How To Inflate Presta Valve: Easy And Simple Tips (Updated In 2021)

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The first thing you should know about your bike is the valve type. Why? Because it decides the majority of your bike maintenance and the way you can improve your ride quality.

There are two basic types of valves, Schrader Valve and Presta Valve, and the more popular one is Presta. Learning how to inflate a Presta valve will help you to avoid the trouble of getting your bikes to the garage every time the tires go flat or get regular maintenance done effortlessly. After reading the article, I hope you can use a Presta valve excellently (fully inflated).

Bicycles may you need:

Signs To Know When To Inflate Tire Bikes

Signs To Know When To Inflate Tire Bikes
Signs To Know When To Inflate Tire Bikes

It is not always when your bike tires are entirely out of the air that you need to inflate a preta valve– there are circumstances that you will have to push air into already pumped ones. Let’s see all the signs you should know:

When You Can Feel The Rim On The Road

When You Can Feel The Rim On The Road
When You Can Feel The Rim On The Road

For all the bikes on the roads, the tires should feel tough and stiff to glide on the surface smoothly and lessen the shock from the obstacles. Moreover, the tires will constantly be under pressure from your body weight, so the air must be sufficient to keep your bike going on (using air pump).

When the tire pressure is low, you will feel the rim hitting the road. This will be an unpleasant experience when the bumpy feeling constantly appears. If this drags on for long terms, it will damage the inner tube severely.

Therefore, when you feel like your tires are going soft and the rim touches the road, that’s the time for you to learn how to pump Presta valve bike tires.

Unbalance Feeling On The Ride

Unbalance Feeling On The Ride
Unbalance Feeling On The Ride

When your control of the ride has started to slip off and the balance on the handlebar does not feel right anymore, you might want to pump up your bike tires. If you can not turn and steer as sharply as you used to be, it’s appropriately due to the low air pressure.

When your bike tires start to lose air pressure, the stress on the rear tires will change drastically and affect the bikes’ shape and performance. The tires can easily get folded and feel wobbly at high speed, making it unsafe for cyclists.

The Lagging And Real-Time Response

The Lagging And Real-Time Response
The Lagging And Real-Time Response

Another sign of low air pressure in bike tires is delayed response when you control the handlebar. When the bike tires lose their forms, the friction will increase as you drive, creating lag and delay when you turn the handlebar.

Moreover, the friction will make it harder to control the handlebar, which means you will have to put more force into a simple move. So, keeping a regular pump for your tires will prevent this.

What Is A Presta Valve?

What Is A Presta Valve
What Is A Presta Valve?

Now you know when you will need to inflate a Presta valve, but how to inflate them is another story. Each valve has its distinctions and inflation method, so you should have basic knowledge about them.

Unlike Schrader valves, Presta Valves are the small and slim type with a diameter of 6mm. The rim holes for this type of valve are also smaller than Schrader’s. They are popular with road bikes and mountain bikes because of their excellent quality.

For more information, you can check out this video about Presta Valve:

Watch video: Presta Valve

Presta Valve Structure

Presta Valve Structure
Presta Valve Structure

To get a better understanding of how to inflate a bike tyre with a Presta valve, you should look at the structure of the valve. This is a simple explanation of how Presta valves are made:

How to inflate a bike tyre with a Presta valve

In contrast to Schrader valves, a Presta valve consists of a cap, valve stem, O-ring, valve core, lock nut, and base Grommet options. This thin design allows the Presta valve to hold air inside the tube better and prevent leaking at most. When tightly screwed, the cap will ensure no air in and out, thus providing steadier air pressure.

Moreover, Presta valves are compatible with all types of rim holes (they can fit Schrader rim holes) and bike tubes. All kinds will do the job with Presta; for example, standard tire pump, foot pump, air pump or mini pump, you just need to unscrew the cap and start your work.

How To Inflate Presta Valve With An Air Compressor?

