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CO2 inflator vs. frame pump vs. mini pump vs. combo?(21 posts)

CO2 inflator vs. frame pump vs. mini pump vs. combo?nyedid
Apr 15, 2002 5:21 PM
can someone give me some advice on what to do about pumps? (sorry, newbie here). the CO2 inflators seem like a snazzy system, but i've read some older posts on here that expressed concern about getting them to the appropriate PSI and-- of course-- the cost of cartridges. i also read that CO2 is only a temporary thing and that i'd need to use a frame pump to fill the tires after i drained the CO2. is this true? would an okay system be to have a floor pump for home and then a CO2 system for the road? or should i just get a frame pump? or a mini pump and C02? help! also, what brands of CO2 systems are good and can handle the PSI that road tires demand?
CO2 is for me and for you, tooUncle Tim
Apr 15, 2002 8:24 PM
I simply got tired of carrying pumps around. Get a good inflator system that allows you to control the gas as it goes into the tube and all of your anxieties will disappear.

I always carry at least 3 cartridges, and I go with 16g so that they can get up to 120 psi in mere seconds. Three cartridges will take care of six flats. Unless all of the gods of cycling are aligned against you, this is more than enough margin for error for any ride. I have CO2 cartridges that I've been carrying around for a very long time.

All cyclists should have a floor pump with a gauge that will allow you to start each ride with fully pressurized tires. This is the best insurance you can buy, protecting the rims, the tires, and the tubes (from pinchflats).

The CO2 does leak out faster than regular air (due to molecule size), but you won't be able to tell by the time you get home. Overnight, you may notice the tire is a little bit soft, but the tire will hold nicely for more than a few hours.
particular models?nyedid
Apr 15, 2002 10:36 PM
do you have a particular CO2 inflator system you like/can recommend?
You can figure it out...Uncle Tim
Apr 16, 2002 5:10 AM
I don't feel comfortable suggesting a single brand of CO2 inflator. There are a couple of good brands that offer you the ability to regulate the flow of the gas. Even the slightest bit of research will give you the right idea.

If you can't figure it out, ask a salesperson if you can control the flow. If they are unsure, then don't buy it.

I must admit, I spent years thinking that CO2 was an over the top, fancy pants way of dealing with flats. But just like everything else in cycling, from buying your first pair of cycling shorts or getting clipless pedals, it's impossible to go back to a mini pump or even a frame pump, for that matter.

I would say that if you can use a floor pump, you can use a CO2 inflator. You thread it on the valve the same way and you simply pull the trigger. In seconds you have a fully inflated tire. What's not to love?

If you are anxious after the purchase, just buy a couple of extra cartridges and practice on your tires. After two cartridges, you should be all the way to the top of the learning curve.
Innovations 16oz threaded (nm)Chen2
Apr 16, 2002 6:57 AM
too high techishmael
Apr 15, 2002 8:58 PM
ive seen people mess-up using co2...i just carry the lightest smallest pump on the market, its a bitch to get a hundred psi but it works fine enough...simplicity is best i think
Another mini pump user hereNessism
Apr 16, 2002 5:09 AM
I use the Blackburn Airstik model with fine results. It takes about 100 strokes or so to inflate a 23c tire which is a bit tireing but not too bad. The pump comes with a holder which attaches under one of your water bottle cages. One quirk I've noticed with this model is that if you orient the pump, handle side up on the seat tube, sweat can drip on the pump and migrate its way inside corroding things. To combat this, I use electrical tape to seal the end. A bit more of a pain to use but again, not too bad.

mini pumps aregrandemamou
Apr 16, 2002 3:23 AM
pretty much useless in my opinion. I tried several models and could not get good results. I always ended up with either a seriously underinflated tire or breaking the end off of a stem. IMO the best solutions are a full sized frame pump or CO2. I use CO2. There are lots of models out there. Get one with the ability to regulate preassure and one that does not use threaded cartridges. Non threaded replacements can be had at Wal Mart very cheaply. Also, you will need a good floor pump with an accurate guage to handle reinflation.
You have to be young to use a mini-pump.Spoke Wrench
Apr 16, 2002 6:23 AM
A guy my age might not have that much time left.

I'd also question the advice about inflating two tires with one 16 gram cartridge. I use a whole cartridge on each flat. Maybe the reason I don't have to be prepared to handle six flats on a ride is because I pump my tires up hard enough and don't get very many flats.
I use CO2'sRideLots
Apr 16, 2002 6:45 AM
I carry 2-3 16 gram CO2 cartridges and the right angle threaded nozzle. They work absolutely 100% of the time. They don't weigh much, they inflate quickly and certainly with no effort, and they don't ever break valve stems. I've used them for around 4 years.

