Difference between bicycle inner tube valves : Presta vs Schrader

In the field of cycling, 3 main types of valves are used on the market : Presta (French valve), Schrader (American valve) and Dunlop (English valve that meets rarely).

1 / Presta valves

The Presta valve is thin, narrower than the other valves (6 mm instead of 8). Its small diameter allows a smaller hole in the rim. This is adapted to the narrow rims of racing bikes. It is also lighter than the Shrader valve or the Dunlop valve of about 4 to 5 grams.

The Presta valve has 2 caps : one plastic, and a small metal screwed on a small threaded rod fixed in the body of the valve. To deflate, unscrew and press on the metal cap

Advantages / disadvantages of the Presta valve :

  • Allow a higher air pressure
  • Require a smaller hole in the rim
  • Can be purchased in various lengths to suit the profile of your rims
  • Easy to pump
  • Ideal on race bike
  • No cap required
  • More fragile because of its thin stem

It is possible to use Presta valve inner tubes on rims provided for bigger valves like the Schrader, because the hole is bigger (the reverse is not possible).


2 / Schrader valves

The Schrader valve, of automobile type, is more robust and widespread (bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats, planes). The spring-loaded closure makes it easy to use at the service station because you just need to turn on the inflator. It can also inflate using a conventional bicycle pump.
To deflate, press a point on the small rod located inside the valve.

Advantages / disadvantages of the Schrader valve :

  • Easy inflation, use pumps at gas stations without an adapter
  • Easily removable core
  • Solidity
  • Mandatory plug because risk of obstruction (mud, gravel ...)
  • More air loss if the shell is not tight
  • Short valve can sink during inflation