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The Vel CO2 Flow Regulator Head With 16g Cartridge (two, in fact) is a decent inflator that gives you a good degree of control when inflating your tyres. It's simple to use, well priced, and the sleeve protects your hands effectively.
With some CO2 inflators you can't control the air flow, but – as the name suggests – the Vel allows you to regulate the inflation with a valve that you open and close.
It's simple to use: make sure the inflator valve is closed, screw in the cartridge – with the sleeve on it – screw the head onto the tyre/tube valve, then open the valve on the head to inflate the tyre.
The connection between inflator and valve is good – I didn't experience any leaks – so inflation takes a couple of seconds.
The sleeve does a good job of keeping the cylinder away from your hands and is easy enough to move from one cylinder to another – it's thick enough that you can slide it on and off straight after use without freeze-burning your hands. Also, although the inflator itself certainly gets cold it's not to the extent where it would hurt if I held it for too long.
One point to bear in mind is that a single 16g cartridge might not be enough to get your tyre up to your preferred pressure. I like to run my 28mm tyres at 100psi, and one canister only gets them to about 80-90psi; it's okay for continuing on a ride after a puncture, but I need to top it up when I get home.
Also, screwing the inflator into the valve – rather than just pushing it on – does run the risk of unscrewing the valve core; it's not something that happened to me, but it's something to be aware of, given the basic design of the unit.
The inflator itself has a robust aluminium construction that is likely to survive being thrown about in a saddle bag or jersey pocket.
Its price tag of £20 seems pretty good. The VeloChampion 2 in 1 CO2 Inflator Pump looks very similar but comes in a full £14.95 more, and with a sleeve that is quite tight on the canisters. And while the Pro Bike Tool CO2 Inflator is 2p cheaper, it doesn't include any canisters.
Overall, the inflator works effectively without too much fuss. In all my testing it hasn't unscrewed the valve core, despite my worries, and although a 16g canister only gets my 28mm up to about 80psi, you might be happy with that – and it'll take bigger canisters.
Very good no-fuss CO2 inflator that's easy to use and decent value
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel CO2 Flow Regulator Head With 16g Cartridge
Size tested: One Size
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vel says: 'The CO2 Flow Regulator Head from Vel also includes two 16g Cartridges, each of which can inflate an a road tyre to 120 psi or an MTB tyre to 40 psi. The regulator has an easy to use lever for the flow of gas and the kit contains an anti-freeze sleeve to protect from frost burn. The threaded design accepts any threaded cartridges.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Threaded regulator head
Includes anti-freeze sleeve
Includes two 16 gram cartridges
Cartridge inflates MTB tyres up to 40 psi and road tyres up to 120 psi
Seems well made.
Works well without fuss.
Solid aluminium construction, and the o-ring stayed in place well; likely to last several years being jangled around in jersey pockets and saddle bags.
Pretty good value; a very similar looking inflator recently came in at nearly £15 more.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well, without any fuss. I used this on the road a couple of time as well as at home and always found that it inflated tyres quickly and easily.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Being able to control the rate of inflation.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There isn't a huge amount not to like; it does what's needed without fuss.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The VeloChampion 2 in 1 CO2 Inflator Pump looks very similar, but comes in a full £14.95 more and with a sleeve that is quite tight on the canisters. Although the Pro Bike Tool CO2 Inflator is 2p cheaper, it doesn't include any canisters.
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 very good: it offers speedy and easy tyre inflation, a durable design, and simplicity of use.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.