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April 24, 2015 Comments (0) Reviews

Product Review: Ridge Ryder 12 Volt Air Compressor

Ridge Ryder logo

If you’re new to the off-roading world, you need to know about raising and lowering tyre pressures to suit the terrain. But before you think about running out and buying a $30 tyre inflator, I’m going to save you some money and tell you…DON’T DO IT! If you’re not so new to it all, then I’m sorry I didn’t get to you earlier and that you had to learn this the hard way. The cheapies just can’t handle what we put them through.

It looks ready for business before the box is even opened!

It looks ready for business before the box is even opened!

Today I’m putting the Ridge Ryder Ultimate Compressor to the test. From the get-go, the box it comes in is just reeking heavy duty and off-road. It boasts a 160 litre per minute free air delivery and 45 minute duty cycle at 40 PSI (that means it can work at that pressure for 45 minutes without damaging itself or tripping the thermal cut-out). If it does overheat, the thermal cut out and a circuit breaker will prevent damage to the compressor.

Here’s what you will find inside the box

Here’s what you will find inside the box

In the box you will find the compressor in its black carry bag, a 5 metre air hose, a shorter piece of hose which incorporates the pressure gauge and valve attachment, spare air filter, inflation adaptors for sporting equipment and the like, and a very good and comprehensive instruction book. After having a good look over the unit and a bit of a play around, here’s a few things I like and dislike.

I Like:

  • The regular, non-coiled air hose. Coiled hoses are a pain in the butt!
  • All of the air fittings are standard Nitto, commonly found everywhere
  • The pressure gauge has a small button on the back to release excess air from the tyre
  • Circuit breaker (no fuse to replace) and thermal cut-out to prevent damage by overheating
  • Looks and feels solid

I Dislike:

  • The pressure gauge is accurate, but only shows increments of 5 PSI. Get yourself a nice tyre gauge if you like to measure in single digits
  • It’s so fast that I don’t have time to finish a tea while I wait!

I’m going to pitch the Ridge Ryder against my old Bushranger Max Air II today; a full sized and solidly built 4×4 compressor I have owned for 8 years now. I want to see which can inflate all four of my tyres the quickest and the easiest. Having owned the Bushranger so long I know what it’s capable of, and if the Ridge Ryder can meet or exceed that then it’s a good product in my books! I start by airing down to my go-to beach pressure of 16 PSI, mostly because I want to really push the Ridge Ryder to the maximum extent I’m likely to use it. The tyres on the patrol are sized at 285/75/16 or about 33 inch if you like imperial measurements. I’d say that’s a little larger than an average 4wd tyre.

For comparisons sake, here is the Ridge Ryder (right) next to the Bushranger (left). Bigger motor, bigger piston, bigger power!

For comparisons sake, here is the Ridge Ryder (right) next to the Bushranger (left). Bigger motor, bigger piston, bigger power!

For both of the compressors I start the Patrol to keep up a healthy voltage to the compressor. I started the timer from the moment the compressor was switched on, and kept timing until the last tyre was inflated. Something to keep in mind is that these inline pressure gauges are horribly inaccurate when the compressor is running, but work fine when you switch it off. I didn’t stop the timer when turning the compressors off to check the pressure, or when switching between tyres; because time doesn’t just stop when you’re out on the tracks struggling to get a valve fitting attached!

I dropped the tyres to 16 PSI all around, my most commonly used pressure for sand driving

I dropped the tyres to 16 PSI all around, my most commonly used pressure for sand driving

I start the Bushranger off first on the journey from 16 PSI to my road pressure of 40 PSI. It’s an older model, rated at 72 litres per minute which was fast back then! After using this compressor for so many years I have a good sense of how long it takes to fill each tyre; which is about enough time for a cup of tea. In the end, the bushranger took 18 minutes 43 seconds to get all four tyres to road pressure.

Checking each tyre is in fact right on 16 PSI with a good tyre gauge

Checking each tyre is in fact right on 16 PSI with a good tyre gauge

Now it’s back down to 16 PSI to see how the Ridge Ryder performs. I hit the on button and let it work some magic while I wandered off to tidy a few things up. I return a couple of minutes later to check the progress, switch off the compressor to get a proper pressure reading and HOLY WHACK! The gauge is sitting on about 55 PSI! I didn’t expect it to go that quick! I think it was only by the time I got to the last tyre that I got a feel for how long it would take. I switched off the compressor and stopped the timer upon completion at only 12 minutes 57 seconds. Nearly 6 minutes faster, including the time spent accidentally over-inflating a couple of tyres.

The big orange monster making the air up job look like pumping up bicycle tyres

The big orange monster making the air up job look like pumping up bicycle tyres

Well, I reckon this Ridge Ryder Ultimate Compressor is pretty alright! Just don’t set it to inflate the footy unattended, there won’t be many smiles when it pops in the time it took you to grab a drink! There’s one test left though, and that’s the test of time. Unfortunately it could be another 8 years before I can say it passed that one, but if you’re still keen to know I’ll be more than happy to tell!

Interested in getting one to assist you on your off-road adventures? Then check it out here!

Alex Garner Sign Off

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