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  1. #1
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    An unpopular opinion: Presta valves suck!

    Presta valves suck! (and not in the good way)

    There, I said it. I know serious cyclists have preferred them since time immemorial, but I've been riding bikes with Presta valves for most of my natural life, they are simple, and effective, and I've never had one fail. I had some Presta on Tubies back in the day, and they were ok, but recently I've seen 3 fail on inner tubes. They are fiddly to deal with, the inner stem broke on one, and two others the stem came off altogether. OK, maybe I shouldn't a bought those $3 tubes, but I always buy $3 tubes, and never had a problem with the tubes or the valves before. I might be wrong, but they seem to leak more than Schraeder valves as well.

    Schraeders are easier to use, and I've never known one to fail. Add to that the fact that you can always find a pump or an air compressor to fit a Shcraeader without an adapter, and I have to wonder why people bother with Presta? Is it just because they fit in a slightly smaller hole? It makes sense for tubulars, but on modern clincher rims, the difference in size is likely not an issue. I think we keep using them out of tradition, and for no other reason.

    It's the Emperors new clothes people, and everyone's afraid to admit that we think Presta valves suck. We wouldn't put those big ugly Schraeder valves on a high-end bike, because then people might think it was a low end bike! I blame the French!

  2. #2
    hell's angels h/q e3st ny brunop's Avatar
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    i hear ya.

  3. #3
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Just not a problem for me,no biggie.
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  4. #4
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    I agree, as I come from a BMX backround, although Shraders fail all the time- the valve blows out.

  5. #5
    bought a new car $0.00/Gal's Avatar
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    Never had one fail.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Schraeders seem easier to use and more reliable, based on experience with low pressure mtb and hybrid tires. Anyone used schraeders at 120 psi? Just wondering.

  7. #7
    knucklehead roscoenyc57's Avatar
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    when I left my pump in the basement some girl broke the thing and left it down there...had to get a new one... the new one really 'grips' the valves really hard. after ripping several Threaded Presta Valves right out of the wheel I switched to unthreaded Presta Valves....better

  8. #8
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    Assuming skinny rims were made using Schraeders, you'd have a bunch of problems. For starters rim strength would be compromised by the far larger hole for the wider valve. Extensions would also be impossible for deep rims, as they would be far too wide to possibly fit in the rim. Plus they do have a larger aerodynamic profile and weight located at the edge of the rim, the area with the highest velocity.

    Properly treated Prestas work quite well, but cheap ones (Which I buy too) are more likely to fail. Still, they're pretty damn reliable.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Mostly just wanting to be contrary. All three of the tubes in question were cheap, and came from the same order, so I know it's probably a bad bunch of tubes, and not the type of valve that's to blame. (The cheapest tubes at icyclesusa BTW not that I've ever had any problem with their other stuff)

    I'm not about to drill out my Open Pros (yet) but I do still prefer Schraeders for ease of use.

  10. #10
    Senior Member 1fluffhead's Avatar
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    I always seem to break that little inner stem too. Usually it is when I am using a hand pump and let it rock back and forth too much when inflating.

  11. #11
    scottish bike terrorist screamingveg's Avatar
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    I had a schraeder valve seperate from the tube two days ago. Other than that they work just fine at ~120psi (and that probably didn't even cause the seperation).

  12. #12
    don't pedal backwards... MacG's Avatar
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    I haven't had a problem with presta valves. When I bought the wheelset for my fixed conversion earlier this year, it involved a jump from schraeder to presta for me. I already had a Topeak morph pump that can handle either with 5 seconds of reconfiguring the nozzle to switch, so inflation wasn't a problem.

    The biggest impartial advantage to presta over schraeder is the smaller rim drilling, which doesn't compromise the rim as much as a larger hole for a schraeder valve. Also, it's a lot harder to mount and work with really narrow tires with a fat schraeder stem. Presta makes that easier.

    I also like being able to switch between fully open and positively closed and locked with just my fingers, whereas you need a core remover to get a schraeder core out to let the tube breathe on it's own while mounting and unmounting tires.

