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What to carry, pump or CO2?(19 posts)

What to carry, pump or CO2?KurtVF
Aug 27, 2002 4:38 PM
What is the best alternative for when I get a flat while riding/training on my road bike, a frame pump, a mini pump, or a CO2 inflater?? What are the pros and cons of each? Do you carry a spare tube or a patch kit???
Stick-on patches, spare tube, CO2, 3 cylindersSantaCruz
Aug 27, 2002 4:50 PM
It was hard to wean from the pump after a lot of years, but now it's gone.
Micro Pump...jose_Tex_mex
Aug 27, 2002 6:33 PM
I have a micro pump that fits in my saddle bag and works great. Once I double flatted and misfired an air cartridge. After that the pump became my only option. It's cheaper, can be used without limit, and IMHO is more reliable.

Yes, always carry a patch kit just in case. I normally use the patched tubes as backups and ride the new ones. Then when I encounter a cyclist who didn't prepare giving out a free tube or two is no biggie.
CO2 Cartridge Theoremteamsloppy
Aug 27, 2002 8:57 PM
Three CO2 is a minimum. I stash CO2 at the office (for the commute to work) and I'll throw a couple more in my jersey pocket for a longer / riskier ride. Of course, the pump for those high risk times.

The CO2 theorem:

1) The longer the time between flats, the more likely you will mess up on using the CO2 Inflator.

You will forget how to do something you do infrequnetly. A double cartirdge minimum.

2) The penalty for a bad spare tube is very high.

A CO2 cartridge wasted on the bad tube. A second CO2 cartridge wasted trying to fix the original tube (inflate it enough to find the whole, usually in a high wind, with no water and near dark). Possibly a triple.

3) Double flats usually mean triple.

You won't get every thorn out the first time. It will be at least three tries to fix every whole. ALmost always a triple.

4) Wobbly inflator attachment to tube = double.

5) (corollary to 4) Flat repair in darkness = double. You just can't see that it's not fitting quite right.

6) Any loose gasket on the inflator = double.

There are little rubber seals on the inflator where they attach to the tube stem and inflator. They can jiggle loose or fall out completely. A loose seal / gasket is almost always a triple. One to do the half fill. A second if you are lucky enough to straighten or find the lost seal. A third to limp home.

I found it is a risk/reward issue. Risk of being stranded. Reward of no pump. You can go months of daily riding with no pump. But there are times when the black cloud of flat tube horror hovers.

I basically decide what to carry based on the type, distance and danger of the ride.

I found it best to be prepared for to carry either CO2 only or throw on a pump.

For the commute to work, CO2 only. Its lighter (especialy the zefal inflater).

For the once a week club ride, CO2 only: there are lots of pumps around.

For a supported Century or double, CO2. There's a sag wagon (hopefully, eventually, or other rider).

For that solo ride into the unknown on a Sunday: Pump.

For that commute week (or two)with the unknown thorn source and flatting almost every day: Pump for the nect week or until the flats/thorns stop falling.
CO2 use isn't rocket science ???PaulCL
Aug 28, 2002 8:46 AM
I have repaired numerous flats with my CO2 and NEVER had a misfire. It sounds like you use two cartridges for every flat. My reccomendation: at home, take out the co2 and practice a few times. Blow a buck or two so you don't screw up so much on the road.

And to answer the original question....I gave up the frame pump a year ago. Only co2 now. I carry five cartridges (12g and/or 16g) in my tiny Pedro's saddle bag. I also carry one spare tube (two on long rides) and a patch kit. In my patch kit, I carry a presta to shrader converter. Those glueless patches never worked for me. Paul
You cary FIVE! cartridges - whatr's wrong with youteamsloppy
Sep 12, 2002 9:03 PM
You claim CO2 is not rocket science, but you carry 5 (FIVE) cartridges. Then whine that I recommend three (3)?

Oh, and Paul, a "rocket" is propulsion using a gas. Apparently you need to practice both reading and vocabulary.
re: What to carry, pump or CO2?frankamo
Aug 28, 2002 4:04 AM
Frame pumps make great bats for use on dogs or rednecks.
re: What to carry, pump or CO2?joekm
Aug 28, 2002 4:35 AM
I can't say I've really tried the CO2 cartridges, I've always carried a pump and spare inner tube. When I got my new bike, the old frame pump no longer fit and I could not find a replacement (Blackburn FP1). Anyway, I tried one of those high pressure mini pumps. Ultimately, I took my Blackburn pump apart, filed the ends down, and shortened the pump shaft so that it would fit on my new frame.

