I’m sure you’ve seen a mountain bike before and noticed the weird looking valve on the tires. The valve is called a Presta Valve, and it has its own advantages over Schrader valves that make it used commonly for mountain bikes. Lets go over some of those reasons!
So why are Presta Valves used on mountain bikes? The main reason presta valves are used on mountain bikes comes down to the fact they are compatible with tubeless tires. Being able to get your tires down to a low psi, while maintaining that air is important, and presta valves make that happen. Of course there are many other reasons that we will dig into!
What is a Presta Valve?
Presta valves are valves which are used on bicycles. They’re a little different than Schrader valves, but they have some advantages that make them ideal for mountain bikes in particular!
The main difference between a presta valve and a schrader is that the presta valves are longer, thinner, and you unscrew the top of the valve (not just the cap) to add air to the tire.
You can also press down on to of the valve to release air, instead of having to find something to press down an internal valve like in the shrader valves.
Want to get your own set of presta valves? Here is a great kit for a good price.
So what are the main benefits to presta valves for mountain bikes?
Easier to release air when you want more grip
Easily being able to let air out of your mountain bike tires when you need more grip is a huge benefit of presta valves.
The release valve on the mountain bike tire can be difficult to reach and sometimes hard for people with smaller hands, so it’s much easier with presta valves, as you just unscrew the valve and press down to release air.
In fact, it also is easier to fill as well, as there isn’t that internal valve that needs pressed. This means bike pumps tend to be easier to use with this valve.
Works with tubeless tires
This is a huge reason why mountain bicyclists use presta valves. A huge trend nowadays is to go tubeless, as it helps with lower tire pressures, as well as making a puncture less likely as well.
Presta valves are not attached to a tube, and instead can bolt directly to a tubeless ready rim, meaning its an imperative part of equipment for if you are wanting to go tubeless.
You can add sealant without removing a tire
Removing a tire to add sealant can be a pain, however a presta valve can easily be unbolted from a wheel, and you can add sealant to the wheel without removing the tire, and having to struggle with putting it back on.
Why do you need the sealant? You need the sealant because without it, the tire will deflate on its own from air leaks. If you are interested in doing this for your bike, this sealant would be a great option.
The sealant that you put in your tires can make a huge difference with how long they stay inflated!
Without any kind of liquid to protect them against punctures and cuts or other types damage caused by outside forces like sharp debris rocks etc., their lifespan is much shorter.
Presta valves can handle higher pressure
Now this isn’t something I can verify, however from reading it appears that presta valves can handle a higher pressure.
Mountain bike tires tend to have lower pressures than other bikes like road bikes, however it is nice to know that they won’t give out if you hit a hard bump on the trails.
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Any downsides of Presta Valves on Mountain Bikes?
The main downside to presta valves on a mountain bike comes down to the fact that they aren’t as popular for pumps at gas stations, or even some bike pumps.
If you find yourself without your own pump, you will be on the hunt for a pump that can use an air hose to inflate your bike tire.
This takes time, and might even leave you without your bicycle for the day, which of course is no fun. Because of this, you should always keep a portable pump like this one on hand so you don’t run into this.
In this article, we talked about why presta valves are used on mountain bikes . We learned about how they can handle higher pressure and the longer lifespan of mountain bike tires.
What do you think? Do presta valves sound like a good option for your tire needs or would Schrader be better suited to what’s needed on road bikes, hybrids etc.? I hope this article has been helpful in answering some questions!