I try to replace tires once they become worn and I'm always hyper aware of any glass or obstacles that could slice into my precious tires. But it's inevitable, we all get flats and you might as well be prepared.
I made the decision about three years ago to switch to C02 cartridges instead of using a frame pump, mainly because I'd become a weight weenie and I only get a few flats a year on roughly 7,000 miles. I figured anything that could shave a half pound here or there might help me get up a hill easier.
For the sake of this review, I won't expound on the best way to lose weight and obvious need to take in less calories than I burn. Suffice to say it's easier, and more fun, to buy lightweight toys and gadgets than push away that extra bowl of ice cream after dinner.
I've been using Genuine Innovations' standard air chuck for quite a while and have become quite adept at backing out (slowly unscrewing) the C02 cartridge from the inflation head. While this works very well, it takes a little bit of practice and many have been known to waste a cartridge or two during the learning process.
So when Genuine Innovations suggested I try two of their new products: the Proflate 16 and Air Chuck SL, I was quick to take them up on the offer.
I was hoping to get a flat (imagine that) for a couple weeks but instead had to resort to testing these products in the comfort of my garage. First up was the Proflate 16, which uses non-threaded cartridges within a tube like device. One obvious benefit here is the fact you can use the less-expensive non-threaded cartridges which you can buy from Genuine Innovations or any major sporting goods store.
Inflating my tube with the Proflate 16 was a pleasure. I simply dropped the cartridge into the container, screwed the inflation head on and a pressure indicator popped out letting me know I was ready to inflate. All it took was pushing the lever on the back of the unit as I placed the head over my Presta valve and, presto, I just pushed the inflation button in and could control the amount of air flow by releasing the button.
This easy inflation control is probably the best thing about the Proflate 16 as it allows you to put just a little air in, check for pinches, and then continue all the way. How many times have you pumped a tire only to realize you have a pinched tube and need to start over? Not only is this a waste of a precious cartridge but it could leave you high and dry if you have no more cartridges on the side of the road.
Other features include a built in water- and dirt-resistant shield that is automatically activated during use, auto detection of Presta and Schrader valves and a new technology, called EZ Connect/Auto Detect that automatically grips the valve when inflation starts, allowing for fast one-hand operation.
At a scant 56.42 grams, the Proflate 16 won't add much baggage to your load and is a welcome release for those that don't like the hassle of older air chucks and the resulting icy cold cartridges you must handle post-inflation. The Proflate 16 retails for a very reasonable $25.49.
Air Chuck SL
Okay, if you're not averse to dealing with an air chuck and have no qualms about spending just a little more for your threaded cartridges, the Air Chuck SL is for you. Oh, and did I mention it weighs a feather-like 21.4 grams, half of what the previous version weighed?
I found the Air Chuck SL remarkably easy to use. I simply screwed the threaded cartridge into the unit, placed the head on my Presta valve and I was ready to inflate. All I had to do was push the back of the Air Chuck, which released the air flow from the cartridge. To back off, all I had to do was stop pushing. I was very impressed with its simplicity.
The Air Chuck SL also features auto detection of Presta or Schrader valves and is compatible with 12, 16 and 25 gram cartridges. At a suggested retail of $17.99, the Air Chuck SL could be the perfect accessory for your repair bag.
For complete details on these Genuine Innovation products and others, please visit www.genuineinnovations.com or call 800-340-1050, Ext. 131.