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  1. #1
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    Nitrogen in bike tires?

    I just finished converting my new Carve SL to tubeless. It was actually a really easy swap as the bike came with new presta valves and the wheels were taped already! I was just thinking would there be any advantage to N2 vs Air with a tubeless setup? N2 molecules are larger, but it may not make a difference at all lol.

    I have access to N2 at work so I may just try it out, Im bored on nightshift and may just be over thinking a problem that doesn't really exists haha.

    Jake

  2. #2
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    Nitrogen in bike tires?

    Like car tyres, they stay in longer without escape but tbh I never found any so-called benefits. Good luck

  3. #3
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    Pure nitrogen versus pure oxygen, the molecule really isnt that much larger. Its kind of irrelevantly larger.

    But thats pure oxygen, our air is something like 75% nitrogen so comparing atmospheric air molecules to pure nitrogen, theres very very little difference.

    Its really a total waste of time, atmospheric air is as good as it gets for a bicycle.

  4. #4
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    Hasn't this been covered a few times already?

  5. #5
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    So lets cover it again. It is actually rather common to fill tires with nitrogen. Oxygen is reactive so it does some damage to the tires. The biggest advantage though is canned air has no water so there is less pressure increase in the tire at 212 degrees. This does happen on a long brake.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  6. #6
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    Nitrogen in bike tires?

    Quote Originally Posted by zerodish View Post
    So lets cover it again. It is actually rather common to fill tires with nitrogen. Oxygen is reactive so it does some damage to the tires. The biggest advantage though is canned air has no water so there is less pressure increase in the tire at 212 degrees. This does happen on a long brake.
    Disc brakes = no braking heat build up in the rims/tires.

    You still need to purge the air from the tire before filling with nitrogen. And if you are using a sealant there is always going to be moisture inside.
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    At least no one has mentioned helium !
    /sarcasm

  8. #8
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    Nitrogen in bike tires?

    Well shoot, I have access to lots of hydrogen at work! Hmm...combustable tires? Maybe Red Bull will sponsor me.


    Nitrogen was/is very useful for this little machine where dynamic temps easily pass the 200F mark

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    The pressures would still increase almost as much as with air, but it was much more consistent and predictable (assuming all the air and moisture had been effectively purged). Definitely helps to have more stable tire pressures when the sweet spot is only a couple psi range. Sucks going out on cold tires!

    Anyone know of WC DH teams that have talked about testing/using Nitrogen? Those tires see an immense amount of stress and no doubt generate some serious heat. But how much?

    Anyway, as far as bikes and Nitrogen; forks and shocks operate at relatively high pressures and temperatures so will benefit from a more stable gas. That's where we would feel a difference if more than just-riding-along (it's all relative, I know).

  9. #9
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    Nitrogen in bike tires?

    Quote Originally Posted by conekilr View Post
    Well shoot, I have access to lots of hydrogen at work! Hmm...combustable tires? Maybe Red Bull will sponsor me.


    Nitrogen was/is very useful for this little machine where dynamic temps easily pass the 200F mark

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    The pressures would still increase almost as much as with air, but it was much more consistent and predictable (assuming all the air and moisture had been effectively purged). Definitely helps to have more stable tire pressures when the sweet spot is only a couple psi range. Sucks going out on cold tires!

    Anyone know of WC DH teams that have talked about testing/using Nitrogen? Those tires see an immense amount of stress and no doubt generate some serious heat. But how much?

    Anyway, as far as bikes and Nitrogen; forks and shocks operate at relatively high pressures and temperatures so will benefit from a more stable gas. That's where we would feel a difference if more than just-riding-along (it's all relative, I know).
    A WC DH run is under 3 minutes in most cases.

    For mtb tires, heat buildup is a total non-issue. Not from braking. Not from casing/tread flex.

    Unlike motorsports, cold tires mean little on the trail. Bicycle tires are designed for use at ambient temperature and the tire temp does not change significantly in use.
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  10. #10
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    Regarding pressure, when my tire is filled to 25 PSI , by the 45 min point it's at 28 to 29. As for nitrogen in mountain bike tires, filling them with 100% N2 Vs. 80% N2 (air) is a complete waste of time.
    Last edited by MSU Alum; 07-01-2013 at 02:28 AM.

