"I'll pump up the tires before I go!" Their admirable intentions are met with alien technology that won't work with their pump and ends up bringing the enthusiastic novice's ride to a halt before they get out of the garage.
So, for anyone sitting in their garage, poking at their tire with a stick and a confused look, here is what to do and what NOT to do with a presta valve.
I'm going to assume everyone has already, or can figure out pumping up a schraeder valve. It is the same as a car tire and even some intertubes. Chances are you've seen them and used them. I'm focusing on the presta valves.
Why use presta Valves?
There are a couple of good reasons to use presta valves that out-weigh losing the ability to pump up your tires at a gas station. Because of the manual open/close, instead of schraeder's spring loaded system, presta valves hold higher pressure much better. Less air leaks from the valve itself.
Presta valves are also much skinnier which means the hole in the wheel to put the valve through is smaller as well. This means stronger wheels.
Plus, once you get used to the differences, the general consensus is that prestas are much easier to use.
4 Steps to a harder, stiffer tire!
1. Remove the dust cap
The dust cap is the small plastic top of the valve. Dust caps are usually pointy black caps covering the valve to make sure no dirt goes into the valve.
|Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty|
2. Twist open the valve
On the end of the valve, pinch and twist the "core" open. It will not come out, so keep twisting until it will not twist anymore.
3. Put the Pump Directly onto the Valve
|The valve nut travels up the central core.|
4. Remove Pump and Tighten the Valve Core
Take the pump off the valve in a straight line. A good tip is to start with the valve at the top of the wheel, facing down. So, there is not unnecessary force going on and releasing straight down is easier. Tighten the core down until it won't twist anymore.
Now you're ready to get out at ride! On road bikes, it is common to pump your tires up before each ride. Be sure not to under- or over inflate.
If you break the stem on your first try, no reason to be discouraged. The more someone works with presta valves, the more they'll appreciate them!
If you and presta's just aren't meant to be, there are always adapters!
|This is not an adapter. This is a bear.|