Tire inflation, CO2 or hand pump for commuting?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tire inflation, CO2 or hand pump for commuting?

    I've been lucky on my commutes so far, a few slow leaks but no flats, yet. Yesterday, my wife got a superb flat on the drivers' side rear of our pickup, about halfway home, so I doubled back to change out her tire.

    My commutes had been short and through downtown, passing a few gas stations where I could air up if needed, so I haven't bothered with a pump. Now that I'm also doing 15 miles each way to work (18 if I take the really scenic route) on a regular basis, I want some means of inflating a new tube or topping- off a soft tire mid- ride.

    I'm running about 80 psi rear, 60 psi front on my 700x 37s and 55psi rear, 40psi front on my less often used 29x 2.25s for commuting. I also have a few compressors and good quality foot or floor pumps available at either end of the commute, so getting the perfect pressure en- route is not mission critical.

    Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    CO2 for me all the way
    I ride a road bike with GP4000s 23mm tires at 95psi front and 100psi rear. I do get flats on a fairly regular basis, I carry a CO2 inflator and a spare tube. I can have the tube replaced and tire re inflated in under 5 mins. I patch the old tube later and use as a spare.
    I would imagine a 2.25 29er tire would take a several hundred pumps and quite a long time to re-inflate with any sort of hand pump, but the flip side is that such tires are not as prone as roadie slicks to puncturing, roadie tires also don't slow puncture - they just deflate pretty much instantaneously - most gas station compressors won't do 100psi

  3. #3
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    I carry CO2 for use on the way to work (or if I'm very lazy on the way home). A mini pump is a backup.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, any suggestions on a CO2 inflator that uses the same non- threaded cartridges as my Crossman Airguns? Or, is there some added value in the threaded canisters and inflators?

    Are there CO2 inflators that can be used multiple times in a week to top- off tires, or is a cartridge a one tire inflation deal?

  5. #5
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    None of the seals in an inflator can deal well with CO2 over time, and they'll go flat in about a day or two after they're pierced. I use an Ultraflate by genuine innovations. It can use both threaded or unthreaded cartridges. Most people don't go for them because they're a bit bulky, but it's a good, easy to use design.

  6. #6
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    Just for the sake of variety I'll jump in and say I use a mini pump, it's a Topeak one that I've worn off the model name in my bag. Pretty sure it cost under 20 bucks.

    It takes a couple minutes to inflate my 700x35s but I've never thought of it as an issue. To be fair I've never tried CO2, but I'm happy with the mini pump.

  7. #7
    Wierdo
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    You can mount a pump like a Topeak Road Morph G onto your bike and pretty much forget about it until you need it. It will inflate a high volume tire relatively quickly and will get a road tire to 100+ PSI with some hard pushing.

    Cartridges are great and easy but if you screw one up and run out you'll wish you had a pump. I've never had to borrow a cartridge but have loaned my pump to cartridge guys a couple of times over the years.

  8. #8
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    I think CO2 is fine for the most part and a lot of the inflators get the job done very well. My issue with them is if you get multiple flats in a given ride and only have one cartridge with you, you'll have no way to inflate your tire. I recommend a good mini pump instead. They're light and take up very little space in a bag or on your bike. I'm partial to the Lezyne offerings. You can get higher volume mini pumps that will inflate a larger tire faster.

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    First off, I think you`re very brave to ride for so long with no method at all of dealing with a flat on your bike. Either way would be a huge improvement in my state of mind. Personally, I`ve never tried CO2, but if you don`t mind keeping a stash of cartidges, it must be faster than mini pumps. I`ve used a mini pump with hose to fill 21 x 3.0 motorcycle tires from flat on mulitple occasions, and it doesn`t take all that long. They do need to be checked from time to time, though. I`ve had the seals dry out after long periods of disuse, rendering the pump useless.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I'm tubeless. I have a CO2 in the camelbak for mountain bike rides that I never use, and a mini pump in the commute bag that I never use
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  11. #11
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    I have been carrying around my zefal hp-x frame pump from the 80's. Works! And it is period correct for the frame, and the same one I used on the bike when I first got it. Sometimes I use a topeak master blaster instead.


  12. #12
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    Thanks all. The weather went to pot today and reminded me that it gets awfully cold here.

