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Avoid inexpensive CO2 Cartridges?

Old 08-06-19, 07:50 AM
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TakingMyTime
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Avoid inexpensive CO2 Cartridges?

I know I'm overthinking this but I had to ask... Is there such a thing as a quality/reliable CO2 cartridge or are they pretty much all created equal? I'm going to start carrying a CO2 setup and before I dive in I wanted to ask.

I already know which head unit I'll get, I carry a backup pump, I was just wondering if any company out there might be selling duds?
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Old 08-06-19, 08:05 AM
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Tricks is to carry at least 2 cartridges. Itís a good practice anyway, less for if you get two flats, but more for if you fluff the first inflation. FWIW, though, Iíve never come across a dud cartridge, but I also carry a very small mini pump in my jersey pocket - purgatory to pump a tire as a last resort, but I have never had to use it in the wild
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Old 08-06-19, 08:06 AM
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Although I've never used a CO2 inflating system...I'd think that the cartridges are pretty standard. Maybe I'm wrong. But I'd think the head is where you'd want the best/reliable device. As much as I'd like to elimate frame-mounted pumps from my bikes...I'm too pessimistic about CO2 inflation systems. Too many times I've seen riders go to inflate and the CO2 cartridge just go PFSSSSSSSSSST into the air and the tube/tire not get inflated. Since most of my riding is alone I have to maintain a pump, and don't see the sense of carrying both systems with me.

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Old 08-06-19, 08:39 AM
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I relied totally on CO2 for years and it never let me down.

To me the most important thing is not to rush. CO2 is really fast so it's tempting to show off by fixing your flat faster than any onlookers have seen before. I think it's better to take time to be sure your tire bead is seated and your inner tube is out of the way before hitting the CO2.

I'd still be using CO2 but I started riding recumbents with higher volume tires. I'm too cheap to spend 2 cartridges every time that I get a flat.
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Old 08-06-19, 10:18 AM
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So far I haven't needed my CO2 kit for cycling. I only got it for group rides so folks wouldn't be waiting longer than necessary for me. On solo or casual group rides I use pumps.

But for many years I used CO2 pellet guns for target shooting, including paper punching and metal silhouettes. This was before the more practical compressed air tank generation of pellet guns. Never had a CO2 cartridge dud or failure, even the cheap stuff. Any leaks were always the doodad that penetrates the seal, the O-rings or baffles that trap the expanded gas, not the cartridge itself. Sometimes on really hot days we had to be careful to keep the equipment out of direct sun, but that didn't affect the CO2 cartridges.

If I bought CO2 spares for my bikes, I'd just get whatever is cheapest.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:01 AM
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Thank you. My question has been answered.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:16 AM
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I use the cheap unthreaded ones, never a failure. I think I paid $19.99 for a box of 36 or 48, was either a Dick's or Cabelas. They were in the 'air gun' dept. They have lasted a while, as I hate flats, buy good tires, don't commute and don't live in goathead country.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:23 AM
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I've never seen a quality difference between the cheap ones and the expensive ones. So I just buy the cheapest bulk rate I can find.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:30 AM
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Aren't there inflator heads out there that are fool proof, ones that you puncture the cartridge, hook up to the valve, and then once its on you unscrew the head to control the flow into the tube?

Unfortunately, I do not have this type, I have the ones you can screw up with.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
Aren't there inflator heads out there that are fool proof, ones that you puncture the cartridge, hook up to the valve, and then once its on you unscrew the head to control the flow into the tube?

Unfortunately, I do not have this type, I have the ones you can screw up with.
Yup. One of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017KU1DIK/
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Old 08-06-19, 12:01 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
Aren't there inflator heads out there that are fool proof, ones that you puncture the cartridge, hook up to the valve, and then once its on you unscrew the head to control the flow into the tube?

Unfortunately, I do not have this type, I have the ones you can screw up with.

The XLAB Nanoflator has this feature.


No Co2 escapes when the cartridge attaches to the inflator. The open/closed valve lets the amount of Co2 entering the presta valve be controlled and it can be shut off at any time.


