Nitrogen myths

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10/31/2019 4:51 AM

Good read for those that think Nitrogen is a panacea for their tires or shocks. Fun test performed..

https://powertank.com/pages/nitrogen-truths-and-myths

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10/31/2019 6:04 AM

I've initially charged my shocks with nitrogen and then adjusted with a bike shock pump for the last 12 years. I think that dry gas is best, but you could just have a dryer on your air line.

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10/31/2019 6:49 AM

This article doesn't address suspension gas and seems more focused on tyre pressure. Claims about Nitrogen for tyres makes sense.

Some suspension companies say they use Nitrogen because it expands at a constant rate or doesn't aerate the oil. A more real world use for suspension would be because Nitrogen is an inert gas and is oxygen free, it is impossible for oxidation or corrosion to occur. Without the presence of oxygen (The 'O' in 'H2O'), water or condensation cannot form inside your forks or shock, hence a corrosion or oxidation free air chamber. (This factors into the "dry" gas concept.)

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10/31/2019 7:28 AM

The test in that article does nothing to test the permeability of the various gasses through porous rubber.

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10/31/2019 7:31 AM

Nitrogen is an Enert gas and is very stable therefor, more predictable.

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Non Gratum Anus Rodentum

10/31/2019 7:48 AM

For tires I completely agree, for shocks I’m going to rely on what Showa KYB and WP recommend.

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Don’t piss off the old people - the older they get the less “life in prison” is a deterrent for them!

2020.5 KTM 450 SXF FE
2006 KX250

10/31/2019 7:50 AM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

The test in that article does nothing to test the permeability of the various gasses through porous rubber.

Isn't the nitrogen molecule larger than oxygen?Therefore less bleed off over time.

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No brains, No headaches.

10/31/2019 7:55 AM

Can we all just listen to the companies who put thousands of hours of R&D into our bikes

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10/31/2019 8:03 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 8:15 AM

You can get away with using normal air in the bladder of the WP closed cartridge forks that came on the 07-13 XCs. They have a bladder very similar to a rear shock.

You cannot, however, get away with using normal compressed air in a rear shock bladder. You have to use Nitrogen. That thing is moving a lot, sometimes very, very quickly. Nitrogen can be compressed under these conditions, repeatedly, over and over again without creating any moisture in the process. Normal air cannot.

Argon might also work but it's more expensive than nitrogen, which is probably why it's not used. I know some off-road guys have used argon in their truck suspension since they have tanks of argon for their welders sitting by. Expensive but the principal is the same - inert, highly compressible gas that is not susceptible to moisture build-up and handles heat really well.

Tires are a completely different thing all together. Tires aren't under-going the same conditions as suspension where compressibility is a primary consideration. Tires are moving but at no point are the molecules of air in a tire undergoing extreme compressive forces, where the characteristics of a gas like nitrogen would be beneficial.

Putting nitrogen in a tire and thinking it's doing anything beneficial is simply foolish.

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10/31/2019 8:05 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 8:06 AM

Zaugg wrote:

This article doesn't address suspension gas and seems more focused on tyre pressure. Claims about Nitrogen for tyres makes sense.

Some suspension companies say they use Nitrogen because it expands at a constant rate or doesn't aerate the oil. A more real world use for suspension would be because Nitrogen is an inert gas and is oxygen free, it is impossible for oxidation or corrosion to occur. Without the presence of oxygen (The 'O' in 'H2O'), water or condensation cannot form inside your forks or shock, hence a corrosion or oxidation free air chamber. (This factors into the "dry" gas concept.)

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10/31/2019 8:09 AM

Lmao... I can’t wait to see how far this goes

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10/31/2019 8:13 AM

I heard this one time on the Internets that you should fill your shock bladder with water. Helps cool the shock. tongue

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10/31/2019 8:18 AM

Nitrogen in my $1500 suspension to get more performance? Absolutely.


Nitrogen in the tires of my wife's Odyssey, which the dealer wanted to charge $50 as an upgrade, I don't think so.

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10/31/2019 8:24 AM

I worked at a retail tire store when I was in college. The sales people told customers that nitrogen in your tires made the car act as if it was lighter, and gave you better gas mileage. silly

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10/31/2019 8:25 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 8:28 AM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

The test in that article does nothing to test the permeability of the various gasses through porous rubber.

Keith72 wrote:

Isn't the nitrogen molecule larger than oxygen?Therefore less bleed off over time.

Thats not my point. This guy went to lengths only to show that the ideal gas law actually works. WOW, SHOCKER. He was focused on temperate effects of pressure in a chamber, but used a chamber material that does not mimic the material of tires, which is the main focus of his article....

It's fine that he chose to use a metal container to eliminate permeability and to test the ideal gas law, but he should have also then testing in a rubber tube or tire after proving that the gas's rise and fall in pressure with temperature the same.

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10/31/2019 8:31 AM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

The test in that article does nothing to test the permeability of the various gasses through porous rubber.

Keith72 wrote:

Isn't the nitrogen molecule larger than oxygen?Therefore less bleed off over time.

No, N2 has a molecular weight of 28 compared to O2's 32. I believe (though don't quote me on this) it also has a triple bond rather than a double bond, making the two atoms even tighter to one another.

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I can do anything, I'm an expert.
MotoTribology.com - Motorcycle Lubrication Education

10/31/2019 8:34 AM

Zaugg wrote:

This article doesn't address suspension gas and seems more focused on tyre pressure. Claims about Nitrogen for tyres makes sense.

