CO2 cartridges

16 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

My Road Morph pump works very well but is awkward on my small bike frame. And I want to lighten the load.

So I want to get some CO2 cartridges. (I know, environmentally wasteful. But I don't get many flats with Kevlar tires.)

What should I buy? Performance has this gizmo for inflating the tire

and sells varying sizes of cartridges--12g and 16g.

What is the life span of these cartridges (700x23 tires, 110 psi)? Any difference between threaded and nonthreaded?

Is the inflating gizmo OK? It looks kind of large to me.

Opinions, please.

Anonymous's picture
NYCC member (not verified)
I remember Herb suggesting me to.....

buy it on-line through a gun shop retailer store.

Much cheaper and you can purchase it by cases because it uses the same co2 cartridges w/ the bb gun.

Make sure you get the co2 only (not the gun). I don't want to ride w/ you if your carrying a piece.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
How many cartridges to carry?

Once I flatted both tires, poked holes in the spare tube in my hurry, ran out of patches and ended up flagging down passing riders to try to buy a tube. I hope that never happens to me again. Extrapolating from that it isn't hard to envision getting stuck without enough cartridges.

I have an inflator and I carry it with only one cartridge when the weather is cold (just in case...) but always have a frame pump anyway. I don't trust the thing worth a damn but hey, it was free.

Anonymous's picture
mm (not verified)

cartridges are very easy to use. i have used the small ones and they work fine, enough pressure, easy to control, etc. i don't use a holder, just the small head that screws on - you twist to release the gas, and it's easy to give a little twist to seat the tire first, then just open it all the way to fully inflate. i've done this many times with no problems.

however, i always carry at least 2 cartridges, and i weighed these plus the head. guess what? they weigh exactly the same as my silca frame-fit pump (very reliable, by the way)!!

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
In the interim

Thanks everyone for the detailed suggestions. Any way you slice it, it's relatively complicated to be fully equipped on a 49cm frame. There just ain't much room for anything, not even two .75 liter water bottles! While frame pumps are structurally elegant, I believe they are too large for this frame as well.

Like I said before, I like the Road Morph pump (110 psi in about 80 strokes!), but it form-wise it is a bit cumbersome for the small frame. I am reluctant to put even a small pump in the back pocket, as it could cause injury if you are thrown off the bike.

For this weekend, I am going to try riding with the plastic mount stuck underneath the water bottle cage, so that the pump sticks out on the right side of the frame above the chain ring. It barely fits and I'll have to see if it interferes with pedaling. I have seen some people ride with their pump in this position, but most of them have longer legs than me.

Under the top tube, the pump is a nuisance too, hits my knees and makes it a pain to pick up the frame. Ah, everyone should have such problems.

Eventually I'll figure out the CO2 thing too.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
alternate frame locations for full-size pump

1. Behind the seattube, if there's enough room. Hmm, 49cm frame, probably not.

2. In between the seat cluster and the tip of the QR - requires a leap of faith but makes one hell of a statement.

I have a medium Blackburn FP-1 (47-51cm compressed length) that's not in use and needs a new home...

Anonymous's picture
chris cain (not verified)
CO2 works for me

I love them. Inflating with and carrying a pump is problematic. I've never had issues with cartridges. You can even find 25 g cartridges if you look hard enough. They help if you fumble the inflation; that way you don't have to use another cartridge. Go threaded. It will eliminate the cartridge holder which provides the thread for the threadless cartridge.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Pump placement perfected

Sunday's ride demonstrated that the Road Morph pump can be mounted without problem on the right side of the downtube. No interference with pedaling, can pick up bike from top tube. I'm happy as a clam!

However, I appreciate the advice about the CO2 cartridges. They sound like the best alternative for carrying with my folding bike, which has no place for a pump. The one question there is: can you pack them in your baggage for air travel? Not supposed to take compressed gases, right?

Anonymous's picture
Robert Gray (not verified)
No air travel for CO2

The pump directly above the front derailleur, just the ticket; I think it is the least ugly place to put the pump.
Absolutely no CO2 cartridges on airplanes. In fact, they cannot be even shipped by air when you order them.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Gray (not verified)
CO2 Cartridges

I tried CO2 cartridges when I first got my carbon fiber bike for the same reasons. You need the larger 16g cartridges to put 120 lbs in a 700 tire and it is one cartridge for one complete inflation. I found the cartridges problematic for the following reasons:
It is difficult to get the proper pressure because the pressure is so high in the cartridge, it is difficult to partially inflate the tire to check the rim fit and tube, the content of the cartidge is super cold and can damage the valve seal as it is released. If you have a damaged tire and get multiple flats, you are out of luck. I gave up and got a topeak road morph. It is not really much heavier than two cartirdges and the cartridge control tool.

