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  1. #1
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Helium in your tires: Truth or Myth?

    Helium in your tires: Truth or Myth?

    Apparently it makes you lighter and some Olympic teams were doing this. This is actually a serious question to which I have no idea of the validity.

    Let's see what the Pro's have to say...
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    I just wanna ride my bike.

  2. #2
    Videre non videri
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    Sure, almost all of us have helium in our tyres. It's naturally found in air, and that's what most of us pump into our tyres...

  3. #3
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
    Sure, almost all of us have helium in our tyres. It's naturally found in air, and that's what most of us pump into our tyres...
    Good one!
    No, no, pure helium.
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  4. #4
    Keep on climbing
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    What about it? I imagine helium molecules are so small that you'd lose pressure mighty rapidly anyway. Besides, the air in your tires doesn't weigh a whole lot anyway (like, for all intents and purposes, it weighs nothing).
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed" -- Mahatma Gandhi

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
    What about it? I imagine helium molecules are so small that you'd lose pressure mighty rapidly anyway. Besides, the air in your tires doesn't weigh a whole lot anyway (like, for all intents and purposes, it weighs nothing).
    If air weighs nothing then helium weighs less than nothing. It's not about saving weight, it's about negating it.

    Still pretty silly though.

  6. #6
    I'm fine. Cromulent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
    Sure, almost all of us have helium in our tyres. It's naturally found in air, and that's what most of us pump into our tyres...
    You guys use air? All this time I've been filling my tires with water. Air makes so much more sense. It's like a veil has been lifted.

  7. #7
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    It is true that the US Olympic cycling team used helium in their tires during 1984. This may have been just for tracking sprinting bikes. When news of this spread, scientists quickly calculated that the benefit was too small to be measurable in a racing situation.

    You can also save weight by shaving your head, but no one actually does that.

  8. #8
    Senior Member huytheskigod's Avatar
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    Air consist of mostly Nitrogen followed by Oxygen. Both are significantly heavier than Helium (atomically). Therefore, Helium would be lighter period. BUT...helium is a smaller particle and because such will escape much more readily through the porous tube. You won't be able to ride those tires long.

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    helium why not hyrdrogen.

    you would save about 10g by switching from air incidentally.

  10. #10
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    you would save about 10g by switching from air incidentally.
    And that's 10 g of rotating mass.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  11. #11
    cheap for a roadie Hummeth's Avatar
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    Also, you may need more helium to maintain the same pressure, minimizing any benefits.
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  12. #12
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hummeth View Post
    Also, you may need more helium to maintain the same pressure, minimizing any benefits.
    ? PV=nRT is your friend.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  13. #13
    I'm fine. Cromulent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    helium why not hyrdrogen.

    you would save about 10g by switching from air incidentally.
    What if I just fill the tires with electrons? Or rather than filling the tire with something, could I fill it with nothing? I might be able to generate a Higgs field inside the tube using false vacuums and Z bosons? How many grams would that save me?

  14. #14
    vjp
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    I remember talking about this in the 80's and I recall that the discussion was track bikes and the Olympics also.

    I used to run Nitrogen in my race car tires on occasion, it is more stable than air and so the pressure doesn't change as much when the tires heat up.

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    Yeah the difference is so minimal. If you aren't in an extreme sprinting event and don't already shave your legs and head, don't bother.

    But as long as we're speculating, what about a vaccum? Lightest filler possible! You could make a tire out of carbon fiber, line the outside with a tread, and suck the air out so its a vacuum! No real shock absorption there. But for many sprint races I'm sure they have a very smooth track anyways.

  16. #16
    cheap for a roadie Hummeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    ? PV=nRT is your friend.
    Ah, yes, good old PV=nRT. But i'm feeling lazy now so I wont do the math.
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  17. #17
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    it is not about weight, it is bout bouyancy. you exert a downward force. the tires exert an upward one. they cancel eachother out. that said, i don't know how much of a difference it might make.

  18. #18
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    It wouldn't work ... You would need a ton of Helium in the tire just to hold your weight, the tire would burst before you could fill it with enough helium to allow you to ride on the bike. As for the lifting power for He / Helium, its lifting powers , like superman ., only happens when the air is uncompressed. So the float which most people think would give them some kind of lifting power and slight advantage would not happen, because the air would be heavily compressed in your tire... He when compressed to the correct PSI to hold a riders weight would also probably end up weighing more than the air originally intended for the tires. <-- i could be wrong on this last part

    Now you could fill your tire with pure nitrogen that may give you little + on your ride but prob not... Since Air is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1%. Oxygen is actually bad for your tire. It'll eat up the rubber over time, oxidation. It’s also the biggest culprit of lost air pressure. Oxygen is normally the first major air component in your tire to escape over time.

  19. #19
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    helium why not hyrdrogen.

    you would save about 10g by switching from air incidentally.
    think Hindenburg




    And putting explosive gas next to CF could be an explosion of biblical proportions.
    Last edited by merlinextraligh; 08-09-07 at 12:47 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member eskimo85's Avatar
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    zepplin

  21. #21
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    cosco used nitrogen to fill my new car tires.

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Save-Money...rogen&id=75424

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/070216.html
    Filling your tires with nitrogen mainly does two things: it eliminates moisture, and it replaces skinny oxygen molecules with fat nitrogen molecules, reducing the rate at which compressed gas diffuses through porous tire walls. Also 4% lighter than air.

    Something else to add to your workshop:
    http://www.ntxtools.com/network-tool...TI-NTF-15.html

  22. #22
    Senior Member heflix455's Avatar
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    If youre looking to save weight why not just avoid water and food 6 hours before you ride.

  23. #23
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Ron Kiefel was my neighbor in Wheatridge years ago. I met him in his dads' bike shop once and asked about the helium. He had been on the Time Trial Team that won Bronze in LA in 1984. His winning bike was mounted on the wall of the shop. "We used helium because it is such a good heat conductor. Our rims and tires were so thin heat buildup was a hazard and the helium helped keep them cool."
    This space open

  24. #24
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    ? PV=nRT is your friend.
    What a rocket scientist..
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by vjp View Post
    I used to run Nitrogen in my race car tires on occasion, it is more stable than air and so the pressure doesn't change as much when the tires heat up.
    huh?

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