Specialized Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter

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Tested: Specialized Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Photos by Carl Gray

These days, setting up tubeless tires usually goes fairly easily. For times when you need an air compressor to pop that difficult tire on the bead and you are away from the shop, you can find yourself out of luck and fighting an uphill battle with only a floor pump. Specialized recently released the Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter – a product that is designed to take the air compressor out of the equation and give people one more trick up their sleeves while keeping things simple.

Air Tool Blast Highlights

  • Removes the necessity for an air compressor when Read More »

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Photos by Carl Gray

These days, setting up tubeless tires usually goes fairly easily. For times when you need an air compressor to pop that difficult tire on the bead and you are away from the shop, you can find yourself out of luck and fighting an uphill battle with only a floor pump. Specialized recently released the Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter – a product that is designed to take the air compressor out of the equation and give people one more trick up their sleeves while keeping things simple.

Air Tool Blast Highlights

  • Removes the necessity for an air compressor when installing tubeless tires
  • Inflates with a floor pump that has a pressure gauge
  • 100 to 140 psi (7–9.5 bar) operating range
  • Build-in safety pressure relief valve to protect from over inflation
  • Portable design
  • Works with road and mountain tubeless tires
  • Presta or schrader valve compatible
  • MSRP $55 USD

We have to say, the Blast was something that we needed. We've made our share of homemade tubeless tires setters at races over the years using two-liter bottles, valve stems, and some hose. The word "sketchy" doesn’t really do it justice. Trusting homemade DIY projects felt like a accident waiting to happen, and left one friend who found the pressure limit of a two-liter bottle with some ringing ears and a close call with plastic shrapnel. Who really wants to deal with that?

At 1,450 cubic centimeters of volume, the canister sits vertically on a stamped metal foot, and can be pressurized with a standard floor pump using the one-way schrader valve fill port on the top. The air hose is then attached to the tire’s valve stem. Specialized has designed in a dual head feature that accommodates both presta and schrader valves. The fill hose measures approximately 31-inches long and gives a sufficient length to work with. You then can use your floor pump’s air pressure gauge to monitor the tank while you pump to your desired pressure. A 90-degree hand switch on top opens the pressurized tank and dumps the air into the hose, filling the tire.

Specialized added a safety valve on the bottom of the air chamber to protect users from over-inflating the cylinder to dangerous pressures. A plastic handle is integrated into the top of the Blast so you can carry it and place it in your work area easier.

We get a little inquisitive and curious with new products, so the first thing we did was fill it up to 100 psi to see how it depressurized with just the hose venting to open air. The dump switch was rotated and a steady hiss of pressurized air came out of the hose for about 15 seconds, tapering down to a slow hiss towards the end. It is not the most aggressive release of air and we were actually a little surprised about the lack of flow that came from the hose for 100 psi. We re-pressurized up to the full 140 psi, repeated the test, and did notice a bit more of a powerful flow. After the two tests, it almost seemed like there was a flow orifice that controlled the flow out of the tank as to not be too fast and aggressive. On that, it would just have to be put to the test and tried out on some tires.

On The Trail / In The Shop

Whenever we're away from an air compressor, there's always a flip-of-the-coin feeling when it comes to tire changes and tubeless setups. Traveling to races, riding trips and just your normal days on the trail don’t really afford the luxuries of lugging around a fully charged, heavy air compressor just incase a tubeless tire needs to be set. Sometimes you can get a tire to seat with only a floor pump, but sometimes doesn’t cut it when you need it most. It was a nice peace of mind having the Blast packed in the truck.

It took us about 45 seconds of continuous pumping with a Specialized floor pump to fill the cylinder up to the max pressure of 140 psi. Once there, you just flip the dump switch and the tire inflates and pops onto the bead. We found that using the maximum pressure of 140 psi gave the best results on our wheels - usually 2.4-inch 27.5 tires. Most tires saw a pressure of about 25 psi after the Blast was fully discharged and equalized. If pressure began rising too much after the bead was set or there was an issue where you needed to stop (users with lower volume road and cyclocross tires could come across this scenario) a simple twist of the dump switch will cut off flow to the tire and stop the tire from being over pressurized.

To date we have not come across a tire that we couldn’t seat using the Blast. We did find that it works best after removing your tubeless presta valve core, however, which lets the air rush into the tire faster. Once the bead was set, the presta valve can then be re-installed without loosing all the pressure in the tire.

Things That Can Be Improved

While we haven’t had an issue with the Blast’s slightly less than expected flow at 140 psi, it still has us a little concerned for that time when we run into a very stubborn tire/wheel combo – possibly a wire beaded downhill tire that is very stiff and has been stored with some creases or bends in the bead. Riders running tubeless setups have all fought these battles –even an air compressor with lots of pressure and a high flow rate can still give you problems and leave you with enough frustration to throw the tire right in the trash. We feel like the 1,450cc tank on the Blast could struggle a bit more in these scenarios as it doesn’t have the oomph or flow duration that most air compressors can achieve.

What’s The Bottom Line?

The Specialized Air Tool Blast has been a great addition to the tools we bring along on our riding adventures. At just $55, it can keep your garage and race packing simple by taking the compressor (and sketchy homemade creations) out of the equation. Barring that your wheel and tire bead are in poor shape, we feel the Blast can tackle just about any tire mount. While you might not always need the Blast, its small foot print and easy packability make it a no-brainer to add to your tool collection.

Visit www.specialized.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Nick Zuzelski began riding motocross at a young age, a sport that would eventually lead him to the world of downhill. As a Colorado native, racing downhill, dual slalom, or a chill dirt jump session was never far away, and he eventually worked his way up the ranks to the Pro level. Now residing in Eastern Pennsylvania, he recently changed it up from the Rocky Mountain dust to East Coast loam, world class dirt jumps, and rocks... lots of rocks. If a trail has fast flow and some fun gaps, he is grinning ear to ear and getting after it. Living by the assumption that basically everything feels better with a short stem and wide bars, you can count on him keeping it real with a laid back attitude and flat pedals most of the time. Mechanical Engineer by trade, rider by heart, he enjoys riding it, finding out how it works, and making it better.

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Specifications

Product Specialized Air Tool Blast Tubeless Tire Setter
Tool Type For the Garage
Features - Removes the necessity for an air compressor when installing tubeless tires.
- Portable design blasts air into your tubeless tires for fast and easy set-up.
- Works with road, mountain, and 6Fattie tubeless tires.
- Inflate with a floor pump that has a pressure gauge, operating range of 100–140 PSI (7–9.5 BAR).
- Safety valve protects canister from over inflation.
Miscellaneous
Price $55
More Info

​Specialized website

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