How To Inflate Presta Valve With An Air Compressor
How To Inflate Presta Valve With An Air Compressor?

In case you don’t have bike pumps at hand, you can resort to other methods and devices, like an air compressor. However, since the Presta valve may not be compatible with all air compressors ‘ connect heads, you will have to look for a Presta valve adaptor.

To inflate your bike tire with an air compressor, first, you need to connect the Presta valve adaptor to the Presta valves. Screw off the cap, and then twist the lock nut a few times to get it to loosen, but not totally off the valve.

Then, put the adapter onto the valve, and screw it clockwise until you feel the tightness. You can then set the pump head of the air compressor’s pump line on it.

Like most bike pumps, slowly pump until the inner tubes feel full and sturdy, stiff enough for your rides. Get the air compressor off valves, and turn the Presta valve adapters anti-clockwise until it totally falls off. It won’t leak air.

Twist the lock nut back tight on the valve as quickly as possible, and also, the cap should be in its place to avoid any further air leaking out. You should check to see if the valve is now in its proper posture – upright and don’t plunge in the tires.

Note that Schrader valves and Presta valves are so different, don’t do the same for Schrader valves. You can purchase pumps at the bike shops.

How to use Presta valve adapters for your bike tire with Presta valve is right here:

Watch video: How to use a presta valve Adapter

How To Inflate Presta Valve Without An Adapter?

How To Inflate Presta Valve Without An Adapter
How To Inflate Presta Valve Without An Adapter?

If you don’t have an adapter, you can always inflate your bike tires at a gas station where they have the compatible pump head for Presta valves. However, for people who want to have a portable and at-home solution, there are other ways to pump up your Presta-valve bike tire.

The easier way is to purchase a hand pump with a connector pump head compatible with the Presta valve. This is the most straightforward method since you don’t have to modify either the valve or the pump and don’t need the help of a third device or tools.

These hand pumps work just like any other type of pump out there. You take the valve cap off, plug the connector pump head onto the valve, pump until the tires reach the right air pressure, take it off, and put the cap on. All done. Do not apply the process for the Schrader valve. Schrader valve requires a different process as its structure is different.

Normally, the process of inflating Presta-valve bike tire will be like this:

Watch video: How to Inflate a Presta Valve Tube

Nevertheless, suppose you are in a tricky situation without any pump compatible with the Presta valve. In that case, you can resort to these two methods.

Presta Valve Cap Modification

Valve Cap Modification
Valve Cap Modification

The first way is to change the Presta valve cap into some kind of make-shift adapter. You will need a pair of scissors or a knife to help with.

Unscrew the Presta valve cap off the valve, and cut off its tops. Then turn it upside down and find the wide rim mark at the base of the cap. Also, cut off that section.

Loosen the lock nut a bit to allow the air to go in and out. Keep the cut cap in the reversal position, and insert it onto the valve stem. Twist the cap until you feel the right tightness.

Put the connector pump head right onto the modified cap and lock it. Now you can start pumping air into the inner tube (via the pump head). Remove the cap after inflation from the pump head, screw the lock nut back to prevent air in.

This method is quite simple, but it will need the cap to be retorted and can not be used to secure the valve anymore.

Inflator Modification

Inflator Modification
Inflator Modification

This second method is also a simple one, but it will need to change your inflator device (pumps, air compressors,…). be careful when you follow this to prevent heavy damage to your device.

Get your inflator out, and check the connector head. Depending on the inflator types, there will be different types of connector heads and how to pluck them off. Still, generally, you will need to unscrew them to separate them from the inflator tubes.

Once the heads are off, the soft tubes are left and can be easily manipulated. Twist or fold it a bit to make it smaller and closer to the Presta valve’s size.

Unscrew the cap and loosen the lock nut on the Presta valve. Put the tube’s end onto the valve, and secure it tightly. You can use a string to tie it on; try as much as possible to make the most contact of the tube and valve.

Start the inflator as normal, and stop it when the tires are full. Untie the tube off the valve, and close the valve-like usual.

