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CO2 inflator. Which one?

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CO2 inflator. Which one?

Old 08-22-21, 11:21 AM
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CO2 inflator. Which one?

Are these all basically the same or is there something to look for
in the different ones?
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Old 08-22-21, 12:08 PM
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I use an N2+O2 inflator, the gas weighs less, it costs less, and the inflator never runs out in the middle of pumping up a tyre.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:28 PM
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Why not just use a pump? They are so light & good these days! Back in the days where the choice you had was Adhoc Ventose, Silca Impero, or Zefal HP/X, sure a CO2 inflator made sense. Nowadays it's a different story.

The Lezyne micro floor drive, for example, fits inside my Berthoud bag and weighs 150g. The even smaller Road Drive weighs under 100g. The carbon ones compete with the weight of a CO2 inflator. Many of Lezyne's offerings have a classic look to them and won't spoil your c&v lookin ride anyway since they can go inside a bag. For the budget-minded, there is the Topeak Mini Morph, which weighs 175g or so. A lightweight CO2 setup (chuck & one cartridge) weighs about 50g. So you're saving the same amount of weight as ~ 1 shot of espresso by using co2 instead of a pump. Less if you carry two cartridges!! (and you probably should). Run outta gas and you're stranded. Freeze your valve stem from inflating too fast and mess things up, and you're stranded. Some also say it leaks out of the tube faster, although this is anecdotal.

My opinion: CO2 is for seltzer.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
Are these all basically the same or is there something to look for
in the different ones?
Get a plastic one, or always use a gloved hand. Metal insta-freeze will burn your fingers.
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Old 08-22-21, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Why not just use a pump? They are so light & good these days! Back in the days where the choice you had was Adhoc Ventose, Silca Impero, or Zefal HP/X, sure a CO2 inflator made sense. Nowadays it's a different story.

The Lezyne micro floor drive, for example, fits inside my Berthoud bag and weighs 150g. The even smaller Road Drive weighs under 100g. The carbon ones compete with the weight of a CO2 inflator. Many of Lezyne's offerings have a classic look to them and won't spoil your c&v lookin ride anyway since they can go inside a bag. For the budget-minded, there is the Topeak Mini Morph, which weighs 175g or so. A lightweight CO2 setup (chuck & one cartridge) weighs about 50g. So you're saving the same amount of weight as ~ 1 shot of espresso by using co2 instead of a pump. Less if you carry two cartridges!! (and you probably should). Run outta gas and you're stranded. Freeze your valve stem from inflating too fast and mess things up, and you're stranded. Some also say it leaks out of the tube faster, although this is anecdotal.

My opinion: CO2 is for seltzer.
So how long will a micro pump take to fill a tire compared to a CO2 pump?
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Old 08-22-21, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
So how long will a micro pump take to fill a tire compared to a CO2 pump?
A few minutes and some sweat drops.

I bought one of those mini Road Drives last year, and have used it. I was impressed.
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Old 08-22-21, 01:31 PM
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I use the same one I've used for the last dozen years, a Planet Bike Air Kiss.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/36314246629...cAAOSwCMFaOKEV
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Old 08-22-21, 01:41 PM
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I would like this one.
Silca EOLO III - C02 Regulator | Competitive Cyclist
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Old 08-22-21, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
So how long will a micro pump take to fill a tire compared to a CO2 pump?
It's faster by a factor of infinity when the cartridge is empty.
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Old 08-22-21, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
So how long will a micro pump take to fill a tire compared to a CO2 pump?
Insignificant compared to the total time removing the wheel, removing the tire, finding the source of the flat, replacing the tube, mounting the tire, then under a minute to inflate (typical for me), put the wheel back on, check the brakes...

Unless you're trying to place in your age group in a triathlon or more competitive than that, I don't see the point. I've pulled over to help out people that screwed up inflating with a CO2 cartridge maybe half a dozen times. You get one shot with a cartridge to get it right.

