The Safety of Homemade Tyre Inflators

Flat Tyre
Today, upcycling and repurposing is becoming more and more chic. Taking old pieces of furniture, wood, or any other material you care to mention and turning it into something new and functional has made its way into the mainstream.

Newspaper articles and television shows talk about ‘hacking’ furniture – expanding it beyond its original use with modifications, –ikeahackers , for example, is a wildly popular website showing people how to do just this.

Sites such as this demonstrate the merits of taking abandoned, old or even new materials, and making them into something cool and worthwhile.

Whilst upcycling and self-builds are great, sometimes the concept can go a little too far. When it comes to something like inflating a tyre, often the best course of action is to stick with the pros.

DIY Gone Too Far

When it comes to building a table or chair, you can make the design as complicated or as simple as you like. If you have the materials, you have a near infinite amount of designs to dream up.

When building your own tyre inflator, however, you are much more restricted in what you can do. A tyre inflator requires a very specific design and set-up, with much that can go wrong in a homemade set up. It's important to remember that you are doing something pretty dangerous as this video shows:

With a chair, you can quickly diagnose is the legs are uneven or if it is unsteady – the basic design is simple enough to recognise and correct these things easily.

A tyre inflator, on the other hand, has a multitude of moving parts that all rely upon one another to function. This means if something goes wrong, it can take a long time to work out just what the problem is. Add to this the fact that a DIY inflator is inevitably going to have, on probability, more things go wrong with it than a store bought one from airsupplies, then the effort require to build it soon loses its appeal.

The Costs of Building Your Own

A homemade tyre inflator, such as this one has appeal because it promises a way to inflate your tyres for a cheaper price than one from a retailer.

Whilst this is true, it pays to weigh up the savings against the real costs of a self-built tyre inflator.

The DIY tyre inflator, with the cost of tubing, valves, ties and other materials comes to about £13. This is assuming you own a Stanley knife and any other tools required, otherwise the price will likely rise.

Once built, the tyre inflator demonstrates how to remove air from one tyre, store it and pump it into another tyre. Whilst the ingenuity and skill on display is impressive, the satisfaction of building the pump would likely trump actually using using it.

Whilst the nest of pipes and valves appears to do what promised, it offers little incentive to not just buy a tyre inflator from a stockist like airsupplies. A portable air tank tyre inflator only costs marginally more than this home-cooked solution, but does not require five percent of the effort.

Some might say that the effort and time of building your own is more rewarding than outright buying something. In many cases, this is true. Nevertheless, that logic applies to a bookcase or DIY BBQ, not something you rely on when in the middle of nowhere with rapidly deflating tyres.

If stuck with flat tyres and only one choice between the £20 portable air tank or the £13 homemade solution, most will go with the sure thing and stump up the extra seven pounds.

  • Yes!  DIY solution promises a cheaper alternative, the real costs come in other ways!
  • For most, the portable air tank from a retailer will trump the DIY inflator for its ease of use and reliability
  • The skill and effort required to build your own is outstripped by the ability to purchase a more robust, longer-lasting solution

Aside from the cost differential, one of the main downfalls of the homemade air inflator comes in its usability and desirability.

Riders like air tank inflators because they are easy and quick to use – allowing them to get back on the track in no time at all. With the DIY version, they have to stop, connect the tubing, find someone else willing to give up their air and then inflate their tyre. Aside from the muscles cooling and cramping in the time it takes, many might not want to pull out a bizarre-looking, homemade contraption in the middle of a serious biking session.

Keep it simple and keep it real – go with airsupplies.