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PRO BIKE TOOL

C02 INFLATOR 101

Always been wondering what a CO2 inflator is, how it works, and whether it will be appropriate for you and your bike? Let us guide you…!

WhAt is a CO2 cartridge?

A CO2 cartridge is a small metal container filled with pressurized carbon dioxide. The contents of the tube are actually liquid, but when the pressure is released from the canister by your CO2 inflator, it turns to gas, and rapidly fills your tyre.

Cartridges are small and lightweight, meaning you can easily stash a couple in your jersey pocket, saddlebag, or backpack.

What are the parts of the CO2 inflator, and how are they used?

The easiest place to start is the lever. This is an element unique to our CO2 inflators, and it allows the careful regulation of the gas flow. Most CO2 inflators simply dispel all the gas from the cartridge in one go, which can be dangerous and lead to over-inflated tyres.

The CO2 inflator head has two threaded ‘openings’, one below the lever, and one opposite the lever. The opening below the lever is where you screw in the CO2 cartridge (which must be threaded), and will hold any cartridge up to 25g. The end opposite the lever is the nozzle that you screw onto your inner tube’s Presta or Schrader valve.  This is the end that dispels the gas and inflates your tyre!

We sell two types of CO2 inflator, one with a foam sleeve, and one with a storage canister.

The foam sleeve is the perfect size to slip over a 16g gas cartridge before use, and serves to protect your hand from the freezing gas as you dispel it. And the storage canister does what it says on the tin! It’s the correct size to store a 12g or 16g cartridge before or after use, and it also serves to protect your hand from the cold gas when the tool is in use; much like the foam sleeve of our other model.

Why does the cartridge get so cold?

When the CO2 is inside the cartridge, it is in the form of liquid, but as it is released it turns into gas – which fills your tyre! This decrease of pressure when the gas is released from the CO2 inflator head decreases the temperature of the cartridge, as heat energy is used in the conversion from liquid to gas.

The gas cartridge gets seriously cold when the CO2 inflator is in use, and that’s why both our products include a method for protecting your hand. The regulation lever on our inflator heads also helps with this. Slowing the release of pressure from the cartridge by carefully regulating the flow means the drop in pressure and temperature is slower than if it were expelled without regulation.

Those cartridges don’t look very big! Will they inflate my big fat MTB and gravel tyres?

They sure will! Check out the inflation guide below to find out exactly what pressure you can achieve with various size cartridges and tyres. But just remember – although our CO2 inflator head fits all cartridges up to 25gin size, the foam sleeve is only compatible with a 16g cartridge, and the storage canister will only hold a 12g or 16g cartridge.

How should I store my CO2 cartridges?

We advise you not to store the cartridge screwed into the CO2 inflator head. Doing so risks the gas dispelling from the cartridge over time, thus leaving it half-empty when you need to use it! Worse still, the inflator may start releasing the gas at full pressure in your jersey pocket or saddle bag, which could be dangerous. After use, you need to ensure you fully dispel all the gas from the cartridge, and then take the empty cartridge home with you and safely dispose of it.

And don’t forget!

CO2 will dissipate through your newly-inflated inner tube over time, so you need to be sure you re-inflate the tyre with air from a pump before your next ride!

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