The Pros and Cons of Inflating Tyres with Nitrogen Gas

by atul on December 3, 2010

The world is ever developing and so are the tyre inflation systems. Many people are going for Nitrogen gas inflation rather than the traditional Air.  We often see in our daily life that petrol pumps have Nitrogen Gas inflators but what are the pros and cons of getting Nitrogen gas filled in your tyres. Over the next few paragraphs, we will try to answer those things that make this gas worth a try.

Nitrogen is a colorless, odorless and non toxic gas that forms about 78% of the earth’s atmosphere. Some believe that using nitrogen gas for inflating tyres of bikes and cars is effective; here are some who feel that it’s a total crappy affair. Nitrogen gas has covered its journey from the use in high end aircrafts, racing cars to normal passenger cars and bikes. The following appraisal of the benefits and disadvantages of using Nitrogen gas will help one understand the concept better.

Pros of Inflating Tyres with Nitrogen are:

  • Nitrogen is lighter and cooler. It reduces the running temperature of tyre. In simple terms, Nitrogen gas helps the tyre to remain cool when the bike or car is carrying heavy loads or going at a rocket speed i.e. the temperature formed because of friction between tyres and road will be greatly reduced.
  • The gas ensures its riders smooth riding experiences. Tyres inflated with Nitrogen run smooth on road because nitrogen is lighter than air.  This in turn increases the riding experience and enhances better handling.
  • The tyre life is greatly enhanced when nitrogen gas is filled in to it regularly.
  • Once you inflate your tyres with nitrogen, there is no need to check for the air in your tyres at least for couple of weeks. This happens because nitrogen eliminates moisture and replaces the traditional air molecules with fat nitrogen molecules. This replacement makes sure that the gas is not leaked out of the tyre walls.
  • It is reported that bikes filled with nitrogen gas are resulting in high performance than compared to bikes with traditional air.
  • Rim life eventually increases because nitrogen doesn’t contain H2o which is responsible for the formation of rust. Traditional air has H2o in it and thus rim and tyre life diminishes eventually.
  • Nitrogen gas is doesn’t have combustion nature i.e. it is very less probable that nitrogen catches fire in case of some uncertainty. This is the reason that nitrogen gas is used in inflating racing tyres.

Cons:

  • Nitrogen gas inflation involves spending good amount of money from your pocket. I personally do not know the amount of money involved until one day when I asked the price of the gas. The vendor told me that it would cost Rs.25 to inflate one tyre. So, I can make out that the gas is costly when compared to the traditional air.
  • Inflating the tyres with nitrogen gas results in enhanced maintenance then compared to traditional air.
  • Once you opt for nitrogen inflation, then you will have to continue using the same gas to extract all the benefits of the gas. Switching back to air will result in reduced performances.

Overall, it is clear that Nitrogen inflation has both advantages and disadvantages but pros are good enough to overpower cons. It would be a good move to go for nitrogen inflation if you can spare the cost for inflation and maintenance. It is totally one’s personal choice on which gas they will opt.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Purushoth December 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

Im inflating my dazzler’s tyres with Nitrogen gas for the past 3 months and was able to see considerable difference in bike’s performance, riding comfort and mileage. It costs Rs.20/- in chennai to inflate both tyres.

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Sachin December 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Air already contains 78%nitrogen by volume.so u are anyway getting 78% during normal fill up.Does just 20% more nitrogen makes so much difference?i dont think so.

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navtej December 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm

im totally with u . we inflate normal air which contains n2. but most ppl think its o2 that we get filled.

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Venkat December 3, 2010 at 6:19 pm

one more to addup to the cons list.
You cannott find nitrogen fill up stations everywhere as you find normal air fill up stations…

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Venkat December 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm

So topup becomes difficult…

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Bertin December 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

@trivandrum, kerala for a bike its 15 rupees for both Tyre and for refilling its 5 rupees!

i think its very cheap right????

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Pranav December 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Im Inflating my Stunner’s tyres with Nitrogen for last 8 months.
I never had problems with it.
The cost is 20/- for first time, and then 5/- for each topup after 3 weeks :) cheap? no? :D

@Sachin,
Thats all chemistry, Doesnt “just 20%” O2 makes you post that comment? :P

Well, To be Honest, If your bike has Tubeless Tyres (Tubeless doesnt mean Honda TUFF-UP TUBE found in Unicorn and activas etc) , N2 is for you :)

Current Motorcycles having Tubeless Tyres acc to my knowledge are :

HONDA :
TWISTER
STUNNER
STUNNER PGM-Fi
DAZZLER

HH :
NEW HUNK
ZMR?

