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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-22-14, 04:48 PM   #1
TrekCommuter
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Schrader or Presta Valve for Commuting?

I am interested in the advantages and disadvantages of each. Perhaps there is no real advantage of one versus the other. Just curious to get some thoughts and experiences on this one.

Thanks!
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Old 07-22-14, 05:12 PM   #2
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Schraders dont need an adaptor. Generally easier for most people to use. The cons are that it is limited to obscure sizes.
I dont have any problems with prestas 'til I lose my adaptor.
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Old 07-22-14, 05:30 PM   #3
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adaptor?
What are you talking about?
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Old 07-22-14, 05:32 PM   #4
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Schraders dont need an adaptor. Generally easier for most people to use. The cons are that it is limited to obscure sizes.
What is "obscure" about every size of 20", 26", 27" and 28" (700C) tubes sold in the U.S. except for the ultra thin types only found on road/racing bikes/wheels sold at pricey LBS?

Which sizes of common tubes are only available in Presta?
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Old 07-22-14, 06:07 PM   #5
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What is "obscure" about every size of 20", 26", 27" and 28" (700C) tubes sold in the U.S. except for the ultra thin types only found on road/racing bikes/wheels sold at pricey LBS?

Which sizes of common tubes are only available in Presta?
I wonder if he means the size the tube has on its box... for example there are tubes for 18mm -23mm tires and they usually have presta valves...
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Old 07-22-14, 06:10 PM   #6
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adaptor?
What are you talking about?
well, one can buy a screw on adaptor for presta valves. this allows floor pumps that normally handle Schrader valves to now also handle presta...
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Old 07-22-14, 06:15 PM   #7
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well, one can buy a screw on adaptor for presta valves. this allows floor pumps that normally handle Schrader valves to now also handle presta...
Or, you can but a floor pump which handles both no need to "adapt"anything.
(Joe Blow comes to mind)
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Old 07-22-14, 06:20 PM   #8
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A lot of pumps can be used with both Presta and Schrader. No need for any adaptor.
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Old 07-22-14, 06:22 PM   #9
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Which sizes of common tubes are only available in Presta?
Most of the skinny tubes for skinny tires are made with Presta. Tubes labeled as 18-25mm are very common and I've never seen one with Schrader.
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Old 07-22-14, 06:27 PM   #10
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A lot of pumps can be used with both Presta and Schrader. No need for any adaptor.
you are quite right, however the low end type of floor pumps don't usually handle that. Actually, one of my floor pumps that I purchased from my lbs came with a plastic adaptor for presta (which is fairly useless as it is plastic)...
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Old 07-22-14, 06:28 PM   #11
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Both work equally well to fill the tire. I had a crappy Pyramid pump that was always a pain to seat properly on the valve. For the Schraeder valves, it was just annoying, but I bent and broke a few Presta valves trying to get it to lock on. I bought a Joe Blow and no problems now with the prestas.
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Old 07-22-14, 06:32 PM   #12
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Both work equally well to fill the tire. I had a crappy Pyramid pump that was always a pain to seat properly on the valve. For the Schraeder valves, it was just annoying, but I bent and broke a few Presta valves trying to get it to lock on. I bought a Joe Blow and no problems now with the prestas.
I have never owned a Joe Blow, but I can say that I have also bent a few presta valves. so rather than being locked into only buying joe blow, I can buy some generic pump from a sporting goods store and be certain to be able to use it an not bend any valves... and the adaptor was only .80 and that was 15 years ago....
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Old 07-22-14, 06:34 PM   #13
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I have both, depending on which bike I'm riding. I take care that the pump I bring along either fits both, or at least the one on the bike I'm riding. That goes for the spare tube(s) I carry along as well.
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Old 07-22-14, 06:35 PM   #14
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Most of the skinny tubes for skinny tires are made with Presta. Tubes labeled as 18-25mm are very common and I've never seen one with Schrader.
and most decent rims do not accommodate shrader.
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Old 07-22-14, 07:33 PM   #15
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Prestas have a longer & narrower valve stem to fit deep rims. Being narrower also allows thinner wheels to be used since the hole in the rim can be smaller.

For the average cyclist, this isn't an issue. If you're wanting to get some fancy wheels, though, you'll have to go Presta or drill them out (not always a good idea.) The thinking used to be that skinnier tires were faster, but recent semi-scientific testing has proven that to not be the case. Even the pros are now using wider tires. They're just as fast & more comfortable. More comfort over long rides means a faster rider.


