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CO2 Inflator for Slow Leak Flats

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CO2 Inflator for Slow Leak Flats

Old 06-12-24, 07:36 PM
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CO2 Inflator for Slow Leak Flats

Putting together my flat kit for the new bike, I notice the Botrager bag in the frame storage is designed for co2 canister, levers and a tube.

Iíve always used a mini pump. I get why co2 is better/faster but how well does it go with topping off slow leaks to get you home ? Winter and pouring rain Iíd rather do a few top offs than wrestle with a tire in the freezing cold or rain.

this one looks like it would work for top offs ?

https://www.amazon.ca/Pro-Bike-Tool-Compatible-Cartridges/dp/B017KU1DIK/ref=asc_df_B017KU1DIK/?tag=googlemobshop-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=292982519916&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14614199628805292592&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqm t=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9000984&hvtargid=pla-497567247564&psc=1&mcid=9f6310805bef3d8f9646de5770eb3cd1
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Old 06-12-24, 07:39 PM
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Keep in mind CO2 will diffuse out of your tube much faster than nitrogen, oxygen, etc.

Also, one you open that canister, it will probably lose pressure over the next few hours or days.
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Old 06-12-24, 07:55 PM
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I’ve never found that the hope that topping off will get me home or back to my car works. I always end up putting in a new tube.
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Old 06-12-24, 08:11 PM
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I had one on an icy cold day. Pretty sure my hands would have become too numb to work the tube in. Top offs got me home.
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Old 06-12-24, 08:19 PM
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I carry both C02 (2 cartridges) and a pump. If I had to carry only one it would be a pump.

2 rides ago I used co2 to fill up a slow leak got me 2 more miles to one block from home....walked the block

I use tubes
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Old 06-12-24, 08:26 PM
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If I have a leak, I am changing the tube. Usually its a catastrophic leak. I've gotten a flat about half a mile from work one morning. New tube and one CO2 cartridge later, bang back in business. I pretty much did my race pit routine like in A Christmas Story. I always have an extra tube, several cartridges and even a spare tire. It is good to practice flat repair if not familiar with it, check that tire for debris once removed.
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Old 06-12-24, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
...If I had to carry only one it would be a pump.
Over the last 30 years I have used a mini pump. And yes it can be a real chore just getting close to proper pressure after a flat fix or a top off. But I can tell you I have had zero complaints when I have ridden up on some one who is stranded after going through their CO2.
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Old 06-12-24, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
Keep in mind CO2 will diffuse out of your tube much faster than nitrogen, oxygen, etc...
It really gets me when I see Cartridges at the paint ball outlets marked 85% Nitrogen. And then again there are the Cartridges used for pressurizing whipped cream canisters marked NO2. Ha... Those are a real laugh...
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Old 06-12-24, 09:14 PM
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Slow leaks are where real frame pumps rule. The faster you can pump, the less you have to do to get to pressure to race off 'till your next stop. The higher the pressure you can pump to, the further you get. Pumps without hoses where on/off is fast is a real plus. (Zephal HPXs for the win.)
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Old 06-12-24, 10:25 PM
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I've almost exclusively settled on the Microflate nano - it's cheap, compact and just works easily. If you shut it down after inflating, the cartridge - if there's CO2 remaining - will stay charged for at least the duration of a ride if your goal is to tweak the inflation a couple of times to get home. I've never tested it beyond that but would guess the gas doesn't leak out indefinitely.

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Old 06-12-24, 11:00 PM
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Maybe toss a nanoFumpa electric pump (or similar) in there rather than CO2?
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Old 06-13-24, 04:23 AM
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I use this

Shiny Object Ė Portland Design Works (ridepdw.com)

you can control how much or little you put in the tire. I carry two 16G cartridges, not interested in carrying a pump.
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Old 06-13-24, 04:57 AM
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Tubeless sealant will fill most punctures small enough to cause a "slow leak."
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Old 06-13-24, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
Tubeless sealant will fill most punctures small enough to cause a "slow leak."
Yeah, if there’s space enough in that storage box, a can o Vittoria Pit Stop and a CO2 would do the job quickly and permanently.

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Old 06-13-24, 07:44 AM
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3 or 4 years ago I had a puncture that only resulted in a slow leak. I was probably only about 5 miles from home. And since it slowly flatted, I elected not to patch or change the tube. The one 16 gram CO2 cartridge filled that 25mm tire/tube and had enough left to top off the tire 3 times on the way back to the house. I didn't give it a chance to get very low on the way back, so those top off's weren't much volume of CO2.

My inflator is or is similar to the one Camilo shows.

It's rare that a flat is a slow enough leak that I don't just change the tube. But they do happen. I suppose the same will work for a bad patch job that doesn't seal completely. I don't get enough flats to keep experience with patches. So changing the tube is a better option for me.

Is CO2 more permeable through rubber than O2 or N2. Yes. But not enough to make a difference on a 3 or 4 hour ride. We all check our tire pressure before going out on the next ride. Don't we?

