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Co2 Cartridges for Balloon Tires?

Old 09-01-15, 02:37 PM
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Co2 Cartridges for Balloon Tires?

Sorry, but I couldn't find an existing thread on this topic quickly enough.

I recently switched from 26" X 1.5" tires to 26" X 3.5" Big Apples and I realized that my cheap little frame pump (which worked fine on the 1.5's) will probably take my arm off before I can get enough air into the new Big Apples.

From what I've read, I would probably need 3 or 4 16oz cartridges to fill a Big Apple, but I'm thinking that perhaps a combination of the frame pump and a cartridge or two might be the solution to a flat for me. For some perplexing reason, I ride to work virtually every day between April and November, take two or three multi-day tours per year, and I can't remember how many years ago I got my last flat. So this would just be an emergency item to keep in my bag.

The above said, how long can I store a Co2 cartridge without using it? And am I wrong in thinking a single cartridge would not sufficiently fill my balloon tire?
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Old 09-01-15, 02:40 PM
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too lazy to use a hand pump?
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Old 09-01-15, 03:13 PM
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A 26 x 3.5 tire does not require high pressure like a narrower tire, you don't have to inflate to the same pressure that you were using with your old tires. What air pressure have you been using in the Big Apples?
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Old 09-01-15, 03:15 PM
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I assume you mean a 16 gram CO2 cylinder. Yes, you could use a frame or mini pump to get some pressure into the tube and then top it off with the CO2 cartridge. They are available in 25 gram sizes cartridge so that would be a better choice than 12 or 16 gm ones. CO2 cartridges have a very long shelf life. I've had them for several years and they still work fine when I need them.

Also, there are frame/mini pumps intended for MTB use that move more air per stroke but won't reach the high pressure required by road tires. One of them would be suitable.
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Old 09-01-15, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
too lazy to use a hand pump?
+1

I can't think of anything more ecologically wasteful than CO2 cartridges in cycling. Maybe all the epoxy bikes we call carbon fiber.

Get a Topeak Mountain Morph compact pump, stop being so wasteful and lazy.
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Old 09-01-15, 03:43 PM
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You certainly wouldn't use a frame pump for home use, and you don't need a high pressure pump for tires that wide. A cheap foot pump would be more than sufficient. If you cannot remember the last time you had a flat on the road it seems certain that emergency repairs are going to be infrequent so what is the problem with using a frame pump out on the road once in a blue moon?
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Old 09-01-15, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Sorry, but I couldn't find an existing thread on this topic quickly enough.

I recently switched from 26" X 1.5" tires to 26" X 3.5" Big Apples and I realized that my cheap little frame pump (which worked fine on the 1.5's) will probably take my arm off before I can get enough air into the new Big Apples.

From what I've read, I would probably need 3 or 4 16oz cartridges to fill a Big Apple, but I'm thinking that perhaps a combination of the frame pump and a cartridge or two might be the solution to a flat for me. For some perplexing reason, I ride to work virtually every day between April and November, take two or three multi-day tours per year, and I can't remember how many years ago I got my last flat. So this would just be an emergency item to keep in my bag.

The above said, how long can I store a Co2 cartridge without using it? And am I wrong in thinking a single cartridge would not sufficiently fill my balloon tire?
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Old 09-01-15, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
I can't think of anything more ecologically wasteful than CO2 cartridges in cycling.
Perhaps that's because you have no idea where the CO2 comes from.
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Old 09-01-15, 05:01 PM
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Funny that so many of you pounced on me for even THINKING about using Co2. I have been vehemently opposed to those for many years, but somebody reasoned with me today and said, "Look, dopey. You get one flat every 2-3 years. You're not going to blow through cases of Co2 cartridges and leave them all over the streets like those other idiots. Why can't you just keep one or two in your bag so that, on the rare occasion you get a flat, it doesn''t have to ruin your day?

Made sense then, but now you've slammed me back to Mr Planet mode!
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Old 09-01-15, 05:14 PM
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Somebody said that before, but again... why a small pump of 90 grams would not be enough for such a rare event such as a flat? The marketing claims pump performance of 120 PSI and in real life, it can give for sure at least 80 PSI.
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Old 09-01-15, 05:16 PM
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Get a Topeak Morph Turbo G - lots of volume (and pressure too).

The biggest non-environmental reason to not use CO2 is that is seeps out of the tube/tire a LOT faster than air. The CO2 molecule is smaller than N2, and it is a polar molecule. N2 is not polar.
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Old 09-01-15, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Somebody said that before, but again... why a small pump of 90 grams would not be enough for such a rare event such as a flat? The marketing claims pump performance of 120 PSI and in real life, it can give for sure at least 80 PSI.
Getting to 90 or 120 psi isn't the problem, it's the sheer volume of air needed to get these fat tires even to 30 psi. Road tire pumps move a very small volume of air per stroke but have the mechanical advantage to generate it at high pressure. A MTB-type pump moves more air per stroke but can't (and doesn't need to) generate the same pressure.
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Old 09-01-15, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
The above said, how long can I store a Co2 cartridge without using it? And am I wrong in thinking a single cartridge would not sufficiently fill my balloon tire?
With an unbroken seal - probably a millennium. Yeah, you'd probably need 3 16g carts. The pump is a fine idea to get shape to the tube and make sure the tire's seated first, then you may only need one cart.

Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post

I can't think of anything more ecologically wasteful than CO2 cartridges in cycling.
Did you even try? It's about the same amount of CO2 and aluminum as drinking a can of Coke.
You'd do the environment a better favor by not eating beef for a day.



Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
The biggest non-environmental reason to not use CO2 is that is seeps out of the tube/tire a LOT faster than air. The CO2 molecule is smaller than N2, and it is a polar molecule. N2 is not polar.
This is not why the CO2 gets out - it's actually soluble in rubber so it just permeates through - not related to the size or polarity of the molecule.
Technical Q&A with Lennard Zinn - Large molecules and short frames - VeloNews.com
Anyway, it's an emergency fix, then you empty it and repress with your floor pump when you get home.


CO2 shaming MUST END!
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Old 09-01-15, 07:34 PM
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Thanks, Hillrider. I have been riding up and down the coasts of Long Island and Connecticut with nothing but a $10 half-sized Schwinn frame pump for about seven years and I think I have used it twice on my old Specialized Nimbus 26" X 1.5" slicks. Perhaps now that I've settled into these fatboys, I should just invest in a more appropriate pump and forget that Co2 cartridges ever entered my mind.

Breathe easy, the rest of you guys. I'm not taking this idea any further!
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Old 09-01-15, 08:35 PM
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"CO2 shaming", I like that, @DiabloScott.

The nice thing about fat bikes is the low pressures involved -- you don't even need to get the tire pressures into the double digits to get back home.
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Old 09-02-15, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
"CO2 shaming", I like that, @DiabloScott.

The nice thing about fat bikes is the low pressures involved -- you don't even need to get the tire pressures into the double digits to get back home.
Yeah, but my concern, as I expressed in another thread, is the volume of air it takes to fill such a large tube. From what I understand, 40psi in a 1.5" tube is a walk in the park, but 40psi in a fat tube can give you and your bargain basement frame pump a heart attack.

The participants in this thread who said I am lazy are correct. I need to just deflate the damned tire and see what it takes to fill it with my existing pump. THEN I can decide what I need to do next, if anything.
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Old 09-02-15, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Yeah, but my concern, as I expressed in another thread, is the volume of air it takes to fill such a large tube. From what I understand, 40psi in a 1.5" tube is a walk in the park, but 40psi in a fat tube can give you and your bargain basement frame pump a heart attack.

The participants in this thread who said I am lazy are correct. I need to just deflate the damned tire and see what it takes to fill it with my existing pump. THEN I can decide what I need to do next, if anything.
I have filled motorcycle tires and topped up car tires with a bike floor pump. It takes about 100 strokes to get from, say, 20 psi to 35 psi in a car tire. Don't even think about it if you have a weak heart. I'd venture to say that these tasks would be nearly impossible with a frame pump. Anyone who hasn't actually tried to do this with a 3.5" bike tire shouldn't berate anyone for using CO2 once or twice a year in a roadside emergency.

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Old 09-02-15, 07:29 AM
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Here's a review of Planet Bike's 25g cartridges. Seem like they would do the trick on your tires. Or maybe not -- do you really have 3.5" BAs??? Probably would work with 2.35" BAs...
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Old 09-02-15, 09:44 AM
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I really get a ROFL out of the CO2 shaming deal. As mentioned it is CO2 that has already been produced, grabbed and compressed to 850 PSI or so. If one was really really worried they could buy a small paint ball bottle. I have a 5,000 psi one filled at a Fire Protection place and they use very clean very dry compressed Air. They make a 13 cubic inch 3500 psi bottle. And you can get regulators for them as well. But co2 is often carried seldom used anyway for most people. I carry both mini pump and co2, co2 has not been needed yet.
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Old 09-02-15, 09:56 AM
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I have a pump. I'm paranoid that I'd screw up a cartridge and be stranded. For the seldom times I use it, I can tolerate a little workout.

That said, I have been stranded several times in the last three years by pumps I'd had for a long time. Their chucks broke at the hinge when I locked them onto the valve. They were each plastic and had become brittle. I now keep my "frame pump" in my bag where it's not getting UV, and if I were going to carry a pump on the bike frame it would have a metal or covered chuck.
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Old 09-02-15, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Willbird View Post
If one was really really worried they could buy a small paint ball bottle. I have a 5,000 psi one filled at a Fire Protection place and they use very clean very dry compressed Air. They make a 13 cubic inch 3500 psi bottle. And you can get regulators for them as well.
Hmm. For a while, I've been thinking that it would be worth investigating rigging up a paintball air bottle to an air horn, for those times you absolutely positively need to attract attention in traffic. Extra bonus points for using it as a tire inflator as well...
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Old 09-02-15, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
.....do you really have 3.5" BAs??? Probably would work with 2.35" BAs...
Wow! I'm really scattered. Yes, my BA's are 2.35". Where the heck did I get 3.5"?
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Old 09-02-15, 02:53 PM
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CO2 shaming and environmentalism: wouldn't the environmental disadvantage of CO2 cartridges lie primarily in the mining and production of the metal cartridges themselves, and the fact that people litter them all the time (and if they don't, how often do they recycle the spent cartridge instead of landfilling it)?
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Old 09-02-15, 04:10 PM
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Old 09-02-15, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet View Post
Somebody said that before, but again... why a small pump of 90 grams would not be enough for such a rare event such as a flat? The marketing claims pump performance of 120 PSI and in real life, it can give for sure at least 80 PSI.
The issue isn't pressure it's volume. It's not that it's so hard to do, it can just take a long time to pump up that much air volume in a big, wide tire.
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