Birzman's Roar Control 16g CO2 Inflator is pretty similar to others on the market but it does offer one neat touch over some of the cheaper models: you can control the flow by twisting the CO2 cannister.
- Pros: Controllable gas flow, light weight
- Cons: Foam cover could be tighter
CO2 inflators are ideal for race situations, or any event when you just need to get going again as soon as possible, but the drawback with a lot of them is that they're either on or off, and when that gas is being released it doesn't hang about. With a pump you can whack a bit of air into the tube before stopping to check that the tyre is seated right and true before pumping everything up to the right pressure. With the Roar Control, though, you can do this too.
To use, you puncture the seal of the cartridge by screwing it into the adaptor until the metal spike breaks through. Then keep screwing it tighter and the fitted rubber o-ring stops any gas being released.
To get the CO2 into your tyre you just unscrew the cartridge slowly and the gas is released, with you controlling the flow rate by how far you unscrew it.
For that first 20-25psi you can just let it trickle out, then tighten to seal the cartridge while you check everything is seated right, then away you go: unscrew to fully inflate the tyre in a matter of seconds.
If you've ever used one of these systems before you'll know how cold everything gets when the gas is discharged. Literally freezing. And if you hold the cartridge in your bare hands you can end up with burns, so Birzman provides a neoprene sleeve to slide over it. It's not that snug a fit as some of the foam ones I've used, though, and can slip around the cannister while you're trying to unscrew and adjust the flow of the gas.
As you've probably worked out, the Birzman uses threaded cartridges, and it seems to work with any on the market; well, all the ones I had kicking around the house like Wiggle's Lifeline or Topeak.
The 16g cartridge is capable of inflating a 700 x 25mm tyre to 95psi.
As far as quality goes, the adaptor head is a tidy piece of kit, CNC machined from aluminium alloy, and it's threaded to enable it to be screwed onto either a Presta or Schrader valve.
On its own it weighs just 16g with another 2.3g for the neoprene sleeve. Add in the cartridge at 59g and the whole setup weighs just 77.3g, which is barely noticeable in your back pocket.
Looking at value, its £19.99 price tag doesn't look too extreme either. Wiggle's Lifeline version is £12.99, but that's just for the head itself. The Birzman comes with that neoprene sleeve plus three 16g cartridges, which would set you back another £6.
Overall, the Birzman is easy to use with good attachment points for the cartridge and for connecting to the valve. It's not the cheapest out there but it's not the most expensive either.
A simple and effective inflation method offering plenty of user control
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Birzman Roar Control 16g
Size tested: 16g
Tell us what the product is for
Birzman says: "Roar Control allows for effortless, controlled inflation by lightly turning the CO2 cartridge to increase, decrease or stop the flow of CO2."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CNC machined aluminum (Presta / Schrader)
4.2 x 2.3 x 1.4cm (adapter)
3 x 16g cartridges & 1 neoprene grip
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It fits well on the valve and does the job it's designed to do.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The gas control.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's sensibly priced against the option and works exactly how it's intended: a very good product.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.