Bike A Ton is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Feel free to click away.

types of bike tire valves

Types of Bike Tire Valves: All You Need to Know

There are three types of bike tire innertube valves: Presta, Schrader, and Dunlop (Woods). While tubeless valves come in Presta or Schrader.

Presta Valves

Presta valves (also called “high pressure” valves) are most commonly found on road bikes. They have a small diameter shaft and screw on cap. To inflate or deflate via Presta valve, the retaining ring must be unscrewed, then the valve core can be removed. Once the inner workings of the valve are exposed, it can be tightened or loosened as needed before screwing the cap back on.

Presta valves are easy to use and don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, they can be difficult to inflate if you don’t have the right tools.

Take care of the stem shaft and central pin as they are easy to bend when using push-fit hand pumps. Presta valves are easier to use when a hose is attached to your pump and the pump head locks in place.

It’s important to note that not all Presta valves are created equal. Some have a smaller diameter and require a adapter in order to use a standard pump.

Parts of a Presta Valve

  • Valve core: This is the innermost component of the valve and is responsible for regulating air pressure. The core is also removable, which makes it easy to add sealant or make repairs.
  • Valve Stem: The valve stem is the metal or plastic part that protrudes from the rim. It’s what you unscrew in order to remove the valve core.
  • Valve Cap: The valve cap screws onto the valve stem and helps to keep dirt and debris out of the valve.
  • Nut: The nut is the metal or plastic piece that secures the valve stem to the rim.

Note: Adapters are required to use a Presta valve with a pump that has a Schrader head. The adapter fits onto the valve stem and provides a tight seal.

Pros of Using Presta Valves

  • Easy adjustable air pressure
  • Lightweight
  • Requires a smaller hole
  • Unlikely to get clogged with dirt
  • Multiple lengths available
  • Compatible with drilled rims for Schrader and Dunlop

Cons of Using Presta Valves

  • Central pin and nut can be easily damaged
  • Stem shaft can be easily snapped

Schrader Valves

Schrader valves (also called “car” valves) are most commonly found on mountain bikes. They have a larger diameter shaft and spring-loaded valve core. The main advantage to Schrader valves is that they are easier to inflate than Presta valves, as you don’t need a valve adapter or lock-on pump head. You can simply press the valve with your thumb to open it and screw on a standard pump.

However, Schrader valves can be more difficult to use when deflating your tires. You have to unscrew the valve core in order to let all the air out, which can be time-consuming. Additionally, if you lose the spring inside the valve, it can be difficult to find a replacement.

Parts of a Schrader Valve

  • Valve Stem: The valve stem is the metal or plastic part that protrudes from the rim. It’s what you unscrew in order to remove the valve core.
  • Valve Core: The valve core is the innermost component of the valve and is responsible for regulating air pressure. The core is also removable, which makes it easy to add sealant or make repairs.
  • Valve Cap: The valve cap screws onto the valve stem and helps to keep dirt and debris out of the valve.

Pros of Using Schrader Valves

  • Wide and strong valve stem
  • Replaceable valve core
  • Ideal for holding high pressures
  • Inexpensive

Cons of Using Schrader Valves

  • Requires larger hole in wheel rim
  • Presta valve-incompatible
  • Heavier than Presta valves
  • Small air is lost when removing pump

Dunlop (Woods) Valves

Dunlop valves are less common than Presta or Schrader valves and are mostly found on older bikes. They have a larger diameter shaft but the valve core is not spring-loaded. Dunlop valves are inflated and deflated in the same way as Presta valves.

The main advantage of Dunlop valves is that they are less likely to leak than Schrader valves. However, they can be difficult to find replacement parts for and are not as widely compatible with pumps and other inflation devices.

Parts of a Dunlop (Wood) Valve

  • Valve stem:  The valve stem is a metal or plastic component that sticks out from the wheel’s rim. The valve core is located inside.
  • Valve core: The valve core is the innermost component of the valve and is responsible for regulating air pressure. The core is also removable, which makes it easy to add sealant or make repairs.
  • Valve cap: The valve cap is a small, screw-on component that helps to keep dirt and debris out of the valve.

Pros of Using Dunlop Valves

  • Inexpensive
  • Less likely to leak than Schrader valves
  • Valve core does not need special equipment for replacement and maintenance
  • Thick and strong stem valve

Cons of Using Dunlop Valves

  • Can be difficult to find replacement parts
  • Not as compatible
  • Heavier than Presta and Schrader valves

Tubeless Valves

Tubeless valves are Presta or Schrader valves that have been modified for use with tubeless tires. They have a larger diameter shaft and an integrated valve stem that can be inflated or deflated without removing the tire from the rim.

Tubeless valves are becoming more popular as tubeless tires become more common. They offer a secure connection between the tire and rim, making it easier to inflate and deflate your tires.

Cyclists use liquid sealant in their tubeless tire set-ups. The sealant is used to fill any small holes or punctures that occur in the tire. This prevents air from escaping and keeps the tire inflated.

Additionally, tubeless valves are less likely to leak than traditional Presta or Schrader valves.

Parts of a Tubeless Valve

The parts are the same as a Presta or Schrader valve with the addition of a rubber bung.

  • Rubber bung: A rubber bung is a small, round piece of rubber that fits snugly over the valve stem. It helps to keep air from leaking out of the tire.

Which pump should I use with these valves?

There are a few types of pumps that work with different types of valves. Floor pumps, mini-pumps, and CO2 inflators all have adapters that allow them to be used with different types of valves.

  • Floor Pumps: Floor pumps are the most common type of bike pump. They are larger than mini-pumps and can inflate a tire to full pressure with fewer strokes. Floor pumps typically have a gauge that lets you know how much air is in the tire.
  • Mini-Pumps: Mini-pumps are small, portable pumps that can be carried on your bike. They are not as effective as floor pumps but can get the job done in a pinch. Mini-pumps typically do not have a gauge, so you will have to estimate the pressure by feel.
  • CO2 Inflators: CO2 inflators are small, disposable canisters that contain pressurized carbon dioxide gas. They are very effective at inflating a tire but can be expensive to use on a regular basis. CO2 inflators do not have a gauge, so you will have to estimate the pressure by feel.

A Presta-only pump will not work with a Schrader valve and vice versa. Make sure you get the right type of pump for your valves! But you can buy a dual-head pump that will work with both types of valves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my valve Schrader or Presta?

If your valve has a small, threaded cap that unscrews to reveal the valve core, it is most likely a Presta valve. If your valve has a large, knurled nut that unscrews to reveal the valve core, it is most likely a Schrader valve.

What is the best type of valve for my bike?

The best type of valve for your bike depends on your personal preferences and what type of tires you are using. If you are using tubeless tires, then you will need to

Where is the valve located on my bike?

The valve is located on the rim of your wheel, extending toward the hub. It is usually located near the spoke nipples.

Which Valve Is Right for You?

Presta valves are the most common type of valve found on road bikes. They are easy to use and don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, they can be difficult to inflate if you don’t have the right tools.

Schrader valves are the most common type of valve found on mountain bikes. They are easy to inflate, but can be more difficult to use when deflating your tires.

Dunlop valves are less common than Presta or Schrader valves and are mostly used in developing countries.


Related Posts


Scroll to Top