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Prestacycle Reviews

Prestaflator Review

December 18, 2018

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Prestaflator Review

Prestacycle Prestaflator
4.58

Summary

I’ve found that the Prestacycle Prestaflator is super easy to set up with an existing air compressor, features an easy-to-read gauge, makes a reliable connection between the head and valve, and comes with handy features like an easy-to-reach pressure release button and variable-rate trigger mechanism.

But, despite its relative affordability compared to Park’s INF-2 and its mostly positive online cyclist reputation, I’m a bit apprehensive to sign off on the manufacturer’s “shop-duty” advertising claims.

  • Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Sealing Capability
  • Accuracy
  • Quality
  • Overall Value

Pros

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Ultra-competitive price
  • Accurate pressure readouts
  • Multiple must-have features
  • Great firsthand experience
  • Mostly positive online customer feedback

Cons

  • Long-term durability remains to be determined
  • Doesn’t come with the same brand recognition or reputation as Park Tool
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We combine our direct experience using Prestacycle’s Prestaflator with third-party details, along with feedback from other cyclists, so you can decide if it belongs next to your tool bench.

About Prestaflator

The Prestacycle Prestaflator is a multipurpose tool designed explicitly for bicycle tires that promises to meet virtually all your air compressor inflation needs. This includes both Presta and Schrader valve compatibility, inflating and seating tubeless tires, and even automotive applications.

Just open the valve and release the tension, press the head onto the valve, and inflate. When you reach your desired pressure, stop and pull the head off the valve.

Prestacycle backs all direct Prestaflator purchases ($49.95) with a 30-day refund policy,as long as they’re in original condition, with original packaging and materials and without any signs of usage or wear. They also provide a one-year warranty against defective materials or workmanship under regular use.

Together, the website advertises that Prestaflator is a “different, high-quality, serviceable tool designed, built, and warranted for used on bicycles.” But, should you buy?

Using a combination of firsthand experience, online customer feedback, and third-party resources, we’ll help you decide if it deserves a spot in your home shop.

What Makes Prestaflator Different? An Overview of How Its Features Work

Prestacycle advertises the Prestaflator as a professional, shop-duty tool built to a higher quality standard. Here’s how:

Body & Trigger Valve

This section features a cast alloy, nickel-plated handle with a bead-blasted finish, along with removable and re-buildable components like the thumb-control pressure release button, a two-finger, variable-rate trigger mechanism, as well as a hose connection. All of these also boast interior rubber seals.

Prestacycle explains that Prestaflator’s long-throw trigger valve plunger is long, narrow, and backed with a high-force spring. This allows you to add a precise amount of air whether using brief, rapid shots or full trigger squeezes for seating tubeless tires.

Related: How to Install Tubeless Bike Tires

Hose

Prestaflator’s 13” hose is made from reinforced polyurethane that provides durability, a high level of flexibility, and high-pressure capability. In fact, Prestacycle tells us it’s three times more flexible than their original hose and rated up to 300 PSI.

It attaches to the body using smooth, corrosion resistant alloy clamps.

Heads and Connectors

These smooth alloy clamps also make the spinner head at the opposite end of the hose more comfortable for users, which is removable and replaceable with many other Presta, Schrader, and low-pressure heads from Prestacycle.

Just unthread the existing 6061-T6 alloy head and thread on a replacement. According to the company, this material makes them as strong as brass, but one-third the weight.

The connector and moving part components are made from chrome and stainless steel.

The standard head attached to the Original model we tested (more soon) is their Push/Pull AlloyQuickClick2™ Angle Presta version, which promises never to bend the valve pin or clog with sealants.

Related: How Tubeless Tires Prevent Punctures

The head’s angle is completely adjustable simply by loosening the connector, turning the head, and retightening.

Construction & Replacement Parts

Inside this head, you’ll find a urethane elastomer grommet that’s said to last five times longer than Prestacycle’s previous versions, while also providing a more robust seal with the valve, and delivering improved functionality with the removable valve cores found in tubeless tire setups.