Mini pumps are near useless for a road bike.
re: What to carry, pump or CO2?Breakfast
Aug 28, 2002 5:05 AM
I like the 12g CO2 inflators because they're cheap to buy in bulk at WalMart where air pellet guns are sold.

I carry three cartridges, one upside down inside inflator and two rubber banded around the inflator. A schrader to presta conversion screws on the inflator for use with either type.

One 12g will get you going at about 90psi for 700x23 which is good enough. You could go higher by tapping another cartridge but save it for later, you might need it.

Always carry two NEW tubes, never re-patched. Use the patched tubes in the tires because you can install them at home and have the luxury of seeing if they will lose any air overnight proving their worthiness.

Presta tubes can be given a bit of air for mounting by mouth which gets the tube round instead a being a flat ribbon. Ease of installation is improved and you save a shot of CO2.
CO2 and minipumpms
Aug 28, 2002 5:25 AM
CO2 is much easier when you get it right. But, after I screwed up with two co2 cartridges (I had not had a flat in a while) and was without anyway to inflate my tire(and had to call home for a ride),I decided to carry a mini pump as well. I have not had to use it, but it gives me a sense of security.
You can't winp chop
Aug 28, 2002 6:00 AM i had to decide how i want to ride in betweeen times when i lose...

for me, a mini pump (in the saddle bag -- Crank Bros) and a stem adapter for the next gas station; plus CO2 for convenience if i'm not feeling skimpy on weight

probably change to some other scheme next spring...
and next fall...
re: What to carry, pump or CO2?clintb
Aug 28, 2002 6:13 AM

This nice and small CO2 head and cartridge. The head and one cartridge, with a tube and multi-tool fit very snug into a Jandd small seat pack. No rattles.


This small pump with integrated air guage. Fits nicely in the center jersey pocket. It's light weight, made of aluminum and relatively cheap.
threaded C02 carts are expensive. I use this one with unthreadedColnagoFE
Aug 28, 2002 6:27 AM
only slightly bigger, you can control the airflow, and you can use the cheap 12g unthreaded carts found at places like walmart. 2-3 of these are cheaper than a single 14g threaded cart.
sorry forgot the URLColnagoFE
Aug 28, 2002 6:27 AM
sorry forgot the URLclintb
Aug 28, 2002 11:11 AM
I originally used something like that, but it seemed like it was never used and just something else a tiny bit bigger. The threaded carts are definately more expensive, but I got some, along with other stuff, in an order from a place in Frace. They ended up only costing around 2.50 for 2 and in 16g size. Not bad considering a 16g at the LBS is around $3. Not to mention, it's size coupled with the size of other items fit perfectly in my Jandd seat pack.
I just switched to c02ColnagoFE
Aug 28, 2002 6:24 AM
But before I just carried a mini pump. It did the job but you could never get a tire up to decent pressure. I used to use a Zefal XPX full size, but have no pegs on my Colnago and hate the strap solution (a vanity issue and a possible scratch the paint issue). So I'm not carrying (in a seatpost bag) a Innovations Untraflate IH with 3 12g carts, a spare tube, patch kit, and a minimal set of tools. Works for me.
"scratch the paint issue"PaulCL
Aug 28, 2002 8:49 AM
That's one of the reasons I scrapped the frame pump too. I use a strap for a while, but it was ugly and I got some minor scratches on my beloved Colnago on the seattube near the bottom bracket. Once I saw the scratches - really the paint was just worn off - I ran out and bought the CO2.

Ciao Pablo
re: What to carry, pump or CO2?Joshua
Aug 28, 2002 8:24 AM
Innovations second wind, it is a hybrid mini pump that you can also use as a co2 inflator. You can seat the tube with the pump then add the co2 cart and inflate the tire the rest of the way. It fits in a seat bag or jersey pocket and is wery light. You canb also pick up the Cartridges at wal-mart a pack of 25 was around 12 bucks, look for them in the pellet gun or paintball section.
re: What to carry, pump or CO2?pappy_d
Aug 28, 2002 4:25 PM
I carry a patch kit,a Zefal Air Control ( only about a inch a half long, half inch diameter) and a single 16gram cartridge when I ride by myself- of course I carry a cell phone just in case something really goes wrong.