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Bike Tire Valve Types Explained

If you’re new to biking, we suggest you don’t walk into a bike shop without learning about your bike tire valve types. That’s because one of the first questions you’ll be asked is “Presta or Schrader valve”? This article will save you from getting stuck overthinking, “Does my bike have Presta or Schrader valves?” 

What Is a Bike Valve?

A bike valve is an essential mechanical device used to control the regulation of the air flow. Different bike tires use different valves for several reasons. If you want a successful ride, you must learn about bike tire valve types and what is the best option for your bike. You also must know how and what to do with each of them. 

Bike Tire Valve Types Explained

In the sections below, we’re covering three different types of valves, explaining in detail what they are, how to use them, and their anatomy. After reading about the main concepts and differences, you’ll be able to identify which will work best for your bike. 

Schrader Valveschrader-valve

You might be familiar with a Schrader valve since it is also seen in automobiles. This valve is usually thicker than a Presta valve and, to many bikers, is one of the easiest to work with, especially if you’re a beginner. Thanks to their diameter, they’re less likely to bend or damage. They’re also known as American or car valves. 

How to use a schrader valve?

To use such a valve, you have to unscrew the cap to open it. Bonus tip: keep your eyes on the cap, as it can easily get lost. The next thing you’ll see is a little cylinder or a springy valve, and when you compress it, you can get air in it. 

The next step is to get a pump, put the Schrader valve in it till you see the upper part is covered enough, and pump it up. When pumping, make sure you check the pressure as you don’t want to overdo it. Lastly, put the cap on (if you can find it), and you’re good to go.

Schrader valve anatomy

A Schrader valve is made of an externally threaded hollow cylindrical metal tube. In the central part of the metal tube is found a metal pin that points along the axis of the stem. The pin’s length ends with the overall end of the valve’s whole body. They’re often wrapped in rubber when used on wheels. Additionally, a cap is part of the valve. The cap’s role is to protect it from dust, and is also known as cap dust.

Presta Valve

presta-valve

At first sight, Presta valves are a lot narrower and taller, and they’re commonly found on higher-end bikes. They’re used only on bikes and are considered more advanced than the Schrader ones. Additionally, presta valves are made of an additional locknut, making them more secure to hold the air pressure. 

How to use a presta valve

Presta valves can be a little more complicated to work with as a beginner. However, if you follow the next steps, you shouldn’t have any problem. 

First, remove the dust cap and secondly, unscrew the brass cap. Keep in mind that the brass cap only needs to be loosened and won’t completely come off, so don’t force it; otherwise, you’ll ruin the valve. Then insert the pump until and pump your tire to the desired level. Finally, screw the brass cap back in place and put the dust cap on. Now you must be ready to go. 

Presta valve anatomy

Presta valves are made of a completely threaded tube, but you can also find them with smooth tubes, nothing to worry about. The outside of the threaded tube contains a ring to hold the valve in place with pumping it. On top of the valve is the dust cap, and when you unscrew it, you’ll find the brass cap, which helps in receiving the air. Presta valves can be easily extended with adapters, allowing them to be used on various rims.

Tubeless Valve

Essentially, tubeless valves are valves without inner tubes. They’re compatible with tubeless wheels. The tubeless valve has a rubber base that seals against the inside of a wheel’s rim to keep air pressure within.

How to use a tubeless valve

The first thing to do is make sure the rim tape is in good shape. Find the valve hole in the rim tape, insert the valve in the valve hole and make sure that it sits firmly in the base of the rim. Once that is done, take the valve rim and thread it so it will hold the valve body firmly.  

Tubeless valve anatomy

Tubeless valves are distinguished by their rubber bung, which is their only distinguishing feature. The essential role of the rubber bung is to prevent the valve from being pulled through the rim. Additionally, it also helps create a seal around the rim valve hole. 

Which Valve Should You Choose For Your Bike?

Now that you know the differences between the valves, we’ll show you what type of valve fits what type of bike. If you already have a bike but need to replace the valves, you should check which ones the bike already has and buy the same ones. 

If you own low-end hybrid bikes, kids’ or mountain bikes, you should use the Schrader valves. The Presta valve is mostly found on road bikes, high-end mountain bikes, gravel bikes, and cyclocross bikes. 

Conclusion

There are different types of valves you can choose from. Bike tire valve types and choice depends on your needs. The Schrader might do well for you if you’re a beginner, since it doesn’t require much force to work on it and is less expensive. Presta valves should be considered if you’re more of an aggressive territory explorer since offers the benefits of sustainability and durability.

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