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CO2 inflator recommendations

Having had 2 flats within a week (my first in 4 years mind you), I’ve used my CO2 inflator with good success. However, it is made mostly of plastic, and I am worried that it may not hold up well over repeated uses. Any recommendations for a good inflator that doesn’t break the bank or take up all the precious bag space, would be much appreciated.

5 Replies

bmyoungberg, June 2, 2019 at 6:03 pm

If you have spare tires with you, you may not need it. If you get a flat, someone(s) will stop shortly to help. The Navy team is especially focused on helping like that. They have all the gear like pumps. There are also good pumps you can use at any of the repair places along the route to add air as needed.


Kelly Puster, June 2, 2019 at 6:35 pm

I agree, the armed forces cycling teams are fantastic, and there are always lots of helpful fellow cyclists. However, I often ride here at home on my own, and would like a very reliable valve. Thanks!


Luv 2 Ski, June 2, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Lezyne and Genuine Innovations are both excellent and small. All Alloy designs.


cmparsley, June 3, 2019 at 12:37 am

A couple points (from a mechanic of many years):

1. Get a CO2 inflator with a valve. Not all inflators are created equal. Some will empty their contents when the cylinder is attached to the pump head.

2. Whatever you get, purchase extra cylinders and practice at home until you are comfortable using your pump. You don’t want the first time to be out on the side of the road.

3. As soon as you can, get to an air pump. Remove as much CO2 as you can from the tire and replace with air from a real pump. Most folks don’t realize this, but rubber innertubes are not 100% air tight. On a molecular level, oxygen molecules can, and do, move through the rubber membrane. Yes, it takes a long time for this to happen and the speed at which this happens is affected by many different things like quality of the rubber, pressure the tire has, among others. CO2 molecules are smaller than oxygen molecules, so this process can and does happen much quicker.

4. When you do get a flat, only remove one side of the tire and leave the valve stem in place while pulling the tube from the tire. By leaving the whole works in the same orientation it was in when the flat happened can help you narrow down what caused the flat in the first place. Often, people will complain about multiple flats only to find that they picked up a thorn or a sharp rock. They chucked in a new tube, aired it up, then sometimes right away popped the new tube. Sometimes it takes a little bit of riding to work whatever pokey bit is in the tire, into the tube. If you can find the spot on the tube with everything in place, you can search that part of the tire to see what caused the flat.


Gary Van Atta, June 3, 2019 at 1:30 am

Lezyne With the on/off knob. It just works.


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