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What is a Scrader Valve or Presta Valve?

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When you ride a bicycle it will come to a point that you’ll need to inflate your tires.  Soon, I’ll be going over how to change a flat, different types of pumps and what makes a tire tubeless, tubular or standard.  For today we will be starting very basic and figuring out which valve you have and why you need to know.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

A schrader valve is the commonly used valve in the U.S for automotive tires and most bikes under $1,000.  The valve has a spring inside of it that opens and closes the valve core.  The valve core is what keeps air from leaking out of your tire.   On a schrader valve it is very important to have a valve cap (plastic top) to cover the valve to keep dirt out, if not the valve could stay open or jam shut.Schrader Valve GIFA presta valve is found on higher pressure bicycle tires or higher end wheels.  This valve is much smaller in diameter and has a top nut that controls the valve core.  You need to screw open this nut to let air into and then screw close to shut off the valve.  Due to the fact the valve does not use a spring to control the valve core it is able to hold higher pressure in the tubes, leak less and also not need a valve cap.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

Depending on your application both valves work great and are easy to use.  The presta valve involves a softer touch to open and close that valve so you don’t damage the valve core but I have faith in you!   We will go over pumping up the tires more in depth next week.

A video on differences between valves with Carlton Reid

Valve Stem’s on Wikipedia

Upcoming Articles

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Behind the scenes at BikeShopGirl I have been working hard at a new layout, which you should be seeing by the time this post, and also getting organized from a very busy bike season.

Here are some of the articles I have on the burner, the reason I am leaking some of the information a head of time is in case you have feedback or questions on any of the topics!

  • Presta vs Shrader Valves
  • Off Season Planning with a special guest
  • Types of pumps
  • Essentials for night riding
  • How to change a flat tire

Meeting Monday : Elly Blue

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Meeting Monday will be an on going series of meeting various women in the cycling industry.  Learn about their experiences, history and what they are doing to make cycling better for all women.  If you are interested in being apart of this or have an idol that you think fits the bill, please let me know!

1st in our series is a very inspirational person to me, Elly Blue.  Elly is the managing editor of BikePortland.org, a Portland, OR based website that follows all things cycling around the city.  Originally this site was started by Jonathon Maus back in 2005,  it now is a power house in the cycling blogging community.

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