CO2 cartridges and bottled water, solutions in search of a problem. Air and water are free for the taking.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:20 PM
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I use a CO2 unit because it'll get me to 120psi at the side of the road. Thus far, I've not found a frame-fit pump that can get to that psi level. So, for me, CO2 actually does provide a solution to an extant problem for sure.

DD
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Old 08-22-21, 04:23 PM
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I carry CO2 kits on every bike in case I get a flat on group rides. I don't want other folks waiting for me, especially roadie groups -- they'll drop you at every intersection, so getting a flat that takes longer than 15 seconds to fix ensures a solo ride.

Kidding, I stopped riding with groups that have that attitude.

I carry CO2 as a courtesy to friends on group rides, or rides on brutally hot days so I'm not adding to the risk of heat exhaustion by using a pump. But so far I've never used any of my three different CO2 inflators, including a Planet Bike Red Zeppelin and two others I can't remember.

Every inflator will have some negative reviews. Often it's operator error. I've watched other cyclists using inflators incorrectly, or neglecting to check the tire for the thorn, glass, etc, that caused the first flat, then blaming the CO2 kit. So choose one based on detailed informed reviews by experienced cyclists.

Regarding mini-pumps, I have three: the shorty Topeak RaceRocket HP, longer RaceRocket HPX, and longish Blackburn Core Slim. All require 200-300 strokes to reach riding pressure -- not full 100 psi pressure, around 75 psi, enough for most folks to ride carefully with 700x23 tires.

I've heard some folks claim they get full inflation from a mini-pump with only 100 strokes. I smell meadow muffins. I doubt they actually counted their strokes or measured the pressure. I've counted every stroke, every flat, and it never takes less than 200 strokes even with the longer HPX and Core Slim. The shorty HP needs 250-300 strokes. Some mini-pumps have even less capacity per stroke.
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Old 08-22-21, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Insignificant compared to the total time removing the wheel, removing the tire, finding the source of the flat, replacing the tube, mounting the tire, then under a minute to inflate (typical for me), put the wheel back on, check the brakes...

Unless you're trying to place in your age group in a triathlon or more competitive than that, I don't see the point. I've pulled over to help out people that screwed up inflating with a CO2 cartridge maybe half a dozen times. You get one shot with a cartridge to get it right.

CO2 cartridges and bottled water, solutions in search of a problem. Air and water are free for the taking.
used frame pumps from the coop work fine for me. Of course I only need 70 lbs or so.
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Old 08-22-21, 05:07 PM
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My most recent flat was at a busy intersection, 90+ degrees and humid in the direct sun. I used a CO2 to get the flock outta there. That being said I carry a mini pump and almost never use the CO2. If you like your tires 90 psi or higher, get 16g cartridges.
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Old 08-22-21, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I've pulled over to help out people that screwed up inflating with a CO2 cartridge maybe half a dozen times. You get one shot with a cartridge to get it right.

CO2 cartridges and bottled water, solutions in search of a problem.
Yeah, same. As a teenager, I once went on a club ride on my dad's Guerciotti with a Road Morph strapped to the frame. Got a lot of weird looks until everybody was out of CO2 cartridges!
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Old 08-22-21, 05:34 PM
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If you can't decide, there's this:
Mountain Pipe
Gets your tire decently hard with CO2. By hand, can get enough pressure to make it home fine (not designed to reach full road bike pressures by hand). A nice feature is that a CO2 cartridge, empty or full, serves as a handle for pumping manually, which helps with the ergonomics.
Native connection is Presta but comes with Schraeder adapter.
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Old 08-22-21, 05:44 PM
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In summary

Use a portable/frame pump if you ...
- dislike paying for air
- are He-Man
- can show off a sweet matching frame pump
- ride on fat tires
- stop to help the helpless
- like criticizing those who use CO2.

use a CO2 if you ...
- ride when it's hot
- are weak
- are in an age appropriate triathlon
- have no mo room
- ride 23-25mm tires
- don't flat much
- know what you're doing
- are into firearms
- enjoy a bigger landfill
- need a good reason to keep riding when someone asks if you have a frame pump.


