Schrader Vs Presta Valve: What’s The Difference?
Thinking about the difference between a Schrader vs Presta valve? When you visit the bike shop and they ask about the bike stem you use. This guide will tell you all you need to know about these two different types of bike stems. And of course, you will respond to that question with more assertiveness and confidence.
To begin this Schrader vs Presta valve comparison, let’s look at the definition of each one of them!
Since we have been introduced to pneumatic tires, different types of valves have come along. However, for the bicycle tires valves, Schrader and Presta have been most popular. Lets begin with the difference between a schrader vs presta valve.
Like the VeloTubes Presta Valve, it is more slender if you compare it with the Schrader valve. It is also a bit more cumbersome to use than a Schrader valve. There is a lock nut present on this valve, and you won’t find any spring for ensuring closure.
This valve can handle aggressive use quite well due to the locking mechanism. Therefore, it has been used quite frequently in racing and sports in the past. Due to their slender design, racers could inflate tires with a regular pump using an attached chuck and without any hose.
Hence, Presta valves are easy to inflate if you compare them with Schrader valves. You won’t have to handle any springs here. The Presta valve has a smaller diameter and needs a smaller hole inside the rim.
A smaller hole is present in those narrow rims because the stem hole significantly reduces cross-sectional endurance.
Presta valves are also made with removable cores. You can identify removable Presta cores with two wrench flats right on the coarse valve cap threads.
As these valves are slender, they are not that easy to pump. If your rims have holes for Presta valves, you cannot use a Schrader valve tube in them. And this is because the stem won’t fit through the smaller hole.
For conversion, you will have to drill new holes in your rims for the right fitting. But that’s not a good idea if you are doing that on your road bike. With the larger hole in the rim, narrow wheels can get significantly weak.
But if you drill holes in your mountain bike wheels, it’s okay because they are much more comprehensive than the road bike wheels. These valves are better on skinny road tires, and the valve hole is smaller.
As it is the weakest part of the rim, the smaller it will be on a thin rim, the better. A Presta valve requires its small head unscrewed anticlockwise before you place the pump head right on it. You will have to make sure that the pump head is far enough and start pumping the air.
After removing the valve head, you will have to tighten down the small head. However, make sure that it’s not too tight. Presta valves are slightly more delicate, and you might end up bending them if you are not careful while pumping air.
Since 2017, all Presta valves come with a removable core, and you won’t have to replace the tube if the nut breaks off. You can conveniently go for a sealant such as Slime into your Presta tube. Presta valves can adapt to higher pressure better than Schraders.
These Presta valves come in different lengths. If you have those deep rims made of carbon, you need to go with tubes that have stems long enough for accommodating your rims. But if you buy a Presta tube with shorter stems, the only option you will have is to use a valve extender. Otherwise, you will have to give them to someone else.
Pros & Cons: Presta Vs Shrader Valve
- Presta valves allow high air pressure.
- You can purchase them in different lengths according to the profile of your rims.
- They are best suited for race or road bikes.
- You don’t need to cap the valve.
- You can use an adaptor to work with your Presta valve in your Schrader hole tube. The conversion is possible.
- They are more associated with high-end bikes.
- You don’t have to go with a valve cap.
- They tend to stay straight in your wheel rim.
- You can release pressure in a controlled manner with just your finger.
- They are pretty light in weight.
- They make sure your wheels and rims stay strong.
- They require a smaller hole in the wheel rims.
- Very fragile due to their thin stems.
- Prest valve cores can’t be removed.
- They are slightly tough to use.
- You can’t use your regular tire pumps with these valves.
- They are more expensive than Schrader valves.
- Availability is an issue because you can’t find them in any auto spare part shop.
A Schrader valve like the Street Fit 360 Schrader Valve is much bigger than a Presta valve, and it also features a spring mechanism instead of a lock nut. Handling this valve is a bit less complicated, especially if you use a valve depressor.
But you will also need to use a check valve for this. A check valve for a Schrader valve is useful, but it won’t work for a lightweight Presta valve.
