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Readers Respond: Schrader vs. Presta Valves -- Which is better? Which do you use?

Responses: 24

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Schrader valves are used in the most common type of bicycle inner tubes. Presta valves are used on higher-end bikes and bike tires that require higher air pressure. Which do you use most frequently. Is one preferable to the other? Share your thinking, or find out what others say.

Another idea: How about a Woods valve?!

When I started my cycling career some 60 years ago now, Schrader valves were only available on motor vehicles. Generally speaking the only options for us cyclists were the Presta valve or the Woods valve. both would use the same adapter which fitted in the end of the pump, the advantage of the Woods valve was/is that it is replaceable, and the earlier Woods valve was you could repair the valve with a piece of valve rubber, usually supplied in your puncture outfit!
—Guest Mad Min

Presta's all I use on bikes.

Presta all the way for me. I've been in the cycling industry for 10 years as a mechanic and 3yrs in sales at a large online company. If you have a bike, you really need to invest in a good floor pump. Mine only does Presta. Don't use an air compressor to fill tires - it's like using a sledge hammer to pound deck nails. More precision, a pressure gauge, and less risk of over-inflating (especially if you're bad at installing tubes and it squeezes out between the rim/tire) Presta Pros: 1) Does everything Schraeder does, even fits in their holes. Buy a shim if you really want. 2) Male valve, no dirt gets in. Unlike Schrader 3) Throw that cap away for reason #2. Nothing to keep track of, thread on/off, or hold onto while filling. And if you ride road, you fill every time you ride. 4) Available in longer lengths for tall rims. Not so with Schrader 5) Better (more) selection of higher end tubes Cons: 1) They're not for newbies and people unwilling to use/buy proper tire equipment.
—Guest Room

Presta? WTF?

Why would anyone invent and market this flimsy non-standard piece of crap? The package should be clearly marked: "WARNING: Won't fit your air pump!" The inventor and marketers of this kind of garbage need to croak and spend a thousand lifetimes in the infernal regions where they can search for adapters to fit a million different kinds of tire valves before they have any hope of escape.
—Guest Martin

Clumsy?

i have been a road cyclist for nearly 40 years and have NEVER broken a presta valve. I am amazed at the number of posters here that have done so. And Schraeder valves DO NOT hold air better than presta valves.
—Guest PeteN

Apples and oranges...

Schrader valves on MTB bikes and Presta valves on Road bikes, simple as that, case closed.
—Guest Drew S.

All about the rim

I use presta because my rims thin out at the top. When using traditional, wider MTB rims, I'll always try and use schraeder. No difference between how they hold air. I do like that Prestas have a locking nut, which I find makes it a bit easier to change tires on a road bike.
—Guest James

schrader please

I have been riding both types of valve on all types of bikes for more than 20 years. At this point, when I get a new bike, it isnt long before I drill out the rims for schraeder. I havent had many issues with presta; but they are more fragile, and do eventually break. When they brake on the road, its a needless hassle. We have 11 bikes in my household that I maintain, and I keep 3 floor pumps that accomodate both types of valves, and still find schraeder easier. Presta does allow for easier deflation, and allows for deep v rims. Presta also offers more high end tube options, but none of those outweigh the durability and otherwise universal acceptance of schraeder.
—Guest Bill

Presta....

I grew up using Schrader valves, but when I started riding road bikes about six months ago I knew I would have to adapt. I bought a pump that has both options on one head (schwinn pump dual valve style) and haven't had any problems. As some of you also mentioned I like the way the stem locks in place with a nut as to ensure as little wiggle room as possible... and I like how the release system works. It seems "simple" and "professional" in my opinion. I haven't yet figured out how to get slime in the presta tube... If you do your online research, it is not recommended to air up your road bike tires at a gas station pump, as they air up extremely quickly and can cause problems. In my experience here in California the Gas Station air pumps put out a ridiculous amount of pressure.... HOWEVER the Pressure Gauges tend to stop at 80 PSI... my tire requires 100 PSI. #rambling
—Guest Adrian Boisclair

Presta...SUCKS!

Presta is by far the worst invention ever. This valve doesn't have anything that is useful. This stupid invention is a waste of time, annoying to handle, and doesn't facilitate anything. Whoever invented this valve needs to be banned from inventing anything else. What an idiot
—Guest Bello

Presta v Schraeder

I ride Presta on my road bike and Schraeder on my MTB- Schraeders are easier to inflate but do take more pressure at the valve to attach the pump- on narrow road rims I couldn't see how Schraeders could be used given that the larger hole would severely weaken the rim. New floor pumps have combination heads for either type- you shouldn't use a gas station tire pump for bicycle tires as the pressure can be way off, inflation is too fast and hard, and without the right adapter you can't use a Schraeder pump head to inflate Presta's. For those who wrote about Schraeders gunking or rusting up, that's why all tubes have valve caps. They are important and useful and should be used to protect the valves at all times. Overall I have never had serious problems with either type- they're just different for differing applications.
—Guest Ken V

Presta - and I thought it was just me

I have a upper grade Marin City Bike with Presta valves. I'm considering drilling them out for Schraders, too. I bought a special gizmo that I can use on my air compressor. I'm into the gizmo and fittings about $35 and it still is not worth the effort. I have not found one redeeming quality in a Presta.
—steelshooter308

Presta the Money Eater

Point blank, Presta valves blow. If you have money, you can buy a new tube with the weak valve every week when you ride. Riding MTB I've had new HD tubes that I had to replace just because of that damn valve. My new setup has Schrader valves and holds up strong. MTB-wise, Schrader all the way.
—Guest Onix

Presta are demons

I have have had quite a bit of trouble with the Prestas. At first I thought it was just me manhandling them too aggressively, but then even after really being cautious, I still have had problems with the fragile valves breaking.
—Guest ljm

Good god I'm glad to read this

I despise Presta valves with the burning hatred of a thousand suns. I'm enormously gratified to see I'm not alone.
—Guest jaohlma

Presta Valves Blow!

There is no benefit that I can see besides centering and using the locknut to hold it in place that doesn't get outweighed by its unlimited amount of hassles compared to the good ole' Schrader.
—Guest Guest McGuest
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