Last edited by SurferRosa; 08-23-21 at 07:52 PM. Reason: mo info!
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Old 08-22-21, 06:46 PM
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I have a CO2 set up on each bike. I find it much quicker to get back on the road. Since I'm cheap, I buy the CO2 cartridges in bulk for a buck or two each. The two things I look for are a knob to control the flow and I also like to be able to thread the CO2 dispenser onto the presta valve. I find with both of these features I can control the flow, prevent freezing, and it just works.

If I have a slow leak, I can top off the tire in 10-15 seconds and get back on the road (great for a lunch time ride). I have no issues with a small pump, it just takes more time and that's not what I want to spend my time on.

To each their own.

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Old 08-22-21, 07:59 PM
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Realized I didn't answer the OP's question, but went along with the tangent instead!

I use a 16oz. Spin Doctor Quick Shot. It cost me nothing because I found it at the side of my local MUP, but it's got some features I feel make it a better item than the little twist-adaptor type I had origially. The head has a nice flick-locking lever to lock it onto the valve (exactly like a quality floor pump), and a locking device to stave off inadvertent discharge if you accidentally depress the trigger. Because it has 8 vents at the bottom, there is a tiny bit of exposure to the bare metal of the cartridge, but the plastic thickness is such that skin-to-metal contact is virtually impossible.

Again, my only issue with frame pumps is they can't come close to the psi levels I require. Oh, and the reason I run high pressures: sick of snakebite flats, I began running higher pressures and experienced a massive reduction in flats. Don't have to tell me twice...

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Old 08-22-21, 08:21 PM
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See that grey container with the black top? Tools, rag, 3 Co2 cartridges with head, tire levers, Expired ID, patch kit.

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Old 08-22-21, 11:32 PM
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I carry a Zefal XP frame pump (I am very much not a fan of mini-pumps), a CO2 adapter and at least two cartridges. I use the pump to get started and the CO2 to finish it off. If I screw it up and waste all available CO2, I can still pump the tire up to acceptable pressure, although it's annoying. If I do it right and don't waste all available CO2, I can get the tire up to my preferred pressure without busting my chops with the pump.

And if a dog tries to go ankle-biter on me (which I admit has not happened in a long time, but it has happened), Mr. Zefal, vigorously applied, provides a strong incentive for Mr. Pooch to cease and desist. The last time I used the Zefal as a dog taming device, the dog had just gone after a rider about 150 yards ahead of me, and I watched him (the dog, not the rider) retreat up his farmhouse driveway and crouch into the "ready to go" position. As he started to run back down the driveway to get me, I held the Zefal in my hand and showed it to him. He immediately stopped and retreated back up the driveway again, giving me the stink-eye all the while. It sure seemed like he had been on the receiving end of a frame pump before and did not care to repeat the experience. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes you can get him to cease and desist an unacceptable old one.
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Old 08-23-21, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Why not just use a pump? They are so light & good these days! Back in the days where the choice you had was Adhoc Ventose, Silca Impero, or Zefal HP/X, sure a CO2 inflator made sense.
There is not now, was not then, and will not be in the future a better device for putting air into a bicycle tire that can be carried on the bicycle than the Zefal HPx "HoundPounder" frame pump. Nothing else works anywhere near as well.

CO2 cartridges are for pellet guns. (Especially the Crosman 2240 pistol, which is one of the greatest things ever.)

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Old 08-23-21, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Why not just use a pump?
I like pumps, and for many years that was all I used. But over the years I have managed to injure both my shoulders and now find I can no longer pump tires to full pressure with a frame pump. I still carry a pump, but I also now carry CO2.
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Old 08-23-21, 08:08 AM
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"There is not now, was not then, and will not be in the future a better device for putting air into" a pellet gun that a pump action that can control velocity, limited by strength of the shooter. "Nothing else works anywhere near as well." Competition pellet guns are hand pumped.
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Old 08-23-21, 08:33 AM
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