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Presta vs Schrader Valves

Old 03-05-20, 10:40 AM
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Presta vs Schrader Valves

Would someone please explain to me any advantages of a Presti Valve. To me they are a PIA. They split at the base of the tube, you have to unscrew the knurl to inflate, it is difficult to start the pump when their is 60 or more psi in the tire, it is more difficult to get a good connection with the pump head, you have to have the retaining nut tension just right, it is harder to just check tire pressure and you have to remember to screw the knurl back down. I much prefer Schraders for all the above reasons. Am I missing something?
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Old 03-05-20, 11:06 AM
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There is supposed to be some reason for them which I've forgotten which seemed a bit silly. Maybe it was so that you can let them down without needing a little spike to push in the middle (but why would you want to let them down all the time anyway?)

An actual good reason I can think of is they're narrower so you don't need such a big hole drilled in your rim.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:09 AM
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Presta valves are lighter, more reliable, work better at higher pressures and with hand pumps. They also require a smaller hole through the rims, which can make a difference in strength with very narrow rims, as used to be more common on road bikes.

If you have wider rims and/or lower pressure tires (like most mountain bikes, BMXs, cruisers, etc,) then there is not much benefit.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:18 AM
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The trick to getting going with a pretsa valve is to, once you have opened up the knurled nut is to tap it lightly to burp a bit of air out. Then attach the pump head to the valve and start pumping, works every time. If you don't do this, the valve is often stuck closed and it might take well over 100 psi to break the seal. Good pump heads are not difficult to connect to the valve
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Old 03-05-20, 11:18 AM
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Given the high pressure and small air volume of most bike tires, particularly road tires, the ability to remove the pump head from a Presta valve with no air loss is a big advantage.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by guy153 View Post
There is supposed to be some reason for them which I've forgotten which seemed a bit silly. Maybe it was so that you can let them down without needing a little spike to push in the middle (but why would you want to let them down all the time anyway?)

An actual good reason I can think of is they're narrower so you don't need such a big hole drilled in your rim.
I thought it might be they retain high pressure better because you are actually screwing down the little knurl. But my Schraders retain pressure just as well.

The hole is smaller but the stem is metal so it is not a snug fit and it wobbles around which can't be good for where the stem fastens to the tube. I have had several split right there though some people tell me that was user error The Schraders cinch into their hole no problem and the attachment to the tube is more robust. Their just isn't any comparison between these two valves. Maybe because Pretis are more Chic. I don't give a you know what about Chic.

Last edited by mjac; 03-05-20 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Given the high pressure and small air volume of most bike tires, particularly road tires, the ability to remove the pump head from a Presta valve with no air loss is a big advantage.
Just the opposite with me. I lose less air disengaging a Schrader then a Presti. I had to re-pump a Presti tire last night because I thought I lost too much air disengaging. And invariably I will lose all air in the tire while engaging. Or if you do get it engaged with air in the tire the pump is hard to get started. All in all a PIA.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
The he hole is smaller but the stem is metal so it is not a snug fit and it wobbles around which can't be good for where the stem fastens to the tube. I have had several split right there though some people tell me that was user erro. .
If the Presta valve is wobbling around in the hole, the rim was probably drilled for schrader valves. If a Schrader valve fits through the hole, using a presta valve is not recommended uless you use a grommet to reduce the size of the hole
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Old 03-05-20, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
Just the opposite with me. I lose less air disengaging a Schrader then a Presti. I had to re-pump a Presti tire last night because I thought I lost too much air disengaging. And invariably I will lose all air in the tire while engaging. Or if you do get it engaged with air in the tire the pump is hard to get started. All in all a PIA.
Find the common element to your struggles and life will get easier.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
Presta valves are lighter, more reliable, work better at higher pressures and with hand pumps.
Do they work better at higher pressures? Schraeder valves work up to much higher pressures than you get in bike tyres.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
Presta valves are lighter, more reliable, work better at higher pressures and with hand pumps. They also require a smaller hole through the rims, which can make a difference in strength with very narrow rims, as used to be more common on road bikes.

If you have wider rims and/or lower pressure tires (like most mountain bikes, BMXs, cruisers, etc,) then there is not much benefit.
I don't know. I just don't see it. The weight difference is negligible, to me they are not more reliable the darn things split right at the tube, my Schraders actually fill easier and hold pressure just as well, with metallurgy today I just don't see the hole sizes being that vital. I just don't get it.

