Review: Silca Eolo III CO2 Regulator ($26)
I believe they are called ‘weight weenies,’ those people who count the grams of every piece of equipment in cycling. A more recognizable label to this thought process is ‘marginal gains.’ If I add up all the grams I shaved off my bike and kit, imagine how much I would save. Or, to counter that thought with a salesman from Cadence Cycling, “I’ll just take a bigger [bathroom visit].” If I had to label myself I could not care less about having the lightest bike, lightest bibs, and I certainly won’t be taking the foot beds out of my shoes to save weight. Yet sometimes there are places I find unnecessary burdens that can be improved upon. I found it in the form of a Silca inflator.
For years I rode around with a CO2 inflator that had a storage silo screwed into the chuck. It also had a neat little safety lever to prevent the gas from unexpectedly flying out. I think a discharged CO2 canister has to be one of the most heartbreaking moments during a flat repair. It is a helpless feeling to watch all hope dissolve into the air as the tube remains deflated. The whole delivery system was bulky and rather unnecessarily so.
Imagine my intrigue when Silca, an Indianapolis-based company released the Eolo III Regulator with a sleek design. The chuck itself fits simply into a cycling wallet, almost to the point of forgetting about it. Where my old CO2 inflator could not get wedged into the cycling wallet, this one disappears into one of the pockets and that is that. Where my old inflator was predominantly plastic, the Silca Eolo III is all aluminum. Though sold out at the time, I could customize the banded color combination on the chuck. They come with Silca’s nod to the past with the colors of the Italian flag.
What is nice about this regulator, aside from its miniscule presence and its Made in the USA label, is its ease of operation. Screw the cartridge into the chuck, place it on the valve, and push the action spring down to release the gas into the tube. That’s it. The whole process is done without headache or guesswork. The gas release pressure is completely controllable insomuch the harder I press, the faster the CO2 fires out. Want a slower inflation? Don’t press so hard.
While the regulator is a nice piece of kit, Silca places emphasis on its branded CO2 canisters. Silca sells 16-gram canisters guaranteeing their contents to be between 15.5 to 16 grams. Most cartridges on the market are only required to meet a minimum 14-grames in their labeled 16-gram canisters. These CO2 canisters are the same used in inflatable life jackets and air bags and are produced in Austria. The CO2 cartridges come with one final attention to detail: a rubber cap over the threaded end of the bottle so as to avoid any damage during storage next to a tube.
I have been waiting since summertime to write about the Silca Eolo III inflator but hadn’t flatted until recently. Perhaps it is time to get new tires because I’ve had a fair share of punctures to practice my Silca usage. The last time I punctured I had a moment of panic thinking I had left my Silca regulator head at home. I thought this because the chuck is so small, I couldn’t find it in my cycling wallet; it was located in the corner of the pocket and ready to use. Though I don’t count grams when riding, I did shave off a little bit of weight with the Silca Eolo III regulator. I also shaved off a little worry and a little time by adding it to my repair kit.