The Genuine Innovations AirChuck CO2 Inflator is a simple and efficient way to get air into your tyres quickly; it's a little on the expensive side but is good quality and should last.
- Pros: Simplicity, light
- Cons: No freeze protection
I've been using an earlier (brass bodied) version of this inflator for over a decade now, and with the low cost of replacement cartridges, I can't really think of a reason not to use them in preference to a hand pump when out on a ride.
The Genuine Innovations name is synonymous with well-engineered products, and the AirChuck is no exception. Sean reviewed the Ultraflate recently, which offers more control but is a bit bulkier to carry in a jersey pocket.
The AirChuck is directly compatible with both Presta and Schrader valves, so there's no swapping out of components if you happen to have bikes with both valve types.
The chuck works very well in that there is no wastage of CO2, so don't expect to hear a hiss as you screw a cartridge in to pierce it, just turn it all the way home.
With the chuck attached to the tyre valve, and using a firm hand, the release of CO2 happens by overcoming the AirChuck's spring-loaded valve. At this stage you have to be ready for a bit of a shock as the metal cartridge body becomes instantly very cold and can sometimes stick to the skin. It could really do with a sleeve of some sort, or you can always wear gloves.
It's not designed to be controllable like some (including the Ultraflate) – you can change how hard the chuck/head is pressed down against the spring pressure to adjust the flow, but it fully inflates a tyre within the space of two or three seconds, so it's quite hard to determine just how hard to push down until you've checked the tyre pressure with a gauge, and where necessary topped up with another quick blast of CO2.
The AirChuck comes with two threaded canisters, a 16g and 20g (the labels refer to the weight of the gas; the canisters themselves are far heavier than their names imply). The 16g, said to be suitable for 'small to medium tyres', inflated a 25mm 700C tyre to 100psi with some left in reserve, as did the 20g, retaining enough CO2 to top up a tyre that had a very slow puncture. Another 20g canister did the job on a 29er mountain bike tyre.
Overall, the AirChuck is a simple and reliable device. The Ultraflate does address any misgivings you might have about gas leaking from this type of inflator and is more controllable, though I had no problems with the AirChuck, and I really like its simplicity. The Ultraflate might also be cheaper, but it does only come with one canister – though there's no denying the £7.99 B'Twin beats them both on value.
This design has stood the test of time; it's simple to use, good quality and should last
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Genuine Innovations AirChuck CO2 Inflator
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for
Inflating tyres, quickly.
GI distributor ZyroFisher says, "The perfect product for the racer or those wanting the lightest kit possible, the all-metal Air Chuck weighs a scant 16g. Using Push-To-Inflate technology, the Air Chuck slips straight onto Schraeder or Presta valves and is supplied with both a 20g and 16g threaded cartridges for greater versatility."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The head of the AirChuck is made of aluminium and uses a simple spring-loaded valve to retain the contents of a CO2 cartridge.
Surface anodised for protection from corrosion.
Faultless in getting CO2 into your tyre, if not easily controllable, and beware the cold canister...
Too early to tell but it looks durable and older versions have stood the test of time.
Could have done with a cartridge sock.
Genuine Innovations' own Ultraflate is £19.99, and is controllable (though you only get one 20g CO2 cartridge); B'Twin's is £7.99...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
No wasted gas.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Could have done with a cartridge sock to protect the hands, but not really a problem.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Absolutely
Use this box to explain your overall score
It performed without fault, and if my previous version is anything to go by it'll prove reliable in the longterm – maybe more so than more complicated designs. It could do with a protective case, but otherwise, is simple and efficient.
About the tester
I usually ride: Fondriest Domino carbon 55cm My best bike is: Vincenti Dabitur track bike
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, fixed/singlespeed, track