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CO2 Inflators - not lasting - what am I doing wrong?

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CO2 Inflators - not lasting - what am I doing wrong?

Old 10-13-21, 04:11 AM
  #1  
billyymc
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CO2 Inflators - not lasting - what am I doing wrong?

First - yes I use a pump when I can. But sometimes I prefer to use CO2, and I take the cartridges home and put them in recycling. There.

Second - every single brand of inflator I've tried - PDW Shiny Object, Blackburn Wayside, Genuine Innovation Microflate Nano - have all eventually failed to work correctly.

Typically since going to tubeless on most of my bikes I have less than a flat per year that I have to fix on the road/trail. In some cases these inflators go unused for months. And then when I go to use them either they leak CO2, or the mechanism by which you release CO2 no longer works correctly (each of the three I listed works slightly differently - one with a knob to open the valve, one you just press the head down, and one you twist the cart to open).

Should I be using some kind of silicone lubricant on the seals? Keeping it in a ziplock in my bike bag? Or is there a brand you've found particularly reliable and long lasting?
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Old 10-13-21, 07:53 AM
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ClydeClydeson
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I have similar less than perfect experience with CO2 inflators, but have never attributed it to the age of the devices - I just don't think they're 100% reliable, so I stopped using them. The convenience factor would be great if they were 100% reliable, but they aren't, and for something like fixing a puncture, I require 100% reliability. I estimate that 25% of my attempts to inflate with a CO2 inflator have failed, usually because the seal where the cartridge connects lets the gas escape. This is with multiple inflators of different styles.
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Old 10-13-21, 08:27 AM
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Sy Reene
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So, with one flat per year, you've found that 3 different models have failed to work on their first usage after sitting around for a year -- making this a 3yr study?
I've had the PDW Shiny Object for a bit over 5 years. Still works fine.

I carry a mini-pump as well. CO2 is fast and easy though, so I start with that. Pump is a just in case thing if I were to ever go over 2 flats on a ride.
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Old 10-13-21, 08:40 AM
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You can try the Dynaplug Air Road or MTB tubeless repair tool. It inflates and plugs your tire all in one go. Great when the tire is so deflated that its hard to stick a plug in. (Not the regular Dynaplug. The Dynaplug Air).
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Old 10-13-21, 09:39 AM
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Steve B.
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Buy a bunch of spares. Practice at home. Watch You Tube till you get the hang of it. They work you just need some technique.
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Old 10-13-21, 10:07 AM
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I have only used one, Red Zeppelin CO2 bike tire inflator (head only) - Planet Bike
Works just fine.
I also have a Silca - Silca EOLO III - C02 Regulator | Competitive Cyclist
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Old 10-13-21, 10:16 AM
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I've had a Genuine Innovation that gets used quite often in a group ride situation. As long as it's screwed completely on, it has worked flawlessly for five years. This is the ultraflate model.
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Old 10-13-21, 10:21 AM
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I've found that the cartridges for whipped cream are much better - they hold the gas a long time, they're easy to buy and most of all, they taste a lot better. Are you sure you're inhaling the same way with all the different dispensers? I'm telling you, hills are much easier on nitrous.
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Old 10-13-21, 10:48 AM
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I haven't used any of the products listed but have had great luck with the Lezyne Trigger Drive for the last 2 years. Fortunately only had to use it a few times but haven't had leaking cylinders or seals.

Otherwise I've been carrying a mini pump in case the inflator fails and to put a bit of air into the tubes before replacing.
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Old 10-13-21, 11:07 AM
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Are you leaving the Co2 device all assembled ? I have never used one but have all the stuff for it. I would just guess it would be a bad idea to leave it assembled. If I ever need it I would screw the release head onto the valve, screw the cartridge into the head and then activate the release head via its lever.

If your stuff is left disassembled until use then I got nothin and pardon my ignorance. Having never used an inflator it is in my interest to learn because my cartridges are just sitting there aging !!
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Old 10-13-21, 11:49 AM
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I used LEZYNE Control Drive CO2 Bicycle Inflator for the last few years, still works fine. I used it to fix flats on the road (when riding old bikes with tires and tubes) and also to sit tubeless tires on my new bike.
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Old 10-13-21, 12:56 PM
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Mine don't last either .... in fact I generally only get one use out of them.
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Old 10-13-21, 01:29 PM
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"Are you leaving the Co2 device all assembled ?"

Good question and the only way I could see having a leak. I've never had a problem in the few times I've used mine and I always carry two cartridges and a small backup hand pump, just in case.
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Old 10-13-21, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Buy a bunch of spares. Practice at home. Watch You Tube till you get the hang of it. They work you just need some technique.
Nope, not my technique. Each one has worked for me when I first get it. After they sit in the bag for a year or two it seems like the seals get gummy and then don't seal when I screw the CO2 cartridge into the inflator. Or in the case of the Blackburn inflator the head mechanism became jammed up with something and wouldn't depress to open the valve. Maybe I need to keep my saddle bags and camelbacks cleaner, or put my inflator inside a ziplock.
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Old 10-13-21, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
So, with one flat per year, you've found that 3 different models have failed to work on their first usage after sitting around for a year -- making this a 3yr study?
I've had the PDW Shiny Object for a bit over 5 years. Still works fine.

