Prestacycle Prestaflator Review

by Brian Mullin on September 6, 2010

I have been slowly tweaking my home shop, to make it a more useful and functional environment, and this last winter, I got a small air compressor from Sears. The $100 Craftsman 1.5 gal. 150 PSI Air Compressor, is light and portable enough to move it around, and it has adequate pressure and capacity for most situations.  Update: this is no longer available from Sears but can found from the original producer as the Porter Cable CMB15.

All the tire attachments that came with the compressor, and other ones that I could locate in the marketplace, are for the Schrader valve and not the typical Presta used on bikes. I have used the small threaded brass Schrader to Presta adapters you’ll find at any LBS, but they don’t seal well.

I was finally able to locate a product that was made specifically for Presta valves, named the Prestaflator. It uses a pistol grip trigger with an attached pressure gauge, a screw on inflation hose with a threaded Presta chuck, and has a quick connect coupler for hooking up to the air compressor.

The cast
Aluminum bodied Prestaflator uses a variable-rate trigger valve, and has
6061-T6 Alloy, Chrome and Stainless Steel components for all connectors
and moving parts. The steel cased pressure gauge has a rubber housing
for protection and reads pressures to 12 Bar/174 PSI with a 2% accuracy.
The Prestaflator comes in two versions. The tool with the Presta’s head
for $39.95, and the tool with the Presta head, a Quick Clip Schrader
head, and a blower/inflator tip for $49.95.

Impressions

The
Prestaflator’s attachable inflation hose easily screwed onto the main
body, and seats with o-rings, for a tight seal. One of the nice features
of the entire units is that most of the items are serviceable or
replaceable. I had a spare female quick connector, which I hooked up to
the air compressor hose, and then could clip on the Prestaflator’s
coupler. The other end of the Prestaflator’s inflation hose accepted an
entire slew of threaded attachments. These included the default Presta
head and an optional Schrader adapter and blower tip, and even the small
brass adapters that I had been using as a stop gap measure. In
addition, the hose’s end threads directly into a Schrader if needed.

Once everything
was hooked up, I turned on the air compressor, and since no leaks were
evident, I proceeded to slide the Presta head onto the tire’s valve. It
took some effort, since the fit was snug on the valve stem, especially
when the o-rings are new. The user manual suggests using some Teflon
lube to facilitate getting the head on and off. I tried both Teflon and
my trusty LPS-1 greaseless lube, and although it helped, it’s still a
tight fit. The tightness meant it was well sealed, and wasn’t about to
pop off accidentally, which facilitates a one handed filling technique.
The long inflation hose came in quite handy since it allowed you to
maneuver through the spokes or work at odd angles, which is a common
occurrence while working on a bike.

Sometimes the pressure gauge
didn’t show anything until I pulled the trigger, which pressurized the
valve, usually it immediately gave a reading. To inflate the tire, I
gave a bunch of small microbursts of air, then released the trigger to
get a valid reading until it reached the required/desired tire pressure.
Being able to do the micro bursting, allowed for fine tuning of air
pressure (1-2psi), which I found amazingly handy. The unit doesn’t have a
bleed valve, so if you overfill the tire, it necessitates removing the
Presta’s head and doing a manual bleeding. Due to the ability to
microburst the air pressure in small increments until the proper
pressure is almost reached, I never needed this functionality.

The
removal process starts by tapping the pressure relief button, which
resides by the trigger, and then using your thumbs on the back side of
the Presta’s head, give it a good hard push. The other extraction method
is doing a decent tug straight out from the valve. Keeping the Presta’s
head lubricated greatly helped with the happenstance.

I take a
lot of tires on and off my wheelsets for testing purposes, and I
regularly deal with a tubeless setup. To facilitate installation
requires rapid, and high pressure fills (70-80 psi) to get the tires to
bead up. The trigger was handy to burst the bead on, but on some
occasions, I had issues getting tubeless tires to seal up. The Presta’s
head constricted the air flow, so the SCFM (Standard Cubic Feet of air
per Minute) dropped, and I would have to revert to the short brass
adapters.
With the
ability to change attachments, I could fill a tire with the Presta’s
head, or switch to the blower tip. The blower tip could clean out dirt
or water (after a washing) from the nooks and crannies of parts, and was
handy for installing and removing grips on handlebars. It was also a
multi-purpose tool since I could inflate car and truck tires, sports
equipment or even my kid’s floaties for a pool session.

Bottom Line

It
was a breeze to inflate a tire to the proper pressure with the
Prestaflator, and the ease of use of the trigger for filling, along with
the verifiable gauge reading was quite pleasant. Being able to do
microbursts gave one the ability to tune the pressure to a fairly
precise degree. The long inflation hose gave a lot of maneuverability
for working on a bike. The attachable adapters, let you fill with Presta
or Schrader valves, and use a blower tip for attaching grips or
cleaning the recesses of parts. The Presta’s head offers a tight seal
and fits quite snugly, but lubrication and proper removal techniques
help to alleviate the issue.

Strengths
– Pressure gauge
– Trigger inflator
– Long inflation hose
– Multiple attachable head – blower, Presta, and Schrader
– Inexpensive

Weaknesses
– Presta head fits too snugly
– Lack of air bleeder

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Prestacycle Prestaflator Company Specs

  • MSRP $39.95 or $49.94 w/ Quick Clip Schrader Head & blower tip
  • Variable-rate trigger.
  • Presta and Schrader valves.
  • Professional shop-grade tool.
  • 6061-T6 Alloy Presta chuck w/standard replaceable insert.
  • Replaceable I/M compressor quick-release attachment.
  • 174 PSI (in 2 PSI increments) or 12 Bar (in 0.1 Bar increments).
  • Large 2 ¼” / 6 cm dial pressure gauge.
  • Rubber pressure gauge housing for shock protection.
  • Cast aluminum pistol grip handle with bead-blasted finish.
  • Two-finger trigger valve for precise air flow regulation.
  • Thumb-control pressure release button.
  • High-pressure hose for easy access on any wheel.

Prestacycle Prestaflator URL

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 19, 2011 at 4:58 am

Great review. My experience: My compressor is rated to 120 psi so it will fill road tires to 100-110 and then I have to use a floor pump to top it off. Gotta make sure you have a 150 psi complressor. It is really handy for seating UST mtn bike tires. Also, it would hav ebeen nice to have the presta attachment at a 90 degree angle instead of straight since the hose doesn't bend all that easily.

The bad – the schrader valve is worthless. It will not fit properly on the valve to get a good enough grip. I have a BOB, Chariot and 4 kids bikes all with schrader valves & it would be perfect for these aplications but the attachment doesn't work.

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet February 1, 2011 at 8:01 am

Thanks for the info. I am waiting on a test of this interesting beast http://www.gramslightbikes.com/2010/09/prestacycle-at-interbike-2010.html

Reply

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