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Presta vs Schrader valves?

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    Presta vs Schrader valves?

    What everyone's opinion on this subject? I'm taking tubes here not tubeless. Back in the 19mm wide road bike wheel days (when I was last active in the sport) drilling a 6mm hole seemed like a better idea than an 8mm hole plus if you had aero wheels you needed a bit more length so presta or 'french' like we called them back in my day made sense.

    Time machine forward to today where many bikes have fairly wide rims often with much more massive than valve size holes drilled in them anyway why do most of them use presta?

    The bike I bought this summer to get back into it had prestas on both sets of wheels and I had adapters and pumps around from my earlier days so not a big deal. More recently I got out and converted 1990's MTB which had schraders on it and very recently got a 29er bike from wally world that is going to be my winter street ride and it like apparently all wally world bikes also has schrader valves too. Played with those for a week or so before going back to the presta bike and it seems like a lot of extra hassle for nothing.

    Am I missing something? Any reason to not just enlarge the holes on the presta wheels? I looked and all my sizes are readily available in both. I bought a set of bushings to put presta in the wally bike before it occurred to me I could just 3d print them in any size faster and cheaper so I could easily make adapters to use up my existing tube stock if I enlarge the holes before I have to.

    Well ... good question, and the "versus" topic has come up before. I'll throw out these IMHO thoughts
    1. the Presta valve is more fragile than the Schrader, to those unfamiliar or ham-fisted, and I've configured bikes for others with their abilities in mind
    2. a standard neck length Schrader probably weighs about the same as the super-long Presta neck and nut that are common these day
    3. some tube sizes are very difficult to find in either of the valve types, sometimes for understandable reasons (narrow 700C Schrader tubes for example)
    4. if you think you might want to go tubeless some day, don't drill out your Presta-sized rims because AFAIK tubeless Schrader valves for bicycle rims don't exist - UPDATE - they do ...
    I've no narrow rim wheels anymore and have drilled out the wide rimmed 26" wheels I have to Schrader, without any purist qualms. My 700C wheels came Schrader. For filling, I carry CO2 fillers while riding and at home use a fast cordless Ryobi inflator that comes with a Presta adapter:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Ryobi Inflator.PNG Views:	0 Size:	404.9 KB ID:	116133

    For my remaining, currently Presta valve 20" and 650B wheels, I'll play it by tube availability.
    Last edited by ncmired; 10-22-2020, 12:53 PM.
    BBSHD / BBS02 IGH Builds: Nexus / Alfine 8: 1 2 3 4 5 6, Rohloff: 1


      I have not had any issues damaging either style. I just find it a hassle to have to mess with adapters and the locking mechanism. Thought about buying a presta 'compressor head' for use at home but the decent ones don't come cheap and were out of stock in most places most of the summer. Seems like it could all be solved with a step bit.

      After I posted was looking closer at tube availability and oddly in the 29 it seems pretty similar but for fat 26's there are not as many schrader options. Other thing to note is currently the fat 26 schraders are out of stock everywhere I checked. I wonder if this summer especially there was a big boom in wally world type of bike sales which is likely the only place you find new bikes with schraders?

      Also thinking its not like you can't use a presta in a big hole if you get stuck somewhere and can't get the right one just carry a bushing. They are small, cheap, and light so not likely a problem for a typical E biker like us.


        My bike came with presta and since I already have presta compatible stuff I never bothered to change it but I prefer schrader, particularly for fat tires

        OTOH a friend just bought a bike that came with presta but they were cheap tubes that didn't have removable cores (not all prestas do) and since he needed to replace the tubes for ones with removable cores so we could stans them and he had no past experience with prestas and no compatible stuff, we drilled the holes out and he's schrader and hasn't given it a thought since

        I do make sure when I buy presta tubes they have removable cores and that's all my favorite LBS carries anyway... If for some reason they're out of presta and have schrader tubes I'd likely just drill the holes out in the rims and switch to schrader... for me it's just not a big enough deal to do it unless compelled...


          I like presta valves on road bikes, but give me schraeder valves on the mountain bikes.
          "I need another SimuLatte"


            I don't think it really matters. I think what matters more is that you have a common type on all bikes. You can then use all the same flavor pumps, etc. I've only 1 bike (my wife's) that has Schradar. I converted those wheels to Presta for consistency sake.


              I loath presta valves. Sure in 15mm wide road wheels they may have a purpose. In anything else they are more hassle than they are worth. Their main reason for existing is to make the bike they're on seem more "exclusive", in a hobby/sport where many participants see themselves as "pros" they can't have anything less than pro level equipment. And they sure don't want the extra weight of Schrader valves so they carry around a brass adapter so they can air up with a compressor at the filling station...
              Tubeless Schrader valves do exist, Stans has them as well as most tubeless sources. That's how people are converting the Axum to tubeless. I have never seen an application outside of bicycles that uses a presta valve. I'm sure they exist but not in the vast range that Schrader are. Fuel pressure test ports, AC charge ports, pressure testing equipment, low pressure tires, high pressure tires, little bitty tires, massive tires, hand cart tires, high speed tires. And I haven't met a Schrader yet that doesn't have a replaceable core.