I carry a mini-pump as well. CO2 is fast and easy though, so I start with that. Pump is a just in case thing if I were to ever go over 2 flats on a ride.
I use them to seat tubeless tires, and on group rides when others have flats and don't have what they need. Probably began using them 5 years ago. I had two PDW Shiny Object inflators - one just leaks air now when you screw the cartridge on. The other one...well, that one was my fault. I forgot I had CO2 still in the cartridge and unscrewed it - loud bang and it blew the seal right out of the thing. Oops.
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Old 10-13-21, 02:15 PM
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I bought a box of 12 CO2 cartridges about 6 years ago and I had to use a couple in the last few months for people that did not have anything to fix a flat. I had no issues with the cartridges. I've had the same Genuine Innovation inflator for over 10 years and it will use either threaded or non threaded cartridges and I flip it upside down until I need it then just put it in the sleeve and screw the head on. The sleeve even has a hole in the bottom for the top of the cartridge to stick through. Even though I am tubeless now, I still carry it just in case.
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Old 10-13-21, 02:45 PM
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Don't puncture the cartridge till you use it.
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Old 10-13-21, 02:50 PM
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I use the XLab Nonoflator (https://www.xlab-usa.com/nanoflator.html). It screws onto the valve stem, and uses threaded CO₂ cartridges. I have a box of 12 cartridges that I purchased a two or three years ago. I usually carry two with me in my bag, and they just stay there. The exterior of them gets a bit rusty/oxidized but they work fine. The last time I used one…a month or so ago…everything worked as it should.

But here’s my question. I’ve never used tubeless tires on the bike. So…is it similar to a car/motorcycle tubeless tire in that you have to make sure the tire is sealed well onto the rim in order for it to hold air/CO₂? When you hear your CO₂ inflator go Pfssssssst and the tire doesn’t inflate…is it because the inflator mechanism is malfunctioning, or because the tire isn’t sealed/seated on the rim properly?

Dan
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Old 10-13-21, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
I use them to seat tubeless tires, and on group rides when others have flats and don't have what they need. Probably began using them 5 years ago. I had two PDW Shiny Object inflators - one just leaks air now when you screw the cartridge on. The other one...well, that one was my fault. I forgot I had CO2 still in the cartridge and unscrewed it - loud bang and it blew the seal right out of the thing. Oops.
So, I don't think the inflators typically have much in the way of seals for the CO2 threading. I guess I thought you were having issue with the inflator to tube valve sealing? I've come across many reviews for shoddy threaded CO2s. I'm guessing QC can be bad at the real cheap off-brand makers of these. Perhaps even the threading could be bad enough to damage your inflator's threads to make future use even difficult?

So.. I guess advice is to stick to a larger perhaps known brand? eg. spring for Lezyne brand cartridges perhaps. Also, I haven't had a need but I guess you might be able to pre-wrap some cartridge threads with something like teflon tape, but make sure to end short of the end of the cartridge.
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Old 10-13-21, 03:11 PM
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I haven’t had much luck with them either 🙁. Some work better than others but I have found that applying a drop of silicone lube on the small “O-ring” that surrounds the short puncture needle keeps the seal pliable and allows for a “better” (perhaps not always perfect) seal between the inflator head and the CO2 cartridge. I’ve also found that one needs to be quick (real quick) when advancing the cartridge into the inflator head.
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Old 10-13-21, 04:25 PM
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Are you getting sealant in the tire valve or CO2 regulator?
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Old 10-13-21, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
You can try the Dynaplug Air Road or MTB tubeless repair tool. It inflates and plugs your tire all in one go. Great when the tire is so deflated that its hard to stick a plug in. (Not the regular Dynaplug. The Dynaplug Air).
Watched the video - impressive but pricey. How do you keep your fingers from freezing to the CO2 cylinder. The camera pans away during inflation. Buy a sleeve?
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Old 10-13-21, 07:33 PM
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The intended use of the CO2 inflater is this:

Get a flat while riding...
Replace / repair tube...
Grab an unused CO2 cartridge and assemble your inflation device...
Inflate tire...
Disassemble inflation device and throw away used cartridge.
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Old 10-13-21, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Watched the video - impressive but pricey. How do you keep your fingers from freezing to the CO2 cylinder. The camera pans away during inflation. Buy a sleeve?
The cylinders certainly feel cold during winter weather. I have sleeves but if you have an old tire tube, cut it into pieces. Then push the co2 cartridges into each one.
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Old 10-13-21, 08:28 PM
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I have a few different C02 inflators and haven't used them in more than 5 years. Why? The reliability factor and air on demand requirement. I cannot tolerate a tool that doesn't work when it HAS to work. C02 inflators fall into that category.

Now some will say that pumps can break, seals can fail, etc. In 47 years or road riding under my belt, I have had zero pump failures on a ride. In that time I've probably had to repair or swap tubes 25 or 30 times by the side of the road. Every single time the pump worked perfectly. In about 10 years of riding with C02 inflators, I have had two inflators go flat, for no reason at all. They just sat in my seat bag waiting for a flat tire. Thank goodness I still carried my pump so I got home!!

Not a fan of C02 inflators. I have some nice ones too! Anyone want to make me a deal on the whole lot? I have Silca, Lezyne and a couple of other "high-end" inflators plus a dozen or more C02 cylinders. Can't guarantee they will work though......
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