Presta vs Schrader Valves: Wich is better?

Sometimes your tires need a litle air. And that’s when you will begin to wonder what kind of pump you should use to accomplish the job. In this article, we’ll discuss the two types of tire valves and the tools you’ll need to fill them up.



Schrader valves, which you may recognize from normal automobile tires, are one of the common types of valves you’ll discover. After more than a century of service, the Schrader valve has become an American household name, thanks to its diameter of 1/4 inch and its central pin.

Schrader valves are included on all of our Classics, Step Throughs, Cruisers, and Balance bikes. One of the advantages of Schrader valves is their abundance, so you can easily purchase more air where you need it. Have you seen the gas station? Yup. Has the old basketball pump been repaired? If it has a detachable needle, then absolutely. That old shed’s foot pump? Yup. And, as is typical of current pumps, both schrader and presta types are offered. After filling up, you will want to have a Schrader pump ready for a boost.

Fixed gear cyclist with tattoos white shirt and headphones riding a black and red fixed gear bike. Source: adobe stock.
Fixed gear cyclist with tattoos white shirt and headphones riding a black and red fixed gear bike. Source: Adobe Stock.


What are the implications of presta valves, then? Around the 1920s, the Presta valve was designed in France, which has a narrower diameter than the Schrader valve, allowing for thinner, lighter, and stronger wheels. You’ll see presta valves on our racing bikes, including our Road and Track Series, because of this.

Schrader valves drop off in pressure more quickly than Presta valves, and thus they’re less likely to hold the correct PSI for longer, meaning you’ll have to refill your tires more often on long rides and races. That’s why we included them on our Urban Commuter series, as they are quite helpful when you are leaving home a bit late and still need to fill your tires before you can ride to work.

As also, a knurled nut secures the pin above the valve rather of putting it below the valve like on other types of valves. You can easily blow up your tires by loosening the nut and then pinning the pin into the tire. Afterward, use your presta pump and pump up your tires!

If you’re at a friend’s house and they only have one pump and it’s the wrong type, what do you do? Just put a presta/schrader adapter on your bike and you’re done. You never have to worry about getting the proper size again because it is always ready when you need it. You may also place one on your valve, for easy storage, and for added convenience.

You may also DIY an adapter out of your valve caps if you’re looking to convert from presta to schrader. A tailor-made connector is more of a polished option, but it’ll still provide you with the air you need to travel home.

Don’t become stressed when you’re searching for pumps. Select the pump that matches your tires. If you purchase a pump that can both scoop and flush, you’ll be ready for anything your friends ride in on.

Presta and Schrader are the two most common bicycle valves nowadays. Which is superior, and what are the advantages and disadvantages? This post will discuss some of the distinctions between the two and, hopefully, alleviate some of the uncertainty that younger riders often have.

Bicycles from department shops or low-cost manufacturers are often equipped with an automobile tire valve, sometimes known as a Schrader. Road bikes often feature a long, slender Presta valve with a knob on top that screws and unscrews.

Only bicycle inner tubes utilize Presta valves. They won’t be found on autos or anyplace else. The difference between Presta and Schrader inner tubes is determined by what you anticipate, the kind of bike you ride, and what you need from a bicycle inner tube.

The Presta valve is the most slender of the two and somewhat more difficult to operate since it uses a locknut rather than a spring to assure closing. These two characteristics have kept the Presta valve popular on many bicycles.

Presta valves are most commonly used on road bikes. Presta valves are almost certainly what you have on your road bike. Mountain bikes may go either way; some choose Schrader, while others prefer Presta.

Presta valves were once utilized on sports and racing bicycles owing to their narrow design, which allowed racers to fill tires using a simple pump with an attached chuck (pump head) and no hose.

Due to the narrow diameter of the Presta valve, which necessitates a smaller hole in the rim, Presta valves are more difficult to pump. The size of the stem hole is critical for narrow cross-sectional strength, particularly in tight rims such as clincher tires leave where there is insufficient room between tire beads for bigger Schrader valves.

If your rims are drilled for Presta valves, you cannot use a Schrader valve tube because the stem will not pass through the hole. You may be possible to have your wheels re-drilled with bigger holes, but doing so on a road bike is not a smart idea.

Larger valve holes may considerably weaken narrow wheels. Mountain bike rims, on the other hand, may be drilled out since they are considerably broader.

Because skinny road bike tires are thinner and need a tighter hole in the rim, Presta valves are more typically employed. The valve hole is the most vulnerable section of the rim, thus the smaller it is, the better.

Before attaching the pump head to a Presta valve, the tiny head must be unscrewed (counter-clockwise). Then, make sure the head is securely fastened and inflate your tire.

