You can use an air compressor with a Presta valve on your bike. Air compressors are more convenient and faster than any tire-inflating platform for mountain bikes.
Most of us have air compressors at home if we have cars. If you have one with a Presta valve, you don’t need to buy an additional pump for your mountain bike. Your air compressor might have Schrader valves instead of Presta if you have a car, which is okay; you can change it with Presta as you use it on your bike.
Inflating tubeless mountain bike tires is easy with the Presta valve; if it has the Schrader valve, use a Presta to Schrader valve adapter, and you are good to go.
This post is about Presta valves with air compressors and how you can save time and money and say goodbye to your pump.
Let’s get right into it.
What is a Presta Valve?
Presta valves are similar to Schrader valves, minus the complexity.
Let’s simplify it. If you are unfamiliar with Presta valves, you have seen a car tire. On the tire, cars have a pencil-like valve with a button, which, if you press it, will let the air out. If the button is not pressed, the valve holds air pressure inside the tire pretty well, and this is the Schrader valve, widely used in cars.
The Presta valve is similar to Schraders, except it is thinner and lacks diameter. Presta also doesn’t have any “button” which you can compress to let air in or out. They have a screw system, which, screwed or unscrewed, will hold or express air.
To inflate your mountain bike tire, you can unscrew the Presta valve and pump air in.
Most modern bikes have Presta valves as they are becoming more popular and sensible. Besides, competitive mountain bikes have had Presta valves for a long time as it took less time to pump air in than any other valve options available.
Advantages of Presta Valves
Now that you know what a Presta valve is, you might wonder, why do I need one? Or do you actually need one? We are here to answer your doubts with facts.
1. Less Air Loss
If you use any other valve, like Schrader valves, mountain bikes lose air pressure from each ride using Schrader valves. Unless your tire is fully pumped, tires losing air pressure is not a good sign.
Presta valves minimize air loss to the fullest. The screw on top of the valve helps the rider to stop at their desired air pressure.
2. Customizable valves
Presta valves have different diameters for different tire sizes. That being 40,48, 60mm, etc. If you have a carbon fiber rim or a bigger wheel size, you will need a more extended Presta valve to go with it. Prestas also comes with 32mm sizes for narrower rims.
3. Presta Valves are easier to inflate.
The air pumping process is straightforward in Presta valves. Unscrew the valve, inflate the air, and screw the valve. Presta valves also make it easy to raise a flat tire. They have locknut bases that stop the valve from moving up and down on a flat tire.
4. Controlling air pressure is easy.
You can control your tire’s air pressure by using your finger. After unscrewing the locknut, you can use your finger by gently putting it over the locknut and letting air out. You don’t need any tools for this.
Presta valves are getting popular; they are lightweight and quicker. You can use a Presta to Schrader adapter to switch to Schrader valves if you don’t like Presta.
Disadvantages of Presta Valve
Presta valves are the most advantageous, but like everything, it also has some drawbacks.
Although the valves are not crazy expensive, tubing with Presta valves is more costly than tubing with Schrader valves. Presta valves are more premium than Schrader valves, hence the price point. If you’re on a low budget, we recommend skipping on these.
2. Parts Unavailability
Presta valves are mostly on modern mountain bikes. You’ll unlikely find a tire with a Presta valve on a retro MTB. This means you’ll find Presta valves on modern bikes and their parts online.
Presta valves haven’t reached developing countries, so you might not even find the part in your local bicycle shop.
3. They are fragile
Presta valves are very lightweight, so it is easy to damage the part if you’re not careful enough. If you’re in a hurry, you can bend the locknut while unscrewing, especially if your valve is an entry-level one.
Besides the above, many mountain bikers might find Presta valves challenging to use firsthand. But once they get used to it, the process is clear as water.
How to Inflate a Presta Valve with an Air Compressor?
If you have an air compressor, you’re already saving yourself some cash by not getting a pump. You can also go to any gas station, and they’ll have an air compressor to inflate your tire. Here’s how you can inflate a tire with an air compressor that has a Presta valve:
- Remove the cap your Presta valve comes with.
- Unscrew the locknut of your Presta valve, and this is a must.
- Attach the air compressor’s adapter to the valve.
- Pump air to inflate the tire using your air compressor.
- Detach the air compressor adapter
- Screw back the Presta valve
And that’s it, as simple as six steps. This procedure can be done under 5 minutes if you’re pro enough. However, we recommend taking your sweet time for it.
How Much Air Pressure Can Presta Valve?
Understand that this is not the valve’s problem. Air pressure depends on the tubing or tire first, then the rims. The only job of Presta valves is to put air in the tire.
You need to test the air pressure and see how much pressure your tire can take. Respect and understand that ratio, and you’ll be fine. Underwhelming or too much air pressure will hurt your bike.
The valves are made to tolerate any pressure. High or low, the capacity solely depends on the tire.
Can You Use Presta Valves on Schrader Rims?
You can use Presta valves on Schrader rims by using an adapter.
We prefer using an adapter because the hole for Presta valves is smaller than for Schrader valves, so if you don’t use an adapter, you may lose some air pressure.
The function of the Presta to Schrader valves adapter is that it decreases the width so that the tubing can go with the Presta valve’s smaller holes. This adapter is made out of rubber.
If you are a Schrader valve user and ride with low air pressure, you must be extra careful while switching as the low pressure might cause punctures while riding at high speed.
Presta valves with air compressors only make life easier. You can save money by not using a pump and time by inflating the tire quickly. Presta valves also can reduce air loss and control your air pressure.
However, some downsides would be the increase in price and the part being fragile. Other than that, Presta valves with air pressure are perfect for inflating flat tires. You can inflate a tire quickly with an air compressor that has air pressure. Following our steps only makes it more accessible.
I am Ryan Ford, a mountain biking enthusiast who loves to explore the outdoors. I also like to go on adventures with friends and anything else that involves being outside. I love my bike because it gets me out of the house and gives me an opportunity to enjoy nature.