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The difference between Presta and Schrader bike pump valves

So you’re looking at getting a new bike pump. But wait! Don’t just buy any bike pump. Make sure you get one that is compatible with your valve type. Which valve types are there you ask? “Schrader” and “Presta”. If you don’t know the difference between these pump vales, it’s ok, we will lend a hand.


Schrader Valves

Schrader valves are wide and short brass pieces for your average bicyclist. A wider and shorter needle makes for quick air filling. These valves are also found on car tires. Air flow only moves in one direction, inwards – with the option to press the inner pin down to check tire pressure. Just think about this, you can inflate them with any gas station pump. The problem with them is that they cannot be replaced. So if your valve is damaged or clogged, you’ll have to buy a whole new tire.


Presta Valves

Presta valves, on the other hand, are tall and slim. These valves were made specifically for bicycles. Made completely out of threaded metal, Presta’s are more durable than Schrader’s. They can be tightened against your rim for extra support. The top cap is removed to let air in and keep air from leaking out. This makes filling and emptying air out of your tire a breeze. Presta’s have a removeable inner core, so they can be replaced if your tire leaks or gets clogged. Finally, they can easily become a tubeless valve. The problems with Preta’s are that they’re easier to break and cannot be refilled by gas station pumps. You must have an attachment to attach to the  threaded valve.


Most bike pumps today are compatible with both Schrader & Presta valves. These are called dual-head designs and come in three main types:

  • Twin: This type of bike pump comes with both Presta and Schrader ports. You can choose which one to use at any given time.
  • Swappable: This type of pump has all the right parts to inflate both Presta and Schrader valves. However, they are located inside the pump head and need to be reversed. This can be done in a matter of seconds, without the requirement of any special tools.
  • Adjustable: This is the most convenient bike pump type because it automatically adapts itself to either Presta or Schrader valves. There are no additional steps you need to take — just attach the pump head to the valve and start pumping.



If you’re a bike enthusiast or just want to learn more about bikes, then educating yourself on the different vales is crucial. If you’re interested in professional bicycling, then Presta valves are for you. Ridding on a certain valve delivers a specific feeling. Presta valves have larger tires and can run at higher tire pressures. They are much easier to fill and empty. Presta’s are much more durable than Schrader’s. Most importantly, you would not want to put a Presta valve in a Schrader rim, and vise versa. But enough small talk, get out there and start riding!


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