Once upon a time, a novice mountain biker was on her first expedition when the air pressure in the tires became low. She saw a car gas station across the hill.
At the nearest gas station, she found her bike had Presta valves and needed an adapter to inflate. She stood there contemplating how to inflate Presta valve without adapter???
Well, although I made it, this is the story of every next weekend mountain biker who loves riding but knows so little about mountain bike anatomy.
Knowing about your mountain bike is as important as learning the riding skills over time to have the most out of your hobby or passion of mountain biking, whatever you call it.
So, in today’s guide, I will tell you to pump a bike tire when you have an adapter or nothing around, like how to manage everything during emergencies.
How to Pump a Bike Tire?
First of all, you will see which type of bike tire valve you have, although all the latest scramblers are engineered with Presta Valves.
The other types we have are Schrader valves and the Dunlop valves, also known as woods valves. These are not used in mountain bikes because, along with reducing the rim strength, these are also harder to find in UK and US.
This is the reason modern MTBs come with Presta Valves. However, the limitation with them is that you need a Presta Valve Adapter to inflate it.
How to inflate Presta valve without adapter? Is it possible?
It is mandatory to keep a universal air pump along, puncture repair tapes, and a Presta Valve adapter to have in your emergency kit when riding to keep from any hustle.
But, if you don’t have any, here is a way out; we will call it a hack.
How to Inflate Presta Valve without Adapter?
This is not a way but rather a hack you can use during urgencies if you have lost your adapters somewhere on the way, not finding it in your home, or simply don’t have it.
This method can literally fill up the air to the tires fully without any problem, using any air pump at the gas station, just like the Schrader valve, without putting a wider hole in the rim or tube.
So what is the method? How to inflate Presta valve without adapter?
First of all, you will need a valve cap that we usually use to cover the holes from debris, dust, and water from entering in and damaging them with rust or grime.
Hack: you can use any small rubber nozzle, equivalent to the size of the nozzle of the Presta valve, to fit there and with the pressure pump.
- Poke the hole in the cap; it should be no more than 3/16, using a screwdriver or anything with a sharp tip.
- Now, unscrew the Presta valve to let the air pass through it and try to thread the cap around it.
- The cap will not fit in so perfectly but try to fix it there so tightly that it can hold the air.
You will see that the cap or the nozzle will appear just like a Schrader valve, ready to accept air from all types of air pressure pumps.
- Once done, connect the other end of the cap to the air compressor.
- Turn the pump on and refill the tubes according to the suggested PSI.
Different tires come with varying pounds per square inch capacities. More or less cannot only damage the tube and burst it up but also cause hindrances in commutes or, in the worst cases, accidents.
- When a filling is done, remove the pump and the nozzle you just have created.
- Screw the Presta valve back.
If the other tire also needs air, how to inflate Presta valve without adapter? Try using the same method.
The best here is that you don’t need to poke a hole in the cap of the other tire. You can use the same one on the second wheel.
Instruction: Besides, when you are done, make sure to buy fully enclosed caps for the tube’s valves, or else debris and dust can damage it, and problems might occur while refilling tires.
Use the one with the hole you just created as a Presta valve adapter. Yes, now you have a free Presta Valve adapter with you to use during emergency situations.
Must remember: One thing I would like to repeat that the hack is just for crisis management and not a way to adopt every time you need to inflate your mountain bike tires.
But why? When you shack the cap, for the rest of the journey, the valve is free to catch dry soil, dead bugs, microscopic specks of plastic, and the remains of dead plants.
This will damage the valve and make air refilling difficult, and during extended cycling, you can end up with a damaged, dust-full tube.
Besides, having a French valve adapter offers numerous benefits for mountain biking.
Presta Valve Adapter Benefits
The Adapter helps convert Presta valves into Schrader valve, so the air compression or air pumping become easy using a traditional pump.
Presta Valve Adapters are designed to work for all tires having Presta or French valves. Here are some benefits you can achieve by having it:
- A Presta valve adapter for an air compressor is a cost-effective solution to inflate the wheels efficiently.
- Adapters are reliable because of allowing them to pump a more precise pressure to the tubes.
- When you remove the pump, some air is lost, and the wheels might not have the pressure you pumped. Adapters can diminish the loss and keep your annoyance.
Remember, in mountain biking, the PSI of the tires should be very accurate. It plays a role in keeping speed, maneuvering, control, and comfort while riding terrains optimum, regardless of the air pumping method, such as how to inflate Presta valve without adapter or with one.
- Tubes will reliably hold the pressure you want
- It makes riding much more hassle-free.
- You are free to refill the tire using any pump at any gas station on the way.
How to Use Presta Valve Adapter?
To use the compressor and pump air in the tubeless tires, you need to attach the Presta to the Schrader adaptor using the screw in the wheel.
Once done, you can now use the compressor to fill the air in the bicycle tires. Ensure to inflate tires up to recommended pressure as you don’t want to blow them up.
If you don’t know the recommended pressure, check on the sidewalls of the wheel; there, you will find some figures marked with PSI. PSI is the unit of air in the bike and stands for pounds per square inch.
How to Inflate Bike Tire with Presta Valve?
Here are the steps to guide you well:
- Remove the valve cap.
- All the air in the tire will get out when the cap valve cap is removed.
- When using a “new” Presta valve adapter for the air compressor, check the sealing first. Press it down several times to unseal it and create space for air to enter the tubes.
- Old valves, when used without caps, or not inflated for too long, get stuck; pressing the valve with your finger several times will remove pollutants jamming it.
- Attach the adapter to the valve and thread it.
Take the compressor gun, seal its head to the valve adapter, and pump the air into the tire with desired pressure.
Tip: Ensure not to over-fill the wheels and not squeeze the pneumatic air gun too hard. Squeeze it slightly so the air enters with slight pressure. This step also goes when you follow how to inflate Presta valve without adapter method.
- Once the air pumping is done, remove the pneumatic air gun by unthreading it from the valve adapter.
- Remove the Presta valve adapter and screw the valve top back but keep from pushing it down, or the air will be released from the tires.
- Do all the operations gently.
I hope now you know how to inflate Presta valve without adapter.
If you still have queries, questions, or something about the tubes, tires, or rims of your bike bothering you, feel free to check my mountain bike guides for a solution.