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Tire inflation methods.(6 posts)

Tire inflation methods.Ed5
Aug 2, 2001 5:51 AM
I am getting my first road bike this weekend and need to decide on a method of inflating my repaired tires after I have fixed a flat on the road. Is it better to carry a pump or use CO2? The pros and cons of each? Any advice from some experienced riders would be appreciated. Thanks.
get a small pumpishmael
Aug 2, 2001 6:03 AM
just get a really small pump..they are lighter, simpler, and more reliable...and very fast..silca makes one and i have some other brand and i think they both go up to 100psi
DependsSpoke Wrench
Aug 2, 2001 6:15 AM
On my go-fast road bike, I only carry CO2. I like it because it's compact, pumps the tire up hard, and its fast. Be sure to bring along enough cartridges for the number of flats you are going to have that day.

On my retro-grouch road bike, I only carry a Zefel HPX. I like it because it's cheap and reliable. It has a long, skinny barrel so I have a chance of pumping adequate pressure into my tire. Takes me about 5 minutes of hard steady pumping.

On my tandem I carry one of each.
get bothmr_spin
Aug 2, 2001 7:42 AM
For re-inflating tires after a flat on the road, you can't beat C02. It takes about a second to do, and you'll get at least 100psi. There is no way you will get that kind of pressure with a mini-pump, regardless of what manufacturers may claim. It just isn't possible, and even getting 70psi is exhausting. Hence, carry CO2. Two cylinders is best.

It never hurts to carry a pump, because you could use up your CO2. Nothing is more pathetic than getting flagged down by a guy who doesn't have any way to inflate his tires. (Except for the guy who doesn't even have a tube!) Don't be that guy.
re: Tire inflation methods.Whatever
Aug 2, 2001 10:08 AM
You pays your money and you takes your choice...

Pumps never run out of gas...and a my full-size frame pump (Silca with a Campy steel head, both still available from a high-quality LBS) can get a tire plenty hard plenty quick. The trick with frame pumps of any size is to push the head of the pump into something hard and firm (rock, guardrail, tree, fencepost, ground) and put your weight into the stroke. Little pumps take a lot more strokes. My pump is 22 inches overall, hangs under the top tube (bike has a pump peg on the head tube) and weighs about the same as an inflator and a few cans of gas. Zephal pumps are good, too, but heavier.

Gas is quicker, for sure. Not any lighter unless you are carrying gas for only one flat. I got CO2 for my new road bike because a frame pump would not fit under the top tube. I also was one of those morons on the side of the road two weeks ago, since I blew through three 16g cans of gas trying to fix a flat (comedy of errors, including operator error for sure...but stranded is stranded, regardless of how you got there.) I decided to get a frame pump again for the new bike and stuff it under the left seat stay. Good enough for Lance, good enough for me. I got a Silca again...ligher than Zephal and just as powerful when you know how to use it. And way, way faster than a mini pump in your jersey.

When I ride alone (which I do a lot), it's frame pump all the way. Maybe carry a single can of gas for yuks, but only enough for one flat...the backup is always the pump. When I ride with friends AND one of them carrys a frame pump, I may go pumpless but add an extra can or two of gas.

Look carefully at 12g vs. 16g cans. 16g are very expensive ($3 each at REI, more at LBS) and are said to give you 120+ on one can, although I can't get it higher than 90. The 12g cans are 30-50 cents each in bulk at sporting goods stores, but you need two cans to fill up. Costs less but you carry more...especially if you want to plan for making multiple sacrifices to the flat gods.
re: Tire inflation methods.Velocipedio
Aug 3, 2001 4:37 AM
Most of the time, it's C02. It's compact and effective. You can now get varible-speed C02 nozzles that let you inflate slowly and/or save some of the canister for later. I carry three or four canisters with me on a ride.