    The one thing I miss about schraeder is pressure guages! Apparently there is no real way to make a tire pressure guage that works on presta valves. I carry a standard pencil-style 0-150psi guage in my bag, but it is useless without an adapter. Fortunately, I found that those little brass adapters fit great snapped onto the pocket clip of the pressure guage, so I keep one there to never be without.
    from Minneapolis, with bike love

  13. #13
    MADE IN TAIWAN wangster's Avatar
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    Schraeder valves are for idiots that can't work a presta valve. If you can't figure out how to use a presta valve without breaking it, then you failed at life.
    "Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastard. Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off."

  14. #14
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geog_dash
    Schraeders seem easier to use and more reliable, based on experience with low pressure mtb and hybrid tires. Anyone used schraeders at 120 psi? Just wondering.
    yup. works fine

  15. #15
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wangster
    Schraeder valves are for idiots that can't work a presta valve. If you can't figure out how to use a presta valve without breaking it, then you failed at life.
    I can work a Presta valve. Can you explain to me why they are better? Or does being more difficult to use and more fragile automatically make it better?

    I'm not saying Presta valves are terrible, but I've never heard a plausible explanation for why they are better than Schraeder, and the advantages of Schraeder are obvious to anyone who's used both. Moreover for tubulars I can see the advantage. for any modern clincher rim I can't really see it. So what is so damn great about Presta valves. somebody please tell me then I can stop wondering.

  16. #16
    and an empty road
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    prestas do have a smaller drill hole, but i always thought the advantage was that you could screw them down and they wouldn't leak. not that schraeders do, i just thought this was the logic. i have bikes with both tube types and i haven't had a problem with either.
    i think the best fix is to get a nice pump. i'm assuming your valves didn't break while you were riding, so a new pump might fix your problem better than drilling your rims.

  17. #17
    EuroJosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG
    The one thing I miss about schraeder is pressure guages! Apparently there is no real way to make a tire pressure guage that works on presta valves. I carry a standard pencil-style 0-150psi guage in my bag, but it is useless without an adapter. Fortunately, I found that those little brass adapters fit great snapped onto the pocket clip of the pressure guage, so I keep one there to never be without.
    Here's one
    http://www.planetbike.com/tools.html#

  18. #18
    King Among Runaways hyperRevue's Avatar
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    +1 on unthreaded Presta Valves being worlds easier to use than threaded ones.
    The hose clamp loves to grab onto those little threads and refuses to let go.
    "I owe everyone an apology" - hyperrevue

  19. #19
    King Among Runaways hyperRevue's Avatar
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    I've always been told that Presta hold air better than Schraeder.
    Not sure if that's true of if it even matters, because anyone should be pumping their tires up regularly anyway.
    "I owe everyone an apology" - hyperrevue

  20. #20
    Fix Turns My Crank fixedude's Avatar
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    woods valves are suckier!

  21. #21
    MADE IN TAIWAN wangster's Avatar
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    Presta DO hold air better. When I had schraeder on my crap wheels, I would have to repump it every otherday. I think its fine for lower pressure, but when you get up to 120 and in the case of tubies, 160+, schraeders will not hold that pressure for very long.

    How are prestas more difficult to use? is it because you have to unscrew it? if thats what makes it harder to use, then I got nothing else to say because you'll need a lot more help than how to pump your tires.

    The one good thing about the threaded presta valves is that you can have that little screw thing clamp down tight and when you pump, the valve will move less.

    Plus schraeder valves are ugly as hell.
    "Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastard. Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off."

  22. #22
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
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    Smaller tubes? ... they work fine for me. Try with the older style valves that had a little rubber sleeve thingy.

    I hated them ... they reminded me of cottered cranks braking every week
    Giving Haircuts Over The Phone

  23. #23
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    The centrifical force used to "open" my schrader valves when my wheels spun at extreme speeds.
    Last edited by roadfix; 03-29-06 at 11:14 AM.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  24. #24
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    You can get Presta valves started inflating with just your mouth. It helps when changing a tube on the road.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  25. #25
    BF Risk Manager
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    I wouldn't be surprised if my fine motor control is going in my middle age, but I have broken a number of Presta stems while pumping up the tire. Sometimes the pump head clamps on so tightly that it breaks when trying to remove it. I am seriously thinking about using one of the Presta-Schrader adapters and just using the Schrader head on the pump.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

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