While my mini-pump advertised the capacity for 110psi, my tiny cyclist arms refuse to get there. Using the Topeak Airbooster Extreme is super-easy and gives rock-hard tyres when needed most. A brilliant triathlon or time trial package.
As mentioned above, my pumping ability is awful. Larger teammates always have to help me out. So when I attached the canister to the valve and the tyre just inflated, I could instantly see the appeal.
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The ease of inflation is helped in no small part by the excellent adapter that Topeak supplies with the kit. Firstly, the canister is screwed into the adapter via the perfectly CNC machined threaded end. Then you press the other end to your valve. How could it be easier?
The adapter features a nifty pressure regulator that releases more C02 when you apply more force against the valve. I found this incredibly useful to get the tyre seated initially so that I could check for any pinch in the tube. Once seated, I could then inflate the tyre up past 100psi with the C02 left. That's quite reassuring as it means you can top up the tyre should any further deflation occur.
The parts can then clip back into their mounts or be stored in a jersey pocket for later. Once the canister has run out, you'll need a replacement. Topeak's instruction manual states that any 16g canister can be used, which should keep costs down.
As C02 is a gas, it's worth remembering your GCSE science lessons. It will escape much faster than normal air, especially under such pressure. As I run latex inner tubes, this occurred overnight, so it's worth bearing in mind that you'll need to find a track pump before your next ride. However, out on the road after three hours, there was no tangible loss of pressure.
One issue I found was the lack of insulation around the canister. Both the canister and adapter get incredibly cold as soon as pressure is released. This is fine if you can wrap the canister with a mitt but that's not always possible, especially in a triathlon. I've also been testing a Bontrager C02 kit which includes a rubber sleeve for the canister, so it's a little annoying that Topeak has missed such a simple and quick fix.
Out on the bike, while waiting for a puncture, the kit sits nicely under the saddle. A simple yet sturdy mounting kit comes supplied or you can just pop the parts in your saddle bag or pockets. The 164g feels heavy in your hand but has no impact once on the bike. The mounting options are on the saddle rails or on the top tube. Both were easy to install and then access, but my preferred option was under the saddle. With the kit out of sight I forgot it was there. I did, however, end up putting the canister and adapter in my saddle bag. For general riding and training, I was happier with it protected against the rain.
> Read our guide to the best pumps and CO2 inflators
Overall, this kit has not only impressed me but also changed my views on the use of C02. I'd look at it now as a viable option for all riders, not just as a racing package for TTs and triathlon. I've now got the adaptor and a canister in my saddle bag. Although this type of product is one that, ideally, you'd never use, the Topeak performed perfectly and with its excellent build quality, it should last well beyond that one time where you really need it. Just be careful you don't freeze your fingers off!
Provides a race day package for Sunday and quick puncture fixes for the Monday-Friday commute
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Make and model: Topeak Airbooster Extreme
Size tested: 10.7x5.8x5.5cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From the Topeak website:
"This race ready combo inflation kit is compact and completely self-contained, featuring a Micro AirBooster CO2 inflator and two 16g CO2 cartridges held securely together with a high quality silicone strap and a rider supplied inner tube. The included F25 QuickClick™ saddle rail fixer and top tube mount allow fast, easy on / off and swapping between bikes."
Topeak states it is race ready, which it is, but it's also a great kit for everyday use. Having the kit means you can have the quickest TT/tri racing fix on Sunday, then pop the parts in your saddle bag for the Monday commute.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From the Topeak website:
"Head Presta / Schrader
Push to inflate
Inflator CNC aluminum
Attachments QuickClick™ F25
Top tube mount
Added Features 2 threaded 16g CO2 cartridges
Compartment for CO2 inflator & cartridges
Size (L x W x H) 10.7 x 5.8 x 5.5 cm /
4.2' x 2.3' x 2.2'
Weight 172 g / 6.07 oz (w/ Fixer)
Rate the product for quality of construction:
CNC machined aluminium thread is very nicely constructed. The regulator is also very easy to use for seating the tyre.
Rate the product for performance:
The tyre inflates very easily. If a first timer like me can use it, anyone can. Also has enough C02 for mistakes to be corrected. Only drawback is lack of protection from coldness of the canister.
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
167g is not a lot to add onto a TT bike. For training (and commuting/general riding), you can also leave your mini pump at home.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Canister is c-c-c-cold on the hands.
Rate the product for value:
A tricky one as you can buy the individual parts for the same price, and save a little money if you don't want the mounts. However, the purpose of the kit is to provide a race day package with several mounting options. And with that in mind it's good value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When not in use, you can forget that it's there. When you need a fully inflated tyre, this is the fastest way to 100psi.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The pressure regulator means that seating the tyre is a breeze. The surplus of C02 is also a good contingency against mistakes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
That canister gets ridiculously cold and Topeak doesn't supply a simple fix to a simple problem.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Easy to use, easy to get rock hard tyres, and versatile beyond Topeak's description. Only let down by the lack of hand protection against the super-cold canister.
Age: 22 Height: 1.77 Weight: 61kg
I usually ride: Rose Xeon RS My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
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