The Presta valve is generally present on the road bike’s inner tube. It was created to work with narrow rims. Hence, Presta valves are slimmer than their Schrader counterparts. It’s why the question arises; can you use a Presta tube on a Schrader rim?
What are Presta and Schrader valves?
Have you noticed the valve in a car or any expensive bike? They are wide Schrader valves. You need to cover such a valve with rubber before attaching it to the wheel. The valve’s outer wall has a thread-like structure to accommodate an air pump head. Then, there is a pin placed at the center with an inbuilt spring. This pin controls the airflow.
On the other hand, Presta valves are comparatively slimmer than the Schrader variants. Generally made of metal, Prestas typically has tapers at their top, but some also have a thread at the bottom. Hence, you can easily unscrew such valves. Presta valve seals once the pressure stabilizes between the tube and tire.
Can you use a Presta tube on a Schrader rim?
Now we know that the Presta and Schrader valve stems have different thicknesses. It means Schrader tubes are built with wider openings. A Presta tube can clear the Schrader rim’s valve entrance, but what afterward? Can the valve stand rigid? No, because there is some space left. You cannot ride a bike with an unstable valve.
A tension nut comes to rescue in this situation. This nut is fitted at the bottom of all the Presta valves. It stabilizes the valve when tightened, which is helpful. Unfortunately, the nut is only effective externally. On the internal area, there is still some space between the rim and valve’s root.
When you inflate the tube with high pressure, there are chances that it might penetrate this space and get damaged due to the rough edge. Add the vibrations created by the road, and you can understand that riding in this condition could lead to a flat tire.
It’s where you can use a Valve Hole Grommet, which seals that entire valve’s root and prevents any damage. Hence, if you want to use a Presta tube on a Schrader rim permanently, then purchase a grommet. If you cannot find it, then we suggest you use a compatible Schrader tube instead.
However, there is a temporary fix if you are in an emergency and cannot find the grommet. Keep in mind that the given solution is quick and could lead to a flat tire.
Use a patch
As we stated earlier, this is an emergency solution that can reduce the risk of getting a flat tire. But, it’s not a permanent fix. So, use a compatible tube once you have access to a garage or any other help.
Place a small tube cut around the valve to add a layer of comfort and protection to prevent flat tires. This patch acts as a shield when the tire inflates and presses against the valve entrance. So, make sure this piece is wide and long enough to cover the entire base, which is the most vulnerable part.
You can also place the tension ring under the rim to act as an internal seal. In other words, you don’t have to rely on this nut to keep the valve stable. So, lower this component to its maximum strength and insert the valve through its entrance.
The diameter of this tension nut is larger than the entrance area, which means the tube cannot penetrate and cut itself eventually. However, changing the nut’s position means it cannot do its regular job to stabilize the valve’s stem. But, the pressure might hold the tube in its place until and unless the terrain is not highly uneven.
Some of the Presta tubes come with two tension nuts. So, you can place one of them under the rime and another on its outer part.
Use an adapter
If you are trying to use a Presta tube on a Schrader, then there are chances that you are stuck with a pump that’s only compatible with the latter. In this situation, you can use an adapter that screws onto a Presta and convert it into Schrader. Some of the frequent riders carry this component to pump up the bike tires using compressors found at gas stations. Hence, the adapter is also helpful if your pump fails or someone steals it.
If you don’t have the adapter or cannot arrange it at the moment, there is another way to create one. Cut the top cap of a Presta valve and then screw it on top of the valve. Follow the given instructions to avoid any mistakes.
- Cut the thin part of the Presta cap.
- Please take out the valve nut of the valve by unscrewing it.
- Screw the cap’s wide part into the valve.
- Attach the pump head to inflate the tire.
- Remove the head and your homemade adapter. Finally, screw back the nut and carry on the trip.
Are there any disadvantages of using a Presta tube on a Schrader rim?
We stated earlier that there are chances that your bike’s tire can go flat after you install a Presta tube on a Schrader rim. Apart from that, there are possibilities that dirt, mud, and water can get inside the tire, especially if the tension nut is not stable.
Are there any advantages of Presta valves over Schrader?
Well, Presta valves overshadow the Schrader in only one department; size. The former has a small entry hole, which results in better rim integrity and also allows the manufacturers to produce narrow rims. But, this advantage is null and void if you own a mountain bike because MTB rims are wide, thick, and has a lot of strength even after a wide valve entrance point.
If you frequently plan bike rides, then there might be chances where you have to use different rims and tubes. Hence, it’s important to know can you use a Presta tube on a Schrader rim or not. But, you have to be careful while you install a Presta tube on a different rim. Plus, you also have to know the terrains you will cover after the fix. Riding on rough trails can puncture tires due to variable pressure and friction.