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Presta vs Schrader Valve

If you are a beginner in mountain biking, this might be one of the things that often confuse you. And that is, what is the difference between Presta Vs Schrader Valves? What are the plus points and negative points of these valves and how might they impact your cycling?

Modern bicycle valves are different in their features and functionalities compared to the older versions. Especially mountain bike includes different type of valves with many features. Modern bicycle tubes consist of 2 types of valves, Presta and Schrader Valve.

These tiny components play an important role in the overall success of a ride. It requires the proper knowledge to use these components. In this article, you will be able to get a clear concept of these two types of bicycle valves.

Now let’s go for a deep comparison between Presta Vs Schrader Valves.

Schrader

Widely known as the “car” valve, the Schrader valve is commonly used in average bikes and cars. This valve is quite easy to set up and use on a bike. And you can easily blow them up at your nearby gas station.

The structure of a Schrader valve is quite wider than a Presta valve. It has a similar circumference to a Presta valve and commonly wrapped in rubber when used on wheels. The valve’s outer wall is threaded which allows it to accept a cap or pump head.

 A spring-load check valve is present which controls airflow inside and outside. The purpose of check valves is meant to allow airflow in a single direction. But you might see your Schrader valve tube requiring pressure on the inner pin to let air inside.

Schrader valve is very easy to use as you can simply remove the cap and pump up your tire. This valve is also bombproof, strong, and works without any hassle. This valve provides you with a safe and sound performance.

Presta

Slightly difficult to use compared to the Schrader valve, a Presta valve is commonly used in mountain bikes. A Presta valve is quite delicate resulting in you taking more care when inflating the tire of your bike. Unlike the Schrader valve, you can’t blow them up at a nearby gas station.

A Presta valve is less wide than the Schrader valve and is completely made of metal. It is slightly narrower to the top, while some are completely threaded down. The valve can be opened by unscrewing a nut at the top.

This Valve doesn’t use a check valve system and completely seals based on pressure in the tube or tire of your road bike. The entire core of most of the Presta valves is removable. The removable valve core allows you to change the valve if you face any problems using it.

You must be cautious when you are unscrewing the stem nut so that you do not accidentally unscrew the entire core. Accidentally unscrewing the entire core might result in letting all the air out of the tire quickly. Mountain bike tires commonly require higher pressured valves and Presta valves are the perfect fit for that option.

Location of the valves

These valves are commonly located on the tires bulging in the direction of the hub on the inside of the rim. But the Schrader valve can fit on suspensions and dropper seat posts as well. The Schrader valve is deeply-fit inside the post with droppers.

Which Valve Is Better for Your Mountain Bike?

Specifically, Presta valves are designed for high-performance mountain and road bikes whereas Schrader valves are designed for cars or average bikes. There are several reasons why the Presta valve is more commonly used in mountain bikes, they are as follows:

  1. They are lightweight which enables high-performance road bike wheels to spin smoothly.
  2. They do not require larger holes in the rim which provides stronger rim strength.
  3. A check valve system is not required as it can easily seal tightly through air pressure.
  4. Can be easily extended with adaptors.
  5. High pressure allows smooth movement within the wheels.
  6. Unlike Schrader, is easier to pump due to the absence of a valve spring.
  7. Is suitable for deeper-section aerodynamic rims.
  8. Is available in different lengths.
  9. Maintains pressure better than a Schrader valve.

Pumps Used for Presta and Schrader Valve

The pump used for a Presta valve consists of a rubber gasket in the head. This particular Presta-only pump can easily fit in a Presta valve but not a Schrader valve. Whereas a Schrader-only pump contains a pin in the center of the chuck that deflates the Schrader stem’s check valve.

Modern pumps offer you dual-head designs. These designs are of three types:

  1. Twin head: The chuck consists of separate gaskets for both Presta and Schrader valves in these kinds of pump heads. These are typically found in floor pumps.
  2. Swappable head pumps: This particular pump head is usually found on frames and mini-pumps. The head of this pump consists of a gasket with a conical hole. It has a narrower side which makes it easy to fit on Presta valves.
  3. Adjustable head pumps: This pump head comes with the most common style, fitting in both Presta and Schrader valves. Its newest design allows you to fit it in both the valves without the need to swap any internal parts.

Is It Possible to Mismatch Tubes and Valves?

A Presta-specific tube offers you an option to fit in a rim drilled for Schrader valves. But it is recommended to use that option only in an emergency. If a Presta valve is placed in a wider Schrader hole, it can cut the tube at the base of the valve. In case of an emergency, you should use a valve nut to secure the valve close to the rim.

Conclusion

The Presta vs Schrader both has its pros and cons. One is not better than the other. But if you were to choose a valve suitable for mountain biking, I would recommend the Presta valve.

Choosing these valves ultimately depends on personal preference. We have provided information from professional bikers who are experienced in bike mechanics. This article will help you choose the best valve that suits your needs.

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