I’ve long been a fan of using CO2 when the time comes to mend the almost inevitable puncture and for a number of years I’ve been particularly partial to using other peoples CO2. There’s obvious benefits to using someone else’s, less weight, lower cost and just so much less trouble than having your own. However, it’s a sad fact of life that some individuals can be quite selfish, so when people stopped lending me theirs and even started pretending that they didn’t have any with them … I was forced to buy my own.
My previous experiences had given me quite a good insight into the various different types of CO2 inflators, so I had a good idea of what I did and didn’t want. My wish list included, something lightweight and compact, with an adjustable pressure feed and I also liked the idea of a design that incorporates a mini back-up pump, oh and I also wanted it to be as cheap as possible.
|Air in one end and out the middle.|
My first hour of searching the world wide web didn’t really produce the desired result. There were certainly plenty of options but nothing that entirely fitted the bill … well, not without provoking a sharp intake of breath followed by “xxxx me, how much”. It was obviously going to be harder than I’d anticipated, so I abandoned my quest hoping that something would turn up and a few days later, while on another internet goose chase, it did.
The Lifeline Hybrid CO2 pump ticks all the boxes on my wish list. It’s reasonably light at 73g, just 150mm long, has an inbuilt pressure regulator and mini pump and here’s the best bit, it cost less than £15. The body, pump shaft and head are all aluminium, so it certainly feels robust enough. The pump itself features a magnetic closure and it’ll fit both presta and schrader valves without stripping it down, swapping parts or generally messing around. It stands to reason that something with a stroke of just 63mm isn’t going to be a match for your average track pump and chances are you’ll lose count of strokes and possibly the will to live before it’s pressurised your tyre with something you’d consider riding on … but it can be done. The real benefit of the additional mini pump is the fact that it allows you to easily add a little air to a new tube before fitting or if you need to inflate a flat tube while you look for a hole.
|Compact, light and robust.|
The head screws onto the tyre valve, so it forms a good seal and your CO2 cartridge screws on the end. The regulator allows you to adjust the amount of gas going into the tyre and also means that you can leave a half used cartridge in place ready for next time. You can use any size of threaded cartridge including monstrous 38g ones, which might be useful for those with 4″ tyres.
There’s certainly cheaper, smaller and lighter CO2 inflators out there, Lifeline themselves make a couple but if your riding takes you into the countries more remote areas, then the back up pump does offer a little peace of mind while still allowing you to travel as light as possible.