On most rides, I do carry a Blackburn Airstick as well, just for backup. I also carry 2 tubes, tire boots, and a patch kit. I like to be self sufficient, and possibly be in a position to help someone else, if necessary.

I always deflate and reinflate a CO2 filled tire with the floor pump after getting home. The CO2 seems to leak out more quickly.

The threaded CO2's are not cheap, but in the big scheme of things, it's a small price to pay for having rides be less interrupted by downtime inflating tires, especially if buddies are waiting on me, or I'm against the clock in a race or event.

A 16g cartridge inflates a 700c 23mm tire to about 120-130 psi. 12g's only get them to around 90 psi.
You can't hit a dog with a mini-pump or cartridge. nmdzrider
Apr 16, 2002 7:01 AM
has anyone ever actually done that? nmRideLots
Apr 16, 2002 7:25 AM
Hit one, threatened several, plus one pickup truck driverretro
Apr 16, 2002 8:15 AM
I actually did have to whack a dog--I got off the bike, put it between me and the dog, and he circled around and tried to get at me from behind. I finally cracked him across the muzzle. Generally they aren't that aggressive, though (I have a couple of dogs; I'm not anti-canine).
I also had to jab a pickup driver in the solar plexus one time. He brushed me with his rear-view mirror and I'm afraid my finger slipped into the air and he was offended. My fault, but I had to defend myself. He was expecting a big roundhouse swing, but pumps are too light for that--they work better if you jab.
BTW, in my opinion the Zefal hpX is THE pump to use for both pumping and self-defense...
Sadly, yesdzrider
Apr 16, 2002 10:19 AM
I've owned large dogs and I'm not easily frightened. I usually respond by growling really loud and they pull up, but these two came running flat out with their lips pulled back. They never broke stride til I hit the first one across the nose, it tripped up the second one, and I sprinted for the next mile. I've reached for it on other occasions but never used it.
You can't hit a dog with a mini-pump or cartridge. nmJohn445
Apr 16, 2002 8:10 AM
I believe it's Crossman or Daisy who make a CO2 inflator/BB gun system which will allow you to use the non-threaded cartridges (cheap) to inflate your tires or fire .77 caliber pellets at oncoming dogs. :-)

there you goRideLots
Apr 16, 2002 11:48 AM
But I hear the BB gun systems won't stop dogs on crack.

Me, I just sprint. Haven't been caught, yet. This works particularly well if I'm riding with others who can't sprint as fast. :-)
there you gobhague
Apr 16, 2002 8:18 PM
Yeah, you know what they say about the 'gators in FL - you don't have to be faster than the gator, just faster than at least one other tourist.
can't hit a dog with a mini-pump or cartridge?TrekFurthur
Apr 17, 2002 10:55 AM
You can if you're aim is on; just don't forget to lead 'em a little and allow for the wind.
re: CO2 inflator vs. frame pump vs. mini pump vs. combo?vitusdude
Apr 16, 2002 10:13 AM
The best device to inflate your tires is a floor pump. Of course you don't want to carry one on your ride, right? Maybe not. I carry a Performance Hurricane road pump. Similar to the Topeak Morphe. Its a little bigger and heavier than most mini pumps, although I can still fit mine in my jersey pocket. I carry it in my backpack when commuting. The cool thing is, it converts to a scaled down floor pump and will inflate tires faster than any frame or mini pump out there. Reliable and reuseable. BTW, I used to use CO2 inflators until one blew up on me on a ride. Did I screw up? Probably, but who needs that shit.
CO2 cartriges 15 for $8 @ WalMart (nm)wilier
Apr 16, 2002 8:28 PM
Had a flat yesterday...Uncle Tim
Apr 19, 2002 7:16 AM
On yesterday's ride, I had a flat even though, as usual, I took care to make sure my tires were properly inflated before the trip. I hit something that just pricked through the tire and put a tiny hole in the tube.

Since it was hot and rather humid, I had absolutely no anxiety whatsoever over my situation, since I needed to take a break and I knew I had my Ultraflate CO2 system to do the hard work.

I threaded a new 16g cartridge on and filled the new tube with as much gas as possible. I didn't have a way to measure the pressure, but from touch it was clear that my 700x23 tire was very near 120 psi. And the cartridge is not empty. There may not be enough gas to fill another tire all the way to 120psi, but it will get it on its way.

Just another successful CO2 experience.