BAJAJ:
HIGHER cc PULSARS

YAMAHA:
FZ
FAZER
R15?

others:
i dont care :P

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Sachin December 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I have also tried using nitrogen but i did not feel any diffrence except that it lasts around a week longer.also there is no way you can proove that guy has filled pure nitrogen since air already contains 78%nitrogen.what i have seen at my place is that they overfill the tyre with normal air & tell u its nitrogen.

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prakash June 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm

wat about royal enfield thunderbird ?…….
tyres are with tube………………….

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bikeshunt.com December 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Nitric oxide makes speed faster of a bike. but the bike should also have capacity to hold a high speed. I love nitus bike.

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Prakash February 21, 2011 at 1:14 am

Its Nitrous oxide, which burns rapidly and produces extra bit of heat require for the extra bit of power!!!

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Keith December 4, 2010 at 12:39 am

ROTFLMAO…oh that was rich and subtle. Such wit, such irony and I bet a plugged pfenning that 99% of the readers never ever get it. well played.

oldest running 79′ wing always has had N in the tires
newest 09′ Ninjette always had N in the tyres. Both cover 1K mi faster than your average sprot bike or harley.

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fas December 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm

You forgot a main disadvantage! Lack of availability.

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Keith December 5, 2010 at 5:09 am

Oh rly? I can get N any service station I stop at…any bike shop for that matter and probally for FREE! Yes, FREE!

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eliksir December 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm

“The tyre life is greatly enhanced when nitrogen gas is filled in to it regularly”

How ?

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Keith December 5, 2010 at 5:08 am

what % of air is N?

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sameer December 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

78%

Otter December 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way to get nitrogen in your tyres – it makes very little difference on the bike. But if you can get it easily and cheaply, why not?

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Shivam December 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Hi

What do u mean by “enhanced maintenance” in cons section.

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Venkata Deepak December 6, 2010 at 9:12 pm

good to know.

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Jubin December 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Frequent top-up not required for N2 filled tyres… :)

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Prakash February 21, 2011 at 1:10 am

Nitrogen is a reluctant gas (Which is reluctant to react with any god dam thing in this world), that is why it is used in vehicle tyres and shock absorbers. If normal gas is filled into shocks or tyres, oxygen in the air with the aid of moisture, reacts with the material of tyre or shocks and forms oxides of them. These oxides reduces the life and strength of the materials. THATS IT.
NO – ITS NOT ONLY USED IN “HIGH-END” AIRCRAFTS, BUT ALSO IN CIVIL AIRLINERS.
NO -PERFORMANCE WOULD NOT INCREASE,
NO- ITS IS NOT COOLER OR COOLANT OR ANY S***.
NO- NITROGEN IS NOT THAT LIGHT (Its just one fraction ahead of oxygen, nitrogen stands at 7 and oxygen at 8 in periodic table) HELIUM IS SAFER AND LIGHTER GAS BESIDES HYDROGEN.
YES-TYRE LIFE IS INCREASED
NO-NITROGEN IS NOT SEALANT. OUR ATMOSPHERE CONSTITUTES OF 78.08% OF NITROGEN. SO WHERE DO YOU THINK ALL THIS MOISTURE IN OUT ATMOSPHERE IS STORED???? TUBELESS TYRE DESIGN RESTRICTS THE LEAKAGE TO GREATER EXTENT. NOT NITROGEN.
“Nitrogen does not contain H2O”????? WHAT?????? H20 in AIR IS MOISTURE (GASEOUS FORM OF WATER) MY DEAR!!! NITROGEN IS GAS!!!! AIR IS 78% NITROGEN!!!!
YES-NITROGEN IS NOT A COMBUSTIBLE GAS.

Dear Deepak, you are a “MEGAMIND” in everyting about bikes, but you are a Jar head in techno aspects. Please hire a Techno guy for these things. Do not get offended, I really admire this site but never let anyone point something out of you!!!

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Rohith April 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Great feeling once after inflating Nitrogen Gas filling… Smooth riding… comfort… speed… handling… extra mileage too…. Will hardly suggest to use Nitrogen.. But more outlets are not available.. that’s the only dis-advantage…8)

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