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Old 07-28-2011, 11:16 AM   #1
Midnightrider
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Default Tires Why Nitrogen?

Nitrogen is a dry, inert gas used for years nationwide to inflate race car tires, commercial airline tires, off-road truck tires, the U.S. Space Shuttle tires, and U.S. Military vehicles tires. Nitrogen can actually be used to put out fire as it contains no oxygen. Tires filled with nitrogen perform better, last longer, and function with a greater degree of reliability than tires inflated with standard air. Ideal for motorcycles that are not driven often. Nitrogen helps maintain proper tire inflation, allowing your tires to run cooler, thus, increading tread life. Tires roll better, grip better and you will have better control of your motorcycle. Tires filled with nitrogen also improve gas mileage. With improved tire inflation comes improved gas mileage. You can save as much as five percent of your gas expenses when your tires are filled with nitrogen.

Driver Observations:

Tires are quieter, feel more solid and responsive.
Road bumps feel muted
Improved braking
Improved road tracking
Tires run cooler and faster.

Oxygen is your tire’s worst enemy. It causes oxidation of the rubber in the tire and slowly weakens the tread, referred to as “fatigue” or “aging.” Because nitrogen is a clean, moisture-free gas, it slows down internal tire oxidation, which slows down the aging process of your tires, allowing them to perform at optimum levels longer.

Enhanced Performance:

Nitrogen helps maintain proper tire pressure longer.
Nitrogen is non-flammable and non-corrosive, as opposed to oxygen.
Nitrogen can be used to put out fire.
Nitrogen molecules leak through tire walls more slowly than regular air because they are larger than oxygen molecules.
Nitrogen tire inflation is one of the newest trends in automotive maintenance. We are taking it a step further and putting it in your motorcycle. No, this isn’t a gimmick.

This simple and inexpensive alternative to standard air inflation provides considerable benefits for your vehicle. Nitrogen inflation machines have been cost prohibitive that only Airlines, NASA, Military and other large budgeted organizations have been to acquire these machines…until now!

ok this was copied and pasted from DC Cycle & Racing.... I had never heard of putting nitrogen in tires until now, have you ?
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:33 AM   #2
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Yep, Nitrogen is denser than air so it leaks less, it also absorbs less heat so it keeps the tire cooler. It is a very good thing to use, in all tires.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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While I agree Nitrogen is better. I think putting it in passenger car and bike tires is a waste of money. Kinda like buying bottled water, yeah it's somewhat better but not worth the expense. But if you've got it spend it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:40 AM   #4
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Around here it is only about 2 dollars to fill four car tires with it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by OTD View Post
While I agree Nitrogen is better. I think putting it in passenger car and bike tires is a waste of money. Kinda like buying bottled water, yeah it's somewhat better but not worth the expense. But if you've got it spend it.
That's just it I don't know the cost yet. I assume it's salty.... If it's not a lot I may try it. I'm having a new tire put on the front tomorrow. Wow I didn't realize it cost so much to mount a motorcycle tire. $48.00 is the cheapest I've found for mount and speed balance. They come highly recommended. Local dealer wanted $65.00.... that sux...
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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Well I made a call and they charge $5.00 a tire... thats not bad at all and should be worth it...if what they say is true...

http://dccycleandracing.net/
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:34 PM   #7
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plain air is around 75% to 80% nitrogen

unless you are a professional racer, you're not likely to notice any difference either way between 100% nitroen and plain air
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:00 PM   #8
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I agree. It's pretty much a waste of time and money, and as was just said, unless you're a racer you won't be able to tell a difference.

Air is free and I check the pressure before each ride. I've never had a tire leak down to the point of being dangerous, and I've never had a tire fail due to dry-rotting or cracking on the inside, nor (despite a few burn outs,) have I ever had a tire catch fire.

Now the part about putting out fires is interesting....I guess you could pull up to the fire, pop your schraeder valve and aim the valve stem towards the fire? Sheesh...the claims some people make to seperate you from your money.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:21 PM   #9
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Eye's reply was the reason I compared it to bottled water. My Grandfather was at my lake place a few years ago. I asked him if he wanted a water to which he replied "yes". So I threw him a bottled water.
He looked at it, and kind of shook his head. He then got up threw me the bottle walked over to the sink and grabbed a glass and got a drink from the faucet.
After he sat back down he said "What is it with your generation that makes you pay for something that's free?" Made me think a bit.

Well so far out of your 4 replies you have one bike technician and a car technician that think it's snake oil.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:53 PM   #10
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Somewhere on the web is a report of, I believe, a NHTSA-sponsored test. May have been another agency, don't recall. They compared compressed air, generated nitrogen, and dry air, and tested pressure stability over time, and with temperature changes. Turns out (as any chemist could tell you) than nitrogen and dry air are indistinguishable, but compressed air was worse, overall. The difference wasn't that much, either, except when you heat a tire a lot (as in racing). Seems it's actually the moisture content that makes the biggest difference. There was no real difference when tire degradation was compared, so oxygen content has very little affect on the rubber. Thing is, it is far easier to find shops with nitrogen generators than dry air. I just happen to have a good drier on my compressor, and when I autocross my sports car, the pressures are more stable from start to end of the session.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:54 PM   #11
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Everyone THANKS.... that is why this board is so valuable. It's people like you willing to give great advice to us that don't have a clue about some of the topics...I will save my $5.00 tomorrow :-)
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:45 PM   #12
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Default It's the way I bought it.