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Old 06-13-24, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Yeah, if thereís space enough in that storage box, a can o Vittoria Pit Stop and a CO2 would do the job quickly and permanently.

https://youtu.be/GTnXFmr06JQ?si=VQwKtZFEoOZ_vA53
The 2 oz Stan's bottle is smaller. It and the simple valve key is all you need. I find half the bottle works just fine. (I do ride skinny tires. Can't speak for the big stuff.) Refillable. I refill with Orange Seal once the Stan's is low. They are compatible so no rinsing needed. Easy, pretty cheap and low on waste.
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Old 06-13-24, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
The 2 oz Stan's bottle is smaller. It and the simple valve key is all you need. I find half the bottle works just fine. (I do ride skinny tires. Can't speak for the big stuff.) Refillable. I refill with Orange Seal once the Stan's is low. They are compatible so no rinsing needed. Easy, pretty cheap and low on waste.
Yeah, good points. Definitely more fiddly given the OP's concerns about doing this in the "freezing cold or rain," but if it's a 2oz bottle of sealant that fits, that's preferable to replacing the tube in those conditions, for sure.
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Old 06-13-24, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Iíve never found that the hope that topping off will get me home or back to my car works. I always end up putting in a new tube.
This is mostly (90%+ ??) correct. IME, the exceptions are:
1) It's less than a mile or so back home/to car/to LBS/other, and the hole is fairly small (it will get bigger).
2) The leak is a slow leak that should have been noticed before starting the ride - so, it it was an overnight/over several days leak and the tire is soft at the beginning of the ride. In this type of instance I've been able to pump up the tire and finish a ride, fixing the tube (or valve) afterwards.

(Note: my post applies to tires-with-tubes. I have no experience with tubeless or sealant, nor with tubular tires. There are probably other exceptions if you use these products.)
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Old 06-13-24, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeDeason
Putting together my flat kit for the new bike, I notice the Botrager bag in the frame storage is designed for co2 canister, levers and a tube.

I’ve always used a mini pump. I get why co2 is better/faster but how well does it go with topping off slow leaks to get you home ? Winter and pouring rain I’d rather do a few top offs than wrestle with a tire in the freezing cold or rain.

this one looks like it would work for top offs ?

https://www.amazon.ca/Pro-Bike-Tool-...46de5770eb3cd1
Here's a shorter link to your inflator. https://www.amazon.ca/Pro-Bike-Tool-.../dp/B017KU1DIK
I wouldn't pick that one, since it's a dual presta and schraeder tool. That's one more thing to not work correctly.

I've carried the Genuine Innovations tiny inflator for years. (I rarely need to use it, maybe once a year.) It's quite easy, just press onto the presta valve and push down to dispense CO2. Any remainder seems to stay in the cartridge until the end of the ride (where I remove it). I did have a previous copy of this inflator blow out the o-ring that seals around the valve, when I tried to just blip in a tiny amount to find a leak in the tube -- that wasn't good.

I've seen riders use the non-threaded inflators, where you put the cartridge into a shell and tighten it to puncture the cartridge. They always seem to comment "I hope it works this time". Hmmm.
The ones that need a threaded cartridge seem more reliable.

Slow leaks
I've had a very slow leak that probably lost 10-15 psi per hour. And rode with other riders with similar leaks. Dunking the partially inflated tube under water, a tiny bubble appeared once every 10 seconds or so. A very tiny hole.
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Old 06-13-24, 12:04 PM
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I thought you went with slow, heavy Marathon Plus tires so you never have to deal with a flat on your commute???? And now you are once again over analyzing something else, asking for opinions which you'll completely disregard???? Gotcha!
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Old 06-13-24, 12:35 PM
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So no flat kit needed with Marathons ? Itís a year round commuter so I would hope less flats but I doubt itís invincible. Lots of broken glass and syringes on the paths and roadways in some areas
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Old 06-13-24, 12:43 PM
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Tubeless under those circumstances seems a no-brainer. Guess there wouldn't be enough drama and hand holding.
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Old 06-13-24, 12:52 PM
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Need flat kit with tubeless as well Iím told.

im going tubeless on my extra carbon set which will be kept inside. The bike is stored outside. It gets very hot and very cold. Bike shop said this is less than ideal for sealant.
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Old 06-13-24, 12:59 PM
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With as much thought as you give to flats and the fact that you went with Marathons, I'm not sure why you don't just go full out and buy Tannus Airless tires are save yourself your constant worrying and overthinking about every flat situation. I can't imagine the weight and ride quality is that much worse than Marathons and they will NEVER go flat as there is no air in them.
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Old 06-13-24, 01:10 PM
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The Marathons are faster than many think. They donít feel heavy, are easy to get to speed and easy to maintain speed.

Iíll do some time trials v the Marathon when I get my carbon set with race style gravel tubeless to see what all the foot stomping is about.
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