    Any issues with either pump or CO2 in extreme cold?

  13. #13
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    Cold and wet makes my hands feel sore sometimes when I am pumping. But otherwise no on the pump.

  14. #14
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    The errand bike has a mini pump. The Duchess carries a frame pump and a CO2 kit. I discarded a mini pump that was just too much work to get close to ridable pressures 90+. This is about the best shot I have of the Zefal (new with the frame mod and paint:


  15. #15
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    I rarely need my mini pump, but now that I carry it in my pack instead of on the frame, it seems to hold up better. I have a Lezyne HP (high pressure) I carry with the cross bike, and a Lezyne HV (high volume) I carry with the MTB or fatbike. Both have a nice hose attachment that stores inside the pump, which reduces stress on the valve and makes it easier to pump.

  16. #16
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    I have a hand pump

    When I get flats they tend to go in streaks so the CO2 would only work on the first one then it would be gone...for the next flat.

    200 hundred quick hard strokes and I am good to go.

  17. #17
    Bedwards Of The West
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    ^^ Resisting the jokes that are brewing in my head...

    On the temperature thing, the CO2 things get super cold when they're being discharged. Never been an issue for me (the cost is the issue for me) but it could be a factor for someone.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  18. #18
    CB of the East
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    Both. I was converted to CO2 on a group ride where several of us got flats. It got the group back on the road a lot quicker. I've been a pumper for years but the CO2 is SO much faster and doesn't risk breaking the stem. Also, if you are on you way to work, if you are like me, there are days that you don't have a lot of extra time to spend pumping. I still carry a pump for those multi-flat days.

    I use Portland Design Works Shiny Object and these budget cartridges: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The PDW inflator lets you stop the flow of CO2 so you could theoretically use it to get you started on the second flat of a ride.

    If I'm close to home or have plenty of time or am starting a long ride and want to save my cartridges I'll still pump. I usually ride with 2 cartridges.

  19. #19
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    Now that I'm in the midst of a streak of constant flat tires I want to amend my answer. I'm still sticking a mini-pump but I just ordered a fancy Lezyne pump that has a hose on it. I bashed my hand pretty good on my brake rotor the other day trying to get my pump head off the valve. Also switching to a high volume instead of high pressure pump since it should match my needs better.

    Think I may also get the nifty Botranger floor pump that can seat tubeless tires for home and bring my other floor pump to keep at work.

  20. #20
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    I don't use it anymore but genuine innovations made a pump called the "mountain pipe" that works as a CO2 inflator also. I liked having the option a lot, but have since decided to get a higher volume pump and ditch the co2s.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  21. #21
    Bedwards Of The West
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    ^^ I'm about due for a new pump (got mine in '95 or so )
    What did you land on for a higher volume pump? I carry mine in the backapack or camelbak so I'm not concerned with size really.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    ^^ I'm about due for a new pump (got mine in '95 or so )
    What did you land on for a higher volume pump? I carry mine in the backapack or camelbak so I'm not concerned with size really.
    Check out this one from Lezyne. It's got a fold out foot and a hose so you can use it more like a floor pump. If you check out the reviews for it on Amazon you'll see it's popular with fat bike users as well, and if I remember right you have a Mukluk in the stable. Mine should come in on Monday and I have high hopes for it.

  23. #23
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    I use CO2, but I carry 2 cartridges in case of an oopsies. But I'm also a short urban commuter, so I'm never really too far from help or the bus.

  24. #24
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    Lots of good advice here, thanks all.

    I stopped in the LBS and picked up a Bontrager high pressure pump the other day. So far, it seems to be light enough and well made, and it will bump my tire pressure from 60 to 80 psi without extraordinary effort.

    I may yet add CO2 to the trunk bag, and I might want another pump for the other bike. I am curious to hear how the pumps with hoses are working out, and everyone's favorites in the CO2 department.

  25. #25
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    I have a Lezyne Alloy Drive ABS. The flexible hose is perfectly and it is screwed onto the vent so really no air is escaping, it is all going into your tyre. I had to use it only once on my commute, but I was very glad I had it. I have tried many other minipumps but no other minipump was nearly as good as this one.