If it needs replacement, the 24.1 pump head gasket is readily available through just about any cycling parts source.

Inside the QuickClick2™ Angle alloy head is a urethane elastomer grommet, which we found provides a quick, secure seal against the valve. Learning how to seat it with one hand while holding the Prestaflator with the other can take some trial-and-error, though.

Along these same lines, all coupler connections feature interior rubber seals for easy removal and changing when it’s time to rebuild so that the tool can deliver years of reliable service.

All threaded hose, variable-rate trigger, and pressure release mechanisms use #7 o-rings that you can remove, change, and service with a 14 mm wrench. Rebuild kits are available.

In addition to the Presta head, the Original Prestaflator version comes with a ¼” I/M QuickCoupler that you can install without tape or glue, as well as the company’s Quick-Clip Automotive Schrader head inside the packaging.

This is the case whether removing the Presta head and threading the hose directly onto the Schrader valve, or using Prestacycle’s Quick Schrader Head, which features a clip that locks onto the valve with justa press.

From left to right, Prestaflator’s stock QuickClick2™ Angle head, Quick-Clip Automotive Schrader head, and ¼” I/M Quick Coupler, all of which come packaged with the Original Dial version.

Prestaflator Dial Gauge

While Prestaflator offers a digital model (more soon), the dial gauge we tested features a durable rubber-wrapped steel shell that helps protect it against damage. Inside, a high-quality copper coil delivers accurate pressure readings within +/- 2%, at any range.

I found Prestaflator’s dial easy to read, which displays pressure in 2 PSI (0.1 Bar) increments.

Prestaflator’sdial face is 2¼” (6 cm) in diameter, which the company indicates is “designed for MTB and Road tires with a wide range of pressure requirements.”

Pro tip: While Prestaflator’sblack hose is rated for up to 300 PSI, keep in mind that the dial gauge can only read up to 174 PSI (12Bar).

A diagram of Prestaflator’s key parts. ©TreadBikely]

Instructions For Using the Prestaflator

After attaching to your compressor hose underneath the handle, you’ll merely push Prestaflator’s QuickClick2™ Angle head over the tip of your Presta valve, at which point it will deliver a current pressure reading.

When you’re ready, you can add a small amount of air with a light pull of the trigger, or a strong blast (such as when seating tubeless tires) with a long squeeze. If you surpass your desired pressure, you can hold the handy pressure release button to drain air from the tire.

When finished, just pull the head off of the valve. Whether used for road or mountain bike tires, no loss of air pressure from the tire will occur. See below for a quick example of how this works:

It’s the same basic process for automotive tires, although you’ll need to change to one of the included heads outlined earlier.

The Differences Between Each Prestaflator Model: Original vs. Digital vs. Mini

Each Prestaflator model has more in common than otherwise, including the same professional, shop-grade, 6061-T6 alloy construction; cycling-specific variable flow valve, Presta and Schrader compatibility, and rubber gauge housing.

Add to this a replaceable I/M compressor quick release attachment, thumb-control pressure release button, and thread-on head compatibility that accepts many other versions.

With these details in mind, here’s a quick table outlining their differences:

  Prestaflator Dial Prestaflator RapidResponse™ Digital Prestaflator Mini
MSRP $49.95 $79.95 $36.95 – $89.95
Gauge Dial Digital, uses two CR2032 batteries N/A
Hose High-pressure polyurethane Braid reinforced hose, which the company advertises as their strongest and most flexible No hose
Max Pressure Readout 174 PSI in 2 PSI increments (12 Bar in 0.1 increments) 255 PSI in 0.1 PSI increments (17 Bat in 0.01 increments) N/A
Handle Cast alloy, nickel-plated handle w/ bead-blasted finish Cast alloy, nickel-plated handle w/ bead-blasted finish Cast aluminum w/nickel finish
Air Valve Two-finger trigger valve Two-finger trigger valve Palm-squeeze trigger valve
Additional Features N/A Provides measurements in MPA/KG/CM units Valve design allows for one-handed operation

A Closer Look at the Prestacycle Tire Pressure Calculator App

The free Prestacycle Bicycle Tire Pressure Calculator app is available for iOS and Android smartphones, which allows cyclists to recommend different tire pressures based on factors like rider weight, tire size and type, bicycle type, and riding conditions.