Anonymous's picture
JP (not verified)

Friday AM and rain ... so let's discuss CO2.

Cartridges are great - one press and boom - your tire is inflated. They are easy to carry too.

However, if you do get multiple flats, you will run out of cartridges. So, on group rides with friends, we make sure some us also have pumps – in case. I usually carry 2 cartridges for each tube in carry.

I use an old simply chuck – just a head, no holder for the cartridge. It has a nozzle to control release. Some models do NOT have a control – they release when on the valve stem.

My chuck is light and small, BUT, I must use threaded cartridges. If your CO2 chuck also has a holder for the cartridge, you can usually use threaded or non-threaded – and non-threaded are cheaper. Yes, get the BB gun box of them and save $$. I use maybe 3-4 cartridges/year, so I am not wasting too much $$

Also, use the 16g cartridges – to get higher pressure.

Also again, when I am done with a cartridge, it usually has extra CO2 left – I let it out, unscrew the cartridge and properly dispose of it. I do not want to carry around an open cartridge in the chuck for fear of it being released in my jersey and freezing my … whatever. Plus, the left-over in the cartridge is seldom sufficient to inflate another road tire up to par.

So, to be totally self-sufficient, CO2 is great, but you need a hand-pump back-up. Hey, I also carry a Schraeder adapter – a gas station pump, with 60-80 psi will get ya’home.

G’luck, John

Anonymous's picture
Charles (not verified)
frame pumps vs CO2


Maybe having a nice, matching frame pump under your top tube isn't as aesthetically pleasing as you'd like, but look at its additional function--you can quickly remove it just in time to crack a charging, rabid dog upside its head. (please don't call me an animal abuser because I'm a loving pet owner!)

Anonymous's picture
Chris T (not verified)
My preferences, plus Freeze Warning

I carry a hand pump that fits inside my camelback, and have Co2 cartridges. I use the hand pump during the initial portion of a tube change to locate the leak, get enough air to seat the tube properly, then I pump the tire up. I then use the Co2 to bring the pressure up to 120 psi.

When using the Cartridge, the rush of air WILL FREEZE the valve stem. This can weaken the rubber holding the stem to the tube, leading to a possible leak or blowout. I follow these steps to prevent freezing:
1. Keep my fingers wrapped around the stem while using the CO2, the heat dissapates the cold
2. Using the hand pump limits the amount of air needed to pressure the tire
3. I use the cartridge trigger in spurts, this will allow the cold to dissapate prior to the next application.
4. Now it must be pointed out that my cartridges are threaded. The non-threaded cartridges may not employ a trigger, so #3 may not be possible.
5. I use a pressure gauge that fits in my saddlebag.

Any enlightenment on the operation of non-threaded cartridges is appreciated

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

Someone lent me her's on a NYC Century.

I use the innvations superflate (10G non-threaded.)

Buy carts. by the box at Wal-Mart (gun counter.)

Holder bolts onto braze-ons and holds two carts.

Take along 2 extra if on group ride.

Keep a mini pump to get started or if I run out of carts.


Anonymous's picture
Richard Embry (not verified)
Where to get 16g CO2 cartridges?

Can anyone direct me to a website (or retail store in Manhattan)where I can get 16g CO2 cartridges cheap. The ammo shop sites I am finding seem to offer 12g only. Thanks Richard

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
lots of air

I got an inflator when I bought my Trek 5500- the frame has no tight corners that a frame pump will fit into.

I never used it. Whenever I got a flat I was with someone who had a frame pump, so I used that.

I don't ride the Trek any more. I gave the infator to a friend who got a folding bike.

I saw a mini pump at the last bike show that actually seemed useful . I beleive it was made by Crank Bros. I think it pumped on the push and the pull stroke and got high pressure much quicker than most minis.

Nothing beats a full size frame pump, if you can fit one.

Anonymous's picture
anonymous jones (not verified)
CO2 Cartridges cheap on the net

I'm not sure if these are great prices but they seem pretty good.

16g Threadless CO2 Cartridge
$1.50, 10/$12.50, 20/$21.00

16g Threaded CO2 Cartridge
$2.99, 3/$7.50, 10/$20.00
10 for $11.95

cycling trips