Now this is something I couldn’t have imagined: using inflatable balls to pump up a bike tire. Now apparently this has been done for some time with motorcycle and dirt bike tires but it’s very new in the mountain bike world. Individual “Tire Balls” are inflated using a needle inflator (like you’d use for a soccer ball) and placed in your tire (see photo). It takes around 26-28 balls to fill a typical bike tire and the kits are sold with 30 balls just to be safe.
Anyway, the supposed advantage of the inflation balls is that they are lower maintenance (they only lose about 10% of their pressure over the course of a year) and they are mega redundant (meaning you can pop one and won’t really notice). Of course they’re a pain in the ass to adjust for pressure and I’d imagine they’re MUCH heavier than a typical butyl tire tube. I felt one of these suckers and they’re beefy, almost as thick as a camelbak bladder.
Tire Balls is looking for folks to beta test their system, though I think I’ll pass until they hit prime time.