  11. #11
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    Nitrogen in your air sprung suspension would be more beneficial.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    At least no one has mentioned helium !
    /sarcasm
    Dude, go big, go hydrogen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I use it in the air cart on my Lefty. Around this time of yr my lefty doubles as my front suspension and a fireworks show. I just loosen the valve to get some flow and lite it. It's a great 30 sec show.............
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Nitrogen in your air sprung suspension would be more beneficial.
    That's why Fox uses it
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    That's why Fox uses it
    My Fox came with a pump that puts ambient air in the fork.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    My Fox came with a pump that puts ambient air in the fork.
    Love it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    My Fox came with a pump that puts ambient air in the fork.
    The RP23 and I think some forks have a nitrogen charged internal chamber in addition to the ambient air chamber you "dial in" with a shock pump.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  17. #17
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    Nitrogen in bike tires?

    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    The RP23 and I think some forks have a nitrogen charged internal chamber in addition to the ambient air chamber you "dial in" with a shock pump.
    Yes, many shocks do that. Not aware of a fork that does.
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  18. #18
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    Helium is used in olympic races it saves a few grams. Hydrogen will form acids and kill your tire.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Yes, many shocks do that. Not aware of a fork that does.
    I thought some of the Fox forks did. My buddies fork blew a seal at Downiville and I remember the guys at the shop there ripping it apart and saying something about a nitrogen cartridge or something. I could have misunderstood.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    My Fox came with a pump that puts ambient air in the fork.
    My pump puts a proprietary mix of nitrogen, oxygen, and a small amount of other inert gasses, just for safety.

    Gotta pay extra to get the good pump!

    Nearly all piggyback shocks, for HD use, use air, not nitrogen... something to think about. RS lets users service their shocks and sets them up to just pump air back into the IFP chamber. I dont think pure nitrogen has much legitimate use on bikes at all.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerodish View Post
    Helium is used in olympic races it saves a few grams. Hydrogen will form acids and kill your tire.
    myth/misinfomation alert.
    Helium is not regularly or currently used in olympic bicycle races. It is not used in any bicycle races that I know of.


    FWIW there is about 12g of air in a typical 29er mtb tire and Helium weighs about 1/7 what air does.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  22. #22
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    I see no benefit to nitrogen other than to avoid oxidation of rubber. As far as being a stable gas, I don't see how it can be any more stable than air. Air can be dried to the same level as nitrogen, and air and nitrogen will behave identically in terms of their pressure vs. temperature behavior at normal tire conditions.

    I think some big trucking fleets use nitrogen to help the tire casing last longer. Truck tires can be recapped, and the casing can sometimes be used for a million miles (IIRC). Using nitrogen will result in less oxidation of the rubber so that it will last longer.

    I imagine nitrogen charged shocks also use nitrogen instead of air to avoid oxidation of rubber seals.

  23. #23
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    Re: Nitrogen in bike tires?

    I use krypton, specifically krypton 86. Very stable. Inert actually. 8 valence electrons. So, yeah, you've got that going. 50 neutrons too. Sure its expensive, but, better than that argon or neon you get on those dept store bikes. Those have like 20 neutrons max, depending on the isotope.

    But if you really wanna go all out: xenon. Its the latest thing. Very pricey. But, its the best you can put in your tires.
    Last edited by Procter; 07-03-2013 at 10:45 PM.
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Unless it does kill you, in which case, you wouldn't be here to dispute the point.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Yes, many shocks do that. Not aware of a fork that does.
    Specialized Future Shock forks (with all the internals in only the right fork leg) use nitrogen I believe. Possibly some of their other in house designs.

  25. #25
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    Using Nitrogen in anything other than race tires seeing high temps is probably the biggest scam at car dealers right now, un****inridiculous.

    I worked with a pro BMW race team for several years, and some of that time I was the tire temps/pressure guy that monitored and analyzed tires during sessions as an indicator to making adjustments to the suspension set-up on the car.

    Nitrogen is only used in race car tires as it doesn't get water build up and is more stable, thereby giving more consistent readings of tire performance.

    And the biggest reason its a scam at dealers, other than the lack of ANY benefits to street cars, is that they likely don't do the correct procedure for replacing air with Nitrogen in the tires. This is what we did with race tires....

    -pick up the new tires installed on the spare rims, it was a spec tire series and they arrived with air in them
    -remove the valve stem core and let the air bleed out, take about 20 seconds
    -with the valve core out hit it with Nitrogen for about 10 seconds
    -let it bleed until almost out, then hit it again for 10 seconds
    -repeat this procedure 2 more times, its getting the air out and replacing as much as possible with Nitrogen
    -as the last hit of Nitrogen its bleeding down you screw the core back in the stem, never letting all the Nitrogen to bleed out
    -fill with Nitrogen to 32 psf and monitor for leaking

    Do you really think the lowest paid guy in the dealer shop does this?
    Hardrock 29er, Niner EMD9, Cannondale F29, Camber Expert, 650b Nickel all gone.
    2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 here.

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