After removing the valve head, tighten the tiny head all the way down, but not too tightly. Presta valves are a little more sensitive with the post, with the threads sometimes bending if the pump head is not handled carefully.

As of 2017, almost all Presta valves include a replaceable core, which is recognizable by two wrench flats on the coarse valve cap threads. The advantages of this are that it eliminates the need to replace the tube when the presta nut breaks off and allows you to inject sealant (such as Slime) into presta tubes.

All you need is a Presta to Schrader adapter, such as the Joe Blow Pro Pump (which we reviewed here), to remove the core and grip securely on the valve.

Presta valves can withstand greater pressures than Schrader valves. Road bike tires often weigh more than 125 pounds, although Schrader tubes are just around half that weight. If your tubes feature Presta valves, you’ll need a pressure gauge designed specifically for Presta valves.

Most floor-type pumps for Presta tubes come with them pre-installed. Presta valves may be used to relieve air pressure by simply pushing the unscrewed valve down, providing for a controlled release of air pressure.

If you blow a Presta tube and there isn’t a bike store in town, you could be out of luck.

Presta stems are available in a variety of lengths, so if you have deep carbon rims, you may buy tubes with stems that are long enough to suit your rims. However, if you buy Presta tubes with valve stems that are too short, the only thing you can do is give them to someone who can use them instead of going through the effort of utilizing valve extenders.

So far, we know that we cannot use a standard air compressor like the ones found at gas stations to pump up a Presta valve — but most experienced road riders are prepared for emergency scenarios, like as a broken frame pump, by carrying a compact, inexpensive Presta to Schrader valve stem adapter.

This little brass fitting attaches into your Presta valve and enables you to use an air compressor almost anyplace. Keeping one in your emergency pack at all times is a handy tool if you are caught with no air in your tires.

If you’re going to buy an air pump, look for one with a dual-purpose head. This sort of head incorporates both Schrader and Presta heads, allowing you to air up any type of tube.

Most standing floor pumps, such as the Joe Blow Pro Pump, which we just reviewed, already have these, but some of the smaller, frame pumps do not.

Schrader Valve
Schrader valves are uncommon on modern road bikes and higher-end mountain bikes. Schrader valves, on the other hand, are more durable, widely utilized, and have an easily detachable core.

Schrader does not have a valve spring to contend with. Although a valve depressor for Schrader valves may help, it necessitates the use of a check valve, which is problematic to place in lightweight pump heads.

The pressure spring closure makes them easier to use since at an automotive repair station, all that is required is to push the inflation chuck into them. The valve depressor in hand pumps is provided by a screwed or lever chuck.

The depressor not only facilitates inflation but is also required to read backpressure in the tire. The Schrader valve is bulletproof, seldom sustaining damage, and operates flawlessly the majority of the time.

If your tubes contain Schrader valves, you may use a conventional vehicle tire gauge to check your tire pressure. This is significantly simpler than a Schrader valve, which needs the insertion of an item into the valve to release air.

The diameter of a Schrader valve is 8mm, which is larger than the diameter of a Presta valve, which is just 6mm. The hole through which the valve stem passes through the rim of your wheel is drilled to accommodate either Schrader or Presta valves.

A Schrader valve is more user-friendly than a Presta valve. All you have to do is remove the cap from a Schrader, attach the pump head, ensure sure it is seated far enough to prevent any air from leaking out, and air up your tire.

If you’re using Schrader tubes and blow a tire or run out of tubes for whatever reason, chances are your local auto parts shop or mom-and-pop general store will have a spare Schrader tube on hand.

Schrader valves feature a core that may be removed. The detachable core lets you to apply puncture-resistant sealant to your tube, which may seem strange to a roadie, but if you’re a mountain biker or just want additional flat protection, the removable core allows you to do so. Presta valve stems are normally not detachable, however they may be found.

What’s the last word?
Both Presta and Schrader have advantages and disadvantages. It is not a matter of one being superior to the other. The obvious response is to focus on the advantages that are relevant to your bicycle and riding demands.

You may be content with what you have, or if the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, you can switch to whatever suits you best – it all comes down to personal taste.

I hope you like our post Presta Valve versus Schrader: What’s the Difference? Here are a few other stories you may be interested in:

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Written by Bradley Knight, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Bradley, and I've been riding fixed for years. I love all the joy and pain that comes with this unique style of cycling and the passionate community that drives it. If you love fixed-gear bikes, this is the place for you.

Edited by Jordan May, Staff Editor

Jordan is a seasoned editor with over seven years of experience. His passion for writing and storytelling started when he was a teenager, spending countless hours reading books and creating his own stories.

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