Simply swipe left or right on the home screen to choose between different tires and calculation methods. For example, road riders can select calculations based on tire width and rider weight, rider and bike weight plus tire width, or a combination of front and rear weight distribution and tire width.

Mountain bike and cyclocross riders can select between factors like tube or tubeless tires, tire size (26”, 27.5”, and 29” options available), rider weight, and terrain. Then, the app delivers different results for front and rear tires.

A few screenshots from Prestacycle’s iOS app, which allows riders across multiple disciplines to calculate appropriate tire pressure based on a number of key factors. Credit: Prestacycle

Overall,I found the app downloaded quickly and was super simple to use. With the increasing popularity of 650B tires, though, perhaps the most significant potential downfall is that it can’t accommodate anything wider than a 40 mm tire.

What else did I encounter with the Prestaflator?

My Experience Using the Prestacycle Prestaflator

Build Quality

To be honest, the Prestaflator didn’t necessarily strike me as a tool “built to a high-quality standard” when I first removed it from the box and unwrapped it from its plastic.

The front and back of Prestaflator’s box, as I received it from Amazon.

Why? I thought it felt lightweight—almost hollow, without a sense that it would withstand regular use and abuse. In fact, it felt less robust than the DIY model I created from parts I picked up at a local home improvement store.

On the left is Prestacycle’s Prestaflator. On the right is a DIY tool I created years ago using online instructions, as well as parts picked up from a local home improvement store and others cannibalized from an old, broken bike pump. Despite their vastly different sourcing, they feature quite similar designs.

Overall Performance

While my initial impressions weren’t stellar, the Prestaflator has performed flawlessly for my residential needs, such as seating tubeless tires and occasionally topping off tires while I’m outside washing bikes.

It’s consistently formed a reliable seal between the head and Presta valve, without any noticeable leaks, whether there or at the joints. The latter was the downfall of my previous DIY model after several years of regular use, so I’ll make sure to update this review if the situation changes at any point.

PSI Precision

From an accuracy perspective, the Prestaflator’s gauge seems fairly precise when compared with G.H. Meiser’s Accu-Gage, and appears to deliver on th emanufacturer’s “exact pressure you set” claims. See below for a quick comparison at 60 PSI and 40 PSI:

Zooming out, have other cyclists experienced the same?

Learning More From Online Prestaflator Customer Reviews

The Prestaflator bicycle-specific compressor tool has been around for many years, with many online reviews going as far back as 2010.

Common Compliments

Focusing on more recent feedback, we encountered 80+ combined reviews between Amazon and JensonUSA, who had given the Prestaflator Dial an average rating of about 3.7 stars. Most seemed to like its ease of use, robust functionality (including a tight seal between the head and valve), and the level of value it provided.

Common Complaints

Some customers, however, reported lower quality than expected (defective seals/hose, cracked aluminum body, etc.), especially over the medium-to-long-term, as well as the high price for what you get.

PrestaCycle App Reviews

Averaging Prestacycle’s iOS and Android app reviews, it faired significantly lower, with a rating of about two stars among 25 total reviews. Most seemed to appreciate the basic information it provided, but were often displeased with it snavigation, limited functionality (e.g., no 650B or fat tire sizes available), and that all measurements were listed only in pounds or PSI.

For what it’s worth, I found the app super easy to use and its recommendations handy as a starting point, if not generic.

