Less Beaten by Tubeless Tires and Presta Valves

There are plenty of posts and videos out there about how to mount tubeless tires on your mountain/gravel/road bike. I’m not going to try and reinvent that wheel. What I’m going to share is an inexpensive product I’ve found to make seating that bead easier.

If you’ve ever worked on your own tubeless tires, you know what a pain seating the bead can be. The trick is to get a lot of air into the tire quickly. There are a lot of products to do that, but they can be very pricey. Park tools has their INF2-2 Inflator that connects to an air compressor but it runs around $135. There are bike pumps with auxiliary charging canisters and a dump valve. These can certainly work, but are fairly expensive.

Most people with an air compressor have an inflator that works on schrader valves. Most (all?) tubeless bicycle tires/valves are presta. This is the boat I found myself in. As you probably know, the valve core gets in the way when trying to seat the bead. With a tool like Park’s VC-1 you can remove the core, but you still need to get that schrader inflator on the valve. I tried the common brass presta to schrader adapters, the problem is, they won’t connect since they actually screw on to the presta valve core and not the outer tube of the valve.

A lot of searching finally lead me to my solution:

Rather than adapters, these are valve converters by RideAir. They screw onto the outside of the presta valve and can typically be had for about $15. The process works like this:

  1. Remove presta valve core.
  2. Add sealant.
  3. Screw on the RideAir valve converter
  4. Remove the schrader core.
  5. Seat the bead.
  6. Remove the converter and reinstall the cores.
  7. Inflate your tire and go for a ride.

I followed this process when helping a friend the other day and it worked a treat. See you on the trails!