Published on June 20th, 2012 | by JT0
Presta or Schrader valves
Presta or Schrader valves?
There are two main standard of bicycle valve, Presta and Schrader. There are others like the old Woods valve but they are very rare and don’t often feature on modern bikes, so we won’t be talking about them here.
There is a simple way of remembering which is which. With a Presta valve, you can simply ‘PRESS’ the top of the valve to let the air out. Schrader are the car type – you’ll just have to remember them as the ‘other type’.
- Presta valves are also known as Sclaverand or French valves
- Presta are slightly easier to inflate with hand pumps
- Presta valves are longer and thinner so are better suited to deep section rims
- For a presta valve to work, you have to un-screw the valve cap
- Presta are designed to be lighter – how much is negligible
- Schrader valves are also called American valves
- Schrader are more robust
- Schrader can have the core removed to add puncture repairing solutions
Generally, road bikes will come fitted with a Presta valve. This is because they work better with a narrow rim. Note that some narrower rims will only be drilled for Presta vales, in which case you have to fit a Presta valve.
Mountain bike rims vary. I personally prefer a Presta valve, but I could find plenty of people who say Schrader and more who really don’t care – just pick one or the other if you have a choice and stick to it. If you have a pump with an adaptable head then you won’t have to keep swapping it, although most pumps come with a dual head.
Don’t worry about whether you should use one or the other, it’s not the PC/Mac debate, just keep things the same so you know where you are.