-Tim-
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Old 08-06-19, 01:17 PM
  #12  
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As does the Portland Design Works Shiny Object.
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Old 08-06-19, 02:23 PM
  #13  
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Kedosto Rules of CO2...

Bring at least two.
Buy a cart size larger than you think you need.
Practice in the comfort of your own home first before attempting roadside repairs.
Don't ever try to use a cart bare handed.
Don't leave the discard on the side of the road (or trail).


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Old 08-06-19, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by puma1552 View Post
Aren't there inflator heads out there that are fool proof
I've been using the Genuine Innovations Airchuck for as long as I can remember. Push to inflate, really hard to screw up.

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Old 08-06-19, 02:54 PM
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My 72 yr. Old skinny arms , can no longer push a hand pump. Ive had 3 flats in the last 5 yrs. never an issue with CO2 . KB
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Old 08-06-19, 03:14 PM
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A pump is nice for the first few PSI in a new tube before placing it into the tire and onto the rim.

A few more shots from the pump are helpful to push the tube up into the tire before visual inspection to make sure the tube isn't peeking out under the tire bead.

If all is good then hit it with Co2 to fully inflate.


-Tim-
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Old 08-06-19, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
A pump is nice for the first few PSI in a new tube before placing it into the tire and onto the rim.

A few more shots from the pump are helpful to push the tube up into the tire before visual inspection to make sure the tube isn't peeking out under the tire bead.

If all is good then hit it with Co2 to fully inflate.


-Tim-

My technique, exactly. Works every time.


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Old 08-06-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I've been using the Genuine Innovations Airchuck for as long as I can remember. Push to inflate, really hard to screw up.
thats what I use with my schrader valves but couldnít get it to work for a young man I stopped to help who had presta valves- I must have been doing it wrong? It didnít seem to fit snugly and no gas transferred from cartridge to bike tube
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Old 08-06-19, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
thats what I use with my schrader valves but couldnít get it to work for a young man I stopped to help who had presta valves- I must have been doing it wrong? It didnít seem to fit snugly and no gas transferred from cartridge to bike tube
Did you unscrew the Presta valve?



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Old 08-06-19, 04:31 PM
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FWIW cheapest C02 is typically unthreaded (I get a box at WalMart, 15 for $7 so less than 50 cents apiece).

BUT...you will need to have an inflator that accepts unthreaded ones. Many only take threaded which are more expensive.
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Old 08-06-19, 04:40 PM
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I got the Slime branded inflator at Walmart, which I recall from a prior thread also has been seen with other brand names. It holds the cartridge but also has threads so you can use either type, and it will also work with 12 gram cartridges which are not really enough gas but you can find anywhere pellet guns are sold.

I'm off of CO2 since going tubeless, though.
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Old 08-06-19, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
FWIW cheapest C02 is typically unthreaded (I get a box at WalMart, 15 for $7 so less than 50 cents apiece).

BUT...you will need to have an inflator that accepts unthreaded ones. Many only take threaded which are more expensive.
On the other hand, you can get threaded 16g canisters in boxes of 2 dozen for a a dollar a cart on eBay
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Old 08-06-19, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I've been using the Genuine Innovations Airchuck for as long as I can remember. Push to inflate, really hard to screw up.

The GIA came in my Roubaix SWAT Box. Also have onboard a combo pump/CO2 mini pump.
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Old 08-06-19, 05:31 PM
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I am trying to think how you could even make a counterfeit CO2 cartridge. The CO2 is liquid and the pressure is its vapor pressure so you can't skimp on the steel. I guess you could make it out of more and worse steel and put in less CO2, but does that actually save you anything? Surely the biggest cost here is distribution. And it wouldn't interface with all the things that might use it. Before that, you'd have to invent and make the machine that makes the counterfeit cartridges.
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Old 08-06-19, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I've been using the Genuine Innovations Airchuck for as long as I can remember. Push to inflate, really hard to screw up.

That's what I have... never a problem.

Last edited by GlennR; 08-06-19 at 06:55 PM.
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