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What Size CO2 Cartridge for Mountain Bike

Getting a flat tire on top of the hill is the last think bikers want. Luckily, the CO2 cartridges come in handy to inflate the flat tires within a short time. Buying a set is expensive, and thus as a biker, you need to get the right size. 

The cartridges come in different sizes, e.g., 16g, 20g, and 25g.  Making the right choice is essential as the cartridges are used once. Here everything you need to know to get the right size for a mountain bike.

What are the CO2 cartridges?

CO2 cartridges are small metal containers holding highly pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. Cyclists prefer them due to their small size that makes storage and transport easier. Besides, they inflate the flat tires or fill the new ones in seconds. 

Their thumb-size has no effect on its power as the pressurized carbon fill the bike tire with gas fast. It requires less energy to use compared to manual pumps that can take ages and more effort to get the work done.   

How do CO2 cartridges work?

Regardless of the size of the CO2 cartridges, they are used the same way. The inflator is needed that will be used to break the seal of the can. The canister is screwed into the head of the inflator or pressed into it. 

The inflator is then attached to the valve stem of the bike, which then transfers the gas to the tire in seconds. Unlike the cartridges that are used only once, the inflators are re-usable, and mountain bikers always prefer carrying them whenever on a ride.

Types of CO2 cartridges

There are two types of CO2 cartridges: Threaded and non-threaded. 

Threaded types are designed with threads on the tip such that they are easily screwed into the head of the inflator. 

Non-threaded have a smooth tip and thus pressed or pushed to the inflator head to break the seal. 

The two works the same way, but the one chosen should be compatible with the inflator’s head being used. 

Can the flow of gas be controlled when using the CO2 cartridges?

Control of the flow of gas depends on the kind of the inflator head used. The sub-standards inflators frustrate many riders as they tend to dispense the gas once the seal of the cartridge breaks. 

Flow control is a feature that defines the most advanced inflators. They allow riders to control the flow of CO2 gas using trigger controlled, push-to-inflate, or twist-to-inflate technology. 

How to know the right size?

The volume of the mountain bike tires determines the right size of the cartridge. Larger sizes starting from 20 grams are ideal. Know the working pressure of the bike tires that will guide you on choosing the correct size. There is always an inflation chart that is provided by manufacturers to help in picking the right size of the cartridge. 

Benefits of CO2 cartridges

The inflation process of the tires happens quickly, saving time to leave bikers to continue cycling with no worry. Besides, the small size of the product makes storage easy while not adding weight when cycling. 

The best is to pick the quality inflator head and the right size CO2 cartridge to get ideal pressure in the mountain bike tires. 

Limitation of the CO2 cartridges

With the above information, bikers should find it easy to use the cartridge. However, beginner’s cyclists might find it difficult to know when their tires are full, thus risk over-inflation. Over-filled tires could blow out the tubes calling for a replacement. One should be watchful, and once the tire attains desired pressure, the inflator should be removed.

The second thing is that CO2 cartridges are only used once. Bikers should take care of the environment by not throwing the cans around, instead dispose of well.


The right size of cartridge all depends on how much your bike tire needs. Filling up a deflated tire required large CO2 rounds compared to refilling when some pressure is released. 

The sure thing is that the convenience of the CO2 is worth the investment, and the basics above will help you get started. Always refer to the chart given by the manufacturer to get the ideal size. Otherwise, be watchful as you inflate the bike to avoid over-inflating. 

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