When I took my Honda home from the used-bike dealership I noticed that the air valve was blue and marked with N2 for nitrogen. I thought that was a little peculiar but since it was my first bike and the first time I really paid attention to such things, I thought all motorcycles were that way.

Car tires in Japan use regular air but I will pay attention to other bikes on the road to see if they running with nitrogen.

As for my opinion after riding on it for more than a year: I have nothing else to compare it to but I will say this

1) I changed the rear tire when I bought the bike and at about 10,000 miles of half city and half mountain riding, there is very little wear. The Front tire looks the same as when I bought it.

2) I have never added air to my tires. I don't know if they have lost any air as I don't have an air pressure gauge but they don't look like they have lost air.

3) I feel bumps in the front tire but hardly at all in the rear. Sometimes when I go up a driveway that is about an inch or inch-and-a-half off the street it feels like the curb is hitting the rim. I know it isn't but it feels a lil harsh.


Thanks for the post. I was curious about that for a while. It's interesting to know that it's not that way in the US.

In a way it's kind of relieving. I would like to get an old bike when I get back to the US. One that I can take out occasionally and tinker with myself like I did with the Falcon. My dad has a pretty nice garage complete with medium industrial air compressor. As soon as I saw the N2 mark on my Honda I thought, "hmm, couldn't fill it up with the air compressor." Haha.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:24 AM   #13
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I find the thing about bumps and better ride to be rather humorous since the compression of the gasses would be indistinguishable. The thermal expansion differences between air and 100% nitrogen would be neglegible at best considering air is 78% nitrogen to start with. From there, the compression of gasses would be virtually identical. This sounds like we must have some "princesses and the pea" here or else it is self fulfilling prophesy going on. My bet is on the latter. Same with most of the claims.

The main benefit I've ever heard and read about is the advantage that the nitrogen is less able to permeate the carcass of the tire and will hold pressure a bit better over a long period of time. It is documented on trucks running 100 psi in all those tires (time consuming to air up and requires special facilities). But if you check your tires every now and again you offset that benefit on your average two or four wheel passenger vehicle. By taking care of the pressure you also offset any tire wear differences.

The second benefit is supposed to deal with extreme temperatures from racing or other high stress operations, there will be some benefit in the lower rate of thermal expansion, but I can not seem to find any numbers on thermal expansion of gasses, which raises the question about that. I doubt there is any benefit in temperature since the temperature is generated by the rubber on the ground and not the "air" inside. The air will not help in dissapation of the heat, that has to happen on the outside. It just can not magically vanish inside the tire.

I'm thinking the main benefit is that bottled compressed nitrogen has virtually no moisture in it (corrosion causing moisture) versus air from the compressor - purity. In atmospherice drawn air there is moisture. I know that is the main benefit for suspension components.

Plus, if you think about it, if it is the oxygen that is permeating the carcass first, that leaves behind the nitrogen. So as you keep airing up your tires, you should get a higher and higher concentation of nitrogen in there now wouldn't you...

Sounds like DC Cycle & Racing just got new nitrogen tanks and would like to expand the market beyond simply recharging shocks.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stray Menace View Post
When I took my Honda home from the used-bike dealership I noticed that the air valve was blue and marked with N2 for nitrogen. I thought that was a little peculiar but since it was my first bike and the first time I really paid attention to such things, I thought all motorcycles were that way.

Car tires in Japan use regular air but I will pay attention to other bikes on the road to see if they running with nitrogen.

As for my opinion after riding on it for more than a year: I have nothing else to compare it to but I will say this

1) I changed the rear tire when I bought the bike and at about 10,000 miles of half city and half mountain riding, there is very little wear. The Front tire looks the same as when I bought it.

2) I have never added air to my tires. I don't know if they have lost any air as I don't have an air pressure gauge but they don't look like they have lost air.

3) I feel bumps in the front tire but hardly at all in the rear. Sometimes when I go up a driveway that is about an inch or inch-and-a-half off the street it feels like the curb is hitting the rim. I know it isn't but it feels a lil harsh.


Thanks for the post. I was curious about that for a while. It's interesting to know that it's not that way in the US.

In a way it's kind of relieving. I would like to get an old bike when I get back to the US. One that I can take out occasionally and tinker with myself like I did with the Falcon. My dad has a pretty nice garage complete with medium industrial air compressor. As soon as I saw the N2 mark on my Honda I thought, "hmm, couldn't fill it up with the air compressor." Haha.
You really should get an air guage. In case you don't know it, going over bumps with more of a cushioning effect is what an underinflated tire will do. Riders of hard tail motorcycles drop the pressure in their rear tire to cushion the ride without any suspension. You really should check your tires after a year. Even if the nitrogen holds better, it isn't permanent.

