Tubeless tyres are great. They hardly ever deflate suddenly and when you do get a puncture, you can usually ride to the next puncture guy as long as you have some air in the tyre. But what if you have no air? ResQTech’s new tyre inflator is the solution to that exact problem.
What is it?
The company has a range of vehicle washing products and the Micro Tyre Inflator is their latest product and an expansion of the line. It is an air pump encased in a small plastic box with an embedded tyre pressure gauge and the wiring you need to connect the pump to the tyre cable and to a power source. All that in a box that fits in the palm of my hand. Hence the micro. The maximum inflation capacity is rated as 80PSI which means it should work for most private vehicles. The company also offers a one year warranty.
How does it work?
In the box is a power cord that ends in a cigarette lighter socket plug and a second power cord that ends in battery terminals. Use whichever is convenient to power the pump which has an SAE style plug for power. Out of the box comes a thicker, short tube that ends in a screw in connection to the tyre valve.
Once connected, an LED lights up to let you know the pump is receiving power. I suspect that if the LED were on the exact other side of the box it might be more useful – it would light up the valve area. Just remember to let your motorcycle idle while you use the pump lest it runs your battery down. For big machines, the tube length might also be just a wee bit short – on my Street Triple (180 section rear tyre), the box rested on the rim rather than the ground.
Now click the yellow toggle switch and the pump clatters to life and starts to inflate the tyre. Air pumps are rarely quiet and this one isn’t either. Its vibration also makes the air pressure gauge needle vibrate making on the go readings hard.
In any case, ResQTech says the gauge is just an indication and for accuracy, you should use your own tyre pressure gauge. This is a good idea because my Accutire gauge consistently showed that the inbuilt pressure gauge was between 5 and 9PSI off.
From full deflation, it took the pump nearly 9 minutes to hit an actual 42PSI on my rear tyre. This is good performance given the volume of air needed to inflate a 180-section tyre.
Does it work?
Yes it does. It does heat up and if the pump has been used for a while – to inflate multiple tyres for instance – then it might be a good idea to check how hot the valve end of the air tube is before trying to loosen it.
What could be better?
I actually wish that the unit was more talented. I would be happier with a pump that had a built in battery that could power it, allow you to charge a phone and have the juice to offer a jump start or two. That would be really useful as part of a highway ride backup kit.
The other issue is powering the unit. ResQTech expect you to hard wire the battery terminals to your bike. I don’t like this idea. I’ve multiple bikes and I’m unlikely to purchase multiple pumps for them. The company says it offers alligator clips as an optional extra but they’re tentatively priced at Rs 200 which is exorbitant – the entire unit costs just Rs 999! Further, the cigarette lighter socket plug is likely to be useless because no bikes have those as standard. What the bigger adventure tourer style bikes have are smaller outlets called DIN or Powerlet sockets which require a different plug. Hell, given that most of us now carry big battery power packs for our phones, a USB powered pump would probably make the device even more flexible and easier to use.
For the price, for its size and given the warranty, the ResQTech Micro Tyre Inflator makes an excellent addition to a highway rider’s backup kit. If you’ve tubeless tyres on your bike, then a plug kit and this would allow you to handle roadside fixes fast and easy. That said, I’d prefer an equally compact product that did more than that. Just inflate tyres. And I’d like more convenient ways to power the pump. Many bikes do not have batteries in easily accessible places. In that situation, the pump would not be very useful. To wit, the KTM 390 Duke requires you to unscrew the mountings for the rider’s seat before you can get to the battery.