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Presta valve is the only option that makes narrower road bike rims a reality. But finding a compatible inflator or adapter can be tough sometimes. So, I have decided to share 2 quick hacks on how to inflate Presta valve without adapter.
Using any of the techniques, you can inflate a road bike tube with a widely available Schrader pump. Without further ado, let’s get started by knowing some basics.
How Do Presta Valves Work?
The mechanism of a Presta valve is not very different from a Schrader valve. The valve body remains shut because of the internal air pressure. When you try to inflate the tube with more air pressure than inside, it permits air to get inside.
Before starting inflation, one must unscrew the nut to make the passage for air. After filling the tube, you need to tighten the nut, and secure the valve. Also, put the valve cap back in its place as it protects the valve opening from dirt, mud, or any damage.
How to Inflate Presta Valve Using an Adapter?
If you have purchased a good-quality bike pumper recently, it will have options for both Presta and Schrader. However, lots of riders have an inflator that only fits Schrader tubes.
In such cases, you can use a Presta valve adaptors which doesn’t cost more than a dollar. Seeing the product, you may be wondering why it costs so much. Well, the listing comes with a pack of 6, and the individual cost is less than a buck. Also, there are 6 caps, and it is perfect for those who can’t keep a track of these tiny things.
Let’s see how to connect the adapter.
- Firstly, take off the valve cap.
- Next, loosen up the nut a few threads. Don’t take it off completely.
- Finally, carefully place the adapter, and turn it clockwise. Stop when it is finger tight.
Now, you are ready to inflate the tube using a traditional pumper.
How to Inflate Presta Valve Without Adapter?
The above descriptions cover most of the cases where people have Presta compatible inflators or at least a traditional Schrader pumper. But what would you do when you have no compatible inflator or adapter?
So, let’s see some MacGyver techniques to handle such situations. Here, I will show you 2 hacks that are convenient and easily doable by any biker.
1. Modifying its plastic cap
Step 1: Take off the valve cap and manage a pair of scissors to cut its top.
Step 2: Hold the cap and you should notice a wider rim-type part on its bottom portion. Cut right above that wider section.
Step 3: Unscrew the nut so that the valve becomes ready to pass air.
Step 4: Take the modified cap and turn it upside down.
Step 5: Put it on the valve stem and screw it down just enough. Don’t tighten it too much.
Step 6: Lock the Schrader pump, inflate it, take the cap off, and store it for future uses.
2. Modifying a traditional inflator
Step 1: Take a traditional inflator and remove its head.
Step 2: Now, it has only the small opening of the tube that fits a Presta valve.
Step 3: Loosen the nut so that the air can pass through the valve.
Step 4: Put the filler line over the valve and press it all the way.
Step 5: Once you are done, put the pump head back in its place.
Among 2 solutions on how to inflate Presta valve without adapter, I like the second one. It is because the technique requires no additional tool. Also, you don’t have to cut the cap that protects it from dust and mud.
However, there is a downside to it. Due to the design of Schrader pumps, it might not be possible to make a non-destructive modification all the time.
In that case, there is no other way than to modify the plastic cap, manage a cutter, and follow the first technique. So, which one will you try? Let me know in the comments below.