Biketoworkday is supported by its audience. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Use a Presta Valve Properly for Complete Beginners

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to use a presta valve

In most high-end road and mountain bikes featuring narrow rims, the Presta valve is installed to ensure a smooth ride.

If you like biking in the great outdoors, especially on mountainous and dirt terrains, one problem you will encounter is a deflated tire.

If you continue to ride a bike with a deflated tire, there is a high chance of damaging the bicycle’s tire and wheel.

Therefore, learning how to use a Presta valve to inflate a bike tire is an important skill for mountain bike enthusiasts. Read on below.

What Is a Presta Valve?


A subset of high-performance bicycles has a special valve in their tires built for high-pressure tires and helps inflate it when needed.

What You Will Need?

To successfully inflate bike tire with Presta valve, you must have the following equipment with you:

Bike Pump – Your choice of bike pump may be depending on where and how you like to inflate the Presta valve of your bicycle.

  • If you prefer to have a static place (e.g., a garage) to pump your bike, a simple floor pump may suit your needs.
  • However, if you prefer to have a pump that can be brought with you during your biking trips, a mini pump will be the one for you.

Presta Valve Adapter – If you only have bike pumps that are not attuned to Presta valves, a Presta valve pump adapter may be required.

Otherwise, if the bike pump has a Presta valve option, you can inflate Presta valve without adapter.

Steps to Fill a Presta Valve

Because of its specialized use, using a Presta valve is very different from using the standard Schrader valve used in cars and simple bikes. Therefore, make sure you follow these steps:

Step 1. Remove the dust cap

Like any tire valve, there is a dust cap to avoid mixing dust and particles with pressurized air to avoid damaging the tire. Simply remove it and put it in a safe place.

Step 2. Thread the valve lock-nut

The end of the Presta valve is a valve lock-nut that is connected to the Presta valve stem.

Thread this until you see that the screw is close to the tip. Remember the saying “lefty loosy righty tighty”. It is important to know this valve lock-nut can’t be removed fully from the valve.

Step 3. Tap the tip of the valve

A step that is unique to Presta valves, you need to tap the end of the valve lightly. It removes the secondary seal and releases the backpressure of the valve.

If you are successful, you should hear the valve near the Presta valve core has released some pressured air.

Step 4: Interface the pump to the Presta valve

If you have a pump that can be used for Presta valves, just connect the end of the pump to the tip of the Presta valve to inflate a Presta valve with air. Otherwise, this is where the Presta valve adapter will be used.

Put the Presta valve adapter in the tip of the Presta valve to convert the end to a common Schrader valve, then connect the end of the pump to the tip.

Step 5. Attach the Presta valve pump head and pump air into the tires.

If using a floor pump, pump up Presta valve manually until the tires are supple and strong.

If you use a mini-pump, simply open its Bluetooth-connected app and set the pressure settings you like.

Step 6. Re-thread the screw at the end of the valve

Re-thread the screw that you unscrewed in the third step. It will seal the Presta valve and avoid air going out during your biking trips. Remember the saying “lefty loosy righty tighty”.

Step 7. Return the dust cap

Retrieve the dust cap that you removed in the first step. Please put it back in the tip of the Presta valve.

Cover the tip until there is no more space between the tip of the dust cap and your bike tire Presta valve. Then, you are good to go.


A Presta valve is very different from using the common Schrader valve, and the steps are very different. Follow the steps carefully on how to use a Presta valve to avoid damaging the tires and the valve itself.

If you understand the steps I explained in this article, a healthy bicycle tire awaits you. Do you find the article helpful? Feel free to share the article with those who need the guide.

5/5 - (3 votes)