March 15, 2021
For this edition of #ToolboxTuesday, we're taking a look at Arundel Bicycle Company's Shop Inflator ($60).
This is one of my favorite tools for making an air compressor compatible with bicycle presta valves. There's nothing more satisfying than having the perfect tool on hand to complete a job, and it makes me smile when a tubeless tire bead slides into place with a resounding "Pop!" An air compressor was definitely one of the better additions I've made to my personal workbench.
As the name implies, this is a sturdy, metal tool that stands up to repeated shop use. The head portion that connects to your presta valve is Arundel's Woodsman pump head, which uses a simple push-on, pull-off design. There is no thumblock or lever to operate or break.
This means you can use this tool with only one hand, since you can push it on to the valve and pull the trigger, while still keeping your other hand free; which can be used to balance a bike or wheel, or hold other tools.
Like other inflator heads for bicycles, Arundel's Shop Inflator uses a standard 1/4" I/M male fitting. Simply plug it into the female I/M fitting on your pneumatic air compressor lines, charge up the compressor, and you're ready to go.
Simply open the presta valve, press the inflator on, and squeeze the trigger to dispense compressed air. The built-in gauge allows you to monitor the PSI while inflating.
Pull the trigger fully for a blast of high-pressure air (most useful for seating tubeless tires), or just tap it for micro-adjustments, such as topping off tires that are already inflated.
This tool doesn't work on schrader valves and isn't convertible, so it's ideal for riders who have an entire fleet of presta-valve-only bikes. For the average home mechanic, it should last a lifetime in that application. It's satisfying and reliable to use.
If you work on bikes equipped with schrader valves, consider the Prestaflator Digital instead, which works on both presta and schrader valves. That tool is a little more expensive ($80) but adds a digital pressure gauge and schrader compatibility.
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