This valve is suitable to use for larger rims. Narrow rims with clincher tires leave space between the beads that are insufficient. But Schrader valves are quite durable, and you can use them for any bike as well.
They also feature an easy-to-remove core. As they feature a spring closure, these valves are simple to use because you only have to press that inflation chuck when inflating your tire from a service station.
If you use a hand pump, the lever or screwed chuck works as a valve depressor. With this depressor, inflating air in your tires becomes more comfortable, and you can conveniently read them back tire pressure as well.
Schrader valves come with spring closures on them, and you only need to press the inflation chuck at the service station. And if you are using hand pumps, then a lever or a screw chuck serves a valve depressor’s purpose.
With this depressor, you can quickly inflate your tire and read the backpressure in your tire. This valve can easily handle the pressure and rarely suffer from any damage.
You can quickly check the tire pressure with a standard gauge that you use for car tires. However, you will have to insert an object into the valve to release air, not the Presta valves case.
A Schrader valve comes with an 8mm diameter and is much greater than the Presta valve. The hole where you put the valve stem goes straight through your wheel’s rim, and it is configured either for a Schrader or a Presta valve.
The Schrader valve is more straightforward than the Presta valve because you only have to remove the cap from the valve and then apply your pump head. You only need to place it far enough to prevent air leakage and conveniently air up your tires.
And the best part is that you can conventionally find Schrader tubes at your local general stores and auto part stores as well. These valves come with a removable core, and you can add a sealant for puncture resistance.
Pros and Cons: Schrader Vs Presta Valve
- Very easy to inflate your tires at any service station.
- Schrader valves come with removable cores.
- They can solidify your tire tube pretty well.
- Better suited for off-road conditions like gravel and mud due to their durability.
- They are much cheaper than Presta valves.
- They are more robust and universal.
- If the shell is not tight, frequent air loss occurs.
- They are short in length, and they can sink during inflation.
- No conversion adaptors are available for the Presta valve.
- More associated with low-end bikes.
- These valves are heavy.
- They might sit crooked in the rim.
The Third Type
There is a third type of valve that you will find mostly in Asian countries or the Netherlands. It is called the Dunlop valve or the Woods. This type of valve is present mainly on city bikes, and you will see they look like a fatter Presta valve.
These are used to enhance the only disadvantage that a Presta valve has, and that is durability. With a fatter design, it becomes much more resilient than a standard Presta valve. Still, Schrader and Presta are more popular.
Where Can I Find These Valves on my Bike?
Quite commonly, you will find these valves on your tires. But to be more specific, you will see them on the inside of your tire rim jutting the direction of the hub. Some Schrader fittings are also present on suspensions, dropper seat posts, forks, and rear shocks.
With the dropper seatposts, you will find that the Schrader fitting is recessed within the seat post itself. Schrader valves are more commonly found on mountain bikes as well as dirt and gravel bikes. On the other hand, Presta bikes are present on road bikes.
Is there an Adaptor Available for Conversion?
So far, we can’t use the standard air compressor that you will find on service stations for inflating your Presta tube. Most of the experienced riders of the road are well-prepared for such emergencies by having a valve stem adaptor.
You can easily screw this small fitting like the Bike Bits Presta Adapter on your Presta valve and use your air compressor no matter where you are. Also, when purchasing an air pump, make sure you go with a dual-purpose head.
Such a head has both Presta, and Schrader heads inbuilt and can pump either tube. A Joe Blow Pro Pump has this kind of inbuilt dual-purpose head.
Schrader vs Presta valve debate is not confusing because they are designed for different bikes. The best road bicycle tire valves are Prestas, while off-road bicycle tire valves mostly use Schraders but lot of high end mountain bikes will use presta valves for some of it’s perks.
Schraders are more robust and readily available, but they also require frequent checking and maintenance. Presta valves can handle higher air pressures reasonably well but are more fragile. Again, you can go for a conversion adaptor from Presta to Schrader, but the reverse will not be the same default for you.