  26. #26
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    I am curious to hear how the pumps with hoses are working out, and everyone's favorites in the CO2 department.
    Are you looking just for a backup to your CO2? If so, probably aim for small, light, and as robust-looking as you can find and not worry about the hose. If the pump is going to be your primary air source, definitely look for a hose! My favorite is the somewhat obscure Serfas version, but I`ve also had a Mountain Morph and a Lezeyne, and I`d take any one of them over any non-hosed pump I`ve used.

    Now my official prayer to the pump marketing gods that I have to spout every time the subject of mini pumps comes up: Please, please, PLEASE give us a hose equiped pump stretched to the size of an old fashioned frame pump.
    Thank you, amen.
    Recalculating....

  27. #27
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    ^ No CO2 yet, thinking of gas as a field expedient backup to the pump, so far. The pump I got has no hose. I may yet regret this.

    You seem to be in the hoser camp (I don't mean that to sound that way), I have heard no-one in the "anti hoser" camp. What is the real advantage of the hose? I say lots of dumb sh!t, but I am listening.

  28. #28
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    ^^Have you ever gotten one of those impossible to patch flats due to a leak from damage at the base of the valve? The pump with a hose reduces valve tweaking while pumping, and I also find them more ergonomic and thus easier/faster to pump.

  29. #29
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    They're definitely easier to pump than non-hosed pumps. No smashing your hand into spokes or anything else because of poor design.
    Bourbon: Because no good story ever started with "So, there we were eating salads".

  30. #30
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    What they said: easier, more comfortable, can`t damage the tube. The only disadvantages I can think of are carrying the extra weight and bulk of a hose. And honestly, nothing looks as cool as an old school non-hose frame pump under the TT, but if you`re talking strictly about function, I don`t think an anti-hose camp exists.
    Recalculating....

  31. #31
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    I love the pressure and function of a frame pump, but lost a lot of valves to it. Then I discovered letting the bottom of the pump, rim and tire rest on my foot. No more wobbling the valve. No more valve issues. Of course this means a floor pump (wiht hose) at home for when the wheels are on the bike.

  32. #32
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    I carry a can of fix-a-flat. That's all. No kidding.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bimmer74 View Post
    I carry a can of fix-a-flat. That's all. No kidding.
    Unless you never bring it to a bike shop, please don't. Same with slime, same with pit stop. It creates a god awful mess when the tube finally gives up the ghost. Tubeless tires are a different story, of course.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    Unless you never bring it to a bike shop, please don't.
    I'm generally my own mechanic (and my wife's and daughter's mechanic), and I don't take my bikes to the bike shop for anything... certainly not changing tires.

  35. #35
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    Having dealt with countless farm and logging implement tires filled with slime and other compounds, I am intrigued as to the difference between tubed and tubeless on a bicycle.

    I wouldn't wish a slimed tire on anyone who has to change it out. Why is this less of a problem on tubeless tires?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    Why is this less of a problem on tubeless tires?
    I think the idea is that most guys running tubeless have already poured liquid latex and other gunk in there, so it's already a mess, and spraying Slime or fix-a-flat doesn't really make it any worse.

  37. #37
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    The brands Slime and Fix-a-Flat both use nasty VOCs in their products. A better product is, True Goo: non-toxic, water soluble, works better than the other products.

    As for hand pump vs. CO2, I'll take a hand pump.

    The cost and waste of CO2 systems is the primary reason I won't use them. Secondly, the don't work as well with larger volume tires.

    Not saying anyone here does this: On the more popular road rides around here it's not uncommon to find a tube and a shiny CO2 cartridge laying next to each other on the shoulder. To be fair, I find around the same number of tubes with no cartridge. I usually take the tubes and patch them (haven't bought a tube in 5 years and I still have a milk crate full of to-patch tubes) and recycle the cartridges.

    But yeah, frame pumps/hand pumps are better than CO2.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rustedthrough View Post
    I wouldn't wish a slimed tire on anyone who has to change it out. Why is this less of a problem on tubeless tires?
    So far (5 years) all my flats while tubeless have been when I have let the sealant dry out, so putting a tube in is mess-less.

    My tires are also notoriously (hazardously?) loose-fitting to the point where, changing tires at home, I can get them off the rim without spilling any sealant, recover said used sealant, and put it in the new tires.

    Note that this is not a recommendation.

    As to the original question: mini-pump carried on commute, with bigger pumps at home and work.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

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