INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Silca, an historic Italian brand that was reborn in the U.S. last year, is launching its first new product aside from pump replacement parts: a CO2 inflator and matching cartridges.
Silca owner Joshua Poertner said the new inflator solves problems that challenge competing products.
For example, some users complain that the spring-loaded buttons on similar inflators will "freeze up" and not close the valve when the user takes his or her thumb off the button. Poertner concluded the problem came from frozen grease inside the head. Using a grease designed to operate at lower temperatures eliminated the problem and allowed Silca to use a smaller, lighter spring, making for a smaller product overall. The inflator weighs 17 grams.
The new U.S.-made EOLO III inflator is shipped with two Austrian-made 16 gram cartridges that Poertner said are made to higher standards than most cartridges sold in the bike market. The higher standard requires that each 16 gram cartridge contains between 15 1/2 and 16 grams of gas. Other cartridges are made to a standard that allows a higher variance, he said, meaning that some 20 gram cartridges on the market might contain only 17 grams of CO2. Poertner said the tighter standard, combined with an inflator that minimizes leakage, makes 20 gram cartridges unnecessary for road bike use. He said he's working with the Austrian supplier to offer 24-gram cartridges for mountain bike use soon.
Silca's cartridges come with rubber protectors to prevent the threads from being damaged inside saddle packs or elsewhere. Undamaged threads allow a more solid connection between the inflator and the cartridge, preventing leaks. The cartridge threads also come lightly greased.
The inflator has three rubber o-rings around its body to insulate the user's fingers from cold during inflation. Silca is making the U.S.-made rings available in 12 different colors and will sell a bag containing two rings of each color for $6. Poertner said some of the colors match recent Rapha clothing shades for those who must look a fashion plate whilst inflating their tires.
The inflator with two cartridges retails for $45. The cartridges sell for $11 a pair.