Pumps vs. CO2 — something new

First of all, thanks for checking in over the past few days, even though I had no new posts. I was out of town — in Las Vegas for three days. At an academic convention. Now, there’s an anomaly. Picture professors presenting arcane academic research to other professors, and you get the idea. Now picture it with all the lights and sounds and commotion of Las Vegas. Weird.

Anyhow, I’m back. Haven’t been on the bike since Tuesday. Didn’t do my usual Sunday morning ride. The neglected yard has caught up with me, and I put in lots of time trimming back untamed bushes, cleaning gutters, and patching browned-out sod.  Maybe someday soon I’ll have another post about my riding

But I do have something today. People continue to have a lot of interest in the CO2 vs. pump issue. You know my preference — I’ve landed in the pump camp. The folks who like the cartridges cite convenience. It’s fast, the tire can be inflated in about one second, and you’re on the road again. But CO2 is only a temporary measure. It’s a good idea to deflate the tire and pump it up with good ol’ air as soon as possible. Why? Because CO2 is soluble in the butyl rubber used in tire tubes, and the tube will lose pressure quickly. Lennard Zinn explained the technical reasons why in a Velonews q & a.

But that argument against CO2 may not stand for much longer. One company now makes cartridges with a proprietary gas that last much longer in a tire than CO2. picture-3It’s called Stayfill, and the manufacturer claims it will last for over a year in a bike tire. Now, Bike Noob is not in a habit of endorsing products, and this is not an endorsement. I’ve never used the stuff, so I have no idea if it works or not. I’m sticking to my pump. If you’re one of the cartridge types, this might bear checking out. It seems to be more expensive than CO2 — but for some people, it might be worth it.

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13 thoughts on “Pumps vs. CO2 — something new

  1. I suppose this begs the question – why don’t they make cartridges with just compressed air? There must be a compelling reason for some other gas, no?

    Full disclosure: I use a frame pump.

  2. I don’t know the “bleed down” rate, but tubes aren’t 100% airtight. I would think you would significantly dilute the CO2 due to normal pre-ride pumps within a couple of weeks.

    @mildstallion the properties of plain ol’ compressed air aren’t the same as CO2 (or the Stayfill stuff). CO2 requires low pressure (relatively) to be compressed and transition from gas to liquid, which allows you to compress the volume of gas needed to inflate a bike tire to 115psi into a small metal cylinder. When the cylinder is punctured, the liquid CO2 rapidly transitions from liquid to gas into your tire, exchanging heat in the process; hence the ice on the cylinder.

  3. I use both…. If I’m going to be on along ride I will use the frame pump to get as much air as I can in the tube and then top it off with the co2. I do this because I can never get enough air in the tire when I use the frame pump. Once I’m around a floor pump I do release all the air and fill it back up.

  4. Noob – I use gas. The cartridges are light, small and convenient. Everything fits in my saddle bag. As far as holding pressure, I typically bleed and refill w/ air after my ride home. One cartridge (assuming you seat it right) fills a tire to about 80-100 psi, about perfect for getting home…no guessing.

  5. No CO2 here. It seems wrong and wasteful to use those darn carts when a pump will work endlessly. I see too many on the roadside. I think they’re a waste of money and resources, and a cause of litter.

  6. Not everyone litters you know. I don’t and I use both a pump and cartridges.

    I can say this about some cyclist, Some do it for sport and some don’t. Some do i because it is their only means of transportation. Some do it because they enjoy it. Some have cars some don’t some choose to ride to the grocery store some don’t.

    You can’t lump one type of cyclist (cartridges users) into being litter bugs.

    Saying that they are a cause of litter is BS in my opinion. If that is the case, every single can of soda or bottle of water or fast food joint or even that tissue you blow your nose with while driving, is a cause of litter.

    It is the person, not the item, that is the causes the litter.

  7. In 1998 I helped clean 200+ 02 bottles from the slopes of Everest. . They were transported by poters to Lukla and finally air back to Katmandu and recycled. Same w/ my C02, bike shops will take them back and I do take them back. As far as cartridges on the roadside. I’ve never seen one. I’ve found most cyclists to be rather earth friendly. Wondering where you are riding ?

  8. Where am I riding? Antioch CA, home of broken glass. Cyclists here dump CO2 carts and Hammer packs. I’m living in a beautiful state being trashed more every day. It hurts even more when it’s cyclists. I picked up a tube yesterday. A 700c looking tube from someone i wish would know better.

  9. Yoy may be aware that you can take these cylinders on the aircraft in your baggage, if they each have a water capacity that does not exceed 50 ml.

    Unfortunately I dont know the water capacity of these cylinders.

    I want to be able to say to the aviation security people that this cylinder does not exceed a water capacity of 50ml.

    Could you advise me the water capacity of, for example a 16g and a 48g cylinder.

    Many thanks

    Milton

  10. Yoy may be aware that you can take these cylinders on the aircraft in your baggage, if they each have a water capacity that does not exceed 50 ml.

    Unfortunately I dont know the water capacity of these cylinders.

    I want to be able to say to the aviation security people that this cylinder does not exceed a water capacity of 50ml.

    Could you advise me the water capacity of, for example a 16g and a 48g cylinder.

    Many thanks.

    Milton

  11. A milliliter of water has a volume of one cubic centimeter and a mass of 1 gram. Therefore 16 gram CO2 cartridges have a volume of 16cc. and the 48g. cartridges have a 48g. volume.
    Hope this helps.

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