How Many CO2 Cartridges to Fill a Bike Tire? – Explained!

Hey, dear cyclists! Flat tires can be a real bummer, especially when you’re out enjoying a ride. But fear not, because CO2 cartridges are here to save the day! 

Using a CO2 cartridge to fill your bike tires is perhaps the easiest and cost efficient solution on-the-go. Get ready for some tire-inflating fun!

For mountain bike tires, you generally need two 16-gram CO2 cartridges. Road bike tires can be filled with a single 16-gram cartridge, but if both tires need inflation simultaneously, you’ll need two cartridges or a larger 20-gram one. 

For fat bike tires, narrow ones require two 16-gram cartridges or a large 25-gram cartridge, while wider tires may benefit from a 38-gram cartridge.

So, in this article, I am about to explain the things in detail for your convenience and better understanding. 

Have a good read.

What CO2 Cartridge actually is? Does it really work?

What CO2 Cartridge actually is

YES, IT WORKS!

The CO2 cartridges are small canisters that contain carbon dioxide gas at high pressure. They are designed to provide a burst of pressurized gas, allowing for rapid inflation of bike tires. Unlike traditional air pumps, CO2 cartridges offer a portable and efficient solution for on-the-go tire inflation.

Well, now you have your answer in the first place, it’s time to get some details on the process, right? Let’s paddle! 

Filling Mountain Bike Tires with CO2 cartridges

Filling Mountain Bike Tires with CO2 cartridges

Mountain bike tires come in various sizes and widths, such as 26 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. The number of CO2 cartridges required to fill a mountain bike tire depends on its size and the recommended tire pressure (measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI). 

For a standard 26-inch mountain bike tire, you will generally need two 16-gram CO2 cartridges. However, if you opt for a larger 20-gram or 25-gram cartridge, a single cartridge should provide sufficient inflation.

Filling Road Bike Tires with CO2 cartridges

Road bike tires typically require higher pressure compared to mountain bike tires. A single 16-gram CO2 cartridge is usually enough to fill a road bike tire, which typically needs to be inflated between 90 and 120 PSI. 

However, if both tires need to be inflated simultaneously, you will require either two 16-gram cartridges or a larger 20-gram cartridge to ensure both tires reach the desired pressure.

Filling Fat Bike Tires with CO2 cartridges

Fat bike tires have a wider footprint and often require higher air pressure to tackle challenging terrains. The number of CO2 cartridges needed to fill a fat bike tire depends on the tire’s width. 

For narrower fat bike tires, two 16-gram cartridges or a large 25-gram cartridge should suffice. However, for wider tires, you might consider using a 38-gram cartridge to ensure optimal inflation.

Fact Check: Is a 16g CO2 Cartridge Enough?

A 16-gram CO2 cartridge is an excellent option for inflating road bike tires. With a maximum pressure output of approximately 130 PSI, it provides ample pressure to fill a road bike tire comfortably. 

One 16g will not get a 35mm tire up to 80 psig, but it’ll be enough to get you home if it’s a commuter bike or road bike.

However, it’s important to note that a single 16-gram cartridge may not be sufficient for inflating larger tires, such as mountain bike or fat bike tires. 

In those cases, using two 16-gram cartridges or a larger-sized cartridge, such as a 20-gram or 25-gram option, will ensure adequate inflation.

How Expensive can CO2 Cartridges be?

CO2 cartridges are generally quite budget-friendly, making them a cost-effective solution for inflating your bike tires. The price range can vary depending on factors such as the cartridge size and brand. 

On average, you can expect to find CO2 cartridges ranging from a few dollars to around $10 per cartridge. Keep in mind that many retailers offer multipacks or bundles, allowing you to save even more money. So, it’s always worth exploring different options and hunting for those sweet deals.

Remember, the cost of CO2 cartridges is often outweighed by the convenience and time-saving benefits they provide. The ability to quickly inflate your tires on the go and get back to pedaling without breaking a sweat is priceless!

Is it possible to Refill CO2 Cartridges?

Unfortunately, No! 

While CO2 cartridges cannot be refilled with gas, they can be recycled and replaced. After a CO2 cartridge is empty, it is recommended to recycle it and obtain a new one. 

By recycling used cartridges, you can contribute to environmental sustainability and maintain a steady supply of fresh CO2 cartridges for your future biking adventures.

Factors to Consider While Using CO2 Cartridges for Filling Your Bike Tire

Check Valve Compatibility 

Different bike tubes have different valve types, such as Presta or Schrader valves. It’s crucial to check that your CO2 inflator is compatible with the valve type on your tire. Most CO2 inflators work with both Presta and Schrader valves, but it’s always a good idea to double-check before making a purchase.

Consider Cartridge Compatibility

CO2 cartridges come in various sizes, such as 16 grams, 20 grams, and 25 grams. Ensure that your inflator is compatible with the cartridge size you intend to use. Some inflators can accommodate different cartridge sizes, while others may have restrictions, so it’s essential to check for compatibility.

Control and Safety

Different CO2 inflators have varying methods of gas release. Some inflators have a push-to-activate mechanism, while others feature a trigger for more precise control. 

Consider which type of inflator you prefer based on your comfort and the level of control you want over the gas release. Additionally, ensure that the inflator has proper safety features, such as a valve to prevent accidental gas leakage.

Comfort and Protection

CO2 cartridges can get extremely cold when they release gas, which can be uncomfortable or even painful if you handle them without protection. 

Look for inflators that come with a sleeve or cover to insulate the cartridge and protect your hands from extreme cold. Alternatively, wearing gloves while using the inflator can provide the necessary protection.

Value for Money

When purchasing a CO2 inflator, consider the overall value for money. Look for deals that may include starter cartridges or discounted bundles. While the inflator itself may have a relatively low cost, the price of replacement cartridges can vary. 

Finding cost-effective sources for cartridges will ensure you’re always prepared without breaking the bank.

To Pump It Up!

CO2 cartridges offer a convenient and efficient solution for inflating bike tires, allowing you to get back on the road swiftly. 

By understanding the specific requirements of your bike tires, such as size, width, and recommended pressure, you can determine the appropriate number of CO2 cartridges needed for inflation. 

So, embrace the convenience of CO2 inflators, bid farewell to bulky pumps, and enjoy uninterrupted cycling adventures.

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