You can learn about these hacks for a quick pump in this video:

Watch video: Presta to Schrader Valve Adapter - DIY Road to Mountain bike valve

Tire Pressure

Tire Pressure
Tire Pressure

Inflating bike tires with Presta valves are no complicated job, but do you know how much air is needed for each kind of bike tire? This is a little guide on the correct air pressure and how to check it for all types of bikes!

What Is The Right Tire Pressure?

What Is The Right Tire Pressure
What Is The Right Tire Pressure?

Tire pressure is the pressure of air in your tires pushed onto the tire’s wall themselves and measured with the PSI unit, which is pound per square inch. You can see the recommended air pressure on the tire’s sidewall from the manufacturer’s measurement.

The air pressure is often a range, not a number, so as long as your bike tires are in that range, you are good to go. This number range can vary depending on your bike types and weight.

Only 20 – 40 PSI are needed for the tires for children’s bikes. Meanwhile, road bike tires require around 80 – 130 PSI to run on the road. In some cases, road bike air pressure can go up to 160 PSI.

Air pressure recommendation for mountain bikes (mountain biking) is much lower, only approximately 30 PSI for off-road riding and 50 PSI for on-road riding. The lower air pressure helps the tires filter all the tough terrain shock more efficiently. Air pressure for mountain bikes and other bike types or car tires are not the same standards.

For hybrid and other bike tires, 50 to 70 PSI would be reasonable. This is the “middle number” between a road bike and a mountain bike’s figures and can change based on the specific bike tires.

Or you can check out this video to know all about air pressure for bike tires (both Schrader valve and Presta valve):

Watch video: Bike Tire PSI: How Much Air Should You Put in Your Bike Tire? || REI

Air Pressure Check

Air Pressure Check
Air Pressure Check

You can rely on the tire pressure gauge for the most accurate measurement. You can use this gauge to check the air pressure you pump in your bike tires, and the most recommended level is to match the PSI number on the bike tire’s sidewall.

The number on the tires is the number suggested by the manufacturer, which is the standard air pressure for that line of tires. You don’t need to get the exact number, but it is always a good thing as close as possible. Use your pump to adjust the air in and out till you reach that number.

In case you don’t have a tire pressure gauge, you can still estimate the needed air pressure for your bike tires. When your bike tires feel too wobbly, and the rim keeps hitting the road, pump in more air. If you see the tires become too rigid and bouncy, you should deflate them a bit.

When To Check Air Pressure

When To Check Air Pressure
When To Check Air Pressure

The frequency of air pressure checks depends on a lot of factors, like the riding style, the bike tires, and the riders themselves. However, most professional cyclists recommend that your bike tires should get an air pressure check at least once a week.

It’s better to check for riders with high cycling frequency and long riding routes before each trip. Nobody wants a flat tire in the middle of a race or somewhere far away from the gas station.

FAQs

Is a Presta valve suitable for a road bike?

Yes, Presta valves are suitable for a road bike.

Can a foot pump and hand pump work with a Presta valve?

Yes, as long as you have the Presta valve adaptor or Presta-valve connector head.

How many types of valves are there?

There are three types of valves: Schrader, Presta, and Woods.

How long does it take to successfully pump a bicycle tire with a Presta valve?

It can take around 7 to 10 minutes to successfully pump a bike tire with a Presta valve.

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About Jim Felt

Jim Felt, a man with a genuine love of speed. A man who designed his very first triathlon frame for Johnny O’Mara – the star of Motorcross at “The O-Show” – then got big successes in 1990. In 1994, Felt incorporated with Answer Products to launch his brand, starting a 7-year relationship until 2000. In 2001, Jim Felt relaunched the Feltracing brand in conjunction with Michael Müllmann and Bill Duehring. Our product lines were then expanded into a full line of commuter bikes, cruisers, MTBs, MBX, even road and tri bikes. The total number of models were up to 140 distributed in 27 countries.