If you do not carry this CO2 tire inflator with you on bike rides, it won't help when you have a flat

Yeah, I seen yous chrough dat bone.


This is the only inflator I ever carry. Small, light, simple, and inflates a road bike tire to pressure in about 1.5 seconds.

I own this exact inflator and have used it several times on Presta valves. I have four bikes and only run Presta. Two of them are tubeless. I even use it to set the bead on the tubeless ones and it works great. I’ve been using CO2 inflators for about 20 years and don’t think I would ever go back to a frame pump.

I don’t have the same one in question, but I’ve had a couple similar over the years, and all I can say is that somehow, they work. My current one doesn’t even have the lever, and still, somehow, it works.

These typically have a rubber flange in them. You git it to the presta stem and press the whole assembly inward, which both opens the inflator valve, and presses the presta stem in. When you release the pressure in the tube forces the presta stem closed again. It’s a little hard to explain but it’s obvious when you do it.

I usually carry an inflator similar to this, two tubes and a small pump. You’d be surprised how often you’ll get 2 flats, plus someone is always needing one, etc.

The inflator I have is simpler/less fussy than this.

I used to use CO2 inflators. But I greatly prefer the kind that work with the cheap, available in mass quantity, but non-threaded cartridges used by air rifles. (“Airsoft” guns, Pffft!) These inflators have a cage that encloses the cartridge, and a piercing mechanism at top. Threaded cartridges are bigger, but inevitably proprietary. And thus non-interchangeable and expensive. (Thank you Cory Doctorow for “Unauthorized Bread”!).

But I stopped using them in favor of a traditional frame-mounted hand pump. I began to realize my tires always lose pressure faster with CO2 than air.


The CO2 cartridges used in most inflaters aren’t proprietary and you can buy them cheaply in bulk online or on ebay. For example

You can often find them at under $1/each on ebay.

Almost every road cyclist carries an inflator these fit so you can be relatively assured that if someone needs one yours will fit and vice versa.

I think I have one of the unthreaded ones around but I don’t use it for anything.


As Umop says, this isn’t a replacement for a pump in that tubes leak CO2 quickly. It gets you home, that’s all. Carry a frame pump–they’re tiny these days–and do the job right: permanently. You can spare the extra 2 minutes.

I don’t think it’s just my imagination that what used to be a good tech site here is now mainly a disguised shop for glitter tech.


A tube will leak CO2 over night, sure, but it’ll get you home at almost any normal riding distance. 2 extra minutes is also kind of a long time when 20 people are standing in the sun waiting for you. I consider a small pump as a backup and use the CO2 first. They’re small and light enough that they’re just part of what I carry in my back pocket all the time.

Keanu Reeves Reaction GIF by Bill & Ted Face the Music

I think that most of us, when there are 20 other bicyclists around, would be looking for another route to take. If you want to look at this gadget as a niche thing, I can go with that.

You know cyclists ride in groups sometimes, right? That’s why they’re standing there waiting for me

With Kevlar tires I hardly ever get flats. So Uber is just easier than pumps.

Say what you will, the logic is indefeasible.
Or indefensibly. I always get those two mixed up.

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