You may have realized that there are two types of bike tire valves; Presta and Schrader valves. Presta is slim and long, while the other is shorter and wider. So, you could be asking, “Can I inflate A Presta valve with a Schrader Pump?”
You can’t use a Schrader pump to inflate a Presta valve without a valve adapter. The two valves are different and require different pump heads. Once you have a Presta to Schrader adapter, you can comfortably use a Schrader pump to inflate any wheel using a Presta valve.
Though you can’t use a Schrader pump with a Presta valve directly, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. So, let’s see what you can do.
How Can I Inflate A Presta Valve With A Schrader Pump?
Generally, bikes come with two distinctive valves. The narrow Presta valve is the norm for road bikes, while mountain bikes, cruisers, and touring bikes mostly use the Schrader.
All the same, it isn’t uncommon to find cyclists swapping Schrader for Presta inner tubes. Actually, in a previous article, we found out that you can use a Presta tube on a Schrader rim if you employ some modifications.
Actually, some cyclists change from Schrader to Presta valve by choice, while others swap tubes for an emergency fix. Either way, you have to inflate the tire for you to go riding again.
Notably, Presta valves are narrower than the Schrader. Therefore, you will need a valve adapter for you to inflate a Presta with your ordinary foot-to-floor pump.
Using A Presta To Schrader Valve Adapter
You can inflate a Presta valve with a Schrader pump by using a Presta valve adapter. Notably, the Presta valve nozzle is so slim that it leaves a lot of space on a Schrader pump head.
Therefore, it can’t work without a valve adapter such as the Mobi Lock Brass Presta Valve Adaptor, which allows you to use a standard pump or a compressor.
The adapter is small and compact, and it’s made of high-quality brass. It also comes with 12 months warranty cover.
Steps To Inflate A Presta Valve Using A Valve Adapter
- First, you need to unscrew the screw at the tip of the Presta valve.
- Screw the Presta to Schrader adapter on the valve
- Engage the pump like you do on the Schrader valve and inflate to recommended pressure.
- Remove the adapter and close the valve by screwing the valve lock-nut back. You need to finger-tighten the nut to avoid damaging the inner tube.
Technically, the valve adapter converts the Presta valve to Schrader. This way, you don’t have to purchase another pump when you already have a Schrader pump with you.
Use A Pump With Dual Attachment
The other way you can inflate a Presta valve with a Schrader pump is using a pump that has dual head attachments.
Notably, some modern pumps come with an adapter attached to the pump head. For these pumps, you have to unscrew the attachment at the end of the hose to use the Schrader pump head.
On the other hand, other pumps such as the Schwinn Air Sport Pro Foot to Floor Frame Pump come with two distinct attachments at the end of the hose. So, the pump is both a Presta and a Schrader. In other words, these are universal pumps.
Basically, these pumps eliminate the need to buy valve adapters. Also, they come in quite handy when you own more than one bike that uses different nozzles.
How To Make A Presta Valve Adapter – D.I.Y.
At times, things get tough beyond anyone’s liking. You may get into a desperate situation where you need to inflate a Presta valve, but the only available pump is a Schrader. So can you inflate a Presta valve with a Schrader pump without an adapter?
Basically, you don’t have to buy an adapter to inflate a Presta valve, especially during an emergency. But you will need to improvise one to inflate your Presta tube with an ordinary pump.
Therefore, to improvise a Presta to Schrader valve adapter, you will need a Presta valve cap and a knife. To make an effective D.I.Y. adapter, you should:
- Get a Presta valve and cut it at the point where it gets smaller. Dispose of the small part.
- Unscrew the lock-nut on the valve
- Place the cap upside down on the valve and screw it down.
- Attach your Schrader pump to inflate the wheel.
- Once you are through, unscrew the cap, and don’t forget to screw back the lock-nut.
With a good pump such as the portable Bell Air Attack High Volume Bicycle Pump, you shouldn’t have a problem using your improvised adapter. It has a wide barrel that makes inflating tires less tasking.
Can Presta Valves Leak?
Riding a bike with a leaking tire can deny you the joy of a good ride. At times, the leak could be a result of micro-punctures on the tube or faulty valves.
For punctures, inner tube repair patches such as the Maifede Bike Inner Tube Patch Kits will solve the problem.
On the other hand, your valve could be faulty.
Primarily, a Presta valve has two sets of threads. The first set of threads open and close the valve. They allow you to inflate or deflate the tire.
The other set of threads fasten or remove the valve core. Unfortunately, removing the pump may loosen the valve core, and this could lead to pressure loss.
In such a scenario, use a Park Tool VC-1 Valve Core Tool to tighten the valve core. It is small in size but handy. The tool also features 5mm wrench flats for installing and removing Presta valve extenders.
Another cause of tire leaks is over-tightening the lock-nut. When screwing up the nut, use your fingers to tighten the nut and void tearing the valve from the tube.
Therefore, a Presta can leak, but most of the causes for the leak are avoidable.
Also, if the damaged Presta valve has a removable core, you can replace it with one like the JooFn 30pcs Presta Valve Core Kit. Actually, you get a set of 30 valve cores for the price of one.
Are All Presta Valve Cores The Same?
Not all Presta valves are the same. Actually, they may have the same diameter, but they differ when it comes to their length and the type of cores they feature.
In fact, there are two types of Presta valve cores; the fixed and the removable core valves.
If the core you have is removable, the valve will consist of the upper and the lower parts. Basically, the upper part is smaller, and it inserts in the lower part.
On the other hand, there are Presta valve cores that aren’t removable, but they come as a unified body. If this valve gets damaged, you will need to replace the inner tube.
If your valve is the unified type, you can purchase a high-quality Presta inner tube and get back to riding if your valve is damaged.
Also Read: Can you ride a bike with a broken spoke?
At times, you may find yourself at a fix after a tire burst. In such a case, any inner tube that can take you home is all you need.
At times, you may decide to swap the inner tube from a Schrader to a Presta. Since the Presta valve is slimmer than the Schrader valve, you may be asking, “Can I inflate a Presta valve with a Schrader pump?”
From our discussion above, it is clear that you can use your Schrader pump, but you will need a Presta to Schrader valve adapter.
Also, if you don’t have an adapter and the situation is dire, you can improvise an adapter from a Presta inner tube cap.
Once you have a valve adapter, inflating a Presta tube with a Schrader pump shouldn’t pose any difficulties.