Getting a flat tire out on the road can not only be frustrating, it can also be time consuming to sort out. Pumping up a tire from flat with a tiny frame pump can take significant amounts of time and effort, but there is an alternative option in the form of CO2 pumps. This type of pump can provide critical time saving tire inflation during races, or when out biking in inclement weather.
While CO2 pumps can provide very fast inflation of tires, you should be aware that you will have to make sure that the cartridge size you use is suitable for your bike and also that the pump will give you the performance and functionality that you need.
Tips for Selecting CO2 Pumps
There are a few questions that will help you to decide whether this type of inflator is right for you:
- Will you benefit from having a rapid inflation option at the side of the road?
- Do you need a multiple type valve connector or single type valve connector?
- Do you have budget limits for your pump?
- Are there any size restrictions you have?
- Have you checked out the differences between different cartridge sizes and threaded/unthreaded cartridges?
CO2 pumps are fast and convenient and are particularly good for fast tire fills after getting flats when out on a trail or when in a road race. These benefits also have to be weighed up against the negatives, which include having a limited supply of CO2. Most people will carry 2 cartridges with them, and frame mounts are generally designed to carry the inflator with a cartridge already fitted, and also a spare cartridge. To get optimum performance it is a good idea to test out your pump on a flat tire at home before you try it at the side of a road.
Nozzles and Valves
Many CO2 pumps will have nozzles that can function with both Presta and Schrader valves in a variety of ways. Some will use a universal nozzle, while others will have different attachment options. Depending on your preference, if you have a road bike with Presta valves, you may choose to go for a pump that only works with Presta valves as they are not going to be used with anything else. The other thing you will need to look at are the sizes of cartridge that are used by the pump. There are two things you will need to consider, whether your pump is designed for threaded or non-threaded cartridges, which can have an impact on overall performance, and also whether it uses 12g or 16g cartridges. Most road bikes will need a 16g cartridge in order to get the tire up to a decent pressure, but mountain bikes can easily be filled with either a 12g or 16g partial cartridge.
Size and Mounting
CO2 pumps are designed to be small so that they can either be attached to the frame, tucked in an under-seat bag or tucked in a pack when out on the trail or the road. Different pumps will have different mounting methods depending on where they are intended to be located. The pumps are generally so small that they can be fitted with ease next to water bottle mounts or next to back-up frame pumps. Spare cartridges are usually held in place with Velcro straps, so it is worth checking out the quality of the strap and how securely a cartridge will be held in place.
CO2 pumps are predominantly designed for use as fast inflators after fixing flat tires when out on the trail or the road. If at home or in the workshop then a floor pump will do the job almost as quickly and will not cost anything. The exact range of applications will depend on the system as some are specifically designed for bicycle tires, which often have Presta only connectors on them, but there are some that can also be used for car and motorbike tires.
Ease of Use
Most of these types of pumps are easy to use, but you should take note that even though some state that there is a ’regulator’ these are in reality more like on/off switches. You can control the amount of CO2 going in, but you cannot really adjust the rate. There is an element of research as well. It can be easy to over-inflate a tire, and also burst it, if you use too much gas, so you are likely to have to carry out a few experiments to ascertain the best way of ensuring your tire is filled properly, but not over-filled.
Value for Money
The cost of most CO2 pumps is generally within the $10-$30 bracket. The main cost comes from the cartridges, which will depend on how often you use them. If you are out on the trails every weekend you are likely to get through a few and so having a pump that only takes branded 16g cartridges is not going to be as cost effective as a pump that can take a range of generic cartridges available from your local sports store.
Check out This List of CO2 Pumps
|SKS Air Inflator Bicycle Tires||A good little CO2 bicycle pump with a simple design. Doesn’t have some of the extra features that other CO2 pumps have.|
|Topeak CO2 Bra Race Mini Pump||A great mini pump that is reliable and easy to use. Has a pressure indicator to show whether a cartridge has been pierced. A great addition to any bike emergency repair kit.|
|Genuine Innovations Ultraflate Plus Inflater||Although this pump is quite bulky, it is still a good buy. It is adaptable to a number of applications and it is easy to use.|
|Planet Bike Zeppelin CO2 Tire Inflator||A very simple emergency pump and does not have any complex bit that increase the chances of it failing. For the price it does the job.|
|Lezyne Alloy Drive CO2 Inflator||With its simple design, along with high-quality materials this pump performs very well.|
|Lezyne Trigger Speed CO2 Bicycle Inflator||A great easy to use, small and light emergency pump for racing and endurance rides. Just watch your hands when you’re using it as there is no protection around the cartridge.|
|CO2 Tire Inflator by Vibrelli||With its reasonable price, the Vibrelli’s CO2 Tire Inflator is a great choice to take along on your ride.|
|CO2 Tire Pump By Pro Bike Tool||With this CO2 tire pump by Pro Bike Tool you can pump your tire back up in a matter of seconds.|
Where To Buy CO2 Pumps?
If you are interested in buying CO2 pumps you are invited to visit these trusted online stores: