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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 03-09-05, 11:38 AM   #1
SJK
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Helium in your tires?

This might sound like a weird question – but has anyone tried using helium instead of air in their tires? I heard they are using this in some race car tires and I wonder if the technology is applicable for cycling.
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Old 03-09-05, 11:43 AM   #2
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I thought I heard about the US track team doing that at the '84 Olympics, but I never heard whether or not it helped, or if anyone has tried it since then.
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Old 03-09-05, 11:47 AM   #3
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I use Hydrogen in the ballon tires of my cruiser.
It's a great way to offset the weight of the bike.
I just have to make sure there are no smokers around when I get a blowout.

"Oh, the humanity"
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Old 03-09-05, 11:51 AM   #4
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Isn't helium a much smaller element? I'd think it'd leak out the pores in the tires much faster than regular air. I'm sure it wouldn't leak fast, but I bet you'd lose enough pressure on really long rides to make it annoying.

As for making things lighter, wasn't there a thread here about wheel weight being less of a factor than people generally think?
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Old 03-09-05, 11:51 AM   #5
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I know they're doing it with nitrogen -- the idea being the tires will not lose air quite so quickly.

Helium, according to a NASA quiz, should be good for bikes!

Here's another site where some aeronautical engineers discuss the pros and cons of helium-filled tires. It seems that it will depressurize rather quickly . . . a bad thing . . . but maybe not so bad for crits??

See ya' at the top!
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Old 03-09-05, 12:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordOpie
Isn't helium a much smaller element? I'd think it'd leak out the pores in the tires much faster than regular air. I'm sure it wouldn't leak fast, but I bet you'd lose enough pressure on really long rides to make it annoying.

As for making things lighter, wasn't there a thread here about wheel weight being less of a factor than people generally think?

Yes, it is correct that Helium will leak significantly faster than air.

On rec.bikes.tech there was a thread where someone actually used an old Jobst Brandt idea when they got a slow leak in the middle of nowhere: they filled their tires with water! This is done by sucking out all the air in the tube and then drawing water from a bottle with your pump and then "injecting" it into the tire as though it were air.

I'm not kidding. The water leaks out much slower than air, so it is appropriate when you have leak that is slow but still too fast for a pump to deal with practically on a long ride.
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Old 03-09-05, 12:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H23
Yes, it is correct that Helium will leak significantly faster than air.

On rec.bikes.tech there was a thread where someone actually used an old Jobst Brandt idea when they got a slow leak in the middle of nowhere: they filled their tires with water! This is done by sucking out all the air in the tube and then drawing water from a bottle with your pump and then "injecting" it into the tire as though it were air.

I'm not kidding. The water leaks out much slower than air, so it is appropriate when you have leak that is slow but still too fast for a pump to deal with practically on a long ride.
That's the answer then... LIQUID HELIUM... Good stuff, nice and cold, too.
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Old 03-09-05, 12:43 PM   #8
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Auto racing tires are filled with nitrogen because it can be produced with a minimal water content compared to air.

The use of nitrogen has nothing to do with weight it's about accurate prediction and control of tire pressure as it heats up. Nitrogen is more predictable than air + a random amount of water.
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Old 03-09-05, 01:04 PM   #9
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Nitrogen is used in airpalne tires for the same reason. Keep out the water.
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