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  1. #1
    Senior Member TheValveSource's Avatar
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    Breaking Presta Valve Stems

    Am I just a heavy handed thug or are Presta valves fairly easy to break?

    I've broken the head off of one and bent the stem on another.

    Do certain brands (these have been Slime Lites) tend to break more than others?

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Your heavy handed. In 20 years of cycling and wrenching, I've never broken off a presta valve. Yet, two days ago, I saw a guy at a bike shop whining about breaking off stems, because he was so strong. You don't use brute force, but a firm technique. Heck, you don't really need to pull the pump head off the stem, as releasing the catch will cause the back pressure to push the head off.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    It's definitely easier to ruin a Presta valve tube than a Schrader valve. Besides breaking the valve itself, lots of folks rip the tube at the base of the valve stem. Once you develop the "knack" (and it is a technique issue) neither will ever be a problem for you again.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TheValveSource's Avatar
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    Okay okay okay !!!........Henceforth just refer to me as HHT "Heavy Handed Thug." I'll just have to be more zen-like as I rip that pump head off the stem and go!

    Oddly enough-I've had 2 in the last two weeks and before that, probably haven't had 2 in 10 years.

    I have noticed that some presta stems do not have thread running the entire length of the stem whereas some, like the Slime Lites I've been using do.

    Thanks Retro!

  5. #5
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    To those of us that have had Schrader valves most of our life a presta is easier to break. We have been used to pushing pretty hard to get the valve to depress and pulling to get it free. Presta valves require a simple light push to get on and sometimes a gentle straight pull to get it off. But nothing drastic Mr. HHT.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TheValveSource's Avatar
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    I'll consider myself very diplomatically admonished!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    To those of us that have had Schrader valves most of our life a presta is easier to break. We have been used to pushing pretty hard to get the valve to depress and pulling to get it free. Presta valves require a simple light push to get on and sometimes a gentle straight pull to get it off. But nothing drastic Mr. HHT.
    Baloney!

  8. #8
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    I have only broken one ever and that was because the wind blew my bike over as I was removing the pump. Schrader valves are pretty foolproof though.
    1989 Fuji Saratoga
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  9. #9
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    I have a perfect record with presta valves. And for me not breaking it, thats really saying something.
    Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?

  10. #10
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    Broken a couple myself, but I find it easier to blame an inanimate object: the pump. Never broken one with my floor pump, but they end up bent somehow with the frame pump.

  11. #11
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    It is not necessary to unscrew the nut more than a turn or so to unlock the valve. You only have to put the pump on far enough to get an air seal with the stem. Unlike a schrader valves, the pump does not have to depress anything to let air in. When the air pressure in the pump is higher than the air pressure in the tube.........volia air flows in.

    One quick trick though. Presta valves tend to be a little sticky so after unscrewing the nut one turn, give the stem a quick tap to burp out some air. Now when you hook up the pump and begin, the valve will open easily and air will flow in smoothly.

    When you remove the pump, don't panic, that is not air leaking out of the tube. The presta valve will seal as soon as the air pressure in the tube is higher than the outside air. What you are hearing is the trapped pressure in your pump and hose leaking out.

    When finished, do remember to screw the locking nut back down finger tight. That will keep the valve from vibrating when you ride which might allow it to leak small amounts of air.
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 04-08-09 at 04:50 PM. Reason: spelling

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    The way to assure that you don't break the valve is to get one of the little presta/schrader adaptors and screw it into a pump with a schrader head. You then screw the adpator on and off the presta valve without pulling or pushing. Even unthreaded presta valves usually have treads at the top for the plastic cap.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bcarter6's Avatar
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    Hey, not to hijack the thread, but this sorta fits. Anyone use presta extenders? Topeak makes one I think i am gong to get a couple. The LBS near me doesn't sell presta tubes with valves long enough for my rims. REI has the 48mm rims that are more what I need, but the LBS does not. I'd rather go to the LBS than REI, so the extenders will work. But I wonder if those extenders are as fragile as regular presta valves?

