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Tell me about CO2 systems...(15 posts)

Tell me about CO2 systems...DINOSAUR
Jul 17, 2001 8:34 AM
O.K. I'm slow to switch over to new technology. Forgive me for this post, I know this stuff has been discussed before. What is a good CO2 system to use? What is the difference between threaded and non-threaded CO2 canisters? I still plan on riding with a small Torrelli mini pump so I can seat the tube in the tire and for emergencies. I've got long valve tubes, any chance of snapping them when using CO2. This is the problem I have with using a frame pump and trying to get close to 100psi so I can continue on my ride. I'm thinking inflat with a mini pump with 20 lbs and finish off with CO2 to bring me up to 120psi. Can I do this?
Thanks in advance for any input.
Better to ask up frontKristin
Jul 17, 2001 8:42 AM
I can only tell you what not to get based on my experience. I would avoid a system that requires 16g carts. A recent thread on this board and a thorough search of the internet seem to indicate that one can not buy this size in bulk. The cost for me is $2.50 a cart. I am going to attempt to use 12g's by putting a wad of paper in the bottom of my Air Champ, but who knows if it will work.
Jul 18, 2001 8:37 AM

Have you considered abandoning your old CO2 system for a new one? Nashbar has an Ultraflate for $12.99, I think. It takes 12g cartridges (threaded or unthreaded), which can be bought in lots of 25 pretty cheaply (around $0.50 each). At your current cost of $2.50 per cartridge, a changeover could pay for itself pretty quickly, depending on how many flats you get.

The downside here, other than cost, is that it will only take a road tire up to 90-100 psi.

Just a thought.
re: Tell me about CO2 systems...PaulCL
Jul 17, 2001 8:53 AM
Good system: "Innovations Ultrainflate" - about $20 everywhere (I bought mine from Nashbar). You can use the threaded (16g) or unthreaded (12g) variety. The threaded will get the pressure up to 120psi all on its' own, the 12g to about 100psi. I use long presta valves too - no problem or risk of breaking them. Probably more torque on the valve using a frame pump.

Go to Kmart or Walmart and buy the 12g canisters in bulk (15 for about $6) and carry several on the road. Personally, I carry three 12g canisters and one 16g - until I run out of the expensive 16g variety.

If anyone knows of a cheap source for 16g threaded CO2 cartridges, PLEASE POST!!!!
re: Tell me about CO2 systems...zelig1
Jul 17, 2001 8:53 AM
I use a Superflate which is similar to Ultraflate sold in the States in that it has a trigger control for releasing the CO2 once the cartridge is pierced. For inflaters which have a body enclosing the CO2 cartridge, you can use threaded or non-threaded cartridges. For inflaters which have a head unit only, generally a threaded cartridge is required. I still ride with a hand pump to seat the sire on the rim for tubs or tube in the tire for clinchers. Long valves are not a problem and the use of an inflater will not damage the valve or the tube. The 12gr. cartridge will get you to about 100psi in a 700x23 tire so yes, you could manually pump up to a certain PSI and then finish the job off. Just remember when you get back to deflate the tire and then reinflate using the floor pump as the CO2 will dissipate from the tire.
re: Tell me about CO2 systems...Lone Gunman
Jul 17, 2001 8:58 AM
If you don't clean it out often, bacteria will grow in your tap system and the beer will taste funky. Actually, I have both threaded and non thread. Non thread being the most common and economical comes in 12 or 16 gram bottles, depending upon the system requirements, you put them in the plastic canister holder and twist and tighten and you are ready to inflate. They have a trigger mechanism so you control the flow of gas, no need to preflate and seat and hand pump etc. I use an airstik pump, only have had to use it once it claims to pump to 160 psi. The long valves should not be an issue with CO2, I still carry the CO2 as a backup and will try it on the next flat. The only problem with pumps is the girations that take place from pumping like a madman to get the high pressures and no gauge on the airstik or CO2. They also CO2 get very cold while inflating, this may be an angle of inflation thing (not upright).
re: Tell me about CO2 systems...LC
Jul 17, 2001 9:04 AM
Yep, and make sure you get one that can take both threated and non-threaded cartridges so you can get cheaper ones at Wallmart. Most give you control over how much gas is released. The CO2 way actually puts less stress on your stem then your old pump. I also prefer the kind that holds the CO2 cartridge inside the plastic housing so I don't freeze my fingers when the air is discharged. After you discharge a cartridge it is so cold you can not handle it.
what I useDog
Jul 17, 2001 9:25 AM
I use the 16 gram threaded canisters with a small, right angle, threaded nozzle. It has worked perfectly every time. This is the smallest and lightest system you can find to pump up a tire.

It takes 16 grams to fill a 23mm tire completely (to 120 psi or more). So, with the 12 gram'ers, you must carry more and use more than one per tire, plus the 12 gram system is larger and bulkier, as it must encapsulate the entire cartridge.

The downside is the expense of the 16 gram canisters. They run about $2 or more each, while you can get the 12 grams for about 50 cents each pretty easily (but you need more than 1 for a fix).

Nothing is a quick as filling with a 16 gram. After installing the tube and tire (make sure no tube is stuck under the tire bead), the thread a canister into the nozzle all the way. This pierces the canister, and closes the valve at the same time. Then, push the nozzle onto the tube valve firmly, and barely untwist the canister, starting to release the gas. After about 10 psi, stop by twisting the canister closed again, and check that the tube in inflating properly. If ok, then let'r rip and open the canister all the way, completely filling the tire. This takes about 3 seconds. Then, twist closed, and remove the nozzle from the valve. There will be little gas left, so you might save it in case you need it that ride. The tire will then be filled to between 120 and 130 psi, depending upon exact size, if any gas leaked, and temperature. If you don't want that much pressure, either don't fill completely, or bleed a little off after, being very careful to only let a little out.