The wear factor on nitrogen has to do with it not aging rubber, which would be inside the tire, but again with 78% nitrogen in the air we breath, I'm thinking the sun has more effect than the nitrogen and that any mileage is more an effect of good rubber compound than anything else. The gas that seeps through a tire doesn't blend with the rubber compound so it will have no effect on the wear of the outside of the tire.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:59 AM   #15
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Plus, if you think about it, if it is the oxygen that is permeating the carcass first, that leaves behind the nitrogen. So as you keep airing up your tires, you should get a higher and higher concentation of nitrogen in there now wouldn't you...
I never thought of that. It does sound logical.

I'm guessing over the life of the tire the nitrogen would probably go from 78% to maybe 80%. I wonder if someone could feel the difference in the ride?
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:14 AM   #16
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Actually, the oxygen doesn't leave the tire any faster than the nitrogen. There was a discussion of this on a Solstice forum, and a professional chemist noted that the molecule size differences leads to false conclusions, because of the different behaviors of the two.

The bottom line of that study I mentioned was that moisture was the biggest contributor to tire pressure changes, and that, controlling for that temperature, plain compressed air, dry air, and nitrogen all leaked at essentially the same rate. There was virtually no change in the relative levels of oxygen vs. nitrogen after a considerable length of time, either. Wish I could find the link for that study.
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Old 07-29-2011, 10:53 AM   #17
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I sort of have to agree and disagree with all of you. As Wintrsol said dry air is about the same, but most shops at least here don't use dry air, but if they are going to charge several dollars a tire to use nitrogen it is a waste of money. You do have to remember that you get cool valve stem caps with the Nitrogen
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:44 AM   #18
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I found the DOT study:http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/M...009/811094.pdf

The average loss of pressure of dry air per month was about 2%, or about 0.6psi; for nitrogen the loss was about 1.4%, or about 0.4psi. While that is significant, percentage wise, in real numbers, not so much. The conclusion? Use a tire gauge, and don't count on nitrogen to keep your tires full.

And, as Consumer Reports says, unless the nitrogen is nearly free, save your money for new tires.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:12 PM   #19
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BBBut,... cool air caps! How can I resist?




I had chicken tacos for dinner, now I'm thinking I could fill my tires with methane... any benefits to that?
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:21 PM   #20
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I had chicken tacos for dinner, now I'm thinking I could fill my tires with methane... any benefits to that?
You will get at least 20% better horsepower, guaranteed.
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Old 07-29-2011, 09:50 PM   #21
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Interesting. I know several supercars use nitrogen too.
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Old 07-30-2011, 01:05 AM   #22
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Default Fresh air

Thanks markk53, that was informative.

Like I said, my tires look they are fully inflated but then again... sooo do the tires on my bicycle-- until I sit on it. I'll get that checked out.

I got the "cool N2 caps" you get when you use nitrogen and thought that meant only N2 could go in there. Assuming I am low and have to add some air, is there any harm with mixing the two? I wouldn't think so considering the composition of "regular air".
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:00 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Stray Menace View Post
Thanks markk53, that was informative.

Like I said, my tires look they are fully inflated but then again... sooo do the tires on my bicycle-- until I sit on it. I'll get that checked out.

I got the "cool N2 caps" you get when you use nitrogen and thought that meant only N2 could go in there. Assuming I am low and have to add some air, is there any harm with mixing the two? I wouldn't think so considering the composition of "regular air".
Fill 'er up Menace, there's no harm in mixing the two. When I bought my wife's Honda Civic, I noticed it had green nitrogen valve stem caps. I laughed, shook my head, and promptly topped off the tires with regular air.
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:01 AM   #24
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Thanks markk53, that was informative.

Like I said, my tires look they are fully inflated but then again... sooo do the tires on my bicycle-- until I sit on it. I'll get that checked out.

I got the "cool N2 caps" you get when you use nitrogen and thought that meant only N2 could go in there. Assuming I am low and have to add some air, is there any harm with mixing the two? I wouldn't think so considering the composition of "regular air".


Just don't eat the chicken tacos and put in methane... they explode in a ball of flames when they get too hot... both the tacos and the tires.


As for the nitrogen filled tires, there should be no issue filling with air. As said, air is mostly nitrogen anyway. But you'll have to turn in your air caps to NiFTA

- Nitrogen Filled Tires Association.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:50 AM   #25
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I hate when I come late to a discussion, so many things I wanted to say and now you guys have said them! N2, just an urban myth. Correct regular air is 80% N2, 20% O2 and some trace gasses. As gas is placed under pressure the partial pressure of the component gasses increase as well, but you still have mostly N2 for free! Besides, I only get a year on my tires if I'm lucky, what could the possible benefit be to straight N2? maybe a week?
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:16 AM   #26
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While I agree Nitrogen is better. I think putting it in passenger car and bike tires is a waste of money. Kinda like buying bottled water, yeah it's somewhat better but not worth the expense. But if you've got it spend it.
I agree, but then you also have to have access to it. I can go to a welding supply store and buy some huge tank of it, but I will just keep using my good old air compressor.
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