Last edited by mjac; 03-05-20 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 03-05-20, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
The trick to getting going with a pretsa valve is to, once you have opened up the knurled nut is to tap it lightly to burp a bit of air out. Then attach the pump head to the valve and start pumping, works every time. If you don't do this, the valve is often stuck closed and it might take well over 100 psi to break the seal. Good pump heads are not difficult to connect to the valve
Yeah, I used to do that but that is the whole point. It is another thing you have to do to get the things to work. I finally got a good pump with one of the most efficient pump heads I have seen but engaging the Presti and getting a good seal is harder then the Schrader. Especially after all the darn air has left the tube while trying to engage the Presti.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
If the Presta valve is wobbling around in the hole, the rim was probably drilled for schrader valves. If a Schrader valve fits through the hole, using a presta valve is not recommended uless you use a grommet to reduce the size of the hole
I will admit I drilled the rims because the darn things irritated me so much. But with their correct hole they still don't fit nearly as snugly as the Scraders or as stationary. That is why they have a lock nut. But the main thing is where the Presti is mated to the tube. Nowhere near as strong as the Schrader and the Presti moves more. So I do not get it.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by guy153 View Post
Do they work better at higher pressures? Schraeder valves work up to much higher pressures than you get in bike tyres.
Exactly, I can not see a single advantage of using a Presti valve and a whole lot of disadvantages. I can't stand them.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
Would someone please explain to me any advantages of a Presti Valve. To me they are a PIA. They split at the base of the tube, you have to unscrew the knurl to inflate, it is difficult to start the pump when their is 60 or more psi in the tire, it is more difficult to get a good connection with the pump head, you have to have the retaining nut tension just right, it is harder to just check tire pressure and you have to remember to screw the knurl back down. I much prefer Schraders for all the above reasons. Am I missing something?
Hold the valve with one hand while you push on the pump head with the other, and you should eliminate all of the split tubes and other difficulty.

The nut for the base is 100% unnecessary, it just makes it easier to keep the valve in place when using older-style pumps.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Find the common element to your struggles and life will get easier.
The search continues. But for the time being dumping Prestis will have to do. Gladly.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Hold the valve with one hand while you push on the pump head with the other, and you should eliminate all of the split tubes and other difficulty.

The nut for the base is 100% unnecessary, it just makes it easier to keep the valve in place when using older-style pumps.
Oh, I have tried it all. Holding the valve with your fingers while engaging the pump head, real nice holding on to the threads. Poking your finger under the tire. A pair of pliers. The point is you do not have to do any of this with a Schrader. No one has yet said one advantage a Presti has that might make up for some of the disadvantages.
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Old 03-05-20, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
Oh, I have tried it all. Holding the valve with your fingers while engaging the pump head, real nice holding on to the threads. Poking your finger under the tire. A pair of pliers. The point is you do not have to do any of this with a Schrader. No one has yet said one advantage a Presti has that might make up for some of the disadvantages.
Presta valves are narrower and lighter than Schrader valves. Trivial advantages to most of us, but still advantages. They're not for everyone, sounds like you should stick with Schrader valves.
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Old 03-05-20, 01:06 PM
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If you have a rim with an inside width of 14 mm or less the advantage of presta valves becomes obvious.

I have had more presta valves get torn out of the tube than I have schrader. One actually, maybe a second that got a leak where the stem is fastened in the tube. However that IMHO, was because of the chuck on my very old pump being to hard to get on and off without pushing and pulling too hard. A new hose and chuck solved that.
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Old 03-05-20, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I have had more presta valves get torn out of the tube than I have schrader. One actually, maybe a second that got a leak where the stem is fastened in the tube..
Well, me too. But then, considering that I have been using Presta valve inner tubes on almost all of my bikes since 1973, not a surprise.

Last edited by StanSeven; 03-05-20 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 03-05-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Presta valves are narrower and lighter than Schrader valves. Trivial advantages to most of us, but still advantages. They're not for everyone, sounds like you should stick with Schrader valves.
You ain't just kidding.I think the key word here is trivial. Now when you compare that to the base of the Schrader being broader and much stronger for better reliability it pales in comparison. That along with many other advantages. I personally just don't see it. That is just me. To each his own. I was just hoping someone could point something out I was missing.

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Old 03-05-20, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you have a rim with an inside width of 14 mm or less the advantage of presta valves becomes obvious.

I have had more presta valves get torn out of the tube than I have schrader. One actually, maybe a second that got a leak where the stem is fastened in the tube. However that IMHO, was because of the chuck on my very old pump being to hard to get on and off without pushing and pulling too hard. A new hose and chuck solved that.
I have had several Presti Valves split from the tube. It is such a narrow base. Very frustrating. I have not had a Schrader split from the tube.
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Old 03-05-20, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
it is harder to just check tire pressure
Nothing I have is narrow enough to "need" a presta but as I start moving into "better" stuff I'm running into it.

For the most part I don't mind, and the retaining nut is nice to avoid the stem wanting to push into the rim when trying to put the pump on an empty tube at initial installation.

But the pressure measuring annoys me. Probably I should just judge the tire by its behavior, thing is I have a gauge and a time-honed preference for a pressure as ready by that gauge (regardless of what it might be on some other gauge). So last time around with presta gear, I kept finding myself putting the adapter on so I could use the gauge.
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Old 03-05-20, 02:10 PM
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I have had no problems with presta valves in the 30 plus years I have used them..... no torn stems. Much easier to pump up, especially on the road for a flat fix. Having a quality pump head makes a big difference.

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Old 03-05-20, 02:14 PM
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If your rims are drilled for schrader valves then don't buy presta's.
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