Always carry some kind of pump, in case you run out of CO2. I've done it. I'd carry 2 canisters. The Torrelli pump you mentioned is small and light, but almost worthless. I had to use one once, and pumped for about 10 minutes to get 60 psi. They won't go much higher. I'd carry a Blackburn Airstick instead, as it will actually work. Maybe carry just one CO2 and the Blackburn. That will at least let you get back on the road fast after one flat, but you'll be prepared for anything, too.

I'd carry 2 tubes and patches, too. Never know, and I realize you ride in some remote areas up there in the hills. Gotta be prepared for anything. Same here.

As someone mentioned, CO2 leaks out much faster than air, so I'd deflate and refill with a floor pump before your next ride.

Bottom line, use 16 gram system if a quick change is necessary. If not, I'd just carry a good frame pump.

The trouble with the BlackburnDINOSAUR
Jul 17, 2001 9:53 AM
I was using a full length Blackburn frame pump. I had to cinch it down real tight using velcro straps otherwise it would rattle. Also it was a pain in the rear to remove it and put it back on. Using the Blackburn was difficult with my long valve stem tubes required for my Rolf wheels. I could get about 60 strokes, then the last ten were almost impossible without snapping a valve stem. I'm thinking, use the Torrelli (yep about 200 srokes for 60psi) to inflat to around 20 lbs then finish off with a 12 cannister of CO2. I'm also trying to lighten up my bike and stop carrying a lot of junk. Stupid but the silver Blackburn looked kind of funky on my yellow/orange Klein. Gad, I never thought I would get into this stuff...Maybe I'm becoming a weight weenie.
Jul 17, 2001 10:16 AM
I don't even carry a frame pump anymore. Why?? Well, I guess I am playing the odds. I carry 4 canisters of CO2 -which takes up less space and weighs less than the frame pump. What are the chances that I will have five flats on one ride?? Or have a fifth flat without a riding partner with a pump or CO2?? Or be near a gas station or house with an air pump (I carry a presta/schrader converter)???

Besides, my black frame pump looks bad on my colnago. And a frame pump limited me to one water bottle cage since my frame won't accept a pump on the top tube. Besides, my frame pump is seven years old and dying. Instead of buying a new one, I opted for the CO2.
Jul 17, 2001 10:28 AM
Pump what? LOL I've never even owned one other than the floor standing. Just reaching 60psi has nearly maxed out some people's heart rate and made it impossible to get home! Use the 16's and the tiny little right angle valve. This system is unbeatable for the all around package of size and weight. Carry as many as you want, 2, 3, 4. I've never been out of luck with two. I only have one tube after all and my patch kit is so old I doubt I'd have any luck with it. Funny how people with $3000 to $5000 rigs are worried about .50 to $2 cartridges. If you have 8 flats a year that's $16. LOL I typically have one or two per year. $4 ouch. :)
re: Tell me about CO2 systems...Jerry Gardner
Jul 17, 2001 12:07 PM
I use an Innovations Air Chuck. This is a simple aluminum and brass chuck that accepts threaded CO2 cartridges and pushes onto presta (and probably schrader) valves. It's very solidly built and has almost nothing to go wrong or break. It's also small and compact and fits easily into a small saddle bag.

It can "meter" the CO2 so that you can add as much or as little gas as you want. I use 16 gram cartridges and these fill my 700c23 tires to 120 psi.

To those that complain that threaded CO2 cartridges cost too much, I say that compared to everything else we spend on cycling, it's not much of an expense at all. I pay about $2.50 per 16 gram cartridge and go through maybe 10 a year. That's only $25. I spend twice that much on Gu every month.
innovations second windHaiku d'état
Jul 17, 2001 12:27 PM
mini pump to inflate for seating the tube, lever-controlled/variable inflator to put as much co2 in the tube as ya need. been carrying it now for a few months, used once in the garage to test it out and once on the road. slimmed my previous (slow) tube change from 15 min to 9 min, which is a world record for someone like me with two left hands and nine thumbs. the pump was $9 on sale at nashbar and a 24-pack of 12 gram carts was $13 at walmart. it's all i carry now. <6" long, the full pump and four (yep FOUR) carts fit nicely in my seatpack with two tubes, patch kit, topeak alien and two tire tools.
How not to break the valve stemSteve Bailey
Jul 17, 2001 3:14 PM
I also use 16g's, but I did find a surefire method for using my Blackburn FP-1 frame pump to inflate up to 120 psi without snapping the valve.

While the wheel is upright, I engage the head of the pump onto the valve, then lay the tire, with pump still attached, onto it's side, using the curb, medium sized rock, or large stick to support the head of the pump.

I then pump vertically with all the pressure going onto the pump head and onto the curb, etc.. Very little pressure is placed on the valve stem. Pumping vertically is also easier with gravity giving a little assist.

I may just be lucky, but >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Live Steam
Jul 17, 2001 7:13 PM
I have never broken a stem off by pumping it with a frame pump. I mean it takes a little concentration, but holding the wheel and pump securely isn't that difficult. I think I want to start using CO2 for the obvious reason of fast air. A quick tube change and fast air keeps the rest of the group near by and me fresh.:-)