PRESTA VS. SCHRADER VALVES


Schrader valve Presta valve

Most tadpole trikes I am aware of come with Presta rim/tube valves. My Catrike did and it didn’t take me long to do something about it as I readily admit that I don’t like Presta valves. That being said, you, the reader, know where I stand. I know there are many who do like them even if I fail to understand why. 🙂 I personally think they are nothing but a pain in the neck to use in comparison to the simplicity and practicalness of a Schrader valve.

I will start this off with a video which illustrates and explains these two different types of valves as well as air pumps and adapters for the Presta valves.

If you like Presta valves and want to continue using them then the remainder of this article isn’t for you. But if you are like me (and many others) and would prefer Schrader valves you can do something about it … and I am not talking about buying new rims which would be very expensive and quite unnecessary. Unless one has a very narrow rim and tire it is not necessary to use the Presta valve. Anyone wishing to switch to a Schrader valve can do so easily by drilling out the hole in the rim to a larger size diameter. Some say use a 3/8 inch drill bit but that is a bit oversize. I use a 21/64th inch drill bit. Be careful when drilling the rim as you want to end up with a nice round smooth hole. Most definitely you don’t want the drill bit to “grab” as this can mess the hole/rim up. If you are having problems breaking thru once you are most of the way thru you can try running the drill motor in reverse. This usually works well without dealing with the grabbing problem. Remove any burrs. Also remove any and all shavings including any trapped inside of a double walled rim.

drill hole

Here is a simple and handy tip on how to inflate a Presta valve using a Schrader pump when you don’t have the adapter to use … (hint: you make an adapter out of the Presta dust cap).

If ever you find that you want to or need to go back to a Presta valve after drilling out the hole in the rim you can purchase a bushing made to go in the larger diameter hole so that the inside diameter is the correct size for the Presta valve. Here are pictures of what are probably the most common type. As you can see one goes into the hole of the rim while the other one is threaded and goes on the Presta valve threaded shaft and down into the bushing in the rim. There are also simple bushings which just go in the hole and the shaft of the Presta valve goes thru it without such a threaded nut to hold it in place. I don’t profess to know much about them. I used one once.

Schrader Presta bushings threaded bushing

These longer bushings are designed to go thru a double wall rim which most tadpole trike have due to the needed extra strength they provide to handle the tremendous side stresses placed on them when cornering.

Schrader Presta bushings 2

I hope this is helpful information for some folks. Questions and comments are welcome.

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on August 8, 2014, in maintenance/repair, tadpole trikes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. My preference is presta, since my historic tires were high pressure. The schraeder valve leaks horribly if you don’t have a high quality pump head, which is hard to find. My current Cattrike came with schraeder, so until the tubes die, I will continue to use them. Also, it is better to use a presta valve specific pump head than the converter shown above. Most present day pumps have a convertible head gasket to allow switching valve use.

    • I have used 100 psi tires with Schrader valves and have never had any problems as you describe. They always pumped up fine and held air as well as any Presta valves. Those I know who use Presta valves have more air leakage going on than I do with Schrader valves.

  2. Fortunately, this is the internet so nobody can get a rope so I can safely say that presta valves belong with the obsession about weight.