  14. #14
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    Keep in mind - the farther the valve extends from the rim, the easier it becomes to bend it or break it off due to leverage. Be extra careful when inflating a long valve tube in a shallow rim.

  15. #15
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    Baloney!
    That was certainly helpful.

    It's never been a problem for me, but I've seen it with others. Most posts have been quite helpful. You don't need to open the locking sleeve very far. Gently on and gently off and you're fine. I don't think Slime tubes are especially fragile at the valves. You might try airing up at your local shop to see if they can spot where you're going awry.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Baloney!
    Is that right? I have never, not once, broken a Schrader. I have broken the tip off of a Presta. One of my friends ripped a Presta right off of the tube when his hand slipped during the last few strokes trying to get it to pump to push up to 120. I have never, not once, done that with the old Schrader. I have Presta valves in all my bikes now and I have been known to bend the stem a bit now and then. So to me it would seem in my case and the Ops that Presta valves are easier to break. I also have always had to push pretty hard to get a floor pump on a Schrader and not for a Presta. So in my case, and from people I talk to, Prestas take a gentle push and the Schrader takes a firm one. I would call it porterhouse at the very least. Is it your experience that Schraders brake more often and easier?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Is it your experience that Schraders brake more often and easier?
    Nope. It's my experience that I can inflate a Schrader valve tube using an air compressor with virtually no effort what-so-ever. Just push the chuck against the stem (not all that hard) and go.

  18. #18
    Grandpa Mountain-Lyin's Avatar
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    My presta valve "snapped" on it's own yesterday. I had finished a ride not 7 hours earlier when I heard this WOOOSSSHHH from behind me. WTF? Only when I took the tire off did I see that the damn thing just gave out. Better here in my office than on the road. Now, how to make repairs without the boss noticing?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Nope. It's my experience that I can inflate a Schrader valve tube using an air compressor with virtually no effort what-so-ever. Just push the chuck against the stem (not all that hard) and go.

    And you carry the compressor with you everywhere? You never use a floor pump? And you have never had to use a compressor chuck with a truck tire? Sounds like your experience is a little different than mine. With this in mind you explination for so many breaking presta valves and so few reporting the same for Schrader valves is? Or you have only had experience with bike tires and never had to use a service station compressor to inflate a 36 in off road tire. I still will upgrade to maybe sirloin over bologna. And looking at several of the posts I think there is some support for my contention.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    And you carry the compressor with you everywhere? You never use a floor pump? And you have never had to use a compressor chuck with a truck tire? Sounds like your experience is a little different than mine. With this in mind you explination for so many breaking presta valves and so few reporting the same for Schrader valves is? Or you have only had experience with bike tires and never had to use a service station compressor to inflate a 36 in off road tire. I still will upgrade to maybe sirloin over bologna. And looking at several of the posts I think there is some support for my contention.
    Is this bike forums or truck forums? You're right, I have absolutely no experience with 36" off road truck tires. Nor do I particularly care.

    The original question had to do with breaking bicycle presta valves. I said that Presta valves definitely break more easily than Schrader valves.

    You said that's because people are used to using a lot of force to inflate Schrader valves and carry that over to Presta valve use. I said baloney because it doesn't take very much force to inflate a bicycle Schrader valve.

    Hello! I think that we're both arguing on the same side here.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Is this bike forums or truck forums? You're right, I have absolutely no experience with 36" off road truck tires. Nor do I particularly care.

    The original question had to do with breaking bicycle presta valves. I said that Presta valves definitely break more easily than Schrader valves.

    You said that's because people are used to using a lot of force to inflate Schrader valves and carry that over to Presta valve use. I said baloney because it doesn't take very much force to inflate a bicycle Schrader valve.

    Hello! I think that we're both arguing on the same side here.
    Ok, I give.

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