The bad side of Prestas for commuting or long distance riding is the fact that every automobile air pump/compressor in the US is Schrader. As other have pointed out, if you don't have an adapter or your own pump, and you get a flat, you're just out of luck.

Another bad thing about Prestas is that it's difficult to put tube sealants in them. If you're commuting, sealant in your tubes is a must. Cycle snobs will bash you for using it, but I've been riding on Slime for years & have yet to have a flat with the stuff in my tubes. Ever. Thousands of miles with no flats on roads, sidewalks, trails & even some stupid off-road excursions is enough for me to be convinced.



You CAN put slime in a Presta... and you CAN drill out your rim to convert a Presta rim to fit a Schrader, but don't do it with a skinny wheel.

If you're adventurous, here are two videos showing how to put sealant in a Presta or convert a Presta rim to Schrader...

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Old 07-22-14, 07:34 PM   #16
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This has been good information. I do not have high end rims, which is probably why I have Schrader!
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Old 07-22-14, 08:26 PM   #17
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Most of the skinny tubes for skinny tires are made with Presta. Tubes labeled as 18-25mm are very common and I've never seen one with Schrader.
You are probably correct, and so was I:Schrader valve tubes can be found for every size "except for the ultra thin types only found on road/racing bikes/wheels sold at pricey LBS". Thin Tires/Presta tubes are often found on enthusiasts bikes; just look at the bikes on this list. But I would not call "obscure" every other bike tire/tube size sold and ridden in the U.S., including the vast majority of bikes ridden for every purpose by cyclists of all ages except perhaps for touring, racing and enthusiast/club activities.

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Old 07-22-14, 08:31 PM   #18
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My bike has Presta and I just leave the adapter screwed onto one wheel. I carry CO2, which fits on the Presta and if I need an auto pump, I can use the adapter.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:00 PM   #19
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As long as the stem on the front tire matches the stem on the rear tire and the head on the pump I pack in my pannier, I really don't care. If the pump is mismatched to the stems and I flat, you might be able to hear me curse all the way across town. My fat fingers and short fingernails just can't seem to pull out those pump parts to reverse them
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Old 07-22-14, 10:08 PM   #20
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My opinion:
If you're riding fat tires (2.25") at 35 psi, then you can potentially air them up at a gas station, and that's about the only reason I can think of to use Schrader.
Otherwise, use Presta.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:14 PM   #21
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If you're commuting, sealant in your tubes is a must
Don't take this the wrong way but anyone who has spent 60 seconds perusing the commuting forum would realize that many here ride 3 lb marathon-plus-plus-armandillo-rando tires that can stop high velocity bullets and still get you from alexandria to cape town.
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Old 07-22-14, 10:18 PM   #22
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My bike has Presta and I just leave the adapter screwed onto one wheel. I carry CO2, which fits on the Presta and if I need an auto pump, I can use the adapter.
I used to do that, but one day I went to air up and the adapter was leaking, useless. It had a little rubber seal inside, and being out in the weather that had disintegrated. I keep mine with the patches now.
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Old 07-23-14, 08:47 AM   #23
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Eh...run what you brung. I have a pump on every bike I ride with the pump head set to the valve on that bike. I maintain operating PSI with the dual head floor pump in the garage. In 10 years since I started riding many miles, I've never needed a gas station air pump. I like the prestas personally, just because I hit the little curbs where the path meets the road at speed regularly, so I like to have that tiny bit of extra strength in the rim. I don't think one has any real advantage over the other apart from the size of the hole on the rim.
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Old 07-23-14, 09:56 AM   #24
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All my personal bikes have presta tubes.

The kids' bikes have schrader.

Our floor pump can air up both.
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Old 07-23-14, 12:19 PM   #25
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I rode with schrader valves for quite a while, even drilling out the rim. I argued that the schrader was just fine, and for the most part it is.

Right now both of my bikes have presta valves. They are actually a little better valves for bicycles. Not night and day, but better.

Back then I used my air compressor to blow up my tires. Now that I have a really good floor pump (Joe Blow Sport) that's not really an issue; I can pump my tires up in less time than it takes to plug in the compressor and let it build up enough pressure. I don't bother with adapters anymore, I just have the proper pump in the first place.
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