Parts and equipment for motorcycles, quads, scooters and bicycles

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The different types of valve

In the field of bicycles, 3 main types of valves are used on the market: Presta (French valve), Schrader (American valve) and Dunlop (English valve which is rarely encountered).

Indeed, the choice of the valve will, above all, depend on the hole you have in your rim. A Presta valve is 6mm in diameter is long and thin in appearance, while a Schrader valve is small and thick, with a 8mm diameter. Presta valves are generally found on bikes with narrow wheels, such as racing bike wheels, while a Schrader valve is found on wide mountain bike wheels.

No valve is superior to another. The only real concern is to have the one that is compatible with the pump and the rim.

How does an inner tube valve work?

The inner tube is a strip of rubber that holds the air used to inflate the tire. Air flows in and out par the means of the valve which is a piece welded or screwed to the inner tube during vulcanization.

Tire inflation is done differently depending on the type of inner tube valve used. Presta, Schrader and Dunlop valves are not used in the same way.


The Presta valve (SV) Short presta valve

La Presta valve, also called French valve, is quite common in France. It has the advantage of being easier to pump and can be mounted on all rims, even those designed for Schrader valves. In addition, it has a springless nut closure allowing a good seal, to the point that some professionals consider the plastic cap unnecessary. However, it has the disadvantage of being more fragile than a Schrader valve due to its thin stem.

This type of valve is generally mounted on the wheels of sports bikes (racing, half-racing old French brand, sometimes trekking and VTC, hybrides).

The Regina valve Regina Valve

This type of valve is used only in Italy. Similar to the Presta valve, you have to unscrew the cap and the inner tube can be inflated with a Presta type pump tip.

The Schrader valve (AV)Schrader valveangled schrader valve

La Schrader valve or American valve is recognized for its solidity. It is used on the wheels of cars, planes, motorcycles or boats, hence its other name auto valve. You can easily inflate a Schrader valve tire at a service station, which can be very useful. Simply snap the inflator into its spring-loaded closure. It has the disadvantage of requiring a plug to avoid obstruction (mud, gravel). It may also have more air loss if the shell is not tightened properly. Finally, the spring closing mechanism can seize. This valve is sometimes bent

This type of valve is generally mounted on most mountain bikes, bicycles sold in supermarkets and in general par many brands depending on the bike models.

The Dunlop valve (DV)Dunlop valve

It is generally mounted on the wheels of city bikes of the major Dutch brands (Gazelle, Batavus, all the other historical brands like Union, Locomotief, Gouden Leeuw...), on the German brands, and on Dutch type bikes such as Raleigh or Motobécane.

Its tube diameter is bigger but its nozzle remains the same as the Presta valves (so this will not pose a problem with your pump).

The Dunlop valves or English valves are the most used in the world. They allow easy replacement of the valve mechanism, and very rapid air evacuation.

Valves with removable shells

Some valves have a removable shell. Dismantling a shell is necessary to completely remove air from an inner tube, to add anti-puncture fluid in an inner tube or to install a valve extension on wheels with a high profile. Find our shell remover

Why use a long valve?Long benefit valve

A typical inner tube valve measures around 40mm. It allows it to be mounted on standard single or double wall rims, and to protrude to allow the inflation of the inner tube. However, some road bikes come with high profile aero wheels. For this type of wheels, it is necessary to equip yourself with long valve inner tubes (ex: 700 x 18/28C Presta valve 60 mm inner tube), usually measuring 60 or 80 mm.

Pros and cons

1 - The Presta Valve is thin, narrower than other valves (6 mm instead of 8). Its small diameter allows for a smaller hole in the rim. Suitable for the narrow rims of racing bikes, it is lighter than the Shrader valve or the Dunlop valve by around 4 to 5 grams.

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

- Mounts on all rims.

- Difficult to inflate.

- Ideal on a racing bike.

- No cap needed, nut closure without waterproof spring.

- More fragile due to its thin stem.

It is possible to use inner tubes with Presta valve on rims designed for larger valves such as Schrader, car the hole is larger, the reverse not being possible.

Almost all Presta valves have demountable shells since 2017, these may be identifiable par flats machined on the thread. The advantage of its dismantling is that we can introduce preventative directly into the valve without having to remove the tire when you are mounted on a tubeless tire. If you twist the shell you can also change it easily.

Presta valves are suitable for high pressure par compared to the Schrader valve.

2 - The Schrader valve automotive type, is more robust and widespread (bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats, planes). The spring-loaded closure makes it easy to use at gas it is enough simply to engage the inflator there. It can also be inflated using a conventional bicycle pump.

To deflate it, press with a spike on the small rod located inside the valve.

- Easy to inflate, especially at service stations.

- Core easily removable and replaceable with a special tool.

- Solidity.

- Compulsory cap car risk of obstruction (mud, gravel…).

- More air loss if the shell is not tight.

- Short valve can sink during inflation.

- Spring closure whose mechanism can seize.

Schrader valve for Tubeless tire?

There are tubeless Schrader valves on the market, but they are little used at the moment. Most high-end bicycles and mountain bikes are equipped with tubeless Presta valves. You can always drill your rim to a diameter of 8,5mm so you can install a Schrader Tubeless valve. After its installation, you will not need to unscrew its valve head and your inner tube will be compatible with all compressors on the market!

Rim hole and valve compatibility

Schrader and Dunlop valves having the same diameter, they can be used with rims having the same hole. The Presta valve is smaller in diameter, like the Regina. It is impossible to use a Dunlop or Schrader valve with a rim designed for a Presta or Regina valve.

A fine Presta valve can be used, in an emergency and for lack of anything better, in a rim with a larger hole, but it will only be the immediate surroundings of the valve will be weakened and you could puncture again quite quickly. There are adapters to use a Presta in a Schrader hole, not very easy to find, easy to lose and only slightly cheaper than a new chamber.