I got an air compressor (well, a gift card for one – because we weren’t going to haul one 2,000 miles with us on our trip to visit family for the holidays) from my wife for Christmas. I ended up choosing a portable Kobalt compressor for my uses, since I mostly just want it for inflating tires (car and bike) and for the occasional other random use (like installing/removing grips and for blowing dirt out of my drivetrain). The inflator and hose that come with the Kobalt compressor are pretty lame, though. There’s not even a pressure gauge on the schrader inflator.
I didn’t want to be stuck using presta-schrader adapters for my bike tires all the time, so I decided a Prestaflator would be worth the investment. I chose the $50 multipurpose tool with the safety blower tip and the schrader adapter in addition to the Silca-style presta valve adapter since I needed a decent inflator tool for all my uses. It arrived in the mail today and here is a short initial review.
This is the inflator with the presta adapter installed on the end of the hose. The tool itself is well-built. It doesn’t leak anywhere (after installing the male coupler end with some Teflon tape) and the trigger operates smoothly. My only beef with the tool is that the hose is extremely stiff, and it’s got this odd natural bend to it that’s the wrong way I’d like it to bend. I cannot get the hose to rotate without unscrewing from the valve/gauge assembly. It makes it a challenge to inflate even a tire on a 26″ mountain bike. The stiffness of the hose results in it being difficult to maneuver it around the cassette and the rear brake rotor.
I think I would benefit from the right angle “Disc Wheel Presta Head” due to the stiffness of the hose and the odd bend I can’t get rid of. I’ll work with the hose some to try to get it to bend how I want it.
Now for its performance.
I used the Prestaflator today to re-set my rear tire as tubeless. I had initially used a gas station compressor to set it up, but I swapped it back to a tube when I got a flat on a ride because I didn’t put enough sealant in the tire.
Aside from the aforementioned hassles I had dealing with the stiff hose, the Prestaflator performed well. The head wasn’t leaky at all before, during, or after inflating the tire. I did have to turn the output pressure on my compressor up to about 100psi in order to seat the bead on the tire, and the Prestaflator had no trouble with that. One thing I did notice was that the gauge on the Prestaflator would shoot up to the pressure coming through the hose when I pulled the trigger. To get an actual pressure reading of the air in the tire, I had to stop inflating. So I had to use an “on/off” technique to inflate the tire without overinflating.
When topping off the air in tires, I think it would be easiest to set the compressor output pressure to the desired inflation pressure and just inflate until it stops. At that point, you could check the pressure gauge on the Prestaflator to ensure an accurate reading. It would probably work ideally to set the compressor output pressure a couple psi above the desired pressure, since the Prestaflator has a release valve you could use to drop the pressure down exactly where you want it.
Overall, I like the tool. I wish the hose didn’t have the odd backwards bend to it and I think that right angle adapter would be good to have for ANY Presta valve. That adapter might even mitigate the hassle from the oddly-bending hose. I still think the quality of the inflator is very good. I don’t think the stiff hose is any reflection of poor quality. I think the hose is that way because that’s how it was stored/packaged (it was zip tied in place bent over backwards when I opened the box).