                I couldn't have said it better! I too loath Presta valves, and last year finally transitioned all three of my bikes to Shrader. Any NAPA auto parts store will have Shrader valves you can bolt into a wheel, I've done it many times. Mechanically very secure, and the neoprene/rubber washer sucks up tight and they don't leak. Cheap too.


                  Hmmm, I never thought about the superiority angle before. Maybe I should stay with Presta cuz then I would be better than ya all?


                    Seems like this sort of borders on talking religion - like asking about motor oil on a moto forum

                    I get it that if you have no past presta and the stuff to deal with it it's simple matter to go over to schrader

                    I've got presta stuff (e.g. lyzene pumps are for the most part awesome and handle both readily and presta chucks for the shop compressor are readily available) and presta just doesn't bother me the way it clearly does others. If the holes on my rims on two of my bikes were already large enough for schrader then I'd use schrader (as I do on the one that does) but since they're not, I'm entirely comfortable just using presta and don't feel compelled to drill them out.

                    Saying it's some sort of superiority thing is just plain silly IMO



                    • Dshue
                      Dshue commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I've ridden with those types for years. Any feature not found on a high end bike is looked down on. Take for instance spoke protectors, show up to a high end mtb ride with one and they'll shame you all day. Bar ends will get you the same results. Reflectors in spokes or just reflectors in general. Bell on the handle bars.
                      I only ever bought 1 new high end bike in my life and it was at the persistence of that type of riders. I was assured by them as well as countless salesmen that it would transform my riding. Better quality, better design, lighter, more capable.....the whole hard sell. I chose a bike and honestly I never felt it. And due to that my riding had tapered off to the point I stopped altogether. I will say quality was amazing. After 20 years it's only now starting to rapidly fail. But I spent $1500 on it to replace a similar bike that cost $200. Sure the Specialized rockhopper was light at like 28#. But I was clearing 20' gaps on my 40# Mongoose with down hill forks.

                    And funny enough after posting to this thread I watched a Park Tools video on converting from presta to Schrader specifically for tubeless.
                    And as they point out the presta is a smaller orifice and has more flow restriction than Schrader. I can notice everytime I use a frame pump on similar size tires back to back with the two valves being the main difference. Yes I loath the presta. If I have a shop pump or compressor handy they inflate just fine, but with the compressor option I have to go fetch an a dapter kit. Or just mount an a dapter to the presta stem permanently and defeat any beneficial reason for it's existence. Once I drill out the rim its no longer an issue. Thats my preference. Ofcourse I don't mind reflectors or dork discs either.
                    Last edited by Dshue; 10-22-2020, 01:09 PM.


                      Ya I spent most of the day working on the bikes today and when it came time to put air in the presta bike I got annoyed so I'm really leaning to converting. I also need some tubes to put the studded tires on the Axum. Its now got 2.6 schraders and the stud tires are 2.35 so I'm not sure if those tubes will shrink or not. For 2.6 I see you could go either way up or down. I do have a couple spare 29x 2.4's presta and a mounted pair with 2.4 prestas on the 29 wheel set for my Pug which I'm not sure I will use anymore so I guess I really should just dismount those and use those tubes. Then I will have the presta spares to use up too so I guess maybe I should just stick with them for now. At least till I run out of tubes.

                      The only rims I will feel bad about drilling out are the Rabbit Hole 29's. Those are very hard to come by now and in demand for people that want to go 29er on a bike like a Pug that requires an offset. Apparently no other 29 rims made with offset holes. Its almost like they were made for that bike..... Oh wait..... Surly Pugsley Surly Rabbit Hole..... Hey.........


                        I guess I don't hang out with bicycle snobs and don't give a rat's behind what they think regardless

                        I don't like any reflectors at all but simply because I prefer to be able to be stealthy at night - I have a rear one all covered with mud to be "legal" when in town

                        The spoke protectors don't really do anything and eventually start flopping around so when the cassette comes off they usually go too - I don't go out of my way to remove them however

                        I have had a presta chuck that just pops on the end of the compressor hose so no worries there

                        Like mentioned, I just don't have a compelling reason to change from presta on two of my bikes but if I did (like I could only get a schrader tube locally) I'd change in a heartbeat but otherwise won't waste two neurons on it

                        oh well

                        I prefer to spend my time riding


                          The supposed advantages of Presta don't outweight the convenience/functionality of Schrader for me.



                            Except for the narrow 19c road people where I don't think you have any option what I am finding in my survey is that people that pretty much only ever inflate their bikes and they all came with Presta don't think anything of it. People like me that have a big air compressor everywhere they work and play and have several cars as well as lawn and garden equipment and other toys are the ones that find presta annoying. The few people that looked at me like I was nuts to convert appeared to be the apartment dwelling non car owners where I'm sure bicycle tires are the only tires they ever have to deal with.

                            One guy after talking asked me to 3d print some spacers for him so he can convert his wife's walmart special to presta because he has them on his bike. So for about $1 worth of filament and 3 minutes of work I'm gonna get a couple of used schrader tubes for my stash.