CO2 Pumps

by bikeboy76   May 8, 2014  

In the autumn I was getting too many punctures. At first I just blamed the potholes and glass on the road, but some warnings from my boss brought things into focus (apparently once a month to be 5-10 minutes late and work the time back is too often, I am not sure how a tram or bus would attain less frequent delays.)
I got some new Continental GP4000s (which are lovely) but the problems didn't go away. I got some 'lucky' on the way home punctures and did a bit more research. What I though were hard tyres were anything but. I was running around at 60/70 psi and sometimes as little as 45. My flatmate's old track pump from halfords/sportsdirect just couldn't muster enough pressure and often just blew itself off the valve.
I decided to spend some money instead of getting sacked and got a lovely steel base wooden handle Lezyne floor pump. It works *beautifully* I now have tyres inflated to 110psi and they ping over anything Manchester can throw at me. I have not had any pinches and only a couple of bits of glass (even these have stayed up until work there is so much air, I will gladly take my time to fix on the way home.)

So now [preamble over] I am used to rock hard tyres. I am concerned that if I am out on a long event like a 100mile sportive if I do get a puncture it will mean horrible flabby tyres the rest of the way. I carry inner tubes, levers and a small Airbone pump in my back packet. However the Airbone just won't give track pump style pressures. ( I did not catch a flat in an event last year but eventually will) it is a training stop gap only. I would like to know if anyone uses a CO2 pump regularly? I wouldn't mind pay for cartidges if I was using it for an occasional events and it got me back to a good pressure. But I have to admit I don't know anything about CO2 pumps and which one is best/most robust/economic/effective. Don't want to burn my hands or my pocket!

Any recommendations?

4 user comments

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I'm a fan of Lezyne, they make beautiful, thoughtfully designed products. I carry a Trigger Drive CO2 inflator in my saddle bag along with a spare tube and repair kit. I can inflate a 700x25 tire to ~100 psi with one 16g cartridge. I tend to use that first over my backup pump, Micro Floor Drive HPG, which fits in a jersey pocket (a bit long which has me mulling over the idea of switching to the smaller Road Drive hand pump). I use the CO2 first because it's faster which means I'm back in the saddle faster (I do solo and club rides). The Micro Floor Drive pump is great because you can use it like a floor pump with the foot brace instead of only using those (under)developed cyclist biceps and the flexible hose (same with the smaller Road Drive) keeps you from accidentally snapping off the valve stem. I can easily pump my tires to 110 psi and according to Lezyne you can go up to 160 but that seems rather excessive. The Micro Floor Drive pump has been working flawlessly for 4 years. Just switched to CO2 last fall but the machined Trigger Drive is very solidly made, tiny, and light.

In terms of cost, after the initial outlay of buying the Trigger Drive which you can get pretty cheaply for £10, I buy my threaded (it only takes threaded cartridges) in bulk from Amazon for less than 60p per cartridge so pretty economical. (I'm converting all of these prices from USD into British currency but I would think that your RRP are similar?) You will need to re-inflate your tires with the track pump once you get home as the molecular shape of CO2 diffuses out of butyl rubber faster (http://lpc1.clpccd.cc.ca.us/lpc/tswain/permeation.pdf) than regular air (nitrogen and oxygen) so you will have a flat tire in a couple days.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

movingtarget's picture

posted by movingtarget [136 posts]
9th May 2014 - 6:36

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I have both an alloy drive trigger and a pressure drive cfh ... depending on
mood/distance/pile of stuff stuffed into jersey pockets ... the pressure drive
is a bit "ace" in that it's co2 AND manual in one hit Smile

With the same track pump as you at home ....

The alloy drive trigger is good in that it holds the cartridge inside so not frost
bite when used and can store the new cartridge un-opened until needed.

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [770 posts]
9th May 2014 - 6:48

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Top Tip (from experience). Sacrifice a cylinder and have a practice at home, or else ask the LBS (if they're a good one) to demonstrate it. Mine was defective which I only found out when I had to use it in anger. The other lesson from that event was to carry a pump as well. CO2 inflators only work with however many cylinders you carry; pumps go on forever!

Shades

posted by Shades [235 posts]
9th May 2014 - 11:25

4 Likes

I have a Lezyne HP Drive pump which gets the pressure up just fine for road tyres - might be worth looking at instead of, or with, a CO2 pump. Also unless most/all your punctures are pinch flats, i'd maybe recommend not running at 110psi on a 622x25. Not only will it be more uncomfortable, more flighty in corners (especially when wet) and arguably slower - it will also potentially make punctures from foreign objects more likely and possibly more 'energetic' (for want of a better description). Personally i'd try under 100psi, e.g. 90 front / 95 rear - YMMV.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [543 posts]
9th May 2014 - 12:16

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