Some suspension companies say they use Nitrogen because it expands at a constant rate or doesn't aerate the oil. A more real world use for suspension would be because Nitrogen is an inert gas and is oxygen free, it is impossible for oxidation or corrosion to occur. Without the presence of oxygen (The 'O' in 'H2O'), water or condensation cannot form inside your forks or shock, hence a corrosion or oxidation free air chamber. (This factors into the "dry" gas concept.)

Unless you are also flooding the tire with hydrogen gas, you are still missing a pretty crucial component in your formula there. If you think atmospheric oxygen is ripping hydrogen atoms from the oil, it isn't.

Also, nitration is a thing, so inert......not so much.

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I can do anything, I'm an expert.
MotoTribology.com - Motorcycle Lubrication Education

10/31/2019 8:38 AM

FWIW we started using nitrogen for mx tires when it became apparent during testing we were experiencing quite a bit of heat gain (in pressure) at some locations, especially during warmer times of the year. At Carlsbad and other locations it was not unusual to get a 3 to 4.5 psi differential, taking your 12 psi baseline to 15 or greater within a test cycle. Changing the test parameters quite a bit. Road racing had it worst. At the suggestion of our Japanese engineer, we by passed the air dryer route and went straight to nitrogen, first for testing then out on the road.

The large nitrogen bottles were easy to carry on the trucks, would last a long time, and was great for running the occasional air tool.

Do not know why you would (want to) use compressed ambient air over nitrogen for suspension.

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10/31/2019 8:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 8:39 AM

If you want inert, noble gasses are the way to go (Helium, Neon, Xenon, Krypton, Radon).

Plus, if you use Helium I hear you jump farther...silly

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I can do anything, I'm an expert.
MotoTribology.com - Motorcycle Lubrication Education

10/31/2019 8:57 AM

KHI Guy wrote:

I worked at a retail tire store when I was in college. The sales people told customers that nitrogen in your tires made the car act as if it was lighter, and gave you better gas mileage. silly

They must have gotten nitrogen confused with helium

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10/31/2019 9:02 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 9:09 AM

BroFoSho wrote:

They must have gotten nitrogen confused with helium

Also fantasy confused with reality.

Edit: Before I get ripped apart for the inaccuracy of that comment, it could technically be true, but which gas you use to inflate tires has absolutely no measurable effect on fuel economy.

I like this one: Jalopnik Article

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I can do anything, I'm an expert.
MotoTribology.com - Motorcycle Lubrication Education

10/31/2019 1:58 PM

pretty sure if you use regular compressed air in a shock it'd explode

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10/31/2019 2:11 PM

vtec wrote:

pretty sure if you use regular compressed air in a shock it'd explode

So glad I posted this for everyone’s insight. Thank God.. I could have exploded parts up the ass.
Really enjoyed the 30 different reasons people think Nitrogen will make them faster when on a shock dyno you CANT see any discernible difference in compressed air, Argon, or Nitrogen 😂

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10/31/2019 2:40 PM

theycallmeebryan wrote:

The test in that article does nothing to test the permeability of the various gasses through porous rubber.

Nitrogen molecules (N2) are larger than oxygen molecules (O2) so therefore, pure nitrogen will permeate the walls of your tires less than oxygen molecules. But by how much? Well, a nitrogen molecule measures roughly 300 picometers while an oxygen molecule measures 292 picometers. That's only a 2.6% difference in size.

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10/31/2019 2:50 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 2:55 PM

I think it really depends on the type of shock. Emulsion shocks will benefit most from nitrogen vs air since the oil and gas are mixed. Bladder type shocks keep the oil and gas separate. The bladder has one job and that is to compress and expand enough to compensate for the shock shaft moving in and out of the shock body to prevent cavitation. I have used pure nitrogen and compressed air in bladder type shocks and could not feel a difference. If I was a better rider I suppose it is possible that I would notice a difference but it seems unlikely. The bladder pressure is not really used to tune the suspension. That is taken care of by the valving and the shims. I see no harm in using either one for a bladder type shock. I would only use nitrogen in an emulsion shock since I don't want contaminants in the shock oil.

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Bret Bonham

10/31/2019 3:44 PM

Here’s a little tip on nitrogen, first thing you do when you get a new bike is check the nitrogen pressure in the shock, my boss and I started checking new bikes and it was never past 80psi

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Now that's Italian

10/31/2019 4:43 PM

Uncle Tony wrote:

Here’s a little tip on nitrogen, first thing you do when you get a new bike is check the nitrogen pressure in the shock, my boss and I started checking new bikes and it was never past 80psi

Check it three times and you will be much lower. One should not check the pressure in a shock. One should inflate it to a certain pressure.

Shock bladders hold a TINY amount of volume. It's not a car tire that one can check, check and recheck with very littl loss in total volume.

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10/31/2019 5:00 PM

KDXGarage wrote:

Check it three times and you will be much lower. One should not check the pressure in a shock. One should inflate it to a certain pressure.

Shock bladders hold a TINY amount of volume. It's not a car tire that one can check, check and recheck with very littl loss in total volume.

We check with a nitrogen tank and gauge, yes it’s true you cannot just check with a gauge

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If you like uncle tony's meatballs, you'll love his sausage

Now that's Italian

10/31/2019 5:24 PM

I work with a few types of gases, in different applications. I see the benefits to use mostly N in a bladder shock, but using N in tires or an air fork is splitting hairs, it’s not a rocket ship, it’s a dirt bike, calm down

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10/31/2019 5:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/31/2019 5:58 PM

Keith72 wrote:

Isn't the nitrogen molecule larger than oxygen?Therefore less bleed off over time.

Oxygen is bigger than nitrogen.

Edit:
Oxygen is heavier than nitrogen, but slightly smaller. Still It's so close that it doesn't really matter. Air forks come with bicycle shock pumps, not nitrogen regulators.

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