own, or £39.99-£42.99 with the Booster bottle. According to milKit, because the Booster inflator uses the same thread as a SIGG bottle, you could BYO bottle. More on that down below…
The inflator shown here isn’t the production version – this blue one is actually 3D printed, but the overall shape and design is representative of what the finished product will look like when they arrive in stores in March 2018.
The concept is simple. You thread the inflator onto the bottle, fit your pump head onto the valve, and inflate to 160psi. You remove the pump head, then push the inflator onto the valve on your wheel, and the air rushes through the valve into the tyre, seating the tubeless beads in the process.
Pius – the founder and lead design engineer for milKit – claims that the small threaded inflator offers a much more direct line for the air to rush through into the tyre. Compared to other inflators that use extendable hoses that can result in pressure loss, this more compact design is more efficient for the delivery of that burst of air that helps to pop the tyre into place.
We shot a video with Pius to show how the milKit Booster works – check it out in the above video clip to see just how simple the process is.
The Booster will be available with two different size bottles that can also be purchased separately; 1000ml (£19.99) and 600ml (£16.99). Both use the same standard diameter that means they’ll slot right into your bottle cage. But here’s where it gets interesting; because the bottle is made with the same thread pitch as a SIGG bottle, you could fit a standard drinking cap to it. There’s even a threaded adapter that connects to a drinking tube like you’d find on a hydration bladder.
So use it as an actual water bottle on your ride, and if you do get a puncture and need to re-seat your tyre, whip the inflator out of your jersey pocket or backpack, and you’re laughing – how neat is that!
The milKit Booster will be selling for £24.99 in the UK through Madison, and it’s due to arrive within the next month or so.
Because milKit is selling the bottles and inflators separately, hypothetically, if you already owned a SIGG bottle, you could just buy the Booster inflator on its own and use it with your current bottle. Of course SIGG definitely do not recommend this, and milKit can’t ‘officially’ recommend it either…
In other news, milKit also had a great display showing off its unique tubeless valve system. These clever valves are designed with a one-way plunger that allows you to insert a thin hose through the valve to suck out sealant without actually releasing any air pressure from the tyre. The concept was to create a system that allows you to easily check the sealant levels inside your tyre. Because sealant dries out, and when it does dry out, it won’t do the job it’s meant to. The milKit system allows you to periodically check the sealant levels inside your tyres without any need for actually taking the tyre bead off the rim to physically look inside the rim.
For more information on the tubeless valve system or the Booster inflator, head to the milKit website.