Among displeased Prestaflator consumers, more than one recommended purchasing thePark Tool INF-1 instead. But, is this necessarily comparing apples to apples?

Prestacycle Prestaflator vs. Park Tool INF-2

When it comes to bicycle-specific, Presta-compatible compressor tools, the only mass-marketed competitor currently available is Park Tool’s high-end INF-2 (previously marketed as the INF-1).

Similarities

Despite their different appearances, the two share quite a bit in common, including full re-buildability, a rotatable Presta/Schrader compatible head, a built-in gauge with a protective coating to prevent damage, lightweight body, and an integrated air bleed button.

They’re also roughly the same size, although the INF-2’s design is meaningfully wider than Prestaflator’s. Also, the INF-2’s trigger features a hang-ready design that might be faster to set aside in shop situations.

The Prestacycle Prestaflator’s (left) biggest, and only, direct competitor—other than DIY options—is ParkTool’s INF-2 (right).

Differences

Outside of appearance, the two quite distinct regarding some factors, though. Here’s a quick table outlining these differences:

  Prestacycle Prestaflator Park Tool INF-2
MSRP $49.95 $140.95
Overall Dimensions 10.3” x 5” x 1.6” 11” x 5” x 4”
Gauge Size 2 ¼” (6 cm) N/A (appears to be smaller than Prestaflator)
Construction Design Pistol-grip w/trigger valve Straight, behind-the-handle trigger
Construction Materials Cast alloy, nickel-plated handle w/ bead-blasted finish N/A (appears to be painted alloy)
Hose Length 13” N/A
Head Design Threaded; must unscrew each head to replace Dual-sided; simply flip (also accepts any NPT male
Weight 0.76 lbs 1.75 lbs
Max PSI Rating 174 PSI in 2 PSI increments, or 12 Bar in 0.1 Bar increments 160 PSI in 5 PSI increments, or 11 Bar in 0.5 Bar increments

Th ebottom line is that while each of these tools might compete for some of the same customers, they clearly target different markets.

For example, with a price nearly three times higher than Prestaflator’s and a hugely reputable name behind it, the Park Tool INF-2 is ideal for semi-professional (or full-time) bicycle mechanics—or, at least cyclists with a lot of extra money to burn.

On the other hand, at least based on my experience, amateur/garage bicycle mechanics will likely find that the Prestaflator meets most of their needs. It also reaches higher air pressure (by 14 PSI) than the INF-2, if that’s something important to you.

ThePrestaflator’s gauge also displays lower readings, which could come in especially handy for wider tires found on mountain, plus size, and fat bikes.

However, the Prestaflator certainly isn’t as flashy as the INF-2, and it doesn’t necessarily come with Park Tool’s brand reputation. Longevity is also something that remains to be determined.

Bringing Everything Together When it Comes to the Prestacycle Prestaflator

As of this writing, I’ve used the Prestaflator for a little more than three weeks to seat tubeless tires, as well as top tires off before heading out on a ride.

And in that time, I’ve found that it’s easy to use, accurate, comfortable in hand, and even relatively easy to use (with some practice) with one hand holding the head and the other gripping the handle.

Overall, I’d recommend it’s well worth the money, especially if you’re a tubeless rider and need to re-seat tires on a regular basis.

It’s also optimal if you don’t want to spend nearly three times as much for the INF-2. Or, if you don’t wish to spend the time (and almost as much money) building a DIY version.

Ready to buy? Consider clicking the link to the right. Why?

As an Amazon Associate, TreadBikely earns from qualifying purchases, which helps support our mission. Learn more here.

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Derek is an avid cyclist with more than two decades of experience in the sport, and currently resides in Denver, Colorado. He enjoys all types, including road, MTB, cyclocross/gravel, commuting, and touring. When he's not writing reviews and guides related to bike accessories, parts, and gear for TreadBikely.com, he's riding, talking about cycling, or thinking about bikes he can't afford. #rolloutblissout
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