On Board Mountain Bike Tire Inflator

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Seriously, who wants to inflate mountain bike tire with a floor pump? It’s OLD-SKOOL (do we need to mention we’re being sarcastic here?). Let’s make things right and install an on board tire inflator. We’ll be using the air compressor from our Air-Lift suspension system.

But before we get too excited, there are a few things to know:

  1. We tap into our Air-Lift suspension system. We have the stock Air-Lift air compressor: it’s a mini-low-volume compressor, MINI-LOW-VOLUME. Don’t even try to inflate a car tire with that, the compressor will toast.
  2. A normal air-compressor has a large air tank. In our case, the air-bag acts as the air tank; it’s has a very small volume so after a few PSI is added to the tire, the compressor will kick-in. And there is few seconds delay for the compressor to kick-in. It’s not as sleek as a normal air-compressor system. 
  3. We operate our Air-Lift at 60PSI, which is more pressure than we inflate our mountain bike tires (28-30PSI max).
  4. The Air-Lift maximum pressure is 100 PSI. Sorry roadies, no tire inflator for you.
  5. And finally, when inflating a tire, the Air-Lift system will think that there is a leak. Of course, we’re taking air away from the Air-Lift system, just as a leak would do. The Air-lift remote will therefore display a “LEAK” warning, but it will keep working, so we just ignore it.

In other words: MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS! It works great to fine-tune the pressure in your tires (we run tubeless, so we frequently have to add a few PSI and it’s much better than using a floor pump), but has some limitations.


Alright, still with us? You might want to buy a real portable compressor (with a tank), do this upgrade like we did or keep pumping air like a LOOSER (here is some sarcasm again). You choose.



TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 2 hours (assuming you already have the Air-Lift System installed)




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Air Lift 5000 Ultimate Air Springs Kit Installation



First of all, plan your routing. We tapped into our left air-bag, because this would make the shortest run from the Air-Lift to the tire inflator. Here is the final result:

Note: The line from the Air Bag to the Valve was already installed with our Air-Lift system. For this project, we added the Union T and the air line running from the Union T to the Tire Inflator…



Using the Air-Lift controller, reduce the pressure to 5 PSI (that’s the minimum pressure) so you don’t get blown away when cutting the air line:

Tire Inflator (2)
We’re tapping into the left air bag, so we reduced the pressure to 5 PSI in the left air bag…


Using a carpenter knife, make a nice and straight cut into the air line and install the Union T (it’s a push-to-connect (PTC) fitting; just push straight and that’s it!):



Route your new air line from the Union T to the back of the van (or where you chose to install your tire inflator). Here is our routing:


The air line is routed inside the pillar. We used existing holes (we had to remove rubber grommets)



The following fittings are added in this specific order (refer to picture below):

  • Valve (we were concerned that the tire inflator would constantly slowly leaks, turns out it doesn’t. We would still install a valve to shut it down for winter or if a leak happens in the future. We don’t want our Air-Lift bags to deflate.);
  • A short air line run (like 2 inches);
  • Push-to-connect to 1/4″ NPT adapter;
  • 6 feet (or else) Air Hose with 1/4 MPT ends (use teflon tape!);
  • Quick Connect Air Coupler (use teflon tape!);
  • Bicycle Tire Inflator for Presta and Schrader valves.



We’re using a Quick Fist Mount (Buy on Amazon) to hold the air hose in place:








Please read the introduction on top of this page! We think the tire inflator is a great upgrade, we use it very often. But don’t expect it to work exactly as a normal air compressor system!





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About us



Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017, we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers, and moved into our self-built campervan. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure... We’re chasing our dreams, and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

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4 thoughts on “On Board Mountain Bike Tire Inflator”

  1. So, do you (or can you) use this to adjust the pressure in your van tires